Lewis Hamilton Secures First Pole Since 2021 at the Hungarian GP
Max Verstappen followed Hamilton by just 0.003 of a second with Lando Norris 0.085 behind Verstappen to secure third.
The 2023 F1 Hungarian Grand Prix is shaping up to be a riot–Lewis Hamilton snatched pole from Max Verstappen by three-thousandths of a second after Verstappen did not improve on his final run in Q3. Following the front row are the two McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri, leading to an unusual leading order ahead of Sunday’s race.
Qualifying was mixed up by an alternative tire allocation trial that forced drivers to use hard tires in Q1, faster mediums in Q2, and soft tires in Q3. Practice running on the softs was limited throughout Friday practice and FP3, limiting data on the softs and leaving the ultimate pace of the frontrunners a question mark. The tire allocation rule also forced strategic calls and gave spectators a true comparison of the pace between cars without an offset in tire compound. As a result, the top ten drivers are separated by just half a second, with Nico Hülkenberg rounding out the order.
Daniel Ricciardo also impressed on his return to the F1 grid after taking half a season off from a brutal two-year stint at McLaren. Nyck de Vries’ anonymous season needed more Ricciardo magic, with Ricciardo qualifying 13th ahead of teammate Yuki Tsunoda in 17th. The shock of qualifying was a Q1 exit from George Russell, who couldn’t surmount traffic issues and was overtaken by several cars before his last run. This left Russell in dirty air and left him in 18th.
Finally, Sergio Perez has ended his Q3 drought in his Red Bull, just squeaking into the last qualifying session and securing ninth place on the grid behind Fernando Alonso, four tenths behind the leading Red Bull of Verstappen.
It looks like a three-way fight for the win tomorrow, with Hamilton having historically decent form at the Hungaroring, Verstappen being functionally unbeatable all season, and Norris’ McLaren MCL60 coming into what seems to be real form after his second-place finish at the British GP.
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