Saturday, April 20, 2024

Hamilton Secures 104th Pole Position in Hungarian GP Qualifying Thriller

Lewis Hamilton secured his 104th and first pole position since 2021 at the Hungarian Grand Prix, ahead of Max Verstappen and Lando Norris.

The debut of F1’s new Alternative Tyre Allocation system, which is being trialled over two weekends this season, caused plenty of shocks and surprises in the order. Drivers were forced to use hard tyres in Q1, mediums in Q2 and softs in Q3.

The weekend has had so many stories so far, with Daniel Ricciardo returning, rumours of teams breaking the cost cap and now Hamilton back on pole.

Q1 – Russell Out, Ricciardo Out-Qualifies Tsunoda

Q1 at the Hungaroring saw some excitement with track evolution playing a massive part in the new qualifying format, which means the drivers have to use hards in the first part of the session.

While all eyes were on the exits in Q1, many overlooked the fact that Zhou Guanyu topped the first session ahead of Verstappen, with the Alfa Romeo F1 Team Stake cars looking really good on the hard compound tyre.

Logan Sargeant, Kevin Magnussen, George Russell, Yuki Tsunoda and Alex Albon all found themselves knocked out in the first session.

Sargeant ran wide through the chicane, which cost the American. Replays show that Russell was caught up in that traffic in the final corner, with the Brit throwing a hand in the air in frustration as Toto Wolff banged the desk in the Mercedes garage following the chequered flag.

Another bit of big news was Ricciardo returning to the F1 grid, and he managed to outqualify his teammate Tsunoda by getting through to Q2.

Credit: Francois Nel/Getty Images/Getty Images Content Pool

Q2 – Sainz Suffers Shock Exit

Q2 saw the drivers move on to the medium compound tyres at the Hungaroring and surprisingly, it wasn’t the Red Bull cars setting the pace.

Verstappen topped the timings shortly but found himself having a lap time deleted, putting him under a major amount of pressure. Oracle Red Bull Racing put him on a new set of medium tyres, something which wasn’t in their run plan, and thankfully for him and the team, he managed to put in a laptime good enough to finish third by the end of the session.

Norris continued his form and McLaren F1 Team continued their upwards trend in development, with the Brit topping the session and his teammate, Oscar Piastri also making it through to Q3.

Pierre Gasly will start fifteenth on the grid for the race on Sunday after getting his lap time deleted, although it wasn’t good enough to make Q3 anyway. Lance Stroll will start fourteenth, after another disappointing session.

Ricciardo secured thirteenth on the grid in the struggling Scuderia AlphaTauri car and it will certainly be considered a success for the Australian on his F1 return. Esteban Ocon will start slightly ahead in twelfth, despite setting the quickest first sector on his final lap.

There was another shock exit, with Carlos Sainz Jr. getting knocked out by his own teammate, and that means there will be lots of work for Scuderia Ferrari tomorrow.

Q3 – Hamilton on Pole!

Q3 saw the drivers switch onto the soft compound tyres for the quickest part of qualifying with the ten quickest drivers fighting it out for pole position.

Nico Hülkenberg will start tenth on the grid, alongside Sergio Pérez, who despite getting through to Q3 for the first time in five races, had a disappointing session and will have to work his way through the pack.

Fernando Alonso after just scraping through to Q3 only managed to secure eighth on the grid and will start alongside Valtteri Bottas on the grid, who put in an excellent lap, as did his teammate Zhou, who managed to secure his best qualifying position of his F1 career.

It was a tough afternoon for Charles Leclerc, who could only put in a time good enough for sixth, while Piastri and Norris continued McLaren’s great form, and locked out the second row on the grid.

The battle for pole position was incredible, with under a tenth between the top three. Verstappen was unable to go quicker on his final run and that saw him miss out to Hamilton, who secured his first pole position since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

1 Lewis Hamilton MERCEDES 1:18.577 1:17.427 1:16.609 20
2 Max Verstappen RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT 1:18.318 1:17.547 1:16.612 21
3 Lando Norris MCLAREN MERCEDES 1:18.697 1:17.328 1:16.694 20
4 Oscar Piastri MCLAREN MERCEDES 1:18.464 1:17.571 1:16.905 20
5 Zhou Guanyu ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 1:18.143 1:17.700 1:16.971 22
6 Charles Leclerc FERRARI 1:18.440 1:17.580 1:16.992 21
7 Valtteri Bottas ALFA ROMEO FERRARI 1:18.775 1:17.563 1:17.034 20
8 Fernando Alonso ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 1:18.580 1:17.701 1:17.035 21
9 Sergio Perez RED BULL RACING HONDA RBPT 1:18.360 1:17.675 1:17.045 23
10 Nico Hulkenberg HAAS FERRARI 1:18.695 1:17.652 1:17.186 20
11 Carlos Sainz FERRARI 1:18.393 1:17.703 15
12 Esteban Ocon ALPINE RENAULT 1:18.854 1:17.841 16
13 Daniel Ricciardo ALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT 1:18.906 1:18.002 15
14 Lance Stroll ASTON MARTIN ARAMCO MERCEDES 1:18.782 1:18.144 18
15 Pierre Gasly ALPINE RENAULT 1:18.743 1:18.217 16
16 Alexander Albon WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:18.917 8
17 Yuki Tsunoda ALPHATAURI HONDA RBPT 1:18.919 9
18 George Russell MERCEDES 1:19.027 9
19 Kevin Magnussen HAAS FERRARI 1:19.206 8
20 Logan Sargeant WILLIAMS MERCEDES 1:19.248 8