The English Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), six-time Formula One world champion, will start first this Sunday in the Hungarian Grand Prix, after raising his own all-time record for pole positions in the premier class to 90; pointing to the leadership of the World Cup and another record: the one with the most victories (eight) in the same test.
The 35-year-old Hamilton, who beat Argentine five-time champion Juan Manuel Fangio last year, wants to emulate this year German Michael Schumacher, the only one with seven world titles. And this same Sunday, if he wins for the eighth time in Hungary, he would equal another of the records of the ‘Kaiser’, the one with the highest number of triumphs in the same Grand Prix, which the star of Kerpen achieved after scoring eight times that of France, on Magny Cours.
The spectacular and eccentric Stevenage champion again starred in another exhibition, again at the Hungaroring. After improving, in the second round of qualifying (Q2) and with a medium tire – with which he will start the race, scheduled for 70 laps and 306 kilometers – the circuit record, he again broke the record, this time with the soft one, in the round of the best ten: in which the Mexican Sergio Pérez (Racing Point) marked the fourth time and the Spanish Carlos Sainz (McLaren), the ninth.
On another festive day for the ‘silver arrows’ – now in black, against racism – Hamilton signed his seventh ‘pole’ at the circuit on the outskirts of Budapest; covering his 4,381 meters (with the fastest lap of all time) in one minute, thirteen seconds and 447 thousandths, 107 less than his Finnish colleague Valtteri Bottas, leader of the World Championship, who will start with him from the front row.
The two ‘pink Mercedes’ will do so right behind: Canadian Lance Stroll -third- and ‘Checo’, the two Racing Point drivers, who like the two from Brackley’s team will start on medium compound tires -the one that used in Q2- will start from the second row.
Behind them, the best placed of those who will do it with soft -as long as it does not rain-, will come, from the third, the quadruple German world champion Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari), who chained his titles between 2010 and 2013, with Red Bull.
‘Seb’ – who Sainz will replace next year in the most successful team in history and who is still looking for a team – will start fifth, alongside his Monegasque colleague Charles Leclerc, who rammed him into the third corner of the first lap of the Grand Prix from Styria. In a resounding blunder that knocked out the first of two change to the two red cars: setting off the alarms at their headquarters in Maranello.
Mercedes, winner of the last six Drivers ‘and Constructors’ World Cups, wants to prolong its fierce sports tyranny. And this Sunday he will aim for a new double from the front row. From which Hamilton will try to continue adding to his very outstanding service record with what would be his eighty-sixth triumph in F1.
A success that – again without an audience and with enormous health security measures, due to the covid-19 pandemic – would raise him to the leadership of the World Cup and leave him within a shot of only five of the other great record of the ‘Kaiser’, 91 times victorious in Formula One. At the Hungaroring, Hamilton will once again aim for big game.
After staying just four hundredths behind Bottas – leader with 43 points, six more than him – in the third and last free practice; and giving up the first two halves to Racing Points in Q1 (which dominated ‘Checo’, fifth in the World Cup), Hamilton went from dominating without problems to hitting his chest on the Magyar track.
In a day in which, contrary to what I thought, there were no major precipitations, ‘Checo’ and Stroll proved that their brilliant start to the course is a reality. They signed -in that order- the two best times of Q1; which they confirmed, in reverse order and just behind the Mercedes, in the ‘top 10’ round.
In Q1, apart from the Racing Points, the Williamses stood out. The Englishman George Russell – brilliant, who will start twelfth – managed, together with his partner, the Canadian rookie Nicholas Latifi, that, for the first time in two years, the team that Sir Frank founded went with his two cars to the second round of qualifying .
In Q2 the Australian Daniel Ricciardo and the French Esteban Ocon, from Renault, fell. The team with which Spanish Fernando Alonso will return to F1 next year (and with which the Asturian double world champion celebrated his titles, in 2005 and 2006), replacing the ‘Aussie’ driver; who in turn replaced Sainz at McLaren.
Sainz, fourth in Q1; marked the eighth time in the second round. In which Hamilton, with means, broke the track record, stopping the clock 1: 14.261.
In Q3, with soft, he pulverized it again. Leaving it at one minute, thirteen seconds, and 613 thousandths. And showing why he and his car, today, are unrivaled.
Carlos, who complained about the car again, will start from the fifth row, in ninth place and next to the Frenchman Pierre Gasly, from Alpha Tauri (formerly Toro Rosso).
The talented Madrid driver will start just behind his English colleague Lando Norris, third in the World Championship, 17 points behind Bottas. Lando improved Sainz’s time by only six hundredths – who stayed one second and four tenths behind Hamilton’s rocket – and will start from the fourth row, alongside the Dutchman Max Verstappen, third in the race last Sunday and who signed pole position last year at the Hungaroring.
‘Mad Max’, whom Red Bull still aspires to make this year the youngest champion in history – if he dethrons Hamilton – will try, from the beginning very far from him, from seventh place, to avoid another new feat of the star Briton on the outskirts of the beautiful Hungarian capital. EFE (HN)