Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 2nd in the Formula 1 World Championship, claimed the 101st pole position of his career and will start ahead of his teammate, Valtteri Bottas, on Sunday for a historic 100th Hungarian Grand Prix victory. , 11th appointment of the year.
Max Verstappen (Red Bull), leader of the World Cup with eight points ahead of Hamilton, will start third at 1300 GMT accompanied by his teammate, Mexican Sergio Pérez.
After his accident on the first lap at Silverstone, which saw Verstappen drop out, Hamlton took his 99th Grand Prix in Great Britain, with both rivals returning to the arena for the last time before the summer break.
The start will be crucial again at the Hungaroring, a narrow circuit where overtaking is difficult. As if emotion were lacking, the Mercedes and Red Bull drivers will come out on different tires: medium for the former, soft for the latter.
– Boos to Hamilton –
“We are a little worse since the beginning of the weekend,” said Verstappen. “Of course this is not what we expected but we are well placed anyway.”
On the strategy, the Dutchman said that “we will see tomorrow if we have chosen well. We know that soft tires won’t last as long as media, but they can provide opportunities.
Booed by thousands of Verstappen fans from the Netherlands, Hamilton responded directly to the audience: “I’ve never felt good about boos, but it motivates me,” he smiled.
With Verstappen at half a second, the veteran British driver slowed down before his second fastest lap attempt. That made the two Red Bulls stop behind him, causing ‘Checo’ Pérez not to have time to make another time trial and the Dutchman did not achieve his in the best conditions.
– “We have no problem” –
The director of the Red Bull team, Christian Horner, did not want to argue about this “ploy”. “Lewis did a super lap and then obviously he didn’t want to give us a clean lap. It is your right. We don’t have a problem with that.
What is a problem for Red Bull is the confirmed strong comeback of Mercedes, as Hamilton had not achieved a pole since the Spanish GP in May.
The other drawback is the visible irritation of its pilot after the accident in the previous Grand Prix. Verstappen appeared annoyed at a press conference, firmly refusing to talk about the crash at Silverstone again.
But on Sunday everyone will have that memory in their heads. This time the drivers will not be paired, but one will be ahead of the other, on a circuit whose first two corners are very tight and the next three are faster.
The Emilia-Romagna GP in April will also be in the memory. Hamilton started from first place and Verstappen from 3rd. In the first corner, on a track full of water, the Dutchman overtook the reigning world champion, almost sending him off the track, before winning the race.
Behind the Mercedes and Red Bulls, Frenchman Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) and Briton Lando Norris (McLaren) will start 5th and 6th.
At Ferrari, Spaniard Carlos Sainz went against the protections in Q2 and will start 15th on Sunday, while his teammate Charles Leclerc will start from 7th. The Monegasque, second at Silverstone, will have a difficult time coming back on this circuit that he defined as “Monaco without the walls.”
The two former world champions Fernando Alonso (Alpine) and Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) were 9th and 10th respectively, while the Frenchman Esteban Ocon (Alpine) will start 8th. AFP (HN)