Starting grid and race preview for Hungarian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton did all he could in qualifying to put himself in position to make Formula One history at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The six-time world champion took pole in Saturday’s session at the Hungaroring, edging out Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

It was his seventh pole at a track where he has previously won on seven occasions, including in three of the last four years.

Should Hamilton win Sunday’s race, he will not only overtake Bottas in the drivers’ standings, but also equal Michael Schumacher’s record for the most victories at a single F1 circuit.
 

WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

Hamilton set a lap record to hold off a determined Bottas by 0.107 seconds and take a 90th career pole, with Mercedes streets ahead of the other 18 drivers.

Racing Point impressed as Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez came third and fourth respectively, though even they were a second off Mercedes’ pace, as Ferarri improved to lock out row three, with Sebastian Vettel pipping Charles Leclerc.

Red Bull struggled with Max Verstappen down in seventh and a frustrated Alex Albon – who criticised his team on radio – missing out on Q3. He starts 13th, a spot behind Williams’ George Russell.

THE STARTING GRID 

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 
3. Lance Stroll (Racing Point)  4. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)
5. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)  6. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
7. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 8. Lando Norris (McLaren)
9. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) 10. Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri)
11. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) 12. George Russell (Williams) 
13. Alex Albon (Red Bull) 14.  Esteban Ocon (Renault)
15. Nicholas Latifi (Williams) 16. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) 
17. Daniil Kvyat (Alpha Tauri) 18. Romain Grosjean (Haas)
19. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) 20. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)

 

HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS

Schumacher won eight times in France, an F1 record Hamilton will hope to match at one of his favourite tracks in Hungary, especially with Bottas sitting six points clear of him in the championship.

Both Mercedes drivers referenced the crucial run up to turn one in their post-qualifying remarks and it seems a collision between them or a mechanical issue is the only hope the rest of the field have of finishing ahead of the leaders, who have a huge pace advantage.

Racing Point are primed to push for a podium finish as they start on the second row with the more durable medium tyres after a qualifying strategy gamble paid off, while this track appears to suit Ferrari better even if they are still well short of Mercedes.

Red Bull will hope better race pace can lift them after a frustrating start to the season continued in qualifying – a stark contrast to Verstappen’s first career pole here last year. The Dutchman cited issues with the top speed and balance of the car after qualifying, saying the team were still unsure over the reason for their shortcomings.

WHAT THE DRIVERS SAID

Lewis Hamilton (pole): “I definitely wasn’t expecting [Red Bull] to be as off as they have been this weekend. You saw the pace of them last year and that [1.4s to Verstappen] is a really big gap. This is not a power circuit, this is more about the car, the mechanical grip and aero package. I thought they had a better package than the result showed.”

Valtteri Bottas (2nd): “It is going to be a bit of a drag race into turn one between us [Bottas and Hamilton] so I look forward to that – the first lap will definitely be interesting. I’m the championship leader at the moment, but I need to win races to maintain that, so that is the only goal I have Sunday and I’m fully focused on making it happen.”

Lance Stroll (3rd): “Everybody’s entitled to race out there, so I hope we [me and Sergio Perez] get to race hard. He starts fourth and is going to fight for the podium, I’m going to fight for the podium. I’m hoping we can have a good start and a good race as it would be nice to stand on the podium again, it has been two or three years since I last did that.”

Sergio Perez (4th): “I didnt feel 100% physically during qualifying, I was getting dizzy and that is not great. I need to check with my physio what is going on but I should be okay for Sunday. I managed to get away with a good result, it was very messy, my qualifying – still, P4 is a good race start and it was a great result for the team. We will target a lot of points.”

Sebastian Vettel (5th): “I think it’s much better than the previous weekends. The first time both cars are in Q3. Austria didn’t really suit us, we lost a lot of time in the straights, and here I think there’s a lot more corners to make up for it. The car felt better balanced as well so I think we’re much closer to the people, let’s say around us, like the Racing Point, the Red Bull, even McLaren.”

Alex Albon (13th): “It was a bit of everything. Obviously I didn’t do a great lap as well [as issues with the car and being put out in traffic], but we had another lap to fix it. It is a few things to be honest, so we need to sit with the team, discuss it and just be better prepared for the next time. I was [happier with the car] in FP3, not so much in qualifying. So we need to figure it out a bit better.”
 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 43
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 37
3. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 26
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) –18
5. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) – 16

Constructors 

1. Mercedes – 80
2. McLaren – 39
3. Red Bull – 27
4. Racing Point – 22
5. Ferrari – 19

Published 19 Jul 2020, 00:24 IST





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