Rosberg takes Hungarian pole in thrilling qualifying

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Nico Rosberg took pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix in what became a thrilling session. After Hamilton's car caught fire early on, rain still made things difficult for the German Mercedes driver. Sebastian Vettel will start from second while

Qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix kicked off in similar conditions as during yesterday's FP2, slightly cloudy but with high ambient temperatures and the track heated to 44°C.

Nobody was in a rush to come out, and it was eventually Jules Bianchi who went to take the track first. He soon returned to the pits, allowing Caterham drivers Ericsson and Kobayashi to set the first times. Romain Grosjean in the Lotus soon topped those two while at the same time his teammate halted alongside the track on his first lap, immediately ending qualifying for Maldonado, as has happened so often already this season.

Lewis Hamilton, the fastest man of the weekend so far, soon encountered the same problem, adding to his bad luck of recent races. The Briton tried to limp back to the pits, but a fuel leak put his car in flames when diving into the pitlane. He stopped halfway to the stands and jumped out of his car while the marshalls came running in to extinguish the fire. Lewis suitably looked back on his smoking Mercedes a bit further down, shaking his head in disbelief.

Qualifying meanwhile unfolded steadily, now with Marussia getting a serious chance to get a car into Q2. Mercedees, Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren and Williams all opted to save a set of tyres, choosing to run only on the mediums in this early stage. It worked out for most, but when Bianchi eventually improved to 16th, Raikkonen could only watch and see how he dropped out, getting eliminated while Alonso was comfortably sitting in 13th place.

Along with Raikkonen, eliminated in 17th are thus also Kobayashi in 18th, followed by Chilton, Ericsson, Hamilton and Maldonado.

At the start of Q2 it's obvious everybody is running on the soft tyre with yellow markings. This time around no major drama interferes with normal proceedings. Hulkenberg, Perez, Gutierrez, Sutil, Grosjean and Bianchi are the men in trouble 5 minutes from the end while Rosberg and both Red Bull are comfortable not to run again after their first runs.

Hulkenberg is the first to improve on the final runs, taking 9th before Button improves as well to move up into 7th. Behind them however, Kvyat spins off the track and causes a yellow flag, denying everybody else to improve while Kvyat himself stalls and is out in 11th place. Along with him are Sutil, Perez,Gutierrez, Grosjean and Bianchi, the latter being 2 seconds slower than Grosjean.

While marshals are busy pulling away the Russian's Toro Rosso STR9, raindrops started falling, triggering all remaining drivers to queue up at the end of the pitlane to immediately get out and start a flying lap.

By the start of their flying laps, the intensified rain surprised them all. Rosberg was the first man out and went wide through turn 1, just narrowly avoiding the tyre barriers. Magnussen, 5 seconds behind however braked later and had no way to go but into the barriers. Button and the cars behind were all cautious to avoid an incident. Charlie Whiting however soon red flagged the session, allowing Magnussen's car to be cleared before further running.

After a 6 minute break, the session was green flagged again, and again Rosberg became the first man out on track.

With everyone still on dry-weather soft tyres, Rosberg is very cautious on his first lap and ends up with the 7th fastest time only after just 7 cars ran this early in the session. Bottas however did a lot better and went fastest until Vettel topped that with 5 minutes left on the clock. Alonso also put in a good effort on his first lap but rejoined the pitlane after that whereas most put in 3 laps on their first qualifying stints.

With 3:30 left, Rosberg took provisional pole as he shaved 0.179s off of Vettel's best.

In the closing minute, Bottas improves again to get second within a tenth off of Rosberg. Alonso slots into 4th, ahead of Massa in 5th. Sebastian Vettel though put himself on provisional pole, only to see Rosberg take another half a second and definitively secure his 10th pole position.

Results

Pos.NoDriverTeamQ1Q2Q3Laps
16Nico RosbergMercedes AMG1:25.2271:23.3101:22.71520
21Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:25.6621:23.6061:23.20116
377Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1:25.6901:23.7761:23.35419
43Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing-Renault1:25.4951:23.6761:23.39118
514Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:26.0871:24.2491:23.90917
619Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1:26.5921:24.0301:24.22319
722Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:26.6121:24.5021:24.29421
825Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Renault1:24.9411:24.6371:24.72019
927Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1:26.1491:24.6471:24.77522
1020Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes1:26.5781:24.585-13
1126Daniil KvyatSTR-Renault1:25.3611:24.706-14
1299Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari1:26.0271:25.136-12
1311Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1:25.9101:25.211-11
1421Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:25.7091:25.260-10
158Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:26.1361:25.337-16
1617Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari1:26.7281:27.419-14
177Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:26.792--5
1810Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault1:27.139--10
194Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari1:27.819--7
209Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault1:28.643--10
2144Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMGNo time--2
2213Pastor MaldonadoLotus-RenaultNo time--1


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