Vettel flies to pole as Ferrari dominates Hungarian qualifying

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Sebastian Vettel displayed impressive pace yet again, taking pole for the Hungarian Grand Prix. His team mate at Ferrari, Kimi Raikkonen, confirmed the Scuderia's form by going second fastest, ahead of both Mercedes who are set to start from the second row.

Qualifying saw a quiet start of the first session, seeing the track remain empty for two minutes before Bottas and Hamilton opted to venture out.

Williams's Paul Di Resta, who replaces an ill Felipe Massa rapidly joined, as he was eager to complete some laps to acquaint himself to the track and the car. Di Resta did not drive in a 2017 car yet, and also did not compete in any of the free practice sessions this weekend.

All top drivers went out to do several laps on their tyres, with the second usually faster than the first one. For Vettel and Hamilton in particular this brought improvements while Raikkonen failed to do better on his second attempt in the first session. This saw Vettel top the times with a 1:17.244, ahead of Raikkonen and Hamilton.

Red Bull sent their cars out a few few minutes later and allowed them to make use of a slightly emptier track. Verstappen thereby rounded the Hungaroring in 1:17.266 to go second fastest while Ricciardo ended up 5th fastest, ahead of Bottas.

As in the free practice sessions, McLaren and Renault made up for the remaining 4 spots in the top 10, with Hulkenberg ranking ahead of Alonso, Vandoorne and Palmer around 4 minutes from the end of the session.

At the end of the session, several drivers saw their attempts blocked by a big mistake by Kvyat at Turn 4. The Russian was extremely lucky to keep it out of the barriers, but also caused a brief yellow flag situation in that section of the track.

Di Resta had just passed that corner, and still managed to complete his final flying lap, enough to get ahead of Ericsson, and hence not be last on the starting grid. Still, Williams's troubled weekend continued as such, with both its car eliminated, along with the Saubers and Kevin Magnussen.

Q2 saw a similar pattern emerge, with Vettel again lightning fast, 0.226s ahead of Verstappen, and 0.392s ahead of Hamilton. Raikkonen and Bottas were next, followed by Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Alonso and Vandoorne. Before the last few attempts in the closing minutes of the session, Ocon sat in 10th, pushing Palmer out by 0.048s.

While not necessary for progress through to Q3, both Mercedes still opted to go out for another run. Bottas improved slightly while Hamilton cut a big chunk out of his previous best to go fastest by 0.109s to Vettel.

The only real change in term of eventual classification was Sainz's lap that ensured him a position in Q3, pushing out Palmer and Ocon.

In the final part of qualifying, Vettel opened up the battles by immediately going fastest with a time of 1:16.276, another 6 tenths faster than the previous best. Bottas slotted into second, ahead of Verstappen, Ricciardo and Raikkonen.

Lewis Hamilton went wide through Turn 4 on his first flying lap, and subsequently returned to the pits. He did set a purple first sector, but saw that annulled by going too wide on the exit of Turn 4. Carlos Sainz opted not to go out at all, opting for a single run at the end of the session.

While Vettel didn't improve more in his second run, Raikkonen did, and jumped up from 7th to 2nd. Valtteri Bottas as such ended up in third, with Hamilton ending up in 4th.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarQ1Q2Q3Laps
15Sebastian VettelFerrari1:17.2441:16.8021:16.27614
27Kimi RäikkönenFerrari1:17.3641:17.2071:16.44414
377Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG1:18.0581:17.3621:16.53018
444Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG1:17.4921:16.6931:16.70717
533Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:17.2661:17.0281:16.79714
63Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:17.7021:17.6981:16.81814
727Nico HulkenbergRenault1:18.1371:17.6551:17.46814
814Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda1:18.3951:17.9191:17.54917
92Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Honda1:18.4791:18.0001:17.89417
1055Carlos SainzToro Rosso1:18.9481:18.3111:18.91219
1130Jolyon PalmerRenault1:18.6991:18.415-14
1231Esteban OconForce India Mercedes1:18.8431:18.495-16
1326Daniil KvyatToro Rosso1:18.7021:18.538-15
1411Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes1:19.0951:18.639-15
158Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari1:19.0851:18.771-15
1620Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari1:19.095--9
1718Lance StrollWilliams Mercedes1:19.102--9
1894Pascal WehrleinSauber Ferrari1:19.839--9
1940Paul di RestaWilliams Mercedes1:19.868--11
209Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari1:19.972--8