Teams' reactions after the Mercedes-dominated Hungaroring qualifying

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The qualifying session for the Hungarian Grand Prix saw Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas lock out the front row for Round 11 of the 2021 F1 season with championship leader Max Verstappen securing the third starting position.

Mercedes suddenly and unexpectedly looked in full control once again at the Hungaroring with its arch rival unable to match the speed dictated by the Anglo-German outfit’s W12. The Brackley-based squad has been clearly the quickest since the opening session on a track that was expected to favour the characteristics of Red Bull’s RB16B.

The Hungaroring, which features flowing sections of closely linked corners, saw Lewis Hamilton take his first pole position in seven races, followed by his team mate Valtteri Bottas. With Mercedes having produced eye-catching lap times during its long runs, it will be a very difficult ask for the brilliantly driving Max Verstappen to pose a challenge to the defending champion on Sunday.


Pierre Gasly, 5th, 1:16.483

“I’m extremely happy with today, it’s a pretty good feeling to be the first car behind Mercedes and Red Bull. We were quite surprised to be ahead of Ferrari, who have been looking really strong, so I’m really pleased with our performance today. It’s not going to be an easy race for us, we know that in terms of race pace some of the cars around us are stronger, but we knew grid positioning would be really important and we’ve put ourselves in the best possible place to fight tomorrow.

„I’m really excited for the battle with Charles and Lando, we know it’s hard to overtake here so we’re going to keep our elbows out and try and hold on to fifth position.”

Yuki Tsunoda, 16th, 1:17.919

“This whole weekend I’ve struggled with the balance of the car, so it’s been quite difficult. We maximised track time in FP3, to make up for the time that I lost yesterday. I felt that I built up the pace well and was able to put together a good lap. I went into qualifying with confidence and I think my lap was also good, even if I felt I was still lacking grip.

"I don’t quite understand how I lost that much time to my team mate, so I will need to sit with my engineers tonight and look at the data ahead of the race. I really like this circuit, having driven here the last few years, so it’s frustrating to not be starting further up the grid tomorrow.”


Lewis Hamilton, 1st, 1:15.419

"It was an amazing qualifying lap, that last one. There's been amazing teamwork from everyone this weekend, Valtteri included. We're just trying to push the car forwards, developing constantly and the guys back at the factory have been working flat out, leaving no stone unturned. It's been amazing to see everyone coming together, rallying each other and pushing forwards, and I appreciate the great support I have here.

"The soft tyre is worth something like five metres down into Turn 1 and it's a long way down to the first corner so it'll be exciting tomorrow - it's surprising to see all the guys behind us on the soft tyre. It's definitely great having a front row lockout for our Team, it's the first one in a long time and I just feel so grateful to everyone back at the factory."

Valtteri Bottas, 2nd, 1:15.734

"We saw some good progress in performance at Silverstone and it seems to be carrying on here in Budapest which is great to see. The conditions are pretty unique here with the heat and we've performed well so far. As a team, we're in a good position with the medium tyre for the race tomorrow - Red Bull will have an advantage at the start on the Soft but we will be able to go longer in the first stint so we're set for an interesting race. We need to have strong focus at the start, that's for sure.

"I'm a little bit disappointed with my first run in Q3, Lewis had an amazing lap and I didn't feel as confident with the car as I was at other points through the weekend. I lost a little bit of rhythm with the medium tyre in Q2 and it wasn't easy to switch back to the softs in Q3 and go all-out attack. But my lap was decent and enough for P2 so I'm relatively happy."

Red Bull

Max Verstappen, 3rd, 1:15.840

“The whole weekend so far we have been a bit behind and qualifying was the same. I went a bit backwards on my Q3 lap compared to Q2 and I just didn’t have the same grip for some reason. I don’t know if it was track or tyre related but the balance was a bit off to push everywhere and around here the corners all follow really quickly so if you don’t feel good in one corner, the next one won’t be great either.

„I lost a bit of lap time on the final run but even with a faster out lap and a slightly better balance I don’t think we would have been on pole. P3 isn’t where we want to be and we cannot be happy with that but nevertheless, we are still up there with Checo next to me so we will see what we can do in the race.

„We will also find out if starting on the soft is a good strategy as it’s going to be really hot. The softer tyre won’t last as long as the medium but maybe it will help us off the line. The start around here is very important so we will give it a good go and fight to get the best out of the race.”

Sergio Perez, 4th, 1:16.421

“I certainly felt that I was making good progress throughout qualifying with the car. It was a real shame to lose that final lap because I felt that it had good potential. At the time we thought we had plenty of margin to work with, unfortunately that wasn’t the case and it meant that I basically lost my final attempt.

„We knew Mercedes were going to be very strong today but I really hope tomorrow we are able to put a lot of pressure onto them. We have a different strategy and are looking forward to the start, this is a place where if you get one or two corners right there is plenty of lap time to be found. In an ideal scenario we will get ahead of them and hold position but the race is very long and anything can happen.”


Daniel Ricciardo, 11th, 1:16.871

“That was really close to Q3, but on the positive side, I’ll have free tyre choice tomorrow. A lot of the time this year, when I’m trying to get those last few tenths out of it, it proves to be quite difficult and it’s still not quite there. I thought the lap was decent but it’s still quite a long way off. So, we’ll try to learn from it and make up some places tomorrow. Hopefully everyone who starts on used tyres suffers and we can benefit from the free choice.”

Lando Norris, 6th, 1:16.489

"A decent day. I felt it would be very tight to get into Q3, so I’m very happy with the pace. There was a small chance we could've been fourth if we'd done everything perfectly, so we need to analyse what we could've done better so we can maximise our potential next time. But still, I'm very happy with sixth and I think we can score some good points from there tomorrow."


Charles Leclerc, 7th, 1:16.496

"It was a bit disappointing, as we expected a little more than a P7. The high temperatures were not as much of a challenge as the wind was today. As it picked up in Q2, we started struggling with our rears and couldn’t maximize our potential. Tomorrow is when we score points though. Our race pace looks strong so I am confident. It is not an easy track to overtake on, so a good start will be essential."

Carlos Sainz, 15th, No time set in Q2

"This one is tough to take. I’m rarely involved in this type of incident and it hurts. After a very strong run in Q1, going off in Q2 is the opposite of ideal. I was closing the lap, not pushing to the absolute limit, as it was only the first run of Q2 and unfortunately I was caught out by a big gust of wind, later confirmed on the data.

"I don’t want to use it as an excuse, it was a mistake on track and I apologise to the entire team.
„They did a great job last night and the car today felt quite good. Unfortunately, this is one of the worst possible tracks to have a bad qualifying because overtaking is tough here. I’ll do my best to recover and try to score as many points as possible tomorrow."


Esteban Ocon, 8th, 1:16.653

“It feels good as it’s been a while since I’ve been in Q3. We managed to put it all together today and there was actually a lot of understanding and learning throughout the session, which is great. We weren’t quite where we wanted to be in Q2, but we managed to progress and then put it all together in Q3. I’m happy with that as it’s a track I really enjoy, and it was a good session from the team.

"Tomorrow will be tricky, of course, as it’s going to be warm again. It’s difficult to overtake here but we’re in a good starting position, which is important, and the aim is to make more places and score as many points as we can.”

Fernando Alonso, 9th, 1:16.715

“We can be happy with that day. We did not know where our level of competitiveness at this circuit would lie, so to get both cars into Q3 for the first time in a while is very good. We perhaps thought we could be higher up the order after the performance in Q2 but there was a little bit of inconsistency on the tyre behaviour between sets.

„Let’s try and finish the job tomorrow – the start will be a big factor and then you try to consolidate whatever position you are in as it’s super difficult to overtake here. We have a high chance to score with both cars and that’s clearly the target for tomorrow.”

Aston Martin

Sebastian Vettel, 10th, 1:16.750

“We struggled a little bit to get the tyres in the right place for that final lap. I think we could possibly have been ninth – but, realistically, P10 was about what we deserved. I actually think it will be an advantage to start the race on the Soft tyre – we just need to see how long it will last. It worked pretty well yesterday, but we still have to see if we can make a one-stop strategy work starting on the Soft.”

Lance Stroll, 12th, 1:16.893

“We were so close to making Q3, so it is a bit of a shame to only secure P12 on the grid. There are some mixed feelings because we were competitive in Q1 and finished P6 at that stage, but Q2 was a little trickier. Still, the positive is that we have a free tyre choice for tomorrow’s race, and we will be able to consider a different strategy from the drivers in the top 10. It was tricky out there in such hot conditions and the tyre drop-off in the final sector today shows that degradation could be a factor tomorrow. Anything can happen in the race, so points are still achievable – and that is our goal.”

Alfa Romeo

Kimi Raikkonen, 13th, 1:17.564

“The team worked really hard to improve the balance of the car ahead of qualifying and that was enough to make a step forward. It’s still not where we want to be, but we did our best and P13 is a good position to start the race. We’ll see what is possible to achieve tomorrow: the race is never easy here but we will do all we can to bring home a good result.”

Antonio Giovinazzi, 14th, 1:17.583

“It was definitely the best session of the weekend so far for us, after struggling yesterday and this morning in FP3. The team did a great job and we made a big step forward from this morning: we put two cars in Q2 and we need to be happy with this result. P13 and P14 was probably the maximum we could, especially on a hot and windy day that made conditions quite tricky out there.

"Starting where we are, everything can happen in the race: the track is not an easy one on which to overtake but a good start and the strategy can put us in a good position. We expect tyre degradation to play a big role in the race, especially with this heat, so to make the right calls there will be key to have a good result.”


George Russell, 17th, 1:17.944

"It’s the first time all season we haven’t progressed to Q2 but we can’t get it right every time. I didn’t have the confidence in the car today for whatever reason and the lap just didn’t come together for me. We’ve done an amazing job to be in Q2 in the first 10 races of the season and this time, we did a fine job when we normally do an excellent job.

„For us, fine is not enough. That is how it is sometimes but we’re looking forward to tomorrow. It is going to be a difficult race as it is so hot here and the tyres are going to be really tricky to manage. Hopefully we can do a better job than the others and capitalise on any opportunities."

Nicholas Latifi, 18th, 1:18.036

"We were hoping to be more competitive than we were today, but ultimately it was a very close margin to Q2. The car was feeling okay, not perfectly balanced, but not far off and I was relatively happy. The lap felt okay from my side, but we need to investigate a power unit issue that we experience on both laps.

„Throughout my last lap I had four or five engine cuts which from the data cost me quite a bit of lap time. Without that maybe Q2 was possible, as we don’t know the exact time lost, but it was definitely hurting."


Mick Schumacher, 20th, No time set in Q1

“The feel in the car was amazing, especially in FP2 and FP3. The way we hit the wall was very unfortunate because that meant the whole side was broken and we had to repair and replace it and it’s just something that takes more time.

„If we had five or 10 minutes more, we would’ve been able to do a lap - the team did a mega job. If we manage to be clean and save our tyres, we might be able to gain a few positions.”

Nikita Mazepin, 19th, 1:18.922

“It was a hot qualifying, one of the hottest of the year. That’s not doing any favors to the tyres – they’re just melting. Apart from that, three very consistent laps so I’ve had a clean weekend. I got to a point where it got difficult to extract more from the car - it was pretty difficult as we’re lacking downforce so you’re consistently sliding around the track.

„For a racing driver, there’s a few opportunities like T1 and T2 but from that point onwards it will be a managing race. The track temps are expected to be hot and they’re not going to be kind to a 70-lap race.”