Advantage Lewis Hamilton after storming to Hungarian GP pole ahead of Nico Rosberg

Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday with a lap more than half a second faster than Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg.

Lewis Hamilton secured his ninth pole in 10 races after qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Andrej Isakovic / AFP
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Defending world champion and series leader Lewis Hamilton bidding for a record fifth Hungarian Grand Prix victory will start from pole for Sunday’s race after posting the fastest time in qualifying on Saturday.

It is the fifth time in succession, ninth this season, the 30-year-old Briton has out-performed his Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in qualifying.

Hamilton’s pole success was his fifth at the Hungaroring circuit where he is the only driver to have won from pole position in the last 10 years.

Hamilton leads Rosberg by 17 points in the championship standings with Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel a distant third, 42 points adrift, after nine races.

It was the 47th pole position of Hamilton’s career and lifted him clear of fellow-Briton Damon Hill with his 18th successive front row start, leaving only legendary Brazilian Ayrton Senna to catch on 24.

Four-time world champion Vettel was third fastest ahead of Australian Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull and Finn Kimi Raikkonen, fifth in the second Ferrari.

The intense heat - the air temperature was 32 degrees Celsius and the track was 54 as qualifying began - meant that tyre degradation became a factor and accentuated the difference between the super-soft compound and the harder ‘medium’ rubber.

Hamilton, on the harder tyres, set the early pace with Rosberg, last year’s pole-sitter, struggling.

“There’s something wrong with the balance,” he said. “So much under-steer...”

Outpaced by not only Hamilton, but also Vettel and Ricciardo, Rosberg pitted to switch to softs, forcing Hamilton to follow suit as he dropped to 10th as their rivals trimmed their times.

On softs, Rosberg went top only to be outpaced by Hamilton as the session ended with 2009 champion Briton Jenson Button, a two-time winner at the Hungaroring, taking an early exit in 16th place for McLaren Honda.

Ricciardo took 12th to progress to Q2, the only man to do so using the medium tyres. For last year’s winner, it was proof that he had the confidence to resist the temptation of the softs.

In Q2, Vettel had set an early best time ahead of Raikkonen and Rosberg when, after Fernando Alonso’s McLaren stopped at the exit of Turn 13, the session was red-flagged. With some help, he managed to push the car uphill and back to the pits.

The stoppage marred Hamilton’s first flying lap, leaving him without a time, but he swiftly rectified that on resumption with a best of 1:22.285, half a second faster than Rosberg.

The two Mercedes men, led by Rosberg, were first out for the top ten shootout, both on used softs. The champion, in dominant form, went top on his first run with 1:22.408, 0.358 seconds quicker than his team-mate.

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