Lewis Hamilton secures Hungarian Grand Prix pole position

Mercedes lock out front row for Sunday's race at Hungaroring

Seven-times F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton grabbed pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday, with Valtteri Bottas joining his team-mate in an all-Mercedes front-row.

Hamilton blew the title race wide open with a scintillating lap, with Red Bull's championship leader Max Verstappen qualifying third on the grid. Hamilton was .315 seconds ahead of Bottas and .421 clear of Verstappen.

The British star delivered a sublime lap in his first attempt to silence Verstappen's supporters at the Hungaroring.

"It was an amazing qualifying lap," said Hamilton, who was booed by Verstappen's 'Orange Army'.

"The guys back at the factory have not left any stone unturned. I appreciate the great support we have here.

"I have never felt so grateful for the booing. I don't mind it. It just fuels me."

Hamilton is just eight points behind Verstappen following the controversial British Grand Prix win. He will be aiming to enter the summer break with the championship lead.

Hamilton has now recorded eight poles in Hungary and will be looking to become the first driver to win at the same venue on nine occasions, and also clinch his 100th win.

Pole could prove crucial on Sunday, given that the tight 4.4km circuit is arguably the hardest track to overtake on after Monaco.

About halfway through Q2, Carlos Sainz Jr. lost the rear of his Ferrari and slid off into a wall. The front wing dropped off the car and slid under the front tires. The Spaniard jogged away and he will start from a lowly 15th on Sunday.

Teammate Charles Leclerc, who has two poles this season and nine in his career, qualified in seventh behind Norris and AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly.

Verstappen was disappointed to miss out on a fifth successive pole.

"Clearly, the whole weekend so far we've been a bit behind and it showed again in qualifying," said the 23-year-old.

"Nevertheless we're still there and we'll see what we can do," said the Dutchman, who will be starting Sunday's race on the grippier but less durable soft tyres compared to Hamilton's mediums.

The hour-long session was briefly halted in the second phase when Ferrari's Carlos Sainz spun off into the barriers at the last corner. The Spaniard, fourth in the opening part of qualifying on a strong weekend for the Maranello-based squad, will start 15th.

Mick Schumacher did not take part in qualifying with his Haas team unable to repair his car in time after the German's crash in final practice earlier on Saturday. He was also hit with a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change after Haas were forced to replace it due to damage sustained in the incident.

Updated: July 31st 2021, 3:07 PM
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