F1 – Lewis Hamilton takes pole ahead of Max Verstappen and Lando Norris in an exciting qualifying session in Hungary
Lewis Hamilton broke the pole position of championship leader Max Verstappen with the Mercedes driver taking first place in tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix by just 0.003 seconds ahead of the Red Bull driver and Lando Norris finishing third in a tight session where the top three covered less than a tenth of a second.
It looked like Verstappen had done enough to take his sixth consecutive pole position after the first lap in Q3. The Dutchman took a provisional pole position after a lap of 1:16.612, and when the imposing Norris crossed the finish line 0.082s from the champion on his last lap, it looked like Verstappen’s lack of improvement would not be punished.
Hamilton, however, was the last man to cross the finish line, and when the seven-time champion crossed the line he was 0.003s ahead of Verstappen and on pole position. This is the Briton’s ninth pole position at the Hungaroring, a new Formula 1 single track record.
Qualifying at the Budapest Circuit debuted an alternative tire allocation, with teams limited to 11 sets of tires per weekend instead of the usual 13. It also changed the battle for grid position, with teams having to use hard tires in Q1, medium tires in Q2 and soft tires in the final top ten shootout.
In Q1, Verstappen seemed to be in control when, eight minutes from the end of the 18-minute session, the Dutchman jumped into first place with a lap of 1:18.658, which held personal bests in every sector. However, with just over four minutes left, his Red Bull teammate Sergio Pérez moved to the top of the standings with a lap time of 1:18.209. He was quickly beaten by Alfa Romeo’s Zhou Guanyu, who was two tenths of a second faster, and Carlos Sainz moved into P3 for Ferrari ahead of teammate Charles Leclerc. The track improved quickly, which saw Verstappen drop to seventh in the final moments. He took a new set of tires and just after the checkered flag dropped he finished second behind Zhou with a lap of 1:18.318.
At the other end of the pack, the returning Daniel Ricciardo brought the AlphaTauri into Q2 with a lap of 1:18.906, 0.007s ahead of Williams’ Alex Albon, who was eliminated ahead of Ricciardo’s teammate Yuki Tsunoda, Mercedes’ George Russell and the final Williams’ Logan Sargeant.
At the beginning of the second segment, Pérez set the benchmark at 1:17.675. However, Verstappen found a much better pace and with a lap of 1:17.296 he passed P1 by almost four tenths to his teammate. However, the championship leader’s time was quickly removed due to a violation of the circuit limits at Turn 5. Norris then finished first, three tenths ahead of Pérez, and the McLaren driver was joined at the top by his teammate Oscar Piastri, who finished second.
Verstappen returned to the garage and with a new set of medium tires on board the Dutchman jumped to safety with a lap time of 1:17.547 and moved up from 15th to second in the timetable. In the final moments, Norris held onto the top spot as Hamilton pushed Verstappen to P3.
However, there was no room for Sainz in Q3, with the Spanish driver dropping to 11th on the final lap from teammate Charles Leclerc to 6th. Also at the end of the middle segment was 12p– placed Ocon, followed by Ricciardo, Lance Stroll of Aston Martin and Gasly, who had his last lap removed for exceeding the track limits in Turn 4.
When the green lights came on, signaling the start of the top 10 penalty shoot-out, it was Verstappen who earned the bragging rights in the opening runs, with the champion taking provisional pole position with a lap of 1:16.612, 0.126 ahead of Hamilton.
However, in the final stints, the Dutchman could not find the pace he needed to overtake, and the slow final sector meant he did not improve. Norris followed him, eight hundredths of a second from the champion, but Hamilton was last to finish, and the Mercedes driver managed to overtake Max for pole position by a narrow margin of three thousandths of a second.
With Norris third, fourth place went to fellow Briton Oscar Piastri, while Zhoou Guanyu scored an impressive fifth place ahead of Leclerc, Bottas and Alonso. Checo made a slight improvement on his last lap, but in the end his time of 1:17.045 was just enough for ninth place and fifth row next to Nico Hülkenberg.
2023 FIA Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix – Qualifying
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:18,577 1:17,427 1:16,609 20
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:18.318 1:17.547 1:16.612 21
3 Lando Norris McLaren 1:18,697 1:17,328 1:16,694 20
4 Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:18,464 1:17,571 1:16,905 20
5 Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:18,143 1:17,700 1:16,971 22
6 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:18,440 1:17,580 1:16,992 21
7 Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:18.775 1:17.563 1:17.034 20
8 Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:18,580 1:17,701 1:17,035 21
9 Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing 1:18,360 1:17,675 1:17,045 23
10 Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:18,695 1:17,652 1:17,186 20
11 Carlos Sainz Ferrari 1:18,393 1:17,703 15
12 Esteban Ocon Alpine 1:18,854 1:17,841 16
13 Daniel Ricciardo Alpha Tauri 1:18,906 1:18,002 15
14 Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:18,782 1:18,144 18
15 Pierre Gasly Alpine 1:18,743 1:18,217 16
16 Alexander Albon Williams 1:18,917 8
17 Yuki Tsunoda Alpha Tauri 1:18,919 9
18 George Russell Mercedes 1:19,027 9
19 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:19.206 8
20 Logan Sergeant Williams 1:19,248 8