Hungaroring – Lewis Hamilton has taken his fourth pole position of the season and his fourth pole at the Hungaroring. The Englishman set a time of 1m19.388s on the P Zero Yellow soft tyre, significantly quicker than last year’s pole time of 1m20.953s.
However, some drivers also used the medium compound at the start of Q1, with Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg eventually going quickest of all on the soft in Q1.
The soft tyres only were used throughout Q2, with Rosberg again going quickest ahead of his team mate Hamilton.
Most of the 10 drivers who went through to Q3 ran the session exclusively on the yellow soft tyre while McLaren’s Sergio Perez adopted a different tactic by going out on the P Zero White medium tyre.
The final free practice session this morning was clinched by Grosjean on the soft tyre. The Frenchman had earlier gone quickest on the medium tyre as well before being toppled by Hamilton – a three-time winner in Hungary – on the same tyre.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “An intriguing qualifying session, which was again held in very high temperatures. The track temperature actually fell slightly for Q3, which had an effect on the top 10 shoot-out and made the timing of the final laps crucial.
With a performance gap of more than a second and a half between the medium and soft tyre, it’s clear that the soft tyres were the ones to qualify on and the medium tyre is a very solid race tyre. So during qualifying, the teams aimed to ensure that they had a fresh set of soft tyres for their final run in Q3.
The tyre combination we have nominated here sets the scene for an interesting strategic battle tomorrow, with either two or three pit stops possible. The tight battle at the front of the grid also presents some opportunities for those who might choose to start on the medium tyres, in order to gain all-important track position after the first pit stops.
Statistically, overtaking here can be even more difficult than it is in Monaco. Wear and degradation has been very much under control so far, but with even higher track and ambient temperatures expected tomorrow, good tyre management and a flexible strategic approach will definitely pay off.”
The Pirelli mystery strategy predictor:
Either two or three stops are possible for the 70-lap race tomorrow. Starting on the medium is actually just as fast as starting on the softs.
For a two-stop strategy, the following could work: start on the soft tyre, change to the medium on lap 14, change to the medium again on lap 42.
An alternative three-stopper is to start on the soft tyre, change to the soft again on lap 13, change to medium on lap 26, and finally medium again on lap 48.
For those starting on the medium, the best option is: start on medium, change to medium again on lap 28, change to soft on lap 56.