Motorsport Blog
Topic

Motorsport Blog

Hamilton takes pole number number nine of 2015 to turn up the heat in Hungary

Lewis Hamilton made it a clean sweep topping every track session this weekend as he took his ninth pole position of 2015 and his fifth in Budapest

Hamilton takes pole number number nine of 2015 to turn up the heat in Hungary
Listen to this article

Lewis Hamilton made it a clean sweep topping every track session this weekend as he took his ninth pole position of 2015 and his fifth in Budapest with a dominant performance in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix. The Briton beat team-mate Nico Rosberg to top spot on the grid by over half a second.

Third place, and the prize for best recovery from a very troubled weekend so far, went to Sebastian Vettel, with Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo edged out by his former team mate to the tune of just three hundredths of a second.

It is Hamilton's 47th career pole position and his fifth at the Hungaroring, which he admitted after qualifying was now "possibly just edging it as my favourite track, along with Monaco."

The world champion added: "I’ve got lots of work to do tomorrow but in terms of how the weekend has gone I’m incredibly happy with that. I think it’s so far been one of the best… I can’t remember having the performance I’ve had this weekend on any weekend, so I’m really happy with that. There’s a long way down into Turn One and the race is incredibly tough physically but also technically for the car, but I feel confident in my team and my car and hopefully we can convert it tomorrow."

The Mercedes drivers were on track early in FP1, making initial runs on the medium tyres, but with track temperatures hitting 53 degrees for the start of the session and with that contributing to a large performance gap between the two compounds it was only a matter of time before the vast majority the field took on the soft tyre.

Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 14.20.49

During the early part of the medium tyre phase, Hamilton took P1 with a time of 1:24.213, with Ricciardo second and Vettel third. Rosberg, though, was fourth and complaining about excessive understeer, saying that there was “something wrong with the balance, some understeer” in his car.

The two second performance gap between the medium and soft tyres meant that everyone would have to use softs to get through to Q2, even the Mercedes. The main switch came when Williams’ Valtteri Bottas switched to the softs and took over in P1 with a time of 1:23.649. That was swiftly eclipsed by Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat and then by Vettel.

Rosberg also emerged on the yellow-banded Pirellis and with his first attempt on the tyre claimed P1 with a time of 1:22.979, three tenths ahead of the Ferrari driver. Hamilton had slipped to P10 by this time and so he too bolted on the softs to be sure of smooth passage to Q2.

As the final times began to come in the men to miss out on a Q2 berth were Jenson Button, with the Briton complaining that his ERS didn’t deploy on the main straight, the Saubers of Marcus Ericsson and P18 team-mate Felipe Nasr and the Manors of Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens. Button’s McLaren pit wall admitted to the driver that the ERS failure had cost them a place in Q2.

Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 14.17.30
While Hamilton made it through on the soft tyre in P1, +0.089 ahead of Rosberg, who was followed by Vettel, Kvyat and Kimi Räikkönen, Red Bull’s second driver, Daniel Ricciardo, lived on his nerves by using two sets of medium tyres in the first segment. The Australian need not have worried, as his lap of 1:24.408 was good enough to see him through in 12th place, three tenths clear of the P16 drop zone time set by Button.

Q2 began with Vettel making the running with a lap of 1:23.168s, but the action was halted soon after when Fernando Alonso’s McLaren ground to a halt at the exit of Turn 13. With the car being close to the pit entry approach the red flags came out with just over seven and a half minutes left on the clock.

When the green lights appeared at the pit exit, Hamilton, who had not set a time, was quickly out on track and he took over at the top of the order with a lap of 1:22.285. Rosberg was now second almost half a second back, with Vettel third ahead of Ricciardo.

Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 14.18.02

In the drop zone with a minute to go were Carlos Sainz on P11, followed by Force India’s Sergio Perez and the twin Lotus cars of Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado.

Grosjean was the man to profit, the Frenchman jumping from 13th place to 10th with a time of 1:23.805. That bounced Hulkenberg out of Q3 by the tiny margin of two hundredths of a second, with Sainz another two hundredths of a second further back. Perez qualified in P13 ahead of Maldonado and Alonso.

After the first runs of Q3 it was Hamilton who had the advantage. Rosberg was first on the road and set a lap of 1:22.766. Hamilton took a chunk out of that time in the first sector, running two tenths quicker than his team-mate and the pattern continued across the lap as he edged the German in all areas to post a time 0.358 quicker than Rosberg’s.

Behind them Vettel was third, over half a second adrift of Hamilton, with Ricciardo fourth ahead of Räikkönen, Bottas, Kvyat, Felipe Massa and Grosjean. Verstappen, though, opted to sit out the initial runs.

Screen Shot 2015-07-25 at 14.19.00

And in the end, the final runs followed the template set out in the first. Rosberg began with a flourish, recording a session-quickest S1 time, but his lap was less surefooted thereafter and although he improve on his first run, his time of 1:22:595 wasn’t good enough to dislodge Hamilton.

Behind him, the title leader was on a march and eventually he crossed the line in a time of 1:22.408 to beat his team-mate by 0.585s.

Vettel was third, almost seven tenths down on Hamilton, with Ricciardo fourth. Räikkönen was fifth ahead of Bottas with Kvyat seventh. Massa was eighth, while Verstappen’s sole run netted him ninth place. The final top ten spot went to Grosjean.

Rain is forecast overnight and that should lower temperatures by up to 10 degrees, which could affect the strategies, favouring the medium tyre a little more. As things stand we are looking at a two stop race with soft tyres being used for the first two stints and medium for the final stint.

Red Bull are optimistic of beating Vettel to the podium, if Ricciardo doesn't pass his old team mate at the start, he will be able to go aggressive on strategy and undercut him at the first stop as he has saved a set of soft tyres for the second stint.

2015 Hungarian GP – Qualifying

1  L. Hamilton Mercedes 1:22.890 1:22.285 1:22.010 20

2  N. Rosberg Mercedes 1:22.979 1:22.775 1:22.595 21

3  S. Vettel Ferrari 1:23.312 1:23.168 1:22.739 17

4  D. Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:24.408 1:23.230 1:22.774 20

5  K. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:23.596 1:23;460 1:23.020 16

6  V. Bottas Williams 1:23.649 1:23.555 1:23.222 19

7  D. Kvyat Red Bull Racing 1:23.587 1:23.597 1:23.332 17

8  F. Massa Williams 1:23.895 1:23.598 1:23.537 20

9  M. Verstappen Toro Rosso 1:24.032 1:23.781 1:23.679 18

10  R. Grosjean Lotus 1:24.242 1:23.805 1:24.181 18

11  N. Hulkenberg Force India 1:24.115 1:23.826 13

12  C. Sainz Toro Rosso 1:24.623 1:23.869 16

13  S. Perez Force India 1:24.444 1:24.461 14

14  P. Maldonado Lotus 1:23.895 1:24.609 12

15  F. Alonso McLaren 1:24.563 0:00.000 7

16  J. Button McLaren 1:24.739 8

17  M. Ericsson Sauber 1:24.843 8

18  F. Nasr Sauber 1:24.997 8

19  R. Merhi Manor 1:27.416 8

20  W. Stevens Manor 1:27.949 6
shares
comments
Hungarian GP: Post-qualifying press conference
Previous article

Hungarian GP: Post-qualifying press conference

Next article

Hungarian GP: Provisional starting grid

Hungarian GP: Provisional starting grid
Load comments
The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move Prime

The historic clues that offer hints of Hamilton’s next move

OPINION: Uncertainty over Lewis Hamilton's future has persisted since the race direction call that denied him an eighth world title in Abu Dhabi last month. But while walking away would be understandable, Hamilton has time and again responded well in the face of adversity and possesses all the tools needed to bounce back stronger than ever

Formula 1
Jan 26, 2022
What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility Prime

What the FIA must do to restore F1's credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

Formula 1
Jan 25, 2022
The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins Prime

The six subplots to watch in 2022 as a new F1 era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, We pick out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1 Prime

Why newly-retired Kimi Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Motorsport.com on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades.

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up Prime

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shake-up

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. We break down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems Prime

Why F1's new era is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway, but instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Prime

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022