Lewis Hamilton takes his first pole position since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, and breaking the record for most poles at the same circuit.
This qualifying session would be the first of two trials of an alternative tyre allocation, which would see teams mandated to use hard tyres in Q1, mediums in Q2, and softs in Q3.
Alfa Romeo demonstrated some great pace during this session, with both Bottas going fastest in the early stages of the session, whilst Zhou would ultimately end up topping the session.
It was a strong performance for Daniel Ricciardo in his first qualifying session since returning to F1 with Alpha Tauri. He stuck close to Tsunoda’s times early on in the session, and by the time both drivers completed their final runs Ricciardo was able to beat his teammate at the first time of asking, managing to qualify for Q2 in the process, whilst Tsunoda was eliminated.
George Russell’s final run was significantly compromised because of traffic. Whilst trying to find some clear air to begin his run, multiple cars had began to overtake in order to begin their own laps. This meant that Russell was not able to get his tyres into the right operating window, ultimately causing him to be eliminated in 18th place.
16. Alex Albon – Williams +0.011
17. Yuki Tsunoda – Alpha Tauri +0.013
18. George Russell – Mercedes +0.121
19. Kevin Magnussen – Haas +0.300
20. Logan Sargeant – Williams +0.342
Ferrari struggled in this session. Both Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz found themselves at risk of elimination in the dying moments of the session. Leclerc was able to improve by enough to take himself into 6th place, though doing so eliminated Sainz from the session, as the Spaniard was only quick enough for 11th. Sainz’s elimination means that both drivers who started on the front row in last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix failed to reach Q3 this year.
Norris went quickest in Q2, and was able to do so whilst only using one set of tyres, which potentially provides an advantage for the race, on a weekend with less sets of tyres available to drivers.
Ocon found himself eliminated in 12th place, despite having gone fastest of anybody in sector 1, and having a personal best in sector 2.
11. Carlos Sainz – Ferrari +0.002
12. Esteban Ocon – Alpine +0.140
13. Daniel Ricciardo – Alpha Tauri +0.301
14. Lance Stroll – Aston Martin +0.443
15. Pierre Gasly – Alpine +0.516
Verstappen, Hamilton and Norris had all announced themselves as the main contenders for pole position from the start of Q3. Norris had initially gone fastest in the session, before both Verstappen and Hamilton had both gone faster.
During his final run, Verstappen had failed to improve on his time, opening the door for either Brit to take top spot. Norris found himself 0.064 seconds faster than Verstappen coming out of sector two, but a mistake in the final sector meant he dropped a little over a tenth of a second and would slot in slightly behind Verstappen on the grid. Hamilton would be the last driver to finish his lap. Whilst Hamilton had also lost a tenth to Verstappen in sector 3, the advantage he’d built in the first two thirds of the lap meant he was able to eek out pole position by 3 thousandths of a second. This would end a five race streak of Verstappen poles, and would be Hamilton’s first since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Alfa Romeo’s qualifying pace had continued throughout Q2 and Q3. Bottas had gone 4th fastest in Q2 and put together a tidy lap for 7th in Q3, whilst Zhou was able to go 5th fastest in Q3, the best qualifying result he has had in Formula 1.
Sergio Perez managed to reach Q3 for the first time since the Miami grand prix, though the Mexican driver still struggled in the last part of qualifying, only going 9th fastest, and four tenths behind his teammate.
Hamilton’s pole is the 104th of his career, and the 9th at the Hungaroring, breaking the record for most pole positions at the same track.
1. Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes 1:16.609
2. Max Verstappen – Red Bull +0.003
3. Lando Norris – McLaren +0.085
4. Oscar Piastri– McLaren +0.296
5. Zhou Guanyu – Alfa Romeo +0.362
6. Charles Leclerc – Ferrari +0.383
7. Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo +0.425
8. Fernando Alonso – Aston Martin +0.426
9. Sergio Perez – Red Bull +0.436
10. Nico Hulkenberg – Haas +0.577