Lewis Hamilton will start the Hungarian Grand Prix from pole position for the second year in a row. McLaren banished memories of their disastrous performance at the same track last year by claiming the one-two they missed out on twelve months ago.
Hamilton signalled his intentions with his first lap 0.6s faster than anything even his team mate could manage. The 1’19.376 was the fastest time of the weekend so far.
Ferrari’s drivers found themselves fourth and fifth behind the Toyota of Jarno Trulli – the only non-McLaren to get under 1’20 at first. But Ferrari chose to send Raikkonen and Massa out for another lap towards the end of the session – Massa improving to a 1’19.578 but Raikkonen failing to find any extra time.
The battle to escape the bottom five was between the Hondas, Force Indias and Williams. But Nick Heidfeld was struggling to stay on the pace of team mate Robert Kubica and matters took a turn for the worse when he was held up behind Sebastien Bourdais on his out-lap.
That allowed Jenson Button to snatch 15th with a 1’20.888, knocking Heidfeld out in the first round. The BMW driver joined Rubens Barrichello, Kazuki Nakajima and the two Toro Rossos on the sidelines.
Drivers eliminated in part one
16. Nick Heidfeld 1’21.045
17. Kazuki Nakajima 1’21.085
18. Rubens Barrichello 1’21.332
19. Giancarlo Fisichella 1’21.670
20. Adrian Sutil 1’22.113
Timo Glock headed the times early on with a 1’19.246 which was too quick even for Hamilton’s McLaren. Felipe Massa, however, beat them both with a 1’19.068 to go top.
Kovalainen and Raikkonen both did extra laps but neither were able to improve from fourth and fifth.
A late lap by Sebastian Vettel wasn’t enough to get him into the final part of qualifying as Nelson Piquet Jnr and Mark Webber relegated him to 11th. He joined team mate Bourdais and Jenson Button, who surprisingly beat David Coulthard with his final time. Nico Rosberg failed to venture out from his garage all session.
Drivers eliminated in part two
11. Sebastian Vettel 1.20.144
12. Jenson Button 1’20.332
13. David Coulthard 1’20.502
14. Sebastien Bourdais 1’20.963
15. Nico Rosberg no time
The final part saw both McLarens, Ferraris, Toyotas and Renaults plus Robert Kubica and Mark Webber.
The Toyotas went out first on the harder (prime) tyres with Glock beating Trulli by 0.6s with a 1’21.326. That time by Glock proved very competitive with only Hamilton able to better it in the first wave of laps, taking provisional pole with a 1’20.974.
His team mate Heikki Kovalainen lost 0.9s in the middle sector compared to his team mate and posted a 1’22.319 for ninth.
The Ferraris of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen slotted in third and fourth, but every driver returned to the track for a final effort.
Hamilton only improved by 0.08s but his first lap had been good enough for pole position anyway. Kovalainen nailed his final lap and took second place alongside his team mate.
Massa and Kubica also managed to push Glock back but the Toyota driver kept his position above Kimi Raikkonen, who took a disappointing sixth on the grid for the second race in a row.
Alonso, Webber, Trulli, and what looked like a heavily-fuelled Piquet completed the grid.
Top ten in part three
1. Lewis Hamilton 1’20.899
2. Heikki Kovalainen 1’21.140
3. Felipe Massa 1’21.181
4. Robert Kubica 1’21.281
5. Timo Glock 1’21.326
6. Kimi Raikkonen 1’21.516
7. Fernando Alonso 1’21.698
8. Mark Webber 1.21.732
9. Jarno Trulli 1.21.767
10. Nelson Piquet Jnr 1’22.371