Hamilton dominates Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying

2012 Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying

Romain Grosjean, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Hungaroring, 2012Lewis Hamilton dominated qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix to take his third pole position at the track.


Bright, sunny conditions greeted teams at the start of qualifying with track temperatures already as high as 45C.

The Lotus pair led the times initially but Lewis Hamilton produced a repeat of his pace from practice, setting a string of fastest sectors to end up 0.9s clear of Raikkonen.

With the track clearly improving, everyone bar Hamilton returned to the track to set further times. Only the Lotus drivers joined him in not using the soft tyres, but no-one was able to beat Hamilton’s mark.

The Toro Rosso pair were among the first to return to the track. Jean-Eric Vergne briefly held fourth but team mate Daniel Ricciardo’s best effort was half a second off.

They returned to the pits before the end of the session and that left Ricciardo vulnerable. Red Bull, who had sent their drivers back out on soft tyres, brought them back in once it became clear their position was secure, despite Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel falling to 16th and 17th.

Heikki Kovalainen briefly moved ahead of Kamui Kobayashi but the Sauber driver escaped the drop zone with his final lap, consigning Ricciardo to 18th.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

18 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’23.250
19 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1’23.576
20 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1’24.167
21 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1’25.244
22 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1’25.476
23 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1’25.916
24 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1’26.178


It was a repeat of Q1 for Hamilton in the second part of qualifying: leave the pits, reel off a sequence of laps no-one could beat, and return to the pits. His best lap of 1’21.060 was over half a second faster than anyone else when he set it and still more than three-tenths quicker once his rivals had done their final runs.

Both Williams drivers were outside the top ten to begin with but their final runs were enough to secure the passage of both cars into Q3. Senna reached the final ten for the first time this year by 18 thousandths of a second.

It came at the expense of Mark Webber. Despite having been quickest in the final practice session, Webber found little improvement towards the end of Q2.

Maldonado ended up third-quickest despite a grassy moment at the exit of turn seven. Michael Schumacher sped through the dust cloud left by the Williams and failed to improve his time, ending up 17th.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11 Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1’21.715
12 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1’21.813
13 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’21.895
14 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1’21.895
15 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1’22.300
16 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1’22.380
17 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1’22.723


The track temperature had cooled slightly in Q2 but by Q3 it was back up to 45C. That and the dust from Maldonado’s moment in Q2 seemed to inhibit the top ten drivers’ attempts to improve.

Hamilton slid wide on the dust as he went into turn eight on his first effort but was able to continue and set another lap. Raikkonen briefly set the top time but Hamilton took it off him with ease, despite a more cautious run through the middle sector.

The likes of Vettel and the Ferraris did a single run at the end of the session. The Red Bull driver took second while Alonso edged his team mate by 0.056s.

Grosjean came closest to toppling Hamilton with his last run, yet even the Lotus driver fell short by over four tenths of a second. It was enough to pip Vettel for second, however.

Button improved to take fourth but the gap between him and Hamilton was over six tenths on a day when few could get close to the 2008 champion.

Top ten in Q3

1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1’20.953
2 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1’21.366
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1’21.416
4 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1’21.583
5 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1’21.730
6 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’21.844
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’21.900
8 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1’21.939
9 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1’22.343
10 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1’22.847

2012 Hungarian Grand Prix

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126 comments on Hamilton dominates Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying

  1. Philonso (@philonso) said on 28th July 2012, 14:11

    its all going to begin here…

  2. carbon_fibre (@carbon_fibre) said on 28th July 2012, 14:14

    7 drivers out of the top 10 were slower than their Q2 time.How’s that?

  3. Eggry (@eggry) said on 28th July 2012, 14:15

    Untouchable lap from Hamilton. If tomorrow is dry, Hamilton will win easily. but there’s forecast saying it would rain…

  4. Simon999 (@simon999) said on 28th July 2012, 14:18

    Mclaren seemingly back at the top in dry conditions (although Button’s form remains erratic). I just hope they continue to develop the car to maintain the momentum – preferably in small iterations, rather than with big packages every few races.

    Rain is the big potential stumbling block tomorrow, but hopefully they’ve learnt enough from the previous 2 races to get a better handle on getting heat into all types of tyre.

    Hoping for a HAM victory and ALO to have his first non-finish, to keep the championship close. I’d also like to see Lotus take the other podium spots!

  5. Funkyf1 (@funkyf1) said on 28th July 2012, 14:18

    Alonso for the win!

  6. Klaas (@klaas) said on 28th July 2012, 14:19

    I don’t get it, is there some genius behind Ferrari’s decision to run a single lap on a track where starting position is crucial?

  7. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 28th July 2012, 14:25

    Hope it turns out to be a great Grand Prix. If it’s wet, it’s going to be very exciting. If it stays dry, then, I hope Grosjean gets to the first corner ahead of Hamilton… just to make it more interesting!

  8. danclapp (@danclapp) said on 28th July 2012, 14:31

    Im a Hamilton fan and that was utter domination the only man who has done that is seb i mean in Q1 ham was fastest on prime’s lol no 1 beat it and Q3 Dominatoin.

    and i was extremely worried about the maldonado incident but just seen it on sky and theirs no way ham held mal up ham tucked in behind vettel so if anyone says ham should get a pen you are bitter and deluded.

    Also what happend to webber and button he was miles behind hamilton i dont rate webber he hasn’t got that x factor to challeng Alo Vet Ham over a season . he’s had 2 good wins but no other podiums just look at the last 2 races even with a grid drop in Ger he was 40 secs back he is not good enough .Great lap by Seb i dont like him that much but in qually he should be happy even though it’s big gap.And kimi say no more it’s now 7-4 to Grosjean put Alo Vet or Ham in that car theyd walk the champoinship its had good results but no win and it shows its fast car if Gro can get 2 nd on the grid surely that is the best car.Kimi is leading Gro but not by much and gro as been so raw with his decision making so Kimi needs to show he’s team leader he is on probably 5 time’s more than Gro

    • Klaas (@klaas) said on 28th July 2012, 14:38

      he hasn’t got that x factor to challeng Alo Vet Ham over a season

      It’s a repeat of 2010, Webber surely had that x-factor in the beginning but then it suddenly disappeared. Maybe it’s in Helmut Marko’s pocket, or in Vettel’s car…

      • danclapp (@danclapp) said on 28th July 2012, 14:45

        exactly he cant sustain it it’s called bottle and to be fair he’s not bad but you can only say someone else should have that seat look at silverstone thats one of the luckiest wins ever he was no match for alo on pace untill last stint also hockenheim what a joke drive 40 secs down the road barcalona lol 11th place it’s like button they have good moments but in an out and out fight are not consistent look at button nevr had a pole at mclaren SHOCKING

      • Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 29th July 2012, 0:03

        Hasnt got the x factor over hamilton?

        Look at the stats. Webber has placed ahead of hamilton in almost two thirds of all starts in the past three seasons and has finished ahead in WDC points every year since Hams championship. Enough X?

    • dkpioe said on 28th July 2012, 17:32

      maybe vet or alo, but not ham, he would crack as he has done every season.

  9. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 28th July 2012, 14:41

    With their usual race pace I am fancying Grosjean for the win, but with the threat of rain nothing is certain.

  10. Massa was pretty good today. He was 6/10ths quicker than Alonso on the medium tyres, beat him in q2 and was really close to him in q3. I’m pretty pleased Fernando got 6th as I thought it might end up a lot worse. I just hope tomorrow goes okay.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 28th July 2012, 15:50

      I certainly hopes he keeps doing this kind of job more often now, its good to see its not a one car team all the time. The Ferrari really looked to be a fish on the dry a bit, its certain that here they are the 3-4th fastest car.

      • Younger Hamii (@younger-hamii) said on 28th July 2012, 16:12

        This is what I wanted to see when Alonso first joined Ferrari: him & Massa being separated by small margins & I think Hungary was an ideal place to demonstrate that as Massa has historically gone quite well there. Rain is notably a vital factor for them in the race tomorrow as I see Alonso fully switching on damage limitation mode If the weather stays dry (hopefully!).

      • so Alonso is dominating the championship with the 3-4th fastest car ??…finally a “Alonso Hater” admit it

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 29th July 2012, 11:32

      @steph Yeah I noticed that Massa did really well, it was good.

  11. Umar Majid (@um1234) said on 28th July 2012, 14:48

    Hoping the top 3 in the championship dont score points with Lewis and Kimi scoring highly, to make it an exciting second half to the season, lewis will win tomorow with another double lotus podium i think…

  12. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 28th July 2012, 14:58

    i dont rate webber he hasn’t got that x factor

    he’s had 2 good wins but no other podiums…even with a grid drop in Ger he was 40 secs back he is not good enough

    I disagree, I think Webber is still very much in contention in the championship, however I do agree that I don’t think he’ll win in the end (that will be Alonso or Vettel in my opinion). In Germany he had a grid penalty, that is the reason why he was 40 seconds back; it wasn’t like he’d be challenging for a podium.

    • danclapp (@danclapp) said on 28th July 2012, 18:38

      lol max button started 5th or 6th in germany got a podium so your statement is not right ham got a podium with a grid drop in china lol webber started 18th in china last yr and came 3rs so no excuses this year when webber or vettel oare in traffic moreso with webber he cant overtake redbull not quick enough in straights

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 29th July 2012, 12:15

        @danclap – He wasn’t highly competitive throughout the weekend, and with how close the field is you can hardly suggest he should’ve got a podium.
        Last year he came from 18th to 3rd in one of the most dominant cars in history on a circuit where overtaking is relatively easy, so making comparisons to that is ridiculous.

  13. William Brierty said on 28th July 2012, 15:19

    I am a Brit and I love Hamilton, so obviously, I’d love him to win, but I am sorry but I don’t think he will, because of the following reasons…
    1. Hamilton’s pole conversion rate is pitiful
    2. It may rain, and the McLaren has looked poor in the rain
    3. Grosjean is right next to him, who a) tends to have great race pace and b) gets great starts
    4. Hamilton’s starts recently have been poor
    5. The pole sitter for the last 4 years has not gone on to win
    Please reassure me somebody. Contradict me, tell me that my reasons focus on patterns rather than hard facts and thow that “past form doesn’t always tell the future” motto at me. It’d make me feel so much better.

    • Klaas (@klaas) said on 28th July 2012, 15:45

      I’m not a Hamilton fan (almost hater actually) but I’ll tell you that Ham’s been so dominant and determined this weekend that it will be very hard for his competitors to surpass him, especially on such a difficult/impossible-overtaking track. Seat back, relax and expect another beautiful performance like the one in Canada. As for Grosjean, it’s more likely that with his antics at the start he spoils any charge from Button and Alonso coming from behind. There, hope you feel better :)

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 28th July 2012, 15:52

        If it rains though, that will be a chance by Mclaren to show not just the pitstops are fine now but also planning the race

      • William Brierty said on 28th July 2012, 15:58

        Great job, thanks, I feel much better now, although maybe next time you could cut the whole “Hamilton-hating” thing. Who do support by the way? Alonso or Vettel? Actually you’re a Hamilton-hater, so I suppose you’ll be cheering on eyebrow man tomorrow.

      • dkpioe said on 28th July 2012, 17:33

        he has been dominant in other years at this track pre race day and failed to convert. also practice and qualifying does not require tyre management.

    • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 28th July 2012, 16:36

      It’s natural to worry, but I feel you’re worrying about the wrong things. This is what I worry about:
      1. The start; because anything can happen at the start, and next to him is a man who has shown this year that he’s not afraid to bang wheels a little for position.
      2. The weather, the only point I really agree with. First, if it starts raining a lot of things can go wrong, like they did last year for Hamilton (spin + drive through + extra pit stop); and second, like you said, the McLaren has been poor in the wet, on occasion. Perhaps warm wet weather will suit them better.
      3. Long-run pace; it’s difficult to predict long-run pace ahead of Sunday, especially with a disrupted FP2, but Lotus have been extremely strong on occasion, while McLaren’s race pace has been reasonable.

      Hope you don’t feel terrible again now ;-) I’m not, though. I think at this point Hamilton is looking good for a strong result, maybe the win. And I wouldn’t be unhappy with a Grosjean win, as long as he’s not flanked, on the podium, by Vettel and Alonso with Hamilton enduring another tough afternoon…

    • davidnotcoulthard said on 28th July 2012, 16:52

      It may rain, and the McLaren has looked poor in the rain

      The polar opposite of last year’s Hungaroring GP, then! Time surely flies…

    • carl craven said on 28th July 2012, 17:35

      I agree, Lewis might well lose this one.

      I personally think he will hit problems with tyre wear, especially if he has to defend against a very anxious to win Grosjean.

      Button may not have challenged for pole, but I expect him to be a factor in the race.

      • William Brierty said on 28th July 2012, 18:23

        Yeah, again, you aren’t helping. Come on, have some consideration for those among us that is under the illusion that Hamilton has the slightest chance of taking the championship this year.

    • UTBowler0407 (@utbowler0407) said on 28th July 2012, 19:51

      I’m not a Hamilton fan, but I think he’s got a good shot to win tomorrow. Here’s my reasoning:
      1. He’s been dominant all weekend. It’s not like he just barely got pole. He was fastest in FP1 and FP2, and was 2nd in FP3 (less than 0.1s behind Webber). He was fastest in Q1 (on the harder tyre) and took pole by over 4 tenths of a second.
      2. Since 2005, McLaren has won 5 of the 7 races in Hungary. They’ve got a car that’s well-suited for this track, it seems.
      3. Grosjean has been somewhat of a ‘win-it-or-bin-it’ driver. Of course he could pull off something spectacular, but I have a feeling he might squander another good qualifying position, like in Australia/Malaysia/Monaco. He can’t really be blamed for the incident in Australia, but I digress.
      4. Assuming Grosjean can’t get by Hamilton, who can? Vettel has struggled from time-to-time when he doesn’t start on pole, so I’m not sure that he could be a factor. Jenson’s been slower than Lewis all weekend, so I don’t think he could get up there and pass him. Beyond that, you’re talking about a driver coming from P5 or further back challenging for the win, which doesn’t seem likely for the Hungaroring. My money’s on Lewis.

  14. Andy (@turbof1) said on 28th July 2012, 15:27

    Vettel went off the track in his only timed Q3 lap:
    clearly by going wide there he gained an advantage.

    • William Brierty said on 28th July 2012, 15:33

      He’s on the artificial grass, so instead of gaining something looks like he lost time on exit. That’s probably what he was referring to in the press conference when he talked about the lap as being “messy”.

      • Andy (@turbof1) said on 28th July 2012, 15:36

        I rather think he gained an advantage there. By going wide on that spot, you can keep alot more speed with you. Going on the grass does slow you back down, but it is not enough to offset the advantage gained.

        • William Brierty said on 28th July 2012, 15:44

          I disagree. More time can be earned at that particular corner by getting on the throttle quickly and seemlessly, rather than opening up the steering wheel early. And remember, he was on used tyres, there had been rain yesterday and its a very dusty track, so he’d have had very little grip and poor traction on the exit, and may have even needed to feather off the throttle slightly.

    • carl craven said on 28th July 2012, 17:56

      I do believe he gained, but he’s not off track. I am not 100% certain of the rule, but he still has tyres on the rumble strip so technically I believe he is still considered to be on track. I don’t have a problem with his choice of line there.

      • William Brierty said on 28th July 2012, 18:16

        The FIA has clearly stated that the rumble strips AREN’T part of the track, so he was 100% off the track, but it was to his detriment, not an advantage.

        • carl craven said on 28th July 2012, 19:43

          I stand corrected then, I was under the impression they were. Vettel has always pushed the track to its limits.

          No one is going to do something unless a lot of people complain or he consistently gains an advantage.

  15. xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 28th July 2012, 15:33

    I can really see this turning into a massive scrap between Vettel and Hamilton for the win.
    I can’t wait. I just hope Alonso retires; for 2 reasons: a: I don’t like him, and b: it’ll make the championship more interesting

    • William Brierty said on 28th July 2012, 15:36

      You’re forgetting Grosjean. It’s more likely to be a massive scrap between Grosjean and Hamilton.

    • infy (@infy) said on 28th July 2012, 17:50

      Considering the Ferrari is about third or fourth in terms of speed, I think the Championship will be hard enough for Alonso to win without retiring.

      If he keeps finishing 5th or lower he wont be in the lead for very long.

      • William Brierty said on 28th July 2012, 18:20

        Ferrari spend $400 million on running its team every year, so if anyone’s going to win the development race, its Ferrari. And even then, Alonso only needs a very average second half of the season to win.

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