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. M30 said on 28th July 2012, 15:48

    Kieth what do you think about Vettel going wide? I a surprised you are so quiet about it though. You can make a few waves by making an article on it.

    • F1fanNL (@) said on 28th July 2012, 16:11

      What is there to say about it. He ran wide and lost time on the slippery artificial grass. He was over a tenth faster than Hamilton after S2 and lost 3 tenths in S3.

      Yeah, clearly an advantage….

      • M30 said on 28th July 2012, 16:43

        No he was able to take the corner faster. The stewards will check his telemetry and they will see that he came in with more throttle and left with more speed. The time elapsed after his braking point before the last corner to the finished line will show it.

        That last turn is pretty much a slingshot, and there is not that much wheelspin sor the astro turf covered concrete didn’t hinder him at all, he pretty much sailed over it.

        • Michael Brown (@) said on 28th July 2012, 16:58

          No, I don’t think so. First, the artificial grass is bumpy, and there’s marbles/dust, causing him to lose some speed. Also, he’s still turning, which will further reduce his speed.

          Considering this, we would have lost time. Leaving the track is fine as long as you don’t gain an advantage.

        • F1fanNL (@) said on 28th July 2012, 17:04

          No he was able to take the corner faster. The stewards will check his telemetry and they will see that he came in with more throttle and left with more speed. The time elapsed after his braking point before the last corner to the finished line will show it.

          What the hell are you on about. It’s already fact that Vettel LOST time in S3, and quite a considerable amount. Also, the stewards didn’t even take a look at Vettel’s indiscretion. So he clearly did NOT take the corner faster and the stewards agree with this fact.

          • dkpioe said on 28th July 2012, 17:48

            some people take events like last weeks overtake off the track, and then become philosophical on any off-track event. it is obvious he lost time, it is not a faster way around the track, maybe if he was side by side in the race with someone and somehow gained an advantage over them into the next turn, but not in this case, on a fast lap it slowed him.

        • infy (@infy) said on 28th July 2012, 17:53

          The stewards checked it and found he lost time.

          • M30 said on 29th July 2012, 2:28

            Well his time would be even slower if he had backed off to stay on course.. so indirectly at that moment in time it was to his advantage even though he was faster through the sector in Q2. To me, the stewards only gave him a let off.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 29th July 2012, 0:40

      I don’t write articles to “make waves”.

      So I’m not going to pretend Vettel gained an advantage when he obviously didn’t just to generate a few clicks.

  2. Valentino (@valentino) said on 28th July 2012, 16:34

    What do you think guys, in the past on the start the poll sitter, the 3rd and 5th, went to be the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd after the first corner?

  3. robbiepblake (@driftin) said on 28th July 2012, 16:50

    Yay! Lewis on pole with a 1:20.9. That’s exactly what I guessed.

  4. dkpioe said on 28th July 2012, 17:53

    so it seems it is status quo with mclaren still fastest car of the field as they started the season, they have been consistently fastest overall all year, yet somehow they cant convert it in race wins (tyre management no doubt), and a ferrari is way ahead of them in championship points, and mark webber has 2 race wins. i wonder if hamilton will finally prove himself capable to win races consistently in a fastest car now, or if he will only win 1 of the next 10 like he did in the first half of the season.

    • OOliver said on 28th July 2012, 18:16

      I doubt Mclaren are now the fastest.
      I think Lotus have one of the fastest car on the grid.
      One lap doesn’t mean anything.

    • jian said on 28th July 2012, 18:19

      The team shipped away several strong results due to horrorshows in pitstops. Once they sorted that out the car became a midfield performer for a couple of races. It’s only since the last race that the upgrade came through.

      I would say of all the points grown away the team is guilty for 90% and Lewis maybe 10% (in Valencia)

  5. Aced (@) said on 28th July 2012, 20:33

    Am I the only one hoping for a McLaren 1-2 tomorrow regardless of who finishes first?

    I miss the Turkey, Canada 2010 days… it’s been too long.

  6. 91jb12 (@91jb12) said on 28th July 2012, 20:38

    So in 2010 pole was like a 1:18.9
    Last year i think it was a 1:19.9
    Now its a 1:20.8

    So over 2 seconds slower (RB 2.5 slower since 2010, Mclaren only 1s)
    Its a pity that the constant banning of clever ideas are holding back the speed of how fast engineers could make the cars go.

  7. Broom (@brum55) said on 28th July 2012, 20:46

    Well it was the dry session so many wanted in order to get a clear picture of the pecking order. McLaren, especially Lewis, looks formidable again and it seems Renault are now battling Red Bull for 2nd fastest. Ferrari need rain, reitrements or Alonso magic in order to get a result tomorrow.

  8. Umar Majid (@um1234) said on 29th July 2012, 0:41

    Hamilton/Grosjean will crash, button will lose places at the start, Vettel and Raikkonen to lead into turn 1 just watch tomorrow,kimi and seb will fight for the lead and as usual alonso will end up with another podium…

  9. mr ROSSI (@mr-rossi) said on 29th July 2012, 1:19

    I think/hope lewis will simply romp away into the sunset @ hungaroring today,seems to me as if he can switch on the hard tyres-and can run a pace on those, that the others have to use the softs to get. C`MON LEWIS!

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