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2014 Hungarian Grand Prix - Qualifying Report: Rosberg on pole, Hamilton suffers more reliability woes

  • Published on 26 Jul 2014 15:15
  • comments 0
  • By: Tom Brooks
The weather was generally sunny for the Hungarian Grand Prix Qualifying with just a few clouds overhead giving a 30% chance of rain for the session.

Q1

A flurry of cars made their way out once the light went green for Q1 and before a timed lap could be set, Pastor Maldonado for Lotus pulled off to the side of the circuit with yet another technical failure for his Lotus E22.

Kobayashi set the first flying lap for Caterham with a 1.28.755 that was quickly bettered by Button who was almost two seconds faster, then came Magnussen and Grosjean across the line with a queue of drivers following them.

With 13 minutes of the session remaining Lewis Hamilton had yet another problem in qualifying as the Briton pulled into the pit-entry with flames pouring out the back of his Mercedes, resulting in the end of his session before he had set a lap-time, meaning that the 2008 World Champion would start in 22nd and last position, his worst ever in Hungary.

10 minutes left saw Bottas leading ahead of Gutierrez on the option compound of tyre, Ricciardo was 3rd, Vettel 4th and Sutil, also on the option tyre in 5th. Rosberg quickly hit the top of the timesheets, over 0.3 seconds ahead of Ricciardo and Vettel who had also bettered their times.

The advantage of Hamilton's earlier demise saw the opportunity for one of the backmarker teams to break through into Q2 with Kobayashi seeming the most likely candidate with five minutes remaining of the session some drivers prepared to go out for their final flying run.

Hulkenberg improved to 16th on the soft tyre after a torrid weekend so far, dropping Kobayashi into the drop-zone. It looked as if most drivers would at least improve in time, if not in position through Q1, however these plans were scuppered for Max Chilton when he suffered a fuel pressure problem with a minute remaining.

It was Jules Bianchi on a charge for Marussia who knocked Kimi Raikkonen out of Q1, meaning that the Finnish driver would start in 17th place, another poor showing from the ex-World Champion. Others out in Q1 included Kobayashi, Chilton, Ericsson, Hamilton and Maldonado.

Q2

It was Perez who was first out into the second qualifying session and thus the first driver to set a flying lap, posting a 1.25.211 that was easily bettered by team-mate Hulkenberg with a 1.25.049, then followed a stream of drivers, all setting very competitive times and making their mark in Q2.

All drivers were now of the soft compound of tyre, however some were struggling for grip into the the Turn 6 chicane but despite this it was evident that the track was getting faster as Rosberg set a 1.23.310, almost 0.7 seconds ahead of Vettel, Ricciardo, Bottas and Alonso with seven minutes left on the clock.

With six minutes remaining, Sergio Perez suffered a hydraulic leak and was left to sit on the sidelines for the rest of qualifying, meaning that the Mexican would line-up a best of 12th on the grid.

Four minutes left on the clock the drop-zone saw Hulkenberg, Perez, Gutierrez, Sutil, Grosjean and Bianchi in it, with all having to improve in order to battle it out for the final qualifying session.

Hulkenberg improved to 9th as the chequered flag dropped, whilst Kvyat spun in the final sector causing a double-waved yellow flag and a lack of time improvements for those yet to cross the line. Drivers out in Q2 were Kvyat, Sutil, Perez, Gutierrez, Grosjean and Bianchi.

Q3

Light rain began to fall for the start of the final session where the top 10 grid positions would be decided. All drivers headed out as soon as the green light hit to set a 'banker' lap time in case the rain became a major factor.

As the first flying laps began, the rain into Turn 1 was far more intense the first thought with Rosberg locking up and wrecking his lap before it had really begun. Worse was to come with Magnussen, who was behind Rosberg, locking up and going straight into the barrier, resulting in the red flag being brought out whilst his MP4-29 was cleared from the circuit.

The session was delayed by around seven minutes whilst drivers were frantically deciding which tyres to go on as the rain had eased up. Most decided on the soft compound dry tyres once the green light was shown, in the hope that the rubber would gain heat far more quickly and produce more grip.

Rosberg set the first flying lap that was bettered by Ricciardo and then by Bottas by almost a second. Massa's time was only good enough for 3rd but was demoted to 4th after Alonso went 2nd and then Button 3rd.

Most were going for a two-run strategy, with two flying laps in each. Vettel then set his first lap to go fastest by 0.8 seconds ahead of Bottas, whilst Hulkenberg slotted into 4th.

Rosberg then re-took the top spot whilst Bottas headed out for his final run with another shower expected to hit towards the end of the session, meaning that drivers would struggle to improve their best lap-time.

With just over a minute remaining, Bottas improved to 2nd, Massa to 4th which became 5th after Alonso took over the same position. Button was unable to improve and would line-up 7th. Vettel then posted the fastest lap that was beaten by 0.5 seconds by Rosberg who took pole position for his second week in a row.

The Top 10 from Pole downwards consisted of Rosberg, Vettel, Bottas, Ricciardo, Alonso, Massa, Button, Vergne, Hulkenberg and lastly, Magnussen who didn't set a lap-time following his earlier crash.

Our coverage of the Grand Prix weekend will continue tomorrow with a full race report and news throughout the day.

Tom Brooks
Chief UK Editor

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