Peter Anderson | Jul 29, 2012

Lewis Hamilton took a dominant pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring. Leaving behind the disappointment of Germany, the British driver ended the session four tenths faster than the Lotus Romain Grosjean.

Webber and Ricciardo had a disappointing session, with both Australians just one place away from advancing into the next session.

Even before the start of the session, another Red Bull controversy blew up with the team accused of illegally changing the car's ride heights - or at least having the ability to do so - in parc ferme.

 

Practice

Lewis Hamilton had it all his own way on Friday, with the top ten full of the usual Friday suspects, a mix of Lotuses, Mercedes and Ferraris.

Valtteri Bottas piloted Senna's Williams in FP1, out-pacing Maldonado for 9th place, in front of Sergio Perez for Sauber.

FP2 saw Senna reclaim his seat and post an impressive third place, behind a charging Kimi Raikkonen. The session was wet and again saw Michael Schumacher crash heavily, locking up on intermediates and walloping the wall at turn 11.

Red Bull worked on long runs, as is their usual Friday process, and were well back in the pack.

This all changed on Saturday, with Webber knocking Hamilton from the top spot and going usefully faster than his championship rival, Fernando Alonso.

 

Qualifying

The Hungarian sunshine returned for the qualifying session, promising a straight fight for pole and a great opportunity for the Lotuses, who expected to revel on a hot track.

Raikkonen set the early pace in Q1 as the field took a leisurely approach to setting a time. By the middle of the session, however, the McLaren of Hamilton was in front of Raikkonen.

Many of the frontrunners got a fright when Hamilton broke the 1m22s barrier with a 1m21.794 on the medium tyre. Many drivers went out on the soft tyre to ensure they were in the hunt for Q2 as the track improved with more rubber down.

Red Bull played a high risk strategy, not expecting both Kobayashi and Kovalainen to go fast enough to knock Vettel out of the reckoning. The risk was being eliminated, the gain was a set of tyres. Webber was eventually 17th and Vettel 16th.

Ricciardo was bumped by Kobayashi, ending the day 18th, his teammate Vergne managing 14th.

Q2 again saw the Lotus of Raikkonen going very fast, with the Red Bull of Webber snapping at his heels. Hamilton went to the top of sheets just after halfway, almost six tenths faster than the Finn behind him.

With four minutes to go, the top ten were covered by just 1.2s, with Alonso in tenth. Webber was sent out, his engineer Ciaron Pilbeam telling him that it was too tight to risk. The Mercedes were languishing in 14th for Rosberg and 15th for Schumacher.

Mark Webber's awful luck from Germany stayed with him and he was out, denied tenth by Bruno Senna in the Williams, teammate Vettel doing rather better with third. Schumacher and Rosberg were also victims of the fast-moving Williams team and Force India.

"I was happy with the car this morning, I was quick in P3, but I didn't feel happy on that last set of soft tyres in Q2...which is a bit bizarre," Webber said after the session.

"The field is tight at the moment and it's disappointing to qualify in P11 obviously. Our race pace should be okay tomorrow."

Kimi Raikkonen set the first competitive time in Q1 with a 1m22.717 before Hamilton, Grosjean and Button bested him in short order.

Most teams opted for late, two flying lap runs to take advantage of an improving track and deal with the way the tyres performed on the tight Hungaroring. Bruno Senna fluffed one of his runs by going to deep into turn one, his left front tyre locking up.

With two minutes from the end of the session, all ten cars were on the track and on soft tyres.

Lewis Hamilton took pole ahead of the Lotus of Romain Grosjean and Red Bull of Vettel. Button struggled his way into fourth and Raikkonen must surely have been disappointed with fifth.

Alonso and Massa finished together in fifth and sixth. followed by the the Williams-Renaults of Maldonado and Senna, with Hulkenberg tenth.

1 Lewis Hamilton
2 Romain Grosjean
3 Sebastian Vettel
4 Jenson Button
5 Kimi Raikkonen
6 Fernando Alonso
7 Felipe Massa
8 Pastor Maldonado
9 Bruno Senna
10 Nico Hulkenberg
11 Mark Webber
12 Paul di Resta
13 Nico Rosberg
14 Sergio Perez
15 Kamui Kobayashi
16 Jean-Eric Vergne
17 Michael Schumacher
18 Daniel Ricciardo
19 Heikki Kovalainen
20 Vitaly Petrov
21 Charles Pic
22 Timo Glock
23 Pedro de la Rosa
24 Narain Karthikeyan