Hungary Qualifying: Rosberg on pole as Hamilton burns

Nico Rosberg will start the Hungarian GP from pole position

Nico Rosberg will start the Hungarian GP from pole position

Formula 1 world championship leader Nico Rosberg took pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday while Mercedes teammate and title rival Lewis Hamilton saw his hopes go up in flames as Lady Luck continues to elude him.

Hamilton, 14 points behind Rosberg after 10 races, has won in Hungary for the past two years and four times in total and was the favourite for pole and the race after setting the pace in practice.

Instead, the Briton was set to start last and from the pitlane after his car caught fire with the session barely started.

Red Bull‘s quadruple world champion Sebastian Vettel qualified second, equalling his best grid placing of the season, on an all-German front row.

Top three in parc ferme after qualifying at Hungaroring

Top three in parc ferme after qualifying at Hungaroring

Finland’s Valtteri Bottas starts third in a Williams with Australian Daniel Ricciardo fourth for Red Bull on an overcast afternoon that saw light rain fall between the second and final phase of qualifying.

For the second race in a row, Rosberg was left with mixed emotions – happy to be in the top slot with every chance of extending his overall lead – but saying also that he felt cheated of a battle with his teammate.

“It’s a pity for the team, not a good thing… I would prefer to be out there battling Lewis,” he told reporters. “That would have been the maximum adrenalin rush.”

Hamilton, winner of five races to Rosberg’s four, has had a run of bad luck with two retirements to the German’s sole blank and has also endured a string of qualifying setbacks going back six races.

Lewis Hamilton watches his Mercedes burn

Lewis Hamilton watches his Mercedes burn

At Hockenheim last Saturday, he crashed out of qualifying at the same point when a front brake disc failed and had to start in 20th place.

That triggered a thrilling charge through the field on Sunday to third place but the slow and twisty Hungaroring is a far more difficult track to overtake on.

“There’s a lot going through my mind, but I just have to try to turn it into positives until tomorrow,” Hamilton, whose car will need a change of engine and gearbox with accompanying five place penalty, told the BBC.

“I think it’s getting to the point beyond bad luck – it’s something else. We just need to do better,” added the 2008 world champion.

While Hamilton’s blaze – caused by a suspected fuel leak – was the main talking point, there were other shocks in an eventful session that ended with Mercedes’ 10th pole in 11 races.

Sebastian Vettel was second fastest

Sebastian Vettel was second fastest

Frenchman Jules Bianchi, a Ferrari academy driver who races for struggling Marussia, qualified 16th and ahead of Ferrari’s 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen at one of the Finn’s strongest circuits.

Ferrari had mistakenly assumed both their drivers were safely through the first phase and did not send them out for second runs – and then saw Bianchi pip Raikkonen when there was nothing they could do about it.

Raikkonen’s double world champion teammate Fernando Alonso will start fifth and with BrazilianFelipe Massa, who was replaced by Raikkonen at the Italian team, alongside.

The final phase was halted for some eight minutes after Danish rookie Kevin Magnussen crashed his McLaren heavily into the barriers on a surface made slippery by the sudden shower.

Venezuelan Pastor Maldonado, who has not scored a point so far this season, was the first out of qualifying after parking up his Lotus. (Reuters)

Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying – 26 July 2014
Pos No Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 6 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:25.227 1:23.310 1:22.715 20
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:25.662 1:23.606 1:23.201 16
3 77 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Mercedes 1:25.690 1:23.776 1:23.354 19
4 3 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:25.495 1:23.676 1:23.391 18
5 14 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:26.087 1:24.249 1:23.909 17
6 19 Felipe Massa Williams-Mercedes 1:26.592 1:24.030 1:24.223 19
7 22 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.612 1:24.502 1:24.294 21
8 25 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Renault 1:24.941 1:24.637 1:24.720 19
9 27 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1:26.149 1:24.647 1:24.775 22
10 20 Kevin Magnussen McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.578 1:24.585 13
11 26 Daniil Kvyat STR-Renault 1:25.361 1:24.706 14
12 99 Adrian Sutil Sauber-Ferrari 1:26.027 1:25.136 12
13 11 Sergio Perez Force India-Mercedes 1:25.910 1:25.211 11
14 21 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:25.709 1:25.260 10
15 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:26.136 1:25.337 16
16 17 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Ferrari 1:26.728 1:27.419 14
17 7 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 1:26.792 5
18 10 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham-Renault 1:27.139 10
19 4 Max Chilton Marussia-Ferrari 1:27.819 7
20 9 Marcus Ericsson Caterham-Renault 1:28.643 10
21 44 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes No time 2
22 13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus-Renault No time 1
Q1 107% Time 1:30.886