Lewis Hamilton took a dominant pole position for Hungarian Grand Prix beating second-place man Valtteri Bottas by three tenths, with Max Verstappen a tenth further back in third.
The seven-time champion went quickest with his first effort, setting a 1:15.419, and still took pole despite failing to improve on his second effort.
Verstappen did go quicker second time around but was still only fast enough for third on the grid, four tenths back, and will start on soft tyres after going with that set in Q2. Bottas will separate the two rivals, a solid effort from the Finn who has been in the mix all weekend.
Sergio Perez starts fourth but failed to set a second time at all after crossing the start line too late, the result of what looked like a slow out lap by Hamilton ahead of the Red Bull pair.
HAMILTON TAKES POLE IN HUNGARY!
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 31, 2021
“It was an amazing qualifying lap and it has been amazing teamwork from everyone, Valtteri included, trying to push the car forward,” Hamilton said afterwards.
“They guys at the factory have not left any stone unturned. I’ve never felt so great with the booing [from the fans], I don’t mind it. “The soft tyre is worth something like five metres into turn one, it was surprising to see everyone in the top 10 on the softs apart from us. I hope the weather is good for everyone, enjoy the sun and stay safe.”
Verstappen added: “I think the whole weekend we’ve been a bit behind and it showed in qualifying. We’re still there in P3 and we’ll see what we can do.”
Pierre Gasly was an excellent fifth for AlphaTauri, beating out Lando Norris and Charles Leclerc to sixth and seventh respectively. The Frenchman has been imperious in qualifying all year and showed his class by comfortably beating his teammate once again.
YESSS @PierreGASLY!! P5!! 💪 👏
what. a. LAP! ⛽️ pic.twitter.com/YS6LXx5617
— Scuderia AlphaTauri (@AlphaTauriF1) July 31, 2021
Esteban Ocon starts eighth after a welcome improvement in his Saturday pace, with Fernando Alonso one spot back. Ocon has had a difficult few weeks but looked more like his early-season self today.
Sebastian Vettel rounded out the top 10 for Aston Martin, a solid showing for the German in Q3 once again.
Daniel Ricciardo missed out on Q3 for McLaren following another underwhelming performance and will start 11th alongside Lance Stroll on the sixth row. The Australian was just 0.008 seconds adrift of Vettel, but that will be of little consolation for a driver struggling by comparison with his teammate.
Kimi Raikkonen was 13th quickest, outqualifying Antonio Giovinazzi in 14th as Alfa Romeo locked out the seventh row. Raikkonen has made up plenty of places on opening laps this season, but has more of a chance to fight for points when starting just outside the top 10.
Carlos Sainz crashed out of Q2 after losing control at the final corner on his first flying lap, with the Spaniard resigned to starting 15th on the grid. Having gone fourth quickest in Q1 it was a disappointing result for the Ferrari man, whose incident brought out the red flag and delayed the session. The Scuderia will have a job on their hands to get his car ready in time for the race.
🚩 RED FLAG 🚩
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 31, 2021
Yuki Tsunoda will start Sunday’s race from 16th after being knocked out in Q1 for the sixth time this season. The rookie had a crash on Friday and lost out on track time as a result, which may have cost him dearly.
George Russell could not keep up his extraordinary run of making it into Q2 as he went 17th, with his teammate Nicholas Latifi less than a tenth back in 18th. Russell has been towards the top in the last few races, but Sunday could prove a difficult outing for the Williams man.
Nikita Mazepin was 19th, almost a second adrift of Latifi, while Mick Schumacher did not set a lap after his Haas team lost a race against time to get his VF-21 ready in time for the start of qualifying.