This week’s qualifying report was almost brought to you by the delights of 5 Live Extra. Yes, I’m looking at you, Sky. The naughty corner is over there*. Good, now then. But it does make you appreciate that up until the late 1970s the average F1 fan’s experience of the sport was through the medium of radio or, if they were very lucky, through the experience of being at the races themselves. Luckily, Sky pulled out it’s finger in the nick of time for qualifying session 1 at the Hungaroring…

Qualifying Session 1 – Go Go Grosjean

After a crash in free practice 3, McLaren’s Sergio Perez spent most of Q1 in the pits but managed to get out on track with about 5 minutes to go … and he squeezed his way into Q2 by the skin of his teeth. It was generally a slow start for most of the field during Q1 – the sort of session where you just know that the drivers are holding their trump cards close to their sponsor-covered fire proof overalls. Bring on Q2!

Surprising Q1 form = Grosjean (3rd)

Disappointing Q1 drop out = Paul di Resta (18th)

Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas
Credit: Mercedes AMG Petronas

Qualifying Session 2 – Masterful Mercedes

KERS failed for Webber, but not to worry – he still made it to Q3.

McLaren, traditionally so dominant at this circuit, got Perez through to Q3 (just) but Button was left languishing in lucky no. 13th place. Especially disappointing when you remember that this was the site of Button’s inaugural win for Honda way back in 2006. Sad face.

But it was the usual suspects, Mercedes and Vettel, who dominated the top of the table – with Nico Rosberg fastest in Q2 followed closely by team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Vettel in 3rd.

Qualifying Session 3 – Mercedes: “P1, Lewis” – Lewis: “Is that pole?”

The Hungaroring: another track Vettel has never won at (I know, it’s surprising, right?) … and he set an intimidatingly quick time around half way through Q3. With 2 minutes to go, the time looked unbeatable … many drivers crossed the line and failed … then Hamilton stole the pole, but then Vettel appeared right behind him ready to steal pole back … but not today! The Mercedes team radio told Hamilton the good news: “P1, Lewis”, to which Hamilton responded: “Is that pole?” Yes it is Lewis, yes it is.

* And no, “We are currently experiencing technical issues. We can’t talk to you right now” is not a valid excuse.

THE GRID

Pos No Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3 Laps
1 10 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:20.363 1:19.862 1:19.388 15
2 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:20.646 1:19.992 1:19.426 12
3 8 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1:20.447 1:20.101 1:19.595 15
4 9 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:20.350 1:19.778 1:19.720 16
5 3 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:20.652 1:20.183 1:19.791 15
6 7 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 1:20.867 1:20.243 1:19.851 17
7 4 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:21.004 1:20.460 1:19.929 15
8 19 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 1:21.181 1:20.527 1:20.641 14
9 6 Sergio Perez McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.612 1:20.545 1:22.398 16
10 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 1:21.264 1:20.503 No time 13
11 15 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:21.471 1:20.569 17
12 11 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber-Ferrari 1:21.028 1:20.580 13
13 5 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1:21.131 1:20.777 10
14 18 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 1:21.345 1:21.029 12
15 16 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1:20.816 1:21.133 15
16 17 Valtteri Bottas Williams-Renault 1:21.135 1:21.219 13
17 12 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber-Ferrari 1:21.724 11
18 14 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1:22.043 11
19 20 Charles Pic Caterham-Renault 1:23.007 8
20 21 Giedo van der Garde Caterham-Renault 1:23.333 7
21 22 Jules Bianchi Marussia-Cosworth 1:23.787 8
22 23 Max Chilton Marussia-Cosworth 1:23.997 8
Q1 107% Time 1:25.974