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

PosNoDriverTeamQ1Q2Q3Laps
110Lewis HamiltonMercedes1:20.3631:19.8621:19.38815
21Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault1:20.6461:19.9921:19.42612
38Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault1:20.4471:20.1011:19.59515
49Nico RosbergMercedes1:20.3501:19.7781:19.72016
53Fernando AlonsoFerrari1:20.6521:20.1831:19.79115
67Kimi RäikkönenLotus-Renault1:20.8671:20.2431:19.85117
74Felipe MassaFerrari1:21.0041:20.4601:19.92915
819Daniel RicciardoSTR-Ferrari1:21.1811:20.5271:20.64114
96Sergio PerezMcLaren-Mercedes1:21.6121:20.5451:22.39816
102Mark WebberRed Bull Racing-Renault1:21.2641:20.503No time13
1115Adrian SutilForce India-Mercedes1:21.4711:20.56917
1211Nico HulkenbergSauber-Ferrari1:21.0281:20.58013
135Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes1:21.1311:20.77710
1418Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Ferrari1:21.3451:21.02912
1516Pastor MaldonadoWilliams-Renault1:20.8161:21.13315
1617Valtteri BottasWilliams-Renault1:21.1351:21.21913
1712Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari1:21.72411
1814Paul di RestaForce India-Mercedes1:22.04311
1920Charles PicCaterham-Renault1:23.0078
2021Giedo van der GardeCaterham-Renault1:23.3337
2122Jules BianchiMarussia-Cosworth1:23.7878
2223Max ChiltonMarussia-Cosworth1:23.9978
Q1 107% Time1:25.974