Nico Rosberg has taken pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix after an action-packed qualifying hour, with his team-mate Lewis Hamilton making a fiery exit from the second session.
In warm conditions and under cloudy skies, the first segment of qualifying at the Hungaroring kicked off. It was a relatively slow start to the session, with Jules Bianchi, Kamui Kobayashi, Marcus Ericsson and Pastor Maldonado being the first to take to the track.
Maldonado’s session didn’t last long, as he pulled over and climbed out of the car just prior to the final corner on his opening lap with a reliability issues. Kobayashi was the first to set a time, with his 1:28.755 swiftly being beaten by the McLarens, Sergio Perez and the two Williams drivers.
Hamilton dramatically pulled into the pit lane at the end of his first lap with the back of his Mercedes W05 in flames, thanks to a fuel leak. They were quickly extinguished but his session was over before he had even set a time. Meanwhile his team-mate Rosberg moved to the top of the timesheets, displacing the Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton wasn’t the only Brit to experience problems, with Max Chilton suffering a fuel pressure issue. The Marussia driver was eliminated in Q1 after finishing the session in 19th place, ahead of Ericsson, Hamilton and Maldonado.
Kobayashi will start in 18th place and Kimi Raikkonen dropped down to 17th in the closing stages after Bianchi surprisingly advanced to 16th. Jean-Eric Vergne was fastest after his soft tyre run, from Rosberg and Daniil Kvyat.
The second part of qualifying saw the slowest six drivers eliminated from the fight for pole position. Sergio Perez was the first to return to the circuit, after a busy start to Q2. The Mexican also put in the opening lap time, a 1:25.211 on the soft tyre, but his session was then cut short with a hydraulics leak.
Rosberg swiftly moved to the front and remained in the top spot by the chequered flag, with a 1:23.310. Vettel and Ricciardo were next up, with Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Kevin Magnussen, Jean-Eric Vergne and Nico Hulkenberg all making it through to the top 10 shoot-out.
Daniil Kvyat was the first to miss out, after a mistake at turn 12 caused him to spin on his final lap. He had looked set to improve. Adrian Sutil, Perez, Esteban Gutierrez, Romain Grosjean and Bianchi completed the results in the second session.
Light rain started to fall just prior to the top 10 shoot-out, with all of the drivers taking to the track for an early lap on the soft tyres. It intensified in the early stages, with Rosberg going straight on at turn one and Magnussen hitting the barriers at the same corner. He was okay but the session was immediately red flagged.
With nine minutes and 59 seconds remaining on the clock, Q3 resumed, with the field taking to the circuit on the option Pirelli compound. Rosberg could only manage eighth on his first lap, but moved up to first with his second attempt.
He improved on his final run to take pole position for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix, after a dramatic qualifying hour. Vettel was second, four and a half tenths down, with Bottas, Ricciardo and Alonso completing the top five. Massa, Button, Vergne, Hulkenberg and Magnussen – who failed to set a time – round out the top 10.
Position Driver Team Q1 Q2 Q3
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:25.227 1:23.310 1:22.715
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 1:25.662 1:23.606 1:23.201
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:25.690 1:23.776 1:23.354
4 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 1:25.495 1:23.676 1:23.391
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:26.087 1:24.249 1:23.909
6 Felipe Massa Williams 1:26.592 1:25.030 1:24.223
7 Jenson Button McLaren 1:26.612 1:24.502 1:24.294
8 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:24.941 1:24.637 1:24.720
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:26.149 1:24.647 1:24.775
10 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:26.578 1:24.585 11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:25.361 1:24.706 12 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:26.027 1:25.136 13 Sergio Perez Force India 1:25.910 1:25.211 14 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:25.709 1:25.260 15 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:26.136 1:25.337 16 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:26.728 1:27.419 17 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:26.792 18 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:27.139 19 Max Chilton Marussia 1:27.819 20 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:28.643 21 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 22 Pastor Maldonado Lotus
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic