We arrive at the Hungaroring circuit for the 13th race of the season. As we move to the summer break after this race, and the fight to finish on top gets more difficult.
Russell triumphed over the Ferrari pair to bag the maiden pole position of the season for Mercedes at the Hungaroring, with Sainz and Leclerc finishing P2 and P3, respectively. Meanwhile, Lando Norris, after a brilliant Saturday drive, starts the race alongside Charles in the 2nd row at P4.
Saturday came with little showers of rain in Free Practice 3 and then another hour of fantastic and entertaining qualifying sessions. Let’s take a look at what unfolded in the qualifying session at the Hungaroring.
[Q1] MERCEDES STARTS ON THE FRONT FOOT.
After heavy rainfall in Free Practice 3 and running for most of the time on inter and wet tyres, the track was an awful lot drier as compared to the practice session, which meant the drivers had to adjust the pace of the cars. We saw Mercedes struggling with tyre temperature on the first run, but with more push-up laps and a set of brand new soft compound tyres, we saw a solid finish from the team as Hamilton and Russell finished 1 and 2 in the Q1 session.
After an abysmal crash at the Paul Ricard circuit the previous week, we saw Charles lack confidence in his first run and most parts of Q1, with Sainz also not impressive with his laps in the whole session. Max was once again consistent and solid with his laps and showed a good race pace for the weekend. Meanwhile, his teammate Perez struggled on Friday as well as on Saturday, as he just qualified for Q2 by some fine margins. Also, we saw an upgraded Haas car this weekend looking solid and hoping to score double points this weekend.
Lando Norris, with his new transformed McLaren car, has been in ebullient form throughout the weekend and likewise in Q1 with some banker laps on the chart. It was a disappointing session for the four-time world champion after elucidating that he would retire at the end of the season. Unfortunately, he was eliminated in Q1 and ended the session in misery. We lost Nicholas Latifi, Pierre Gasly, Sebastian Vettel, Alex Albon, and Yuki Tsunoda in Q1 as the session ended.
Q2] PEREZ EXITS AS THE BATTLE BETWEEN MAX AND CHARLES GOES ON.
As the new session started, we saw Mercedes still in the hunt for a front-row finish, but then we saw Lewis with a huge lock-up, in turn, one as he started his flying lap, then settling for a mid-range finish for him and his teammate George as the session ended.
Ferrari was strongest in the first run of the Q2 session as Charles and Sainz set the benchmark for the session. We saw the shocking exit of Sergio Perez in Q2 as he was struck by traffic in his flying lap at the end of the session. Meanwhile, his teammate fighting alone topped the charts in Q2. As it looked like it was Redbull, Ferrari and Mercedes, then came the pair of Norris and Alonso, surprising everyone with their banker laps and separating the Mercedes drivers from the hunt. We lost Mick Schumacher, Lance Stroll, Kevin Magnussen, Zhou Guanyu and Sergio Perez in Q2 as the session ended.
Q3] A MAGICAL LAP BY RUSSELL DELIGHTS THE FANS AT HUNGARORING.
George Russell bagged his first pole position for Mercedes this season with a benchmark lap of 1.17.377, with Sainz just a tenth down on the British driver after being the first to cross the mark in 1.17s.
Meanwhile, the eight-time pole sitter at the Hungaroring circuit, Lewis, had some problems in his car due to which he had to abort his final flying lap at the end of the session, which cost him a top-row finish for the weekend. It was a delight for Mercedes after a horrendous Friday struggling in the car. Meanwhile, the Ferrari pair, once again, are snubbed off and kept at bay.
Red Bull hit trouble after a shocking exit of Perez in Q2. Max was left in despair as struggling with the issue of loss of power in his car in Q3, which hampered his progress in qualifying session. So, George Russell starts alongside Carlos Sainz on the front row as P1 and P2. Meanwhile, Charles and Norris complete the second row with P3 and P4.
Alpine has a third-row lockout, with Ocon starting ahead of teammate Alonso in P5 and P6, respectively. Lewis Hamilton starts alongside his old teammate, Valtteri Bottas, at P7 and P8. Daniel Riccardo and Max completed the top 10 grid for Sundays who qualified for Q3.
HERE ARE A FEW THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR ON SUNDAY
There is a massive chance for George Russell as he hunts for his first win with his new team and a big advantage of starting the race in front. Ferrari has a good chance of redeeming itself because both cars start at the front and for the first time without being pressured by a Red Bull car. A good result would bring them back into the championship hunt easily.
Both of the Red Bulls are out of their depth. After being consistent and solid and starting every race in the top-4 this season with at least one of the cars, their recovery drive has to be a sensational one in order for damage limitation. Norris, the underrated McLaren talisman in the mix, could spoil the party of the front runners as he looks solid with his new transformed McLaren car.
Meanwhile, a compelling battle between McLaren and Alpine for the 4th position in the constructor’s championship will be one of the battles to watch out for on Sunday. Meanwhile, the weather could play an important role on Sunday as Ferrari and McLaren want a dry race with scorching heat. Meanwhile, rain could add a little spice to the battles and be a variable factor, as we saw in the 3rd practise session with drivers struggling for grip as Latifi topped the charts in FP3.
So, anything can happen on Sunday as the weather could change fortunes, as the drivers look to finish on top as we head to our summer break after this race. So, with a grilled grid and a lot of battles to watch out for, it would set up the grid for another compelling race of the season, which sets things up nicely. Stay tuned with TheSportsway for more updates.