Hungary Grand Prix – Qualifying Results: 5th
The blistering sun of Budapest shone kindly on Lotus F1 Team this afternoon in qualifying, as Kimi took a strong top five grid slot while Romain produced the best qualifying performance of his Formula 1 career to date.
Qualifying 1 – Key Moments:
0mins: Both drivers out on medium tyres
2mins: KR sets the early pace, RG building speed
10mins: Halfway point: KR P2, RG P3
14mins: Second run for RG on fresh medium rubber
16mins: Same routine for KR
20mins: Session ends; KR P9 RG P13
Qualifying 2 – Key Moments:
4mins: Both E20s burst out of the garage on soft tyres
6mins: RG sets the quickest time, ousted by KR shortly afterwards
12mins: RG follows KR for a second foray on fresh soft rubber
14mins: The pair improve, but tense moments as the remaining runners cross the line
15mins: Full time; KR P5, RG P9
Qualifying 3 – Key Moments:
1min: KR out of used softs for a banker lap
3mins: RG shadows his team-mate on the same rubber
8mins: Final dash for the pair; fresh soft tyres for both
10mins: Chequered flag; KR P5, stunning last gasp effort puts RG P2
The final showdown began in a somewhat subdued fashion, with each of the remaining ten drivers emerging on scrubbed rubber to put in a banker lap before settling down in the shade ready to launch a last gasp attack.
Kimi and Romain were naturally among them; the pair pouncing with just minutes to spare as the day’s action drew to a close. The Finn put in a strong lap to bring himself up to the sharp end in fifth, but was pipped right at the death by his team-mate; a stunning lap giving the Frenchman not only his best ever Formula 1 qualifying result, but the highest grid slot of the season to date for the team in second position.
“We expected a bit more, the car has been good all weekend, but it was a bit more difficult in the last qualifying. I would rather be higher up, but that is how it goes.
“Usually our pace on Sunday is good, and I don’t see any reason why it shouldn’t be here.”
“It was not a perfect qualifying but it is still a good place to start the race. You make your life a bit more difficult when you don’t make a good qualifying.”
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m20.953s 2. Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 1m21.366s + 0.413 3. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m21.416s + 0.463 4. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m21.583s + 0.630 5. Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault 1m21.730s + 0.777 6. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m21.844s + 0.891 7. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m21.900s + 0.947 8. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 1m21.939s + 0.986 9. Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 1m22.343s + 1.390 10. Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 1m22.847s + 1.894 Q2 cut-off time: 1m21.697s Gap * 11. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m21.715s + 0.655 12. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m21.813s + 0.753 13. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m21.895s + 0.835 14. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 1m21.895s + 0.835 15. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m22.300s + 1.240 16. Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.380s + 1.320 17. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m22.723s + 1.663 Q1 cut-off time: 1m22.948s Gap * 18. Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m23.250s + 1.456 19. Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 1m23.576s + 1.782 20. Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 1m24.167s + 2.373 21. Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 1m25.244s + 3.450 22. Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 1m25.476s + 3.682 23. Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 1m25.916s + 4.122 24. Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 1m26.178s + 4.384
Kimi Raikkonen, 5th – “Not a bad qualifying performance for sure, but it’s a bit disappointing I didn’t go faster when it mattered. The car feels good, but I didn’t get the crucial lap together at the right time. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.”
Romain Grosjean, 2nd – “Qualifying was very tight and it was difficult to see where we would end up so on the front row is fantastic. We came here after a difficult weekend at Hockenheim and to be honest I didn’t get off to the best start yesterday. We worked hard to improve things overnight and the car felt much better in practice this morning. I’m very happy and just a little bit surprised to be P2 on the grid. Today’s job is done, let’s see what we can do tomorrow.”
Alan Permane, trackside operations director – “It’s great to be on the front row. It’s been a good day. It’s great to be on the front row with Romain. We’d like to have seen Kimi a little further up the order – especially as his Q2 time was better than he achieved in Q3 – but overall it’s been an excellent weekend so far; let’s hope that continues tomorrow. Our target has been to improve our qualifying performance; we’ve clearly demonstrated that today. We’re starting from the front row so there is good potential. It’s a difficult circuit to overtake on – one of the hardest next to Monaco and Singapore. A good start will clearly be very important. After the start, even with the DRS, the straight is not long enough to mount an overtaking bid unless a car ahead is suffering from tyre degradation or something else to slow them down. Both the medium and soft compound tyres have exhibited pretty low degradation so we have no worries or concerns about durability, even with high temperatures. Conditions similar to those we’ve seen over the last couple of days have been forecast. There is potential for some rain, but it’s so hot here there could be thunder showers like we saw on Friday. We’re ready for whatever the weather throws at us.”