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Qualifying analysis - resurgent Hamilton scents victory 28 Jul 2012

Pole sitter Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren celebrates in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 28 July 2012 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 28 July 2012 Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 28 July 2012 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F2012.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 28 July 2012 Pastor Maldonado (VEN) Williams FW34.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 28 July 2012 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India VJM05.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 28 July 2012 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 28 July 2012 Sergio Perez (MEX) Sauber C31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 28 July 2012 Jean-Eric Vergne (FRA) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR7.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 28 July 2012 Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Caterham CT01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 28 July 2012 Charles Pic (FRA) Marussia F1 Team MR01.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 28 July 2012 HRT Formula One Team team photograph.
Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 28 July 2012

He may have endured a bitterly frustrating German round last weekend, but McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton bounced back with aplomb on Saturday in Hungary. Hamilton’s closest rival for pole - Lotus’s Romain Grosjean - was over four-tenths of a second adrift of the Briton, whilst Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, team mate Jenson Button and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso were left to make up the rest of the top five. We take a team-by-team look at how all the runners performed…

McLaren
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 20.953s, P1
Jenson Button, 1m 21.583s, P4

Hamilton was stoked to earn McLaren’s 150th pole and his 22nd, after dominating every practice and qualifying session bar FP3 when he was narrowly beaten by Red Bull’s Mark Webber. Button was also happy to have overcome a bad start to the day, which included heavy steering and the dreaded front-wheel locking. There is a very positive atmosphere within the team, and a general belief along the pit lane that it’s their race to lose.

Lotus
Romain Grosjean, 1m 21.366s, P2
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 21.730s, P5

Grosjean was delighted to forget about the German Grand Prix and his shunt in practice by getting on to the front row of the grid for the first time. He said his E20 felt great, but that the success was still a surprise. Raikkonen looked good all day, but was disappointed not to be able to put the final lap together when it really mattered.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 21.416s, P3
Mark Webber, 1m 21.715s, P11

Vettel said that he just never really got his RB8 balanced, and that though the car was quick, sometimes very quick, he just couldn’t unlock the lap time. Webber said he had no rhythm on his second lap in Q2 and that there was just nothing he could do about it.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 21.844s, P6
Felipe Massa, 1m 21.900s, P7

Alonso wasn’t too sure what to expect at Hungaroring, and Ferrari lacked their usual edge. He managed to improve the F2012 a little after playing with tyre pressures and front wing in Q3, but said he didn’t really get a clear lap. Massa was right behind him, with similar problems, and was disappointed after a reasonable Q2 to lose grip and pick up oversteer.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 21.939s, P8
Bruno Senna, 1m 22.343s, P9

This was a much better weekend for Williams, as both cars got through to Q3 for the first time this year. Senna was flying in the morning, but in the end it was Maldonado who set the pace in qualifying. Both drivers felt they could have gone faster in Q3. Maldonado blamed traffic, Senna just didn’t quite get things together but was happy to make Q3 for the first time this year.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 22.847s, P10
Paul di Resta, 1m 21.813s, P12

Hulkenberg was happy to make the top 10, but not with his lap time. He went off trying too hard and got dirt on his tyres. Di Resta looked strong all day, but said he couldn’t get the lap time out of the car when it mattered in Q2 after having to push too hard on the tyres to make space on his out lap.

Mercedes
Nico Rosberg, 1m 21.895s, P13
Michael Schumacher, 1m 22.723s, P17

Mercedes spent FP3 doing the long runs they didn’t get done on Friday, but by qualifying they realised they lacked the sheer pace to make Q3. Rosberg said his W03 just wasn’t fast enough, while Schumacher was unlucky as his final attempt to make Q3 was frustrated when he had to back off after Maldonado went off and threw up a dust cloud. Even so, he said, he didn’t think he’d have got through, which showed how bad the situation was.

Sauber
Sergio Perez 1m 21.895s, P14
Kamui Kobayashi, 1m 22.300s, P15

Neither driver felt they got their C31 balanced, and neither managed to get the heat into the tyres and therefore lacked grip. Perez thought overnight changes had helped for FP3, but found the handling inconsistent again in qualifying.

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 22.380s, P16
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 23.250s, P18

Vergne thought he got everything out of his STR7 that he could, but Ricciardo was disappointed not to make it through to Q2.

Caterham
Heikki Kovalainen, 1m 23.578s, P19
Vitaly Petrov, 1m 24.157s, P20

Caterham had a much more positive day, with both drivers praising the balance of their CT01s. Kovalainen was very happy with what he managed, while Petrov said he’d have been quicker but for a mistake in Turn 11 on his best lap.

Marussia
Charles Pic, 1m 25.244s, P21
Timo Glock, 1m 25.476s, P22

Pic said he was happy despite some front-end vibration after adjustment to the front wing flap, but regretted not getting a really clean lap. Glock said that changes to his car after FP3 brought back the nervousness that troubled him at Hockenheim.

HRT
Pedro de la Rosa, 1m 25.916s, P23
Narain Karthikeyan, 1m 26.178s, P24

De la Rosa was happy with HRT’s ongoing step-by-step improvement and a change in set-up which enabled him to get heat into the tyres. Karthikeyan said that the need to cut some holes in the bodywork to alleviate overheating cost him some downforce and affected his lap time.

Pirelli
The tyre manufacturer expects most teams to make two pit stops during the race, although given the comparatively low wear rate they believe some might attempt a one-stop strategy.

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