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Qualifying analysis - Mercedes win will need 'a miracle' 27 Jul 2013

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W04.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hungaroring, Hungary. Saturday, 27 July 2013 Pole position sitter Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in the post qualifying Press Conference.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hungaroring, Hungary. Saturday, 27 July 2013 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB9.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hungaroring, Hungary. Saturday, 27 July 2013 Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hungaroring, Hungary. Saturday, 27 July 2013 Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari F138.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hungaroring, Hungary. Saturday, 27 July 2013 Fans watch Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari F138.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hungaroring, Hungary. Saturday, 27 July 2013 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Scuderia Toro Rosso STR8.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hungaroring, Hungary. Saturday, 27 July 2013 Sergio Perez (MEX) McLaren MP4-28.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hungaroring, Hungary. Saturday, 27 July 2013 Paul di Resta (GBR) Force India F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hungaroring, Hungary. Saturday, 27 July 2013 Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Sauber C32.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hungaroring, Hungary. Saturday, 27 July 2013 Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW35.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hungaroring, Hungary. Saturday, 27 July 2013 Charles Pic (FRA) Caterham CT03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hungaroring, Hungary. Saturday, 27 July 2013 Max Chilton (GBR) Marussia F1 Team MR02.
Formula One World Championship, Rd10, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying, Hungaroring, Hungary. Saturday, 27 July 2013

Saturday’s perfect Budapest weather enabled teams to complete their various programmes in final practice, though Sauber lost that session changing Esteban Gutierrez’s engine and McLaren had work to do afterwards repairing Sergio Perez’s damaged car. Fluctuating track temperatures caused some headaches in Q1 and Q2 - when there was a 50 degrees Celsius spike - but in Q3 it was a straight fight for pole, and a tight one at that. We take a team-by-team look at the qualifying formbook…

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton, 1m 19.388s, P1
Nico Rosberg, 1m 19.720s, P4

Hamilton admitted that he was ‘really surprised’ to have beaten Vettel to pole, as he had expected the Red Bull to improve significantly on its first-run pace and had not felt his own lap to have been particularly good. But while he was happy to start first, he goes into the race fully expecting it to be a nightmare in terms of his Mercedes’ appetite for rubber. He said that it would be a miracle, were he to win. Rosberg looked racy all through qualifying, but lost time when his quick brake balance adjuster stuck.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, 1m 19.426s, P2
Mark Webber, No Q3 time, P10

Vettel said nothing was missing from his lap but that it just wasn’t (quite) quick enough. He is well aware of the Mercedes’ tyre problems, however, and goes into the race exuding confidence. Webber, by contrast, goes into it angry after problems with his RB9’s upshifts in FP3, and a return of the problem in qualifying when his KERS was also inoperative.

Lotus
Romain Grosjean, 1m 19.595s, P3
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 19.851s, P6

Lotus had a sweet qualifying with Grosjean, as he took a very strong third place on the grid. A mandatory FIA check on the top three cars revealed that his E21’s floor flexed more than the permissible 5 mm, but stewards agreed that it was down to damage and not intentional. Raikkonen admitted that he has struggled all weekend with his car. He thought that the new tyres might have upset the E21’s crispness of turn-in, but said his car was the best it had been all weekend during qualifying.

Ferrari
Fernando Alonso, 1m 19.791s, P5
Felipe Massa, 1m 19.929s, P7

Alonso was happy with fifth place on the grid after some set-up changes and aero modifications to his Ferrari improved its traction and turn-in. But both he and Massa were disappointed that they couldn’t fight for better positions.

Toro Rosso
Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 20.641s, P8
Jean-Eric Vergne, 1m 21.029s, P14

Ricciardo was delighted to find some decent pace for qualifying, and with his own continuing strong qualifying form. Vergne, by contrast, was unhappy. He said he had few problems with his STR8, but that it appeared to lack downforce.

McLaren
Sergio Perez, 1m 22.398, P9
Jenson Button, 1m 20.777s, P13

McLaren have looked much more competitive this weekend, so were ultimately disappointed with 9th and 13th. Perez was very quick in FP3 after some major overnight set-up changes, but spun and damaged his MP4-28 towards the end of the session. Nevertheless, he pulled the rabbit out of the hat to get through to Q3, when he qualified ninth using the medium tyres rather than the softs of the Q3 runners ahead. He’s thus got a good strategic plan for the race. Button found that his car’s front end couldn’t handle new tyres - suggesting, on the positive side, that McLaren have generated more rear-end grip with their changes - so was disappointed that understeer spoiled his qualifying. He hopes to be able to dial that out from the cockpit during the race.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, 1m 20.569s, P11
Paul di Resta, 1m 22.043s, P18

Once again Force India appeared to be struggling for much of the weekend. Sutil was unhappy with his VJM06 in Q1, but changes improved it dramatically for Q2 and he was unlucky to miss out when he got bumped out of Q3 right at the end. Di Resta was puzzled why he was unable to turn on the soft tyres when it really mattered, having been more comfortable on them in other sessions than he was on the mediums.

Sauber
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 20.580s, P12
Esteban Gutierrez, 1m 21.724s, P17

Hulkenberg was so close to making Q3, losing out by hundredths of a second, but said that he felt he’d got the best out of his car. Gutierrez lost all of FP3 because of the need to change his C32’s Ferrari engine, and that hurt him in Q1 when he couldn’t better 17th fastest time. Given the speed he’d shown in FP1 and FP2 relative to Hulkenberg, that was a shame, but he said he was unable to adapt to the changed track conditions in the time available.

Williams
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 21.133s, P15
Valtteri Bottas, 1m 21.219s, P16

Williams showed flashes of strong performance but ultimately qualified in their usual places. This was frustrating as in general there was strong feeling that they had improved the FW35, and that they had not unlocked its full potential.

Caterham
Charles Pic, 1m 23.007s, P19
Giedo van der Garde, 1m 23.333s, P20

Pic was very happy with the continuing balanced performance of his CT03 in FP3 and qualifying, but felt that he lost out on his fastest lap when yellows were shown in two corners. Without that he would have broken into the 1m 22s. Major changes made a big difference to Van der Garde’s car for FP3 and he was much happier with it then and in qualifying, though he felt that traffic cost him a few tenths in the latter.

Marussia
Jules Bianchi, 1m 23.787s, P21
Max Chilton, 1m 23.997s, P22

Over the course of the weekend Marussia have dramatically closed the gap to Caterham that there was in FP1. But both drivers said they were disappointed with their performance, not just because each admitted to mistakes on their fastest laps but because the cars were still tricky to drive. They expect difficult races.

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