What the teams said - Qualifying in Hungary
Verstappen has long been a force to be reckoned with on race day, but thus far a qualifying pole has eluded him. Not anymore, the Dutchman becoming the 100th F1 pole-sitter in a scintillating display in Hungary. He is the form driver on the grid at the moment and it showed today, with one of those laps that live long in the memory. Gasly had no answer to his team mate today and lines up sixth.
Max Verstappen, 1st, 1:14.572
“It has been a great day and the car was hooked up straight away in qualifying. To come out on top is incredible and my first pole position will always be a special one. It’s also nice to get pole on a great track like this as a qualifying lap on low fuel is so enjoyable. You can really feel the grip of the car with the full downforce and it’s a lot of fun out there. We are closing in on the front-runners all the time and Honda keep pushing hard to optimise everything. Today was another great day for everyone within the Team, but that Team also includes Honda, so a big thank you as the car has been flying. The hard work is paying off and it’s great to see. I haven’t done a long run this weekend but lately our car has been even better in the race, so I don’t feel too worried. We just need to try and get a clean start and get the job done. I also didn’t realise there were so many Dutch people in Hungary at the moment and it was amazing to see them all in the grandstands. We are all very close so tomorrow should be another exciting race.”
Pierre Gasly, 6th, 1:15.450
“I’m disappointed as I didn’t put a clean lap together and I made a few mistakes otherwise I think I could have taken the fight to Ferrari for P4 or P5. In the end we’ve qualified in P6 which is still a decent position but for sure we wanted a better lap time. Tomorrow we start on the medium tyre, we’ll keep pushing flat out and hopefully we can do something with the strategy and recover some positions. Also, a big congratulations to Max on pole position. It’s really deserved and great for the whole Team. On a tricky track like this where it’s difficult to overtake, it’s a good advantage and we have a strong car as he proved today, so there is everything to play for. In Free Practice, no one managed to do any long runs so we don’t know what the tyres are going to do over 70 laps which could also make things interesting.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal
“That was a fantastic performance by Max. I’m really pleased to see him get his first pole position and become the first Dutchman to do so. It was absolutely nip and tuck throughout and his first run in Q3 was a brilliant lap. To then better it would have been tough but he managed to chip away and it all came down to the last two corners. I think Valtteri had a little bit of oversteer in Turn 13 whilst Max absolutely nailed the final two corners and two hundredths of a second was the margin at the line. Max brings Honda its first pole since 2006 and the Hungaroring is an important track to have grid position so hopefully we can convert it for a good haul of points tomorrow. I think we’re really starting to get performance on the car, the teams in Milton Keynes and Sakura are doing a great job and we’ve definitely made progress in the first half of the year. On Pierre’s side, he made it through Q2 on the harder tyre which was our aim, but then unfortunately in Q3 he made a mistake on his fast lap. In P6, he’s right next to the Ferraris but everything is still to play for.”
Mercedes looked to have a proper three-way fight on their hands in the battle for pole, and so it proved. They managed to tame their Scuderia rivals, but ultimately had no answer to the might of Verstappen. Bottas deserves commendation for pushing the Dutchman so close considering how disrupted his Friday was, while Hamilton will be kicking himself after making a mistake in the first sector. But with a slip stream, all is not lost for the reigning world champion...
Lewis Hamilton, 3rd, 1:14.769
"Naturally, we're always targeting first place. But Max did a great job, congratulations to him, and so did Valtteri. It got away from me a little bit during Qualifying. It was a difficult session, the car didn't feel quite the same as in FP3 and I struggled a bit. But we're still in the fight and in a good position for tomorrow. There's a long run down to Turn 1, so it's going to be very interesting. It's not the easiest place to overtake, but strategy will come into it. So, we'll be pushing hard tomorrow."
Valtteri Bottas, 2nd, 1:14.590
"I've been chasing a little bit this weekend, after missing out on Practice One and only doing limited laps in Practice Two. I only really started getting into my rhythm this morning and it was just getting better and better through Qualifying. So, I'm pleased with the lap in the end. It was very close with Max but he just managed to sneak ahead. They've been quick all weekend but tomorrow is what counts. We're here to fight for the win and there's a lot of support for me from the Finnish fans, so we'll be giving it everything and it's going to be a good battle."
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"That was a very close session and exciting to watch but we didn't come out on the right end of it. I don't think our car was the quickest today: Valtteri had an almost perfect lap but it wasn't quite enough for pole, probably when we look back at it we will see some places where we could have gained a fraction of time. Lewis wasn't feeling as comfortable and the car didn't let him make the steps forward we normally see in qualifying. Our feeling is that we haven't progressed with the car as we would have hoped, so we need to dig through the data and find out why. Tomorrow's race will be hard-fought: this is a tough circuit for overtaking, so the start will be important, then it will come down to strategy and making the most of our opportunities. There is still everything to play for."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
"It's always frustrating to miss out on pole by such a small margin but Valtteri did a great job considering he effectively missed the first practice session. When it's that close there are so many places and ways that you could have made up the difference, but the bottom line is that we weren't quick enough. The balance wasn't perfect, we picked up a bit of rear grip during Qualifying and ended up struggling to turn the car in some of the slow corners which cost a bit. It's a difficult track to overtake on but we've got two cars near the front and hopefully that will give us a bit of opportunity to put Red Bull under pressure. We're not sure where our competitors will be on pace tomorrow as the running was so limited on Friday. We did manage to do a long run on the Medium with Lewis and it seemed to be working well on our car but it's hotter tomorrow so we'll need to wait until the opening stint to see where we are."
Vettel had looked the happier of the two Ferrari drivers overnight, but went the wrong way with set up and struggled in FP3. Come qualifying, he couldn't find a way to match his team mate, being out-qualified for the fifth race in a row. Leclerc wasn't faultless - he crashed heavily in Q1, damaging his rear wing and diffuser. But the youngster immediately put that incident behind him and wasn't afraid to push the limits on his way to grabbing fourth.
Sebastian Vettel, 5th, 1:15.071
"Today went pretty much as we expected and reflects what we have seen in the last few races. Our car is very quick down the straights but it’s not the best through the corners and that means we struggle to keep the tyres alive right to the end of the lap when we are trying for a quick time. You can see that from the fact we are quickest in sector 1 and then we suffer over the rest of the lap. In fact, it will be a very difficult race in terms of tyre management and given the characteristics of our car, it would suit us to see high temperatures tomorrow, because we would then be able to put our competitors under pressure. If that’s not the case, then it will be a one stop race and it's less likely that we can be in with a chance. Overtaking is difficult here, but not impossible, so let’s wait and see how things go tomorrow.”
Charles Leclerc, 4th, 1:15.043
"On the one hand, I am happy with my lap in Q3. On the other, the mistake I made in Q1 was unnecessary and I will make sure that it doesn’t happen again. The team did a great job to get the car back in shape for us to go out in Q2. I believe that we got the best result we could today. So far this weekend, we have been lacking grip. Our competitors are strong, especially in the corners, and it will be a difficult race for us tomorrow."
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal
"It’s not surprising that we were fourth and fifth fastest today. We knew we weren’t favourites here, given the level of aero downforce generated by our car at the moment. Here in Hungary, we were keen to confirm our progress and see where we stood compared to those ahead of us. The gap is closer than we might have expected and to a certain extent, that’s encouraging. We therefore had further proof today that we are on the right path in terms of our development of the SF90. Seb’s qualifying was straightforward, but Charles’ was slightly compromised by the accident in Q1. We changed the rear wing, but there were still some damaged parts left on the car and maybe he also lost a bit of confidence in that final corner."
In the dry, McLaren currently look the fourth best team by some margin. They were the only midfield runners to get both cars into Q3, with Norris pipping his team mate by 0.052s. That sets them up well for the race, and should give Norris some confidence after a couple of races outside the points.
Carlos Sainz, 8th, 1:15.852
“I think it’s a positive day for the team. Coming into the weekend we weren't so sure about the performance on this track, but we managed to make the right decisions with the set-up going into Saturday, and we put both cars in Q3.
“I started off Q1 with some balance issues, but we managed to sort them out through the session, improving every time I went out and finally doing a good lap on my last attempt in Q3. Seventh and eighth is great news for the team on this track and we can race from there tomorrow.”
Lando Norris, 7th, 1:15.800
“A good qualifying. Compared to Hockenheim last week, it was a good improvement and it’s nice to be back in Q3 again. It wasn’t easy; it was still close together in the midfield, but I’ve felt comfortable in the car all weekend and I was always reasonably happy.
“We also made a couple of improvements throughout qualifying that helped at the end of the day. We have P7 and P8, behind the top three teams, which is a good achievement for us both. Massive thanks to the team at the track and everyone back at the factory. Now we just need to convert our quali form in the race.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal
“Well done to the whole team for another well-executed qualifying session. It’s only the second time this year we’ve managed to get both cars into the top-eight. Carlos and Lando did an excellent job, improving progressively through the sessions, but this was a real team effort, both here at the track and back at MTC. Collectively, the team is working incredibly hard to identify the limitations of the car and devise solutions. It’s getting better all the time with updates from the aero department adding performance constantly.
“We were clearly the fourth-fastest team today on a track which, on paper, didn’t look like being particularly strong for us. Of course, nobody scores points on Saturday, so we’ve got to get our heads down now and work hard on race preparation. We have a really good platform from which to deliver a strong result tomorrow.”
A mixed day for Haas - Magnussen struggled for grip and pace as a result, and exited in Q2. But Grosjean was much more comfortable in his version of the VF-19, and made it all the way to the top 10 shoot out for the second race in a row, coming home ninth. He will be confident of finishing this half of the season with some points, while his team mate has his work cut out from 15th on the grid.
Romain Grosjean, 9th, 1:16.013
“The old girl made it into Q3, she was limping a little at the beginning, but eventually she got there. It’s been a tough weekend to be fair on her. We’re running the same downforce we had in Hockenheim, just because that’s the maximum we’ve got. Here, obviously, it’s not enough – it’s tricky. Q1 was very difficult, Q2 things got a bit better, then Q3 we really extracted the maximum we had. I’m worried for the race, we’re missing a lot of downforce to get the tyre to stay alive for a long time. It’s a track where it’s difficult to overtake, so I’ll get my elbows out and see where we can finish tomorrow.”
Kevin Magnussen, 15th, 1:17.081
“We were P4 in Q1, then P15 in Q2. I don’t know what it is, but this car is swinging so much, up and down. The window is so small, even in qualifying – we saw that in Austria. I was struggling to get out of Q1, I got through just about, same thing again in Q2. Then in Q3 I was fifth. The car can go in and out of its window even in one session. It’s very difficult at the moment. It worked perfectly for Q1, then for Q2 there was no grip. There was some traffic on my out lap, but that shouldn’t be such a big deal to affect our tyre window. We’re really just trying to learn and analyse from these sessions, but it’s tough. So, I start 15th tomorrow on a track that’s very difficult to overtake.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“Not a bad qualifying. I think we showed again we can get good laps in. Unfortunately for Kevin (Magnussen), his fastest laps in Q2 were compromised with some tail winds, so he didn’t make it into Q3. Romain (Grosjean) qualified solidly in ninth. For how we’re struggling, we actually did pretty good.”
Raikkonen once again put his experience to good use to make it to Q3, although he will start on used softs which might not help his cause. After a slump midway through the early part of the season, the Finn is looking for a fourth top 10 finish from the last five races. Giovinazzi was lacklustre by comparison, exiting in Q2 and gaining a three-place grid drop for impeding another driver in Q1. He is in need of a stellar drive to get on terms with his team mate tomorrow.
Kimi Raikkonen, 10th, 1:16.041
“A bit disappointed that it’s just P10, on the other hand I did my fastest lap of the weekend when it mattered so I can’t really complain. The car felt pretty good although we’re lacking a bit of pace compared to the McLarens, which were our targets. Tomorrow is another story, after the lack of running on Friday there will be a few question marks about race pace but that’s the same for everyone, isn’t it?”
Antonio Giovinazzi, 14th, 1:16.804
“It was a tough qualifying session today. I went wide in Turn 11 in Q1 and the car didn’t feel right afterwards, so we will need to check if something happened. The midfield is very tight, details can make all the difference and today we fell a bit short. We are not where we’d like to be on the grid, especially with the grid penalty we received, but we have plenty of data to look into ahead of the race. It’s hard to tell where we stand when it comes to race pace, but I hope we can be competitive tomorrow.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
“At the risk of sounding repetitive, today was another day in which very little separated the teams in the midfield. Kimi did a very good job to claim a place in the top ten, leaving behind most of our direct competitors. He has a good opportunity to score points tomorrow, but we will need to execute a perfect race for him to maximise his chances. Antonio wasn’t too far off and starting in P14 would have given him a fair shot in the race. Unfortunately, a three-place penalty means he will have his work cut out: it’s a long race, however, and we will try our best to get him back into contention. Due to the limited running yesterday, race pace is a big unknown but we fancy our chances for tomorrow.”
Renault didn't have the best of days. First, Ricciardo exited in Q1 after finding himself in traffic on his final out lap. The Aussie tried to pass Perez to get into free air, but the Mexican was having none of it and thus Ricciardo started his flying lap out of sorts. Hulkenberg also couldn't make the top 10 but at least has free tyre choice. But at a track where overtaking is difficult, it could be a long Sunday for the team if Hulkenberg can't get a good start - not what they needed after a double DNF last time out.
Nico Hulkenberg, 11th, 1:16.565
“Starting eleventh tomorrow certainly isn’t a bad thing. We have some flexibility on strategy with the free tyre choice. The last lap in Q2 was tricky, and the difference in qualifying is so small in the midfield. It’s not a bad day for us and I think we can have a strong day tomorrow.”
Daniel Ricciardo, 18th, 1:17.257
“The car actually felt okay. We got caught in traffic and when I got to the last corner there were other cars that were backed up. At that stage you have a choice of trying to pass and keep your tyre temperature up or hang back and start the lap with cold tyres. I tried to go, but it was too late and then the lap was compromised. It’s going to be a tough race but tomorrow is another day so let’s see what happens.”
Alan Permane, Sporting Director
“It was a tough qualifying. Nico got what he could from the car and there are certainly advantages from this starting position. Daniel’s P18 in qualifying is however a hard one to take. The track evolution is significant over a session, but waiting until the end leaves the door open for traffic. Daniel had time to back off, but was perhaps not aware of the extent of the situation. Given we are towards the back we will use the opportunity to change his PU and take penalties to avoid taking them at a race where there is perhaps more potential to make up ground. Nevertheless we will approach the race tomorrow looking for every opportunity to move up and leave with some points on the board.”
After the highs of Germany, Toro Rosso just didn't have the pace today and saw both drivers tumble out in Q2, with just 0.005s separating them. Albon did well to recover from his crash yesterday and out-qualify his team mate though. Having gone so well in the wet last time out, they will be doing a rain dance tonight in the hopes of mixed conditions tomorrow.
Daniil Kvyat, 13th, 1:16.692
“Apart from a little misunderstanding with the team on the last run, when we went out with the wrong setting on the car, it was an okay qualifying session. There wasn’t that much left in the car today, maybe a tenth, so this is generally where we are at the moment. We will be able to fight from P13 tomorrow, but it’s difficult to overtake here and usually the races become a bit like a train. However, the race is long so maybe there will be different strategy calls we can make which will help us. The start will be quite important, so we’ll see where we are and we will try and do as good a race as possible.”
Alex Albon, 12th, 1:16.687
“I’m pretty satisfied with P12 after a tough FP2 after the crash. The car had the potential to reach Q3, but we were always just missing something which was a bit frustrating. Overall, I’m happy because after FP3 I was struggling as the car didn’t really feel connected. We made a few changes after FP3 and in qualifying the car felt more hooked up, so I got the rhythm back. Reaching Q3 would have been nice, but we were two tenths from getting through, the balance was good in some corners and in other places it wasn’t. Track position is key around here as there isn’t many places to overtake, so we’ll need to think of a good strategy for tomorrow. We’re near the front of the free tyre allocation and I think the degradation will be quite high here, so hopefully we’ll be able to overtake some cars.”
Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer
“The mechanics did a very good job last night to repair Alex’s car – lucky for us the damage was less than it first looked! The weather forecast made for a potentially mixed Saturday, but in the end both sessions were dry. There was a delay to the start of FP3 because of a large oil leak on the track after the F2 race which required cleaning and left a lot of dust in Turn 4 and 5, giving very low grip conditions and even low visibility. Because of the delay we had to compress what was missing from yesterday’s FP2 and normal FP3 running into 50 minutes, so it was quite a busy session.
"Both cars completed two short runs on option tyre forqQualifying preparation and then several laps on higher fuel to learn about the car in race conditions, since we didn’t have the opportunity in FP2. The track conditions were cooler than Friday, which suited us, and we came out of the session reasonably happy with where the car was.
"This performance carried into Q1 and the first runs in Q2, but as a team we couldn’t quite achieve the best from the cars for the second runs of each driver. The wind had increased and so too had the track temperature, reaching 48 degrees Celsius, and this put the balance on a knife edge, making it very difficult to extract the peak performance. In fact, we couldn’t improve on our first runs, even though the track was quicker, missing out on Q3 by just over a tenth and a half. Looking ahead to the race, our car typically has a better balance on Sunday and the weather is looking dry, so we will work on optimising the strategy overnight, given that we have a free tyre choice for the race start.”
Toyoharu Tanabe, Honda F1 Technical Director
“Max Verstappen produced yet another exceptional performance to secure his first ever pole position in F1. Congratulations to him for that achievement, which was down to a team effort from Honda and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing. Now we will focus on carrying this performance through to tomorrow’s race on a circuit where overtaking is very difficult. As for our other three cars, in 6th with Gasly and 12th and 13th places for Scuderia Toro Rosso, I believe we have a good chance of scoring points with all of them. That’s our target.”
Not the best day for Racing Point, who couldn't help either driver escape Q1. Stroll didn't really have the pace and exited once again at the first time of asking, but Perez might have made it but for a late mix up which saw the Mexican tangle with Ricciardo's Renault in a bid to make it over the line before the chequered flag. That hampered his preparation and he was suitably frustrated afterwards.
Sergio Perez, 17th, 1:17.109
“It's been a difficult day. I think we could have got through to Q2 to be honest. It would have needed a good lap, but we didn’t get it. My final run was badly compromised when all the cars were trying to find space in the final corner. That’s where [Daniel] Ricciardo tried to do something crazy, overtaking me in the last corner. He screwed up his lap and my lap too because I ended up too close to Norris and Daniel was close behind me. We all know traffic is tricky in Q1. We spoke about it in the Drivers' Briefing and the importance of being respectful of each other. For me, it was quite disrespectful. He's an experienced driver and I didn't expect that from him. We know this track isn't the best for us anyway, but now we're really in a tough place for tomorrow. It’s been a bad day for us, so let's hope it gets better in the race.”
Lance Stroll, 19th, 1:17.542
“It’s been a frustrating day. We know this circuit is not the best suited to our car and that’s shown in the end result. We really struggled in practice this morning and that put us on the back foot for qualifying. I was blocked on one of my laps and there were also some mistakes from my side which proved costly because I think it could have been much better. It was not our day, but as we saw last weekend, anything can happen in the race and we will be pushing hard tomorrow.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO
“A disappointing qualifying session where we didn’t maximise our performance. Both drivers got caught out by the traffic in Q1 and that cost us the chance to progress. We’ve got to take this one on the chin because today’s result doesn’t reflect the progress we’ve made with the car recently. It’s a shame not to be further up the grid because we know how tough it is to overtake around here. There are a few question marks about tyres and race pace because of the disrupted Friday sessions, so maybe that will create some variation in the strategies tomorrow and generate some opportunities for us.”
Russell put in his best lap this season to come so close to making Q2 for the first time, losing out by 0.053s to Grosjean. Out-qualifying both Racing Point cars and a Renault is a fine achievement nonetheless and also points to some positives for Williams in their bid to upgrade the car and make it more competitive. Kubica couldn't quite find the same pace and props up the grid.
Robert Kubica, 20th, 1:18.324
"We were lucky with the weather and support today, but unfortunately the pace is what it is. I felt happy with the car and with the balance, but in general I lacked grip. We were lacking half a second, we tried something desperate and as you can see it did not work."
George Russell, 16th, 1:17.031
"I am ecstatic with qualifying. We have really turned the page this weekend with our update and understanding the tyres. It was a shame to miss out on Q2 but considering everything, we are over the moon. I felt comfortable inside the car, probably the happiest that I have been all year. It was a joy to drive and I’m really pleased with the lap. Regardless of tomorrow, we will enter the summer break on a positive note, knowing that we achieved this result on merit."
Dave Robson, Senior Race Engineer
"We enjoyed a productive morning making full use of the additional set of dry tyres available in FP3 to catch-up on some of yesterday’s lost time. We completed some homework on the hard and medium Pirelli tyres ahead of tomorrow, before turning our attention to qualifying preparation on the soft tyres.
"In qualifying we were able to complete three runs with each driver and both made steady improvements as the session progressed. A yellow flag hindered one of George’s runs, requiring him to lift in the last corner. Otherwise, he was very happy with his progression especially in the important Sector 2. Robert struggled a little more this afternoon and we will need to look at the reasons for that.
"Tomorrow looks to be a dry and warm day and as overtaking is difficult here, the race will be hard for anyone not starting right at the front. However, it is a long run to T1 and we will try to build on our qualifying position at the start of the race and then fight with the midfield."
Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing
"We've already seen some remarkable speeds this year at the Hungaroring, with the fastest-ever lap already being beaten in FP3. This benchmark was lowered further in qualifying, both on the medium and on the soft tyre. The optimal tyre, in terms of flexibility, to start the race on is the medium, which is why the top three teams have all chosen it. However, every indication so far has shown that the frontrunners are extremely closely matched in terms of pace, so it's set to be an unpredictable grand prix, where the start and the pit stop strategy will be particularly important, given the difficulty of overtaking. The weather is another question mark, which could affect strategy if temperatures are much higher than they have been up to now. Congratulations to Max Verstappen on a brilliant first Formula 1 pole."