What the teams said – Qualifying in Hungary
Mercedes looked a class apart in final practice and carried that form right into qualifying. It looked like a two-horse race and when Hamilton set a new track record on his first flying lap in Q3, pole seemed destined to be his. But credit to his team mate for pushing him close, Bottas nailing his last flying lap to finish fractions apart but unable to deny Hamilton a record-extending 90th pole position. But with such a tight margin between the two, the race down to Turn 1 tomorrow could be very interesting.
Lewis Hamilton, 1st, 1:13.447
"The car was really hooked up today, but Valtteri didn't make it easy for me at all! It requires absolute perfection when it comes to these laps and that kind of qualifying is one of the things I enjoy the most. The fact that it's my 90th pole position... I have to pinch myself; it just doesn't register. It's humbling to be honest, because I get to work with such an incredible group of people and without them, I wouldn't have the opportunity to do this. A massive thank you to everyone back home and here at the track that do such an amazing job. Looking to tomorrow, it's a long run down to Turn 1 here, so nothing is a given and I've got to get my head down and work hard on delivering at the start. We don't know what the weather is going to do, so we've got to put the work in this evening, prepare the best we can and focus on bringing home a one-two for the team."
Valtteri Bottas, 2nd, 1:13.554
"We were on a really strong level again today, which is good for us. I knew from FP3 that it was going to be a close battle with Lewis in qualifying, my laps were okay but the final lap in Q3 was actually really good, but I just couldn't go much faster. Lewis did a great job to get the pole today and it's going to be a bit of a drag race into Turn 1 between us tomorrow, so I look forward to that - the first lap will definitely be interesting. I'm the Championship leader at the moment, but I need to win races to maintain that, so that's the only goal I have tomorrow and I'm fully focused on making it happen."
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
"I'm really happy with today's qualifying result, both Lewis and Valtteri were evenly matched and they did a great job to lock out the front row, especially with the Hungaroring always being a tricky circuit when it comes to putting together a hot lap. I think the conditions were just right for us today, a bit cooler than we've experienced before, and the result shows all the hard work trackside, in Brackley and in Brixworth is paying off. Now we have to focus on having a clean race tomorrow and bringing both cars home. Also, I'd like to say congratulations to Racing Point for their strong performance in qualifying, I'm really happy to see them locking out the second row."
Andrew Shovlin, Trackside Engineering Director
"Well done to Lewis and Valtteri on another front row lock out and to the team on another strong performance. We got beaten to pole here last year, so it's very satisfying to see how well the car is performing both on the straights and in the corners. Despite the near constant threat of rain, the day has been fairly straightforward. Perhaps the cool track is flattering us a little, but the car has worked well all weekend and we were able to get through the second session on the Medium tyre, which has been our plan from the start of the weekend. By the final run, it was clear that pole was a contest between our two drivers, so we made sure they had clear track to battle it out between themselves. There was literally nothing separating them at the apex of the final corner, but Lewis made a better exit which was enough to put him ahead. We're looking forward to the race tomorrow but not taking anything for granted; there's likely to still be a fair bit of rain around and this is often a grand prix with its fair share of incidents."
Racing Point have made a step forward since testing and now comfortably look like the second fastest car on the grid. After a disappointing showing in qualifying in the wet last weekend, their drivers delivered today by locking out the second row of the grid and keeping the Silver Arrows honest ahead. Stroll got the beating of his team mate after Perez had a lap time deleted for exceeding track limits. They start on the preferred medium compound tyre to boot.
Sergio Perez, 4th, 1:14.545
“Locking out the second row is a great result for everyone in the team. I’m happy with P4, but I felt my qualifying could have been slightly better and that I could have had a tidier lap [in Q3]. The important thing is that we’ve kept the momentum going this weekend and we’ve shown strong pace in every session. If we can show the same pace tomorrow, then we can target a big result. Being able to start the race on the medium tyre is what we wanted, so it’s great that we had the speed to make that happen. I hope it pays us back tomorrow.”
Lance Stroll, 3rd, 1:14.377
“I’m very happy with today’s result: the car was strong all the way through qualifying and we’ve been performing well all weekend. We’ve had the pace so today was about piecing it all together in qualifying and it was a great job by the whole team to ensure that we did. It was definitely a gamble to try to make it into Q3 on the medium tyres, but it proved to be the right call. We’re in a good position tomorrow to try and score some big points for the team.”
Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal & CEO
“Today’s qualifying result is a tremendous team effort and it feels great to see our cars lockout the second row of the grid. We knew we had the pace in the car, but it’s satisfying to deliver that speed when it mattered during qualifying. I’m proud of the way we approached the session and that we progressed to Q3 on the medium tyres – a decision that should open up more strategic opportunities tomorrow. Of course, it’s only Saturday, and tomorrow is what really counts, but we’ve put ourselves in a great position to have a strong race too.”
Ferrari had a little spring in their step yesterday after what looked like a better all-round performance. They managed to make inroads in qualifying too for the first time this season, getting both cars into Q3. They gambled by going out earlier than the rest for their final runs and with a clear track managed to lock out the third row. While the gaps to the two teams ahead might be a worry, at least they are in the thick of things at the front for the first time this year.
Sebastian Vettel, 5th, 1:14.774
"I think it is a better weekend for us, as we already saw yesterday during free practice. But there is still a lot of work ahead for both of us. Starting on the Softs, we will be on a different tyre strategy to the four cars ahead of us and so we will see how that evolves, as we may have an advantage on the run to turn one and then for the first couple of laps.
"The forecast says it might rain in the race and although we struggled a bit in the wet yesterday, it might actually give us a bit more of a chance tomorrow, although the two teams ahead of us seem to be on a different planet!"
Charles Leclerc, 6th, 1:14.817
"Third row with both cars is quite good for the team, especially as we are quite close to the second row. I am actually pretty happy. We made a step forward, which is nice to see. It wasn’t an easy session from my side, I was struggling a bit with my driving in Q1 and Q2 so I was not totally happy with the job I was doing, but it got better in Q3 and P6 is a good place to start. I believe our race pace is stronger than our quali pace so with a good strategy we can take advantage of that and gain some positions. There’s everything to play for tomorrow.
"With regards to tomorrow’s weather, we have been quite good on a dry track so far and with rain we also have the pace, but it’s always a bit unpredictable so if anything, I would go for the dry."
Mattia Binotto, Team Principal
"The result of qualifying is an accurate reflection of our current potential. We can’t really be happy about being on the third row, especially when you look at the gap to the team on the front. Having said that, it’s interesting to note the difference down the few straight sections on this track, between some cars and the rest of the pack.
"On a track with very different characteristics to the one in Spielberg, we managed to get the most out of our car, but it’s clearly not enough. In the race, our aim will be to pick up as many points as possible, making the most of any opportunities that come our way. We will also have to be ready for any eventuality, given that the weather forecast is very unpredictable."
A peculiar day for the team, who broke curfew last night as they tried to decipher what was going wrong here in Hungary. Every set-up change yielded a new problem, with the drivers complaining of both understeer and oversteer at times. A dejected Albon couldn’t make it out of Q2 and will have his work cut out tomorrow, while Verstappen at least made the top 10 but was forced to use the soft tyre to get there and thus starts on a compound that doesn’t look like a great race tyre. It remains to be seen if they can find the pace to be competitive tomorrow.
Max Verstappen, 7th, 1:14.849
“Obviously we are all disappointed with qualifying. I don’t know why but clearly something is not working compared to last year where we had really good car balance around this track. The weekend so far has been pretty tricky in general, it’s hard to understand why as we have changed a lot of things but it doesn’t seem to have given us a lot more lap time. Around here you really need a stable car which is very hooked in the second sector but we are just not connected balance wise with oversteer and understeer. For the race I need to stay out of trouble at the start as P7 is right in the mix and hopefully we can still score some decent points. As always, I won’t give up on the race result and of course it is not easy to overtake around here but I will still do the best I can with the pace we have, so let’s see where we end up.”
Alex Albon, 13th, 1:15.715
“I don’t have much to say at the moment. It’s massively frustrating and obviously not the result we wanted, so we need to sit down and regroup. I didn’t do a good lap but to be honest a number of things didn’t go as planned today. I felt better with the car in FP3 than qualifying, but still we had traffic on our Q2 runs and so overall it’s been a tough day. It’s not very easy to overtake here so we’ll need some rain in tomorrow’s race to help our chances of moving further up the order.”
Christian Horner, Team Principal
“Today’s qualifying performance was not what we have come to expect as a Team and we simply didn’t have enough speed. There are some unexpected behaviours in the cars and we need to understand the cause of this quickly. Alex had a less than ideal out lap in Q2, with traffic hampering his run, and was unable to put in a time good enough to progress to Q3. Max made it comfortably through to Q3 on the soft tyre but just didn’t have the balance, and therefore the pace to set a time faster than P7. He tried to improve his lap time on a second Q3 run but with only one set of new softs available in that session he was unable to improve on a used set of soft tyres. We now have to work hard as a Team in order to get as much as we can out of the race tomorrow and ensure we have some points on the table and understand the car behaviour we are experiencing this weekend.”
It was a mixed day for the team, given the fact that getting both cars to Q3 can’t be called a success anymore. The drivers both complained that the feeling wasn’t as good in the car as it had been last weekend, and were pipped by Ferrari to the third row in Q3. Norris won the intra-team battle by half a tenth and it could be an entertaining race-long squabble between the red and orange cars tomorrow.
Carlos Sainz, 9th, 1:15.027
“Today the car was feeling better after the changes in set-up. Yesterday we struggled too much with balance and tyre temperatures, but today we sorted some of our major issues and managed to put both cars in the top 10. I still had trouble predicting the car’s behaviour, especially in the last sector, so we still had margin to improve.
“Strategy and tyre management are going to be important tomorrow starting from P9 on the used set of Softs, but we’ll fight to score good points again here in Hungary.”
Lando Norris, 8th, 1:14.966
“I’m pretty happy with today. I don’t think the team could’ve done a much better job. I might have done a better job if I’d completely nailed the lap, as I made a couple of mistakes and maybe could’ve been a position higher. I’m a little bit disappointed by that, but, as a team and with the car, we’ve had challenges this weekend so I’m pretty happy we’ve come out of quali with P8 and P9. I don’t think there was a lot more to extract.
“We’re in a more realistic position of where we think the car performance is this weekend and we’ve got some work to do to improve, but today was the best we could do.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal
“Another solid qualifying result for us with Lando and Carlos finishing in P8 and P9, and it’s encouraging to see how close we are to Ferrari and Red Bull at a track like this. The team, together with the drivers, have done a great job yesterday and overnight to improve the car following some difficult free practice sessions yesterday. The balance of the car has improved as a result of that progress and allowed both drivers straightforward entry into Q3. The changing weather conditions added an extra element of unpredictability for the team to deal with, but we handled the challenge well. We can be pleased with this qualifying result, which puts us in a good position to push tomorrow.
“With the weather forecast looking similar tomorrow to the last two days, we know anything can happen in the race. We expect a challenging race tomorrow starting from these positions. As always, we look both towards the front and how we can push forward, and also behind us, where a number of quick cars will have a free tyre choice. Managing this risk and reward will be the key to a good performance tomorrow. We’ll be focusing hard on taking any opportunities that present themselves – whether that’s caused by the weather or by strategic opportunities – as we know that overtaking can be difficult here. We now put our heads down, get ready for the race and prepare to fight for good points tomorrow.”
Gasly had a torrid afternoon despite looking really quick at times. His car suffered more reliability issues, and he wound up not taking part in the end of Q2 or even Q3 which he made by the skin of his teeth thanks to a stellar opening effort in the second part of qualifying. He will hope the team can fix whatever is plaguing his power unit before race day. As for Kvyat, he ran wide on a scruffy last effort to drop out at the first time of asking.
Pierre Gasly, 10th, No time set in Q3
“I’m pretty happy that I made it through to Q3 for the second time this year, but it’s a shame we had issues over the weekend and these cost us our second run in Q2 and running in Q3. I’m sure the guys will have a look at it tonight to solve the problems and hopefully it will all be sorted tomorrow. In terms of performance, I’m pleased that I could put everything together in quali after almost no running yesterday. It was quite challenging but in the end I managed to do some decent laps and felt pretty good in the car. Hopefully that’s going to be the case also in the race tomorrow.”
Daniil Kvyat, 17th, 1:16.204
“It was a difficult weekend so far, difficult sessions, as the car still doesn’t feel right for me. We struggled to find the right set up and balance, so we could not make the tyres work. I’m just not clicking with the car and we will have to work hard with my engineers to find which direction to go in. However, if it’s tricky on the single lap, I’m generally able to get the best out of it during the race, so I’m still looking forward to tomorrow.”
Jody Egginton, Technical Director
“Today has really not turned out as well as it could have done, with Dany unfortunately struggling with the balance of his car all day and Pierre who, whilst happy with the balance and making it through to Q3, was then not able to run in the final qualifying session due to what looks at this stage like a PU related issue. This is a shame for Pierre, especially as he had already missed FP1 through no fault of his own. However, his starting position puts us in the mix tomorrow which is one positive to take from today. We will now be working hard on our race strategy options to optimise both drivers’ races, whilst also keeping one eye on the weather forecast!”
More success for the team as they look to continue their progress up through the field. Both drivers made Q2 for the first time since Monza in 2018, with Russell in particular impressing once more. He beat a Red Bull and a Renault on his way to another 12th place, proving he has what it takes in the dry as well as the wet, while Latifi wound up 15th. With the team feeling less confident of their race pace in the dry, it might be time for a rain dance tonight.
George Russell, 12th, 1:15.698
"The car came alive in qualifying in these cooler conditions and I had a lot of fun out there. Again, I did not expect to be this fast, the car was feeling great and I had a good rhythm. It was a shame about the Q2 lap, we had some traffic and I think Q3 was possible today, which would have been amazing. But P12, considering where we were last year, was incredible. I love driving this track flat out, it was great fun and I’m proud of the boys and girls to get that result again. Fingers crossed we get a bit of rain tomorrow; we could do with that and we could be on for a good result. I am ready to fight, and hopefully we have a successful race."
Nicholas Latifi, 15th, 1:16.544
"I am definitely very pleased; it was my first time into Q2. From a team point of view, it needs to be acknowledged all the amazing work that they have done. For sure we knew that this track was going to suit our car more but getting both cars through to Q2 on merit shows that we have made a lot of progress. I am still a bit disappointed in myself that I wasn’t further up, as I expected a bit more. However, I can be very pleased with the overall session and a big well done to the guys."
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance
"Today was one of the most difficult dry qualifying sessions we have had for quite some time. Although there was no meaningful rain during the session, the threat was ever-present, which left us trying to balance the risk of rain against the evolution of the track. Fortunately, the pace of the car was quite good and both drivers were able to prepare their tyres well. To get both drivers into Q2 in the dry is testament to the recent work of everyone at the factory and here at the track, as well as the two drivers, who were again very, very good today.
"It is frustrating that George missed Q3 by a small margin again, but we gambled at the beginning of Q2 and used our final new set early in the session, hoping that some rain might impede other cars that waited. On this occasion, the gamble didn’t work but nonetheless, George was still able to qualify P12 for the second week in a row. Nicholas chose to delay his run a little, aiming to capitalise on track evolution. He made a few changes to the settings on the car for the final run, but they didn’t pay off today. However, he still drove very well, qualified for his first Q2 session, and banked a lot of valuable experience in the process.
"Attention now turns to tomorrow and we will see if we can start well and gain a few more places in the opening lap. We know that overtaking here is traditionally very difficult and whilst this means that we have an opportunity to hold on to our starting position, it equally means that getting into the points-scoring positions could be tricky."
Renault were the other team to gamble on using the mediums in Q2, but couldn’t record quick enough times and had to swap to the softs. Those proved no better for the team, with both drivers failing to make the top 10. Ricciardo in P11 at least has the bonus of being the first car with free tyre choice, but Ocon won’t be too happy to have been beaten fair and square by a Williams.
Esteban Ocon, 14th, 1:15.742
“It wasn’t a great session for us today. There are a few things we need to review as it felt we didn’t have the pace to go through to Q3. In particular, I wasn’t happy with the car balance and it felt a bit tricky to drive. It’s disappointing, of course, but it’s all to play for tomorrow. If it’s dry, we have a free choice of tyres and, if it rains, we know we have a good chance.”
Daniel Ricciardo, 11th, 1:15.661
“Today, we just couldn’t seem to improve enough. The medium in Q2, in hindsight, probably wasn’t the right idea. I don’t feel we were any slower than yesterday, more that the others found a bit more time. We’ll work on it and try and understand what happened. We can still be positive for tomorrow. We have a free tyre choice, which can be very important here, and we’ll look to make that work. I’m feeling optimistic and there are certainly points up for grabs.”
Alan Permane, Sporting Director
“It was not an ideal qualifying session for us. We were not as competitive as yesterday morning when we were happy with the car and both drivers happy with the balance. Today we struggled a bit with tyre grip, warm-up and general balance. One of the fundamentals here is getting the tyres in the right window to optimise the grip for the whole lap. It’s a demanding track on tyres and to get them right for the first corner and the last is not easy to achieve and I think that’s where we missed out today. We will benefit from a free tyre choice tomorrow, especially Daniel starting eleventh.”
Haas seemed slightly more competitive here than in Austria, but couldn’t get either car out of Q1 in the end in the dry conditions. Magnussen was the closest in P16 while Grosjean was a disappointing 18th after falling foul of traffic. Can they make up places tomorrow? They might need some chaos ahead to get close to the points…
Romain Grosjean, 18th, 1:16.407
“I think the car had potential to get through to Q2 today. My second set of tyres, it was awesome, I think we went up to something like P13 or so. That left me feeling good in the car. Going onto the last set I was quite convinced we had a chance to get into Q2, the car felt good. I guess we missed our timing and I had to press the neutral button before the last corner to let the queue go. My tyres were then dead cold by Turn 1 and that was qualifying over. We got caught and lost our chance to go to Q2.”
Kevin Magnussen, 16th, 1:16.152
“It’s always difficult with track position around here but I think we expected a little bit more around here I’d say. I had a little bit of traffic on my last sector on that last run. I only missed out by a small margin to P15, so that could have been the difference. You can always second guess and stuff like that. It is what it is, we’ll start from P16 and see what we can do from there. Given how good the car was in the race in Austria, I think we have reason to be happy it could be better. It’s never easy to start 16th but I’ve scored points before from that position. Let’s hope for an eventful race, maybe some safety car action, and perhaps some rain - that could be our chance.”
Guenther Steiner, Team Principal
“It was obviously a disappointing qualifying for us, we expected more after our performances in practice. I think that is the ranking at the moment – we just need to keep on working and trying every weekend to get the best out of what we’ve got. There’s nothing else to do in such a condensed season like this. You need to try and see, at some stage, the opportunity to do something.”
Alfa Romeo remain the only team to not get a driver into Q2 this season, after both made mistakes on their flying laps in Q1. Giovinazzi ran wide on his first attempt and had his lap time deleted which put him under too much pressure to deliver next time around, while Raikkonen aborted his last effort after an error. They share the back row and might struggle to get involved with the midfield battles.
Kimi Raikkonen, 20th, 1:16.614
“We are still far from where we need to be. We need to analyse what went wrong and figure out how we get back from there. We have quite a bit of work to do in all areas, we need to get our speed back. Tomorrow is another day, even though it won’t be an easy Sunday, so let’s see what we can do.”
Antonio Giovinazzi, 19th, 1:16.506
“It’s been a very difficult day with a disappointing result. We have a lot of work to do to salvage something from this weekend, but we will need to see how the race goes tomorrow. The conditions are still uncertain, but in any case we need to understand what happened today. Starting from the back is not ideal, especially on a track where overtaking is not easy, but we can hope to have better pace in the race, as we did in Austria.”
Frédéric Vasseur, Team Principal
“Today’s performance is far from where we expected to be and we will need to find the reasons for this result. We had made steps forward in the two races in Austria but we still have a lot of work ahead of us to get to the level where we need to be. The race tomorrow will be difficult: we hope to have better pace, but starting on the back row, Kimi and Antonio will have their work cut out. We’ll still give 100%, though, and see where that gets us.”
Mario Isola, Head of F1 and Car Racing
"The speed today was truly impressive, with the track record shattered, and once more we saw how much the cars have evolved since last year, despite uncertain weather during the build-up to qualifying. Nonetheless, there wasn’t any significant graining in the low temperatures today, from what we can tell so far. We had a mix of strategies in qualifying, which means that the top four cars will begin the race on the medium tyre, as long as it stays dry: which is far from guaranteed. There seems to be an advantage in starting on the medium tyre, especially in case of hotter conditions, so now the top cars will have to focus on making the most of their chosen strategy."