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Qualifying analysis: Red Bull resurgent in Hungary

25 Jul 2015

Red Bull showed flashes of their old selves at the Hungaroring on Saturday, as Daniel Ricciardo threatened to eclipse all but Mercedes, on pole through a crushing lap from Lewis Hamilton. In contrast, Sauber couldn't lift themselves from the rear of the midfield - while 'finger trouble' affected both McLarens. We take a team-by-team look at the qualifying action in Budapest...


Lewis Hamilton, 1m 22.020s, P1
Nico Rosberg, 1m 22.595s, P2

Hamilton dominated every practice and qualifying session on his way to his 47th career pole, his ninth of the season and his fifth here. Not surprisingly, he was very happy with his Mercedes and feels confident for the race. Pole has not always guaranteed success here, but the Briton is responsible for the three occasions in the last decade when the polesitter has triumphed...

Rosberg by contrast was very unhappy with his F1 W06 Hybrid's balance, complaining of big understeer and inconsistent handling. If both he and Hamilton finish on the podium, it will be the first time in history that a team has achieved 10 double podiums in a row from the start of a season.


Sebastian Vettel, 1m 22.739s, P3
Kimi Raikkonen, 1m 23.020s, P5

Vettel said he was much happier than he had been on Friday and praised Ferrari's strong recovery from the problems it had been facing. Raikkonen didn't get a soft tyre run in FP3 thanks to a water leak, so that didn't help him in the afternoon. But with third and fifth on the grid Ferrari are confident of a decent result, even if they lack the pace to challenge Mercedes. As Vettel said, however, they are also wary of Red Bull’s and Williams' potential on Sunday.

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo, 1m 22.774s, P4
Daniil Kvyat, 1m 23.332s, P7

Red Bull are back! Well, perhaps not quite at their old level, but on a track where horsepower is less important, the RB11 looked great again as Ricciardo lapped almost as quickly at Vettel. The Australian was very happy with his car and said he found the rhythm for qualifying, whereas Kvyat said he didn't. But from fourth and seventh they believe they can take the fight to Ferrari and Williams tomorrow. It's been a while since Red Bull looked so good.

Valtteri Bottas, 1m 23.222s, P6
Felipe Massa, 1m 23.537s, P8

In the end Williams did a much better job here than they did in Monaco, the most similar race in terms of circuit characteristics. Both drivers said they were happy with what they achieved, though Massa said he didn't really get a decent lap in.

Toro Rosso
Max Verstappen, 1m 23.679s, P9
Carlos Sainz, 1m 23.869s, P12

With one car in Q3 and one out, Toro Rosso could feel a little hard done by. Both drivers have showed great speed at various times over the weekend, but this time it was Verstappen who made it all the way. The Dutchman had been the one struggling in FP3, but the cooler, windier conditions played to him in qualifying - and at the same time didn't favour Sainz. The latter said the change affected the feel of his car and the brakes, and just couldn't find the same rhythm he had yesterday.

Romain Grosjean, 1m 24.181s, P10
Pastor Maldonado, 1m 24.609s, P14

Lotus did well to salvage something following various dramas on Friday morning. Grosjean made it through to Q3 to claim 10th on the grid after really getting things together in Q2. Maldonado said the Alonso red flag hurt him at the start of Q2, and he also locked up going into Turn 1 on his next run, which didn't help.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg, 1m 23.826s, P11
Sergio Perez, 1m 24.461s, P13

Hulkenberg rued the track time lost yesterday afternoon as the rear suspension problem was solved on the VJM08, and said that he also had to abort a good lap because of the red flag in Q2. Otherwise he believed he would have made Q3 - he ultimately missed out to Grosjean by just 0.021s. Perez said his car never felt as good as it did before the accident - the team didn't have spare parts to cover all of the damage, forcing Perez to run without some decent aero upgrades. In FP3 and qualifying he reported that the aero balance was unpredictable as a result.

Fernando Alonso, No time, P15
Jenson Button, 1m 24.739s, P16

At one stage in Q1 McLaren looked pretty good as Button slotted into third place, but that was a result of him running softs when everyone else was on the mediums. He couldn't improve on his second run as a software problem prevented the deployment of his ERS. Alonso did make it through, but almost immediately exited at the start of Q2 when his car rolled to a silent halt on the exit to Turn 13 with an electrical connector problem. He pushed the car into the pit road so that marshals had to get it back to the McLaren garage, but that was to no avail and he was not allowed to rejoin. Both problems were described as 'finger trouble', and McLaren have already made fixes for the race.

Marcus Ericsson, 1m 24.843s, P17
Felipe Nasr, 1m 24.997s, P18

Sauber's drivers continued their struggle with overheating tyres, which negated the reasonable balance of the C34, and neither made it through to Q2.

Roberto Merhi, 1m 27.416s, P19
Will Stevens, 1m 27.949s, P20

Once again the drivers were well matched at Marussia, although the team finished well down on the rest of the field. Merhi narrowly managed to get his nose in front this weekend, while Stevens put his hand up to a mistake on his first lap in Q1.