07/31 09:34 CDT Hamilton takes pole for Hungarian GP ahead of Bottas
Hamilton takes pole for Hungarian GP ahead of Bottas
By JEROME PUGMIRE
AP Sports Writer
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) --- Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the Hungarian
Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, with championship leader
Max Verstappen lagging behind them in third place on Saturday.
Hamilton's record-extending 101st pole in Formula One puts him in a strong
position for a record-extending 100th win on a circuit where he has won the
past three races and a record eight times.
"Great efforts guys, absolutely fantastic job," Hamilton said on radio after
his third pole of the season.
Hamilton was .315 ahead of Bottas and .421 clear of Verstappen.
"It was an amazing qualifying lap," Hamilton said as some sections of the crowd
jeered him, one week after he was ruled at fault for the crash which sent
Verstappen out of the British GP.
Verstappen was chasing a sixth pole this season for Red Bull. His teammate
Sergio Perez placed fourth.
Verstappen led Q1 --- the first section of qualifying --- from Hamilton and Q2
from Norris. The orange-shirted Dutch fans in one section of the main
grandstand roared every time he came past them on the long straight.
But Hamilton and Bottas were quicker than Verstappen on their first runs in Q3.
"Don't know why, but there's just a massive lack of grip on this stint,"
Verstappen radioed to his team.
Pole could prove crucial on Sunday, given that the sinewy and tight
4.4-kilometer (2.7-mile) Hungaroring circuit is arguably the hardest track to
overtake on after Monaco.
About halfway through Q2, Carlos Sainz Jr. lost the rear of his Ferrari and
slid off into a wall. The front wing dropped off the car and slid under the
front tires. The Spaniard jogged away and he will start from a lowly 15th on
Teammate Charles Leclerc, who has two poles this season and nine in his career,
qualified in seventh behind Norris and AlphaTauri driver Pierre Gasly.
In the standings, Verstappen is eight points ahead of seven-time champion
Hamilton. He leads Hamilton 5-4 for wins and 5-3 for poles.
Mick Schumacher starts from 20th and last place. He sat out qualifying after
crashing earlier in the final practice and his Haas team was unable to repair
his car in time.
Earlier, Hamilton clocked the fastest time in the third and final practice.
He placed a narrow .088 ahead of Verstappen and .229 clear of Bottas.
Sainz Jr. and Leclerc followed in fourth and fifth, respectively, in hot but
slightly cloudy conditions.
The session was interrupted with about 15 minutes left when Schumacher --- son
of seven-time F1 champion Michael Schumacher --- flew off track into a tire
wall. He was unharmed but damaged the left side and lost the front wing on his
Haas car, which was taken off track by a crane.
There was a near miss in the pit lane shortly after as Alfa Romeo driver
Antonio Giovinazzi pulled out of the garage just as Aston Martin's Lance Stroll
was coming past. Stroll slightly clipped the front wing of Giovinazzi's Alfa
Romeo but there was no damage.
On Friday, Verstappen topped the first practice and Bottas led the second one.
There is a four-week summer break after Sunday's race, where Hamilton will look
to win in Hungary for a record-extending ninth time and fourth straight.
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