Hungarian Grand Prix – Qualifying


Three weekends and three Grands Prix! [Austria] [Styria]

Quick rundown of the standings:
BOT (43), HAM (37), NOR (26), LEC (18), PER (16), VER (15), SAI (13), ALB (12), GAS (6), STR (6)
Mercedes (80), McLaren (39), Red Bull (27), Racing Point (22), Ferrari (19), Renault (8), Alphatauri (7), Alfa Romeo (2), Williams (0), Haas (0)
It’s no wonder a poll on the official F1 website included Ferrari when they asked “Which midfield team will get the most podiums in 2020?” 🙂

News:

  • There are rumours that Racing Point have been talking to VET about joining them next season (when they’ll be called Aston Martin) presumably replacing PER, given STR’s father owns the team
    Williams have confirmed RUS and LAT will remain their drivers for 2021
  • Renault’s protest of Racing Point’s design is ongoing [FIA]
    Christian Horner: “There’s no copyright within Formula 1 so you can take photos and scan them. It is the fastest route to competitiveness as Racing Point have demonstrated.”
  • HAM could equal Michael Schumacher’s record for most wins at a single circuit: Schumacher won the French Grand Prix eight times and HAM has won in Hungary and Canada seven times
  • “Two Formula 1 personnel have tested positive for coronavirus in the last week.” [BBC] “BBC Sport understands that those involved were not in front-line roles, and nor were they members of any of the 10 teams.”

Free Practice 1:
Robert Kubica, Alfa Romeo’s test driver, is in RAI’s car; he and RIC’s Renault have aero tracking hardware on their cars
A few lock-ups from VER – the Red Bulls seem to be struggling
ALB has a new spec rear wing, and both he and VER have flow-vis paint on their cars so the team can see the differences
Yellow flag – KUB spun coming out of the pits [video]
Spots of rain
Big lock-up from PER – he’s killed that front-right tyre
VER is clearly (and audibly) annoyed as LAT impedes the Red Bull’s run
GAS was unable to run at all as the AlphaTauri team took the car apart to investigate a power unit problem
Fastest: HAM (1:16.003), BOT, PER, STR, RIC

Free Practice 2:
It’s raining but not as hard as last Saturday when FP3 was cancelled
They’ve had trucks on the circuit trying to move the water and dry it out a bit
GAS has gone out on full wet tyres – apparently his power unit problem was actually a sensor issue
GAS heads back into the pits
PER 1:43.862 on full wets
PER 1:42.470 but then goes off through the gravel
STR 1:42.380 on full wets too
RAI sets a lap time too (P3) but now they’re all back in the garages
OCO going out on intermediate wets (inters) … and heads back into the pits without setting a time
RIC now does an installation lap on inters
Ferrari sends out LEC and VET on full wets; only P3 and P4
A few more are now braving the rain: RAI, KVY and GRO, all on wets
VET 1:41.564
VET 1:40.464
Race Control: RAI’s time deleted for exceeding track limits
BOT P2 on his first lap
Everyone’s been out for at least an installation lap
Radio from LEC complaining he’s “losing the rear so easily”
Radio from GAS reporting a concern of something burning – “smells like barbecue”!
Some drivers switching to inters for a final couple of laps
Fastest: VET (1:40.464), BOT, SAI, STR, PER (7 drivers didn’t set a time, including HAM)

Free Practice 3:
There’s spots of rain as FP3 gets underway
RAI 1:18.617 on softs – for comparison, fastest time in FP1 was HAM’s 1:16.003 on softs and in FP2 was VET’s 1:40.464 on full wets
VER spins in T12, recovers [video]
Despite threatening skies, the track is drying
Fastest: BOT (1:15.437), HAM, PER, LEC, STR, VER, NOR, VET, GAS, RIC

Qualifying:
Red Bull broke the overnight curfew to work on VER’s car – the rear was twitchy throughout the practice sessions
There are some dark clouds near the circuit; BBC forecast is 25% chance of rain during Quali
Air temperature 19°C; track 30°C
Official FIA forecast says 90% chance of rain during Quali, so expect a lot of activity as soon as Q1 starts!
There’s a line of cement dust in Turn 1 to dry some liquid dropped during a support race

Qualifying session 1 (Q1):
There’s a queue at the pit exit, waiting for the lights to turn green
VER 1:16.1
HAM 1:15.5
BOT 1:15.484
Official FIA app shows HAM P1 and P2! Useless software!
It’s starting to rain in the pit lane – everyone is on track
HAM 1:15.420
GIO’s lap time deleted for exceeding track limits
10mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are LAT, RAI, GRO, MAG, GIO
Track is clearing as most drivers head to the pits for new tyres
HAM 1:15.366
Radio from ALB complaining about balance in T1 and T2; he’s currently P15
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are RUS, MAG, RAI, LAT, GIO
GIO P18
Radio from GAS – “I have a problem with the power unit” in his AlphaTauri
RUS to P3! Relegates ALB to P16
LAT P7; GRO P16
PER 1:14.681
STR P2
VET P4
ALB P7, OCO P16
Chequered flag; bottom 5 are OCO, GRO, RAI, MAG, GIO
GIO P18
OCO P9; KVY P16
Back of the grid: MAG, KVY, GRO, GIO, RAI
Both Williams are through to Q2

Qualifying session 2:
Only Mercedes and Racing Point are starting Q2 on medium tyres – everyone else on softs
RUS 1:15.698
STR 1:15.296
Renault pair (RIC & OCO) are on mediums too
(PER P2)
NOR 1:15.203
(SAI P2)
HAM 1:14.261
(BOT P2)
(VER P3)
(VET P3)
Red Bull mechanics taking a close look at ALB’s front wing
Radio from GAS concerned he’ll “destroy the engine”; told “we cannot fix it in this session”
5mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are LEC, RUS, ALB, OCO, LAT
STR was stopped for the weighbridge; couldn’t restart the Racing Point so his mechanics are pushing his car down the pit lane as fast as possible
STR and PER heading out on mediums again – will they be fast enough to get through to Q1?
Radio from GAS – “that’s it, I’ve lost everything”
Chequered flag
NOR P3
OCO P14
LEC P3; RIC P11
RUS P12
ALB P13!
Middle of the grid: RIC, RUS, ALB, OCO, LAT

Will they get GAS back to the pits in time for him to run in Q3?
Radio from a frustrated ALB – “Sorry guys, but I told you – don’t put me in traffic”

Qualifying session 3:
Top 10 shootout is between HAM, BOT, VER, LEC, NOR, VET, STR, SAI, PER, GAS
STR 1:14.671
VET P2
HAM 1:13.613
LEC P4
BOT P2
NOR P4
PER P5
SAI P5
VER P4
PER’s time has been deleted for exceeding track limits
Order after 1st run: HAM, BOT, STR, VER, NOR, SAI, VET, LEC, PER, GAS
VET has a quick stop and goes out again on new softs
Radio from VER suggests he may not run again
5mins left; a few spots of rain on the camera lens
VET P4
LEC P5
STR P3
PER P4
2mins left; order is HAM, BOT, STR, PER, VET, LEC, VER, NOR, SAI, GAS
HAM 1:13.447
BOT P2 by 0.1sec
STR is a further 0.8sec behind BOT – that’s a big gap
Front of the grid: HAM, BOT, STR, PER, VET, LEC, VER, NOR, SAI, GAS

Interviews:
HAM “I need to pinch myself, it is quite humbling [to have 90 poles]. I work with such an amazing group of people, and Valtteri doesn’t make it easy for me. It requires absolute perfection and qualifying is one of the things I enjoy most.”
BOT “I knew it was going to be close, and as a team we were on a really strong level. The Q3 lap was really good, but Lewis did a really good job to get pole. It is going to be a drag race to Turn 1 between us. I’m sure the first lap will be… interesting.”
STR “I’m very happy at the moment, the car was really strong all the way through. We’ve had the pace, it is just about piecing it together. It was a gamble [in Q2] but that’s going to put us in a good position for tomorrow so I’m really happy we managed to get through on the mediums.”
RUS “A massive morale booster” (qualifying P12)
VER “Clearly something is not working”

Provisional grid: HAM, BOT, STR, PER, VET, LEC, VER, NOR, SAI, GAS, RIC, RUS, ALB, OCO, LAT, MAG, KVY, GRO, GIO, RAI

That’s HAM’s 90th pole position and 7th pole in Hungary