Hamilton takes unexpected Mercedes pole in wet session

World Championship leader Lewis Hamilton took a stunning and unexpected pole position for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

With the full qualifying session run in wet conditions the Brit was able to cox the required effort out his car as he and team mate Valtteri Bottas took a Mercedes 1-2 for the race tomorrow.

After struggling during practice for pace, with Hamilton especially struggling and consistently half a second down on Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, the front row lock out was not anticipated to say the least.

Kimi Raikkonen also out qualified his team mate Vettel for the first time since the season opener in Melbourne while Red Bull, who were expecting to be competitive here, were seventh with Verstappen and only P12 with Daniel Ricciardo who was eliminated in Q2.

On a day when the world learned they have gone into administration Force India had a qualifying to forget with both Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon knocked out in Q1 along with Charles Leclerc, Sergey Sirotkin and Stoffel Vandoorne who was eliminated in Q1 for the five race in a row as his future in the sport looks to get shakier by the session.

The end of Q1 was frantic as the track dried up. Ricciardo was nearly eliminated at the first hurdle but sneaked through in P12 after the team went with dry tyres on a then drying track. Q2 seen the rain come back again and the Aussie was not able to make up the time and was eliminated along with Fernando Alonso, Nico Hulkenberg, Marcus Ericsson and Lance Stroll, the Canadian having an off track excursion that seen him require a new front wing. The result of seeing Ricciardo and Hulkenberg, two drivers expected to be in Q3, meant that Toro Rosso got both drivers into the top ten.

The final session seen full wets required as the rain continued around the Budapest track. Verstappen was the first to set a time but Bottas smashed that by 1.2 seconds moments later. On the second runs Raikkonen then found half a second. The Finn was looking likely for the pole before Hamilton snatched it away with a brilliant lap on fresh wet tyres. Bottas was also quicker than his Finnish counterpart as Vettel could only manage fourth.

Carlos Sainz, who’s future is currently being speculated also, took a brilliant fifth while Pierre Gasly was an amazing sixth ahead of Verstappen. Hartley, in his first Q3 ever, was eight ahead of Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean in the Haas car’s rounding out the top ten.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff said afterwards to Sky Sports F1 “In the dry we didn’t have the pace but we could see we had a pace advantage in the wet.”

However with tomorrow’s forecast to return to hot and sunny weather the prospect of an exciting race before the summer break is set. Race start is 2.10pm UK time, check local listings for the start time in your country.

Andrew Campbell
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Picture Credit: Sky Sports