Hamilton dominates qualifying for fifth pole in a row

2015 Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying

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Lewis Hamilton continued his domination of qualifying by taking his fifth pole position in a row for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Having headed all three practice sessions Hamilton took the top spot in all three parts of qualifying and was unbeaten in all three sectors around the Hungaroring.

Rosberg completed another Mercedes lock-out of the front row, while Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo will line up immediately behind them.


The huge performance gap between the medium and soft tyres – some drivers found over two seconds during practice – meant few were willing to risk trying to get through Q1 without using the faster rubber.

Even the two Mercedes drivers were unwilling to take the risk. The only driver who did was Daniel Ricciardo, who’d been second-fastest on the mediums tyres, and fell to 12th place after everyone else had run on the softs.

Among those who couldn’t beat his mark on soft tyres were the two McLaren drivers. Fernando Alonso made it through to Q2 but Jenson Button reported there was no “deployment” from his power unit on the straight and was eliminated.

The two Sauber drivers were also knocked out, though Marcus Ericsson could at least raise a smile after spotting a group of his fans in the crowd. “They love me here!” he said on the radio.

Unlike last year, Manor were unable to get either of their cars through to Q2. Roberto Merhi headed Will Stevens by half a second.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Honda1’24.739
17Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’24.843
18Felipe NasrSauber-Ferrari1’24.997
19Roberto MerhiManor-Ferrari1’27.416
20Will StevensManor-Ferrari1’27.949


As a picture of sheer determination, you couldn’t ask for a better one than the sight of Alonso pushing his McLaren into the pit lane after it ground to a halt on his first lap out of the pits. His efforts – and that of half-a-dozen Hungaroring marshals – were to no avail, however. Although he was able to get back into the pits during the red flag period, the team were unable to get his car going again (and not permitted to by the rules).

Alonso’s stoppage served to disrupt several drivers who were already lapping the track. Once the session resumed a final flurry of times determined who reached the top ten shoot-out.

They were led, unsurprisingly, by the two Mercedes drivers. Rosberg was the best part of half a second slower than Hamilton and, as in Q1, continued to urge his team to investigate what was amiss with his car’s handling.

Romain Grosjean only managed one lap at the end of the session but that was sufficient to claim the final place in Q3 by two-hundredths of a second from Nico Hulkenberg. Carlos Sainz Jnr, Pastor Maldonado and Sergio Perez all crossed the line after him but were unable to beat his mark.

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Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes1’23.826
12Carlos Sainz JnrToro Rosso-Renault1’23.869
13Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’24.461
14Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Mercedes1’24.609
15Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-HondaNo time


Rosberg was first to run in the final part of qualifying. Both Mercedes drivers favoured used soft tyres for their initial run, and Hamilton sustained his advantage by over a third of a second.

Ricciardo used a new set of soft tyres to split the two Ferraris with his first run, taking fourth place from Kimi Raikkonen by less than a tenth of a second.

The final runs didn’t change the order of the top five. Rosberg began his lap strongly, beating Hamilton’s time through the first sector. But a slight lock-up at the end of the lap left him in second.

And then Hamilton blitzed the track one more time. Fastest in all three sectors, his final lap of 1’22.020 left him over half a second ahead of his team mate.

Ricciardo’s last effort was similarly clean but it wasn’t enough to get him ahead of Vettel. But he kept Raikkonen behind: the Ferrari driver will share row three with the man who has been tipped to take his place – Valtteri Bottas.

Top ten in Q3

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’22.020
2Nico RosbergMercedes1’22.595
3Sebastian VettelFerrari1’22.739
4Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-Renault1’22.774
5Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’23.020
6Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes1’23.222
7Daniil KvyatRed Bull-Renault1’23.332
8Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes1’23.537
9Max VerstappenToro Rosso-Renault1’23.679
10Romain GrosjeanLotus-Mercedes1’24.181

2015 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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60 comments on “Hamilton dominates qualifying for fifth pole in a row”

  1. Yep that was pretty dominant, well done Lewis.

    1. Impressive quali from both Lewis and Merhi: over half a second faster than their team mates.

      1. Hulk as well, 6 tenths ahead of Perez. Same with Ricciardo and a great job by Grosjean to get into Q3!

        1. @philereid @paeschli Am I right in saying that those 5 are all F3 champions? 4 Euro and 1 British? And none for their team-mates..

          1. @fastiesty, well, in Kvyat’s case it would be difficult to become the champion of a racing series he never competed in (he raced in Formula Renault 2.0 and in GP3, where he won that series, but never in Formula 3): similarly, Stevens never went through Formula 3 either, also opting for the Formula Renault 2.0 class instead.

            Furthermore, it could be argued that Perez did technically win a Formula 3 title, being crowned the National Class Champion in the 2007 British Formula 3 championship.

      2. And ricciardo

        1. Nearly… still impressive.

        2. Good to see Smilin’ Dan back near the front. Had to laugh at the BBC pre-qualy interview where they were comparing the size of his smile.

      3. I think being 5 tenths up just shows there was a problem with one of the drivers. So being a couple of tenths up is much more impressive to me.

        1. Great logic there…

          1. I can see a certain logic in the position he is taking – when you have a significant gap between two team mates who are usually relatively close in terms of qualifying performance, it could imply that there is something unusual going on with one of the cars.

            Take, as one example, Kvyat and Ricciardo – Ricciardo is slightly ahead at this point in the season according to the stats page, but the two have been reasonably evenly matched (5-4 and about 0.2s on average in Ricciardo’s favour).
            When Ricciardo is setting times that are substantially quicker, whilst it is true that it could be because Ricciardo is genuinely that much faster than Kvyat, it does also raise the question of whether Kvyat may be suffering from an issue that means he is further off the pace than he would otherwise normally be.

          2. @anon Lewis has dialed in his setup and give Rosberg a good ol’ spanking and that is just as impressive to me than if he had nicked it by a tenth of a second. If the gap between Lewis and Seb had been significantly smaller than you could argue that Lewis is underperforming but that is clearly not the case.

            Just for the record, i’m not a Lewis fan. Couldn’t be further from it if i’m being honest.

  2. Two words- rugged Rosberg. In Q2 Nico was seemingly cracking under pressure. Now I don’t want ot beat down Nico or ululate about Lewis, but the whole line of “Lewis did a better job” is getting a bit tired now. 9-1 in qualy doesn’t make for good reading. I know Nico said he’s been having brake issues, but even last season Lewis had brake issues but Nico did not steam role Lewis in qualy. I know last year it was 12-7 to Nico but when you discount Hungary, Germany, Monaco the reading was more respectable- albeit with Nico obviously being the faster one. But 9-1 at this stage of the season and something like 5-3 in the races (even with the Monaco assist for Rosberg) I’m afraid this championship is on the way to Hamilton’s doorstep. I know the race is tomorrow but you would have to be brave to bet against Lewis.

    Great job by Vettel, it was really close rubbing with the Red Bulls. I was surprised by their jump in performance though, I thought it was going to be typically Ferrari being a clear number 2. Mclaren showed improvements too, looks like the chasis isn’t that bad neither but Williams for me a puzzling case. Their car is no good in the rain, no good on high downforce requirements yet it’s good on some power tracks. SO you think to yourself “yeah it’s the Merc engine” but then you look at other Merc customer teams and the trend bucks. I suspect, (and it’s my opinion of course) that Williams themselves don’t have a clear understanding of the FW37s.

    1. It’s not too surprising about the Red Bulls. This is a high down force, low power circuit. It’s why the did so well here last year. It also shows that the Mercs advantage isn’t just the engine, they got a great aero and chassis.

    2. Ferrari might have a Rosberg in Bahrain situation in their hands with Ricciardo. Red Bull looks to be faster than Ferrari this weekend. It would be near impossible to keep him behind then.

  3. It’s ridiculous how Rosberg, who is meant to be a qualifying specialist himself just got destroyed by Lewis yet again. Lewis has absolutely owned his teammate through all sessions.

    I thought the gap between teammates was pretty massive in this quali session –
    1. Lewis over 0.5s quicker than Rosberg
    2. Ricciardo over 0.6s quicker than Kvyat
    3. Grosjean over 0.7s quicker than Maldonado (in Q2)
    4. Hulkenberg over 0.6s quicker than Perez
    5. Merhi over 0.5s quicker than Stevens
    6. Both Bottas and Vettel 0.3s quicker than their respective teammates

    On another note, I guess all the ‘relability fixed’ talks from Mclaren was just pure nonsense. Sad to see them make no progress over the last 6 race weekends

    1. @todfod Rosberg is just a bit more inconsistent, always has been. McLaren at least are now only 1.67 seconds off in Q1..

      1. Mclaren are just 1.7 secs off on a less power dependent circuit, but they are over 2.5 secs off on a power dependent circuit… which is pretty much the same as 6 races ago.

      2. @fastiesty Makes no sense…McLaren have made it to Q1 at every single race.

        1. @mashiat2 To the fastest of Q1.. and it’s a straight comparison, as everyone but Ricciardo used soft tyres.

    2. I’ve never rated Nico as a “qualy specialist”. Last year was the exception, but over 1 lap Lewis owns him. This is how 2014 should’ve been for Lewis, but for some reason, it went the other way.

      1. This year you cannot pass as easily, so the focus is on qualifying. Last year you could over take, and so even when Lewis lost, he still had better race pace… When his car was not breaking down.

      2. I predicted Lewis would annihilate Rosberg in qualifying this season – once his braking issues were resolved for the next season (the problems last year was due to the make of his discs). Last season was simply an anomaly – but even when you take the qualifying issues he had to account, they would have ended up even. Anyone who believed Rosberg was a better qualifier than Lewis is simply grasping at straws.

      3. I think Lewis has got the braking situation sorted for this year. Last year he wasn’t confident in his brakes, he changed the supplier this year and he’s faster because historically a lot of his speed has been dependant on how early he can slam on the brakes.

    3. Rosberg hasn’t looked comfortable most of the weekend (looked a bit better in FP3 then lost it again in quali it seemed). I’m impressed Vettel managed to turn it around, Raikkonen looked a lot more hooked up yesterday.

  4. Alonso pushing his car was both fun and sad at the same time. Really weird moment.
    It says a lot about the kind of compromise he has with the team too tho.

  5. Am I right in thinking Lewis can take the pole position trophy with pole in the next round at Spa?

  6. Another great qualy from Lewis, seemed hooked up all weekend , Nico struggling with something -maybe Lewis is just too hot for him at the moment. Looks a good battle between Ricciardo and Vettel just hope the RB Renault engine holds up in the race. The Mclaren woes are not really surprising, I think everyone now knows that this season is a total write off , even their most ardent fans will be looking at this weekend and wondering how bad can it get between now an the end of the season, if Manor had the 2015 Ferrari engine I think they could potentially be leapfrogging the Mac’s. If there is any truth in the rumours then maybe Button should really think about a final swan song with Williams, I just can’t see Honda getting it sorted enough to be at the sharp end of the grid next season whereas Williams are really solid at present and can again be challenging at least for podiums next year.

  7. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    25th July 2015, 15:09

    Expected result.

    Shame about McLaren-Honda. Button doesn’t get through because of a tech issue and Alonso’s car breaks down. It’s bordering on heartbreaking watching them – and worrying. I hope Honda don’t get too disillusioned and call it a day.

    Nice to see Red Bull starting to claw back some performance though. Being somewhat negative I doubt it’ll translate into a good race – I expect they’ll fall down the order, but it was nice to see them back up there.

    1. *yawn*

      Yes, expected result.

      More stat-padding opportunities. Yay

  8. How was RBR race pace compared to Ferrari in practice session?

    1. closer to the mercedes than the ferrari, but we don’t know fuel loads

  9. This is the worst season in F1 history surely.

    1. No team has ever been this dominant, that’s for sure.

      1. Really? Not even the Ferraris between 2000-2004?? With a clear number 1 and number two driver? Not even with their own special tyres? It’s comments like these that make me suspect you haven’t had that long watching F1. Heck even the Mansell’s Williams, Fangios’ Mercs were this dominant. But of course you forget that F1 seasons have been getting longer and that skews the stats considerably.

        1. I would also add in the Red Bulls of 2011 and 2013 on that list. Vettel won a stupendous amount of races in a row in 2013 and no. that was not him walking on water. The RB with the blown gases and engine mapping was simply a class apart. Singapore 2013 showed just how much of a beast that Red Bull was, it’s just a pity that Webber was not able to take the fight to Vettel like Nico is to Lewis. At least in Nico we know that if Lewis screws up he is right there. Webber was in no man’s land after 2010 with a dominant car.

          1. Mercedes has 0.8 sec advantage over second best, Red Bull never had more than half a second over a season. Rosberg coming second even if he’s doing worse than half the grid shows how much more dominant Mercedes is compared to Red Bulls of past seasons. If Webber was half a second off his teammate he would be starting 4th-5th on the grid. Not second.

          2. @Jak- I am willing to accept your point on the basis that, Webber was not able to follow Vettel home 2nd with half a second advantage over the rest of the field which shows how Vettel was not challenged and he had a below par team mate. At least in Rosberg, no matter how “bad” he performs, he is able to come home 2nd. In Webber, he could not even manage that, with “half a second” advantage.

          3. Yeah, but if Rosberg had “only” half a second like Webber had, he wouldn’t be starting/finishing 2nd every race either.

          4. @Jak- so on either side of the coin we are in agreement, which is fine by me. At least there is consistency from either argument.

          5. Vettel won a stupendous amount of races because of his driving prowess. Not because he was a second clear of the pack on engine-strength alone. Seems you’re the one @davej who has blinders on. It’s the second-worst season though. Last year tops it.

          6. @Johannes– I cannot take you seriously. Anyone who thinks Vettel won all those races in a row without a dominant car is the one with blinkers on. F1 has always been about the car. It’s just a shame Webber was not able to challenge Vettel consistently after 2010. That is a reflection of Webber’s inability rather than Vettel’s “driving prowess”. Of course when Vettel was paired with a strong team mate for the first time in his career, well we all know how that went.

          7. @ Johannes- and just to be consistent- if it was Vettel’s driving prowess winning so many races and championships in a row, well the same should apply to Lewis. In any case this is only Merc’s second season of domination. 2 more years to go of winning the constructors championship and then we can start having comparisons with Vettel and Red Bull. Whether Merc is a second quicker or half a second quicker or even tenths quicker is neither here nor there- because ultimately whatever the gap they are going to finish 1st. Just like Red Bull were finishing 1st. Remember that the margin to the rest isn’t “static” and there is a difference between qualifying pace and race pace.

          8. @davej You’re clearly not someone I feel like wasting breath on. SV’s season against DR has been proven – it WASNT him upstaging SV (especially not because he was a better driver). SV had to fulfil a non-competition clause and he did it perfectly. As technically brilliant as his race was today. So you keep touting garbage and I’ll happily live in the real world.

        2. Ferrari weren’t dominant in 2000 or 2003 by any stretch. 2001 debatable. Red Bull 2013 were only this dominant from the summer break onwards, and did not posess quite such an advantage through 2011.

          @michal2009b Domination may not be so exciting, but F1 fans should still have more respect for a world class driver and world class team showing what they can do. Every time someone starts winning it’s suddenly the “worst ever”.

      2. @rm 1950? 1988? 1992? 1954/5?

        @michal2009b What about the years (plural) F2 cars participated in the World Championship?

        Or 1992?

        Or When Ayrton senna died?

        Or when Gilles Villeneuve died and his teammate retired due to injuries?

        Or when double points was used?

        1. 2014 is there as well of course. I don’t know about the 50s but these were first F1 seasons so you should judge it differently. 1988 and 1992 while by no means boring there at least pure and about racing not economy processions.

          It’s debateable how judge 1982 and 1994. Of course there were two fatal accidents in these seasons and that it itself can’t make them fantastic. However we are talking about the other things.

  10. Vettel has a good chance of P2 with Rosberg’s problems and being in the clean side of the track.

    1. watch the 2012 and 2013 starts. In both cases it’s Vettel and Grosjean, and in both cases P2 stayed ahead

  11. Ricciardo should definitely be finishing ahead of Ferrari. RB looked like they had better pace, closer to Mercedes than Ferrari. He should also have an extra set of tyres.

    1. RIC will have to pass VET at the start, which will be extremely difficult considering he starts from the dirty side of the grid and Kimi is just behind him.
      If RB want to beat Ferrari, they will have to do it in the pits, because there is no chance they will pass them on track (except for the start).
      RB seemed to have a better long-run-pace than Ferrari on Friday, but they also had a lot more single-lap-pace (0.8 sec quicker on Friday compared to Ferrari) and now they are just as quick as Ferrari.
      I wouldn’t bet on the RBs beating the Ferraris tomorrow.

      1. I’m not really expecting Ricciardo to pass Vettel at the start. Vettel doesn’t really lose positions at the start and Ricciardo has been rather inconsistent in that area. But, weird things happen. However, Red Bull might have a much better car and much faster race pace.

  12. Great lap by Hamilton ruined by that awful on board camera. Fom are a complete joke.

  13. There seems to be no stopping Lewis Hamilton this season. Which other driver is up to the challenge?

    1. Doesn’t really matter. No one has the car.

      1. repeat: the CAR

  14. If any driver in the merc its not easy to beat Lewis.he is driving brilliantly.The points table dosent support it.Now he is leading by 17 ,it should have been 34 (17 points in monaco).9 poles out of 10 in qualyfying.

  15. I was bemused by the way the drivers could completely leave the track without penalty. Several drivers had quali runs where all wheels were off the circuit. To my mind the areas outside the track limits have been legitimately de-grassed for safety reasons so another penalty needs to apply – in quali simply take away the time, in the race it’s a bit more tricky, maybe 3 strikes and a pit drive through.

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