Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2018

Hamilton masters wet conditions for Hungarian Grand Prix pole

2018 Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying

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A rain-hit qualifying session at the Hungaroring gave Lewis Hamilton the chance to take his sixth pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Mercedes timed their drivers’ final laps to perfection, allowing them to take a one-two at a track where Ferrari had been quickest during practice.


The first part of qualifying began on a damp track but with more rain threatening the drivers wasted no time in getting onto the track. Intermediates tyres were the order of the day for all 20 runners at first, but as the track began to dry A handful of drivers risked laps on slicks.

Carlos Sainz Jnr was one of the first drivers in for a set of ultra-softs and immediately leapt to the top of the times by more than a second. That was the signal for everyone to pit for slicks.

One by one they came in, including Hamilton, who had repeatedly warned his team how quickly the track was drying. He quickly moved to the top of the times, but Vettel took longer to make the switch, and with the prospect of further rain about to fall it briefly seemed he might be in danger, but he escaped the drop zone.

Daniel Ricciardo cut it even finer. As well as being one of the last to put slick tyres on, he was the only driver in the field to opt for the harder soft tyres. It took until his final lap for him to move into safety.

That left the Force India pair out in Q1 along with Stoffel Vandoorne, Charles Leclerc and Sergey Sirotkin.

Drivers eliminated in Q1

16Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren-Renault1’18.782
17Charles LeclercSauber-Ferrari1’18.817
18Esteban OconForce India-Mercedes1’19.142
19Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes1’19.200
20Sergey SirotkinWilliams-Mercedes1’19.301

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The track was dry enough for slicks when Q2 began, but the weather had other ideas. Ferrari were wise to that and sent Vettel – but not Raikkonen – out on intermediates.

Every other driver was on slicks, which looked like they correct choice until they arrived at the final sector, where it was tipping down. That meant 14 drivers peeled off into the pits for intermediates, while Vettel enjoyed the best conditions of the session to set a time no one could beat.

As the rain grew heavier, taking advantage of the first opportunity to set a time was crucial. Lance Stroll threw his shot away, spinning into a barrier, and by doing so caused another problem for Ricciardo.

The Red Bull driver had to back off for the yellow flags while Stroll rejoined the track. The next time around the track was even wetter, and he wasn’t able to break into the top 10.

As the track continued to get wetter, those who were safely through pitted and the remaining drivers pitted for full wet weather tyres. But while the final sector of the lap began to improve, increasing water levels elsewhere on the track kept them from improving.

Drivers eliminated in Q2

11Fernando AlonsoMcLaren-Renault1’35.214
12Daniel RicciardoRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’36.442
13Nico HulkenbergRenault1’36.506
14Marcus EricssonSauber-Ferrari1’37.075
15Lance StrollWilliams-Mercedes

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As Q3 began the track was wet and light rain was decreasing. The remaining 10 drivers all selected wet weather tyres but also faced the crucial decision of when to fit for a second, fresher set.

Mercedes told Bottas the time was tight for them to be able to do three ‘push laps’ on their first set of tyres followed by two more on another set. Hamilton set the pace initially, but when the Mercedes pair came in for their second set of tyres Raikkonen stayed out a lap longer and took over provisional pole position.

Bottas was serviced by Mercedes first but the team held Hamilton in the pits for an extra few seconds before he left, giving the track more time to dry out. “You’ve been quicker than the field all afternoon,” Pete Bonnington told Hamilton as he prepared for his final lap.

Bottas was the first driver around and knocked Raikkonen off pole position by two-tenths of a second. But the flying Hamilton found even more, took another two-tenths out of Bottas, and clinched his fifth pole position of the year.

Vettel’s last effort left him a couple of hundredths shy of his team mate in fourth place. Carlos Sainz Jnr, who was consistently quick in the difficult conditions, claimed fifth ahead of Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly.

Red Bull’s promised wet weather pace failed to materialise, leaving Max Verstappen seventh. Brendon Hartley claimed eighth ahead of the Toro Rosso pair.

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Top ten in Q3

1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’35.658
2Valtteri BottasMercedes1’35.918
3Kimi RaikkonenFerrari1’36.186
4Sebastian VettelFerrari1’36.210
5Carlos Sainz JnrRenault1’36.743
6Pierre GaslyToro Rosso-Honda1’37.591
7Max VerstappenRed Bull-TAG Heuer1’38.032
8Brendon HartleyToro Rosso-Honda1’38.128
9Kevin MagnussenHaas-Ferrari1’39.858
10Romain GrosjeanHaas-Ferrari1’40.593

2018 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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89 comments on “Hamilton masters wet conditions for Hungarian Grand Prix pole”

  1. Verstappen slowed down massively before his final lap blocking Grosjean who was on a fast lap… wonder if they’ll investigate it and relegate him further. Magnussen is saying the same about Hamilton, apparently, so it’s not all over yet.

    1. Vettel got a penalty in Austria, so I expect the same for Verstappen.

    2. Verstappen 10 place grid penalty and a reprimand for Hamilton incoming.
      (Don’t get upset Hamilton fans, I’m joking, obviously he won’t even get a reprimand).

    3. Yep, they are investigating now. @fer-no65, and rightly so from the looks of it.

    4. Gro blocking Ham in France in q3 , and did not get penalty.

    5. Michael Brown (@)
      28th July 2018, 16:50

      Maybe due to the amount of cars on one of the shortest tracks, they might not take action because that kind of thing would happen

      1. The Red Bull Ring is shorter than this track, so if Vettel was penalised there I see no reason why Hammy won’t be penalised by ruining an opponent’s lap.

        1. Circumstances! Vettel was in clear sky conditions, you could see the moon, count the stars, where as here you couldnt see more than 20/30ms ahead or behind. Even though blue lights were flashing, he still was trying leave a gap and continue to get a good lap… just unfortunate… vettel no so much, he had miles of clear air in front and behind him, and he should have gotten out of line… simple…

        2. Did you even watch the onbord Max deserves it more then lewis, lewis wasn’t anywhere close to Magnussen

  2. Arrrggghhh. Of course this happens when it’s Hulk’s favourite conditions. So yesterday the car just completely shut down, today a fuel bowser issue meant he couldn’t get out on inters before the complete downpour. Would’ve probably been 5th on the grid, and instead 13th… (Still winning quali battle 7-5, or 7-3 not counting this and Spain). Just one of those weekends where nothing goes right. Will probably now go on to either retire because a cat ripped a hole in his rear wing, or alternatively go and win the race.

    Mercedes pace in the wet is mental as well. Think it’s forecast to be dry for tomorrow so this could be a very interesting race on a track where overtaking is renowned for being difficult.

    Also poor Kimi, getting blocked by a Haas on his final run when he looked to have handy pace.

    1. I think Hulk could have been even 3th or 4th

  3. Exciting quali and stellar lap by Hamilton.

  4. Superb qualifying. Lewis did a great job, and was pushed hard by Valtteri and Kimi. I loved seeing Brandon in Q3. A real pity for Daniel…. but that’s life. Surprised that Max couldn’t go better than P7 in the wet… beaten by Carlos and Pierre in a Toro Rosso!

    Thank God for rain. Now the race will be interesting, as the fastest cars (Ferrari) try to hunt down and pass the Mercs….

  5. Andrew Purkis
    28th July 2018, 15:24

    it rains Hamilton wins

    the end

  6. Poor Ricciardo screwed over by the team.

    1. Guybrush Threepwood
      28th July 2018, 23:40

      Why they left him so long to go out is an issue, but mostly it was just bad luck.

  7. Great driving by all in terrible conditions, 1st time I can remember no red flags in a wet qualifying like that.
    Great laps by the Merc drivers, will make for a good race tomorrow with the quicker Ferrari’s behind. Hats off to Sainz as well (he needed that)

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      28th July 2018, 16:51

      The commentary was talking about the possibility of a red flag, but with the exception of stroll, people kept it on the track

  8. georgeboole (@)
    28th July 2018, 15:26

    So Hamilton, Alonso and Vandoorne get a pole each?
    Great action though

    1. Heh you mean because Alonso was fastest of the drop-outs of Q2 and Vandoorne of Q1? And Ham in Q3.

      1. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
        28th July 2018, 20:18

        Because Alonso said he got a ‘little pole for the midfield’ a few races ago when he was P11.

      2. georgeboole (@)
        28th July 2018, 22:37

        Yup thats the thinking. So why not award a pole for the backmarkers too.

  9. YellowSubmarine
    28th July 2018, 15:36

    Hamilton is a brilliant driver, but his real abilities come through in the wet. Surprised – or not – that vettel is so ordinary when it rains.

    1. Where was the Vettel from Monza 2008. What a disappointment – Ferrari/Seb. If Seb doesn’t pull off 3-4 Hamilton GOAT level drives in the races after summer break, he might as well give the seat to Alonso. I feel Alonso can do so much more in the same car.

      1. Massa was awful in rain, but won easily Brazil 2008. One race means nothing.

        1. Well there is also China 2009 in Vettel’s case. I think he is a good in the rain just not as good as Hamilton.
          Senna and Prost are both all time greats but Senna is a bit better and I think that is the case with those two as well.
          Points though are handed tomorrow. Ferrari will be superior in hotter conditions, most likely so who knows who wins.

        2. @thunder1115 Still, China 2007, Monza 2008, Brazil 2008 (HAM needed 5th, was there, and with 3 laps to go got overtaken by VET, but anyway), China 2009, and Korea 2010 are way more than one race.

          Since Canada 2011 though….yeah. A bit weird from VET.

          1. @davidnotcoulthard

            Yeah but he’s also been exceptionally poor in the wet.. at Japan 2007, Spa 2010, Canada 2011, Germany 2018. I’m sure there are others, but I can’t quite remember them now.

            I honestly thought he has had only 2 strong races in the wet so far – Monza 2008 and Korea 2010. The rest he’s been mediocre to poor.

          2. Brazil 2008 Vettel in the Toro Rosso finished ahead of Hammy in the McLaren.

          3. @todfod

            I’m sure there are others, but I can’t quite remember them now.

            pretty much everything since 2011 afaik.

            Japan 2007

            VET was reprimanded since HAM for most intent and purposed brake tested WEB then (though certainly not in a punishable manner, it seems:

            Hamilton was leading the race right in front of Webber, before suddenly braking and forcing Webber to follow suit lest he be penalised for overtaking behind the safety car; the collision occurred when Vettel’s car ran into the back of Webber


            2 strong races in the wet so far – Monza 2008 and Korea 2010

            I always thought China 2007 would count (one more…..one. But hey on the positive side a 50% increase :p Plus yeah there’s a reason he didn’t get a grid penalty after Japan 2007)

          4. @todfod Oh yeah I was also responding to @thunder1115, just pointing out that there’s more than one race (though not that many, and all of them before the Pirelli era, quite literally ages ago)

          5. Mal 2009, quali Brazil 2009, China 2010 from p1 to p6.

      2. Michael Brown (@)
        28th July 2018, 16:53

        I guess Ferrari is hoping they can come back and take easy wins on tracks like Spa after the summer break. But Hungary was supposed to be easy for them too, if the qualifying was dry.

    2. Cause it evens out the cars performance

      1. That’s why is not ALO on PP?!

    3. Hamilton is a brilliant driver, but his real abilities come through in the wet. Surprised – or not – that vettel is so ordinary when it rains.

      Nothing special, he just got lucky with the tyres again. Vettel drove brilliantly for 4th, driver of the day for me.

      1. Jean-Christophe
        28th July 2018, 22:42

        When was the last time Hamilton lost a rain affected race?

      2. Is this guy serious? I have never heard anyone say “…drove brilliantly for 4th” In a qualifying in my life.

      3. @david-br you’re a very poor loser

  10. Where was the Vettel from Monza 2008. What a disappointment – Ferrari/Seb. If Seb doesn’t pull off 3-4 Hamilton GOAT level drives in the races after summer break, he might as well give the seat to Alonso. I feel Alonso can do so much more in the same car.

    1. Oops duplicate. Please delete.

      1. Why do we not get to do this yet Keith? :)

    2. Alonso would be leading the championship with a huge gap simply because the ferrari is that much quicker

      1. That’s the sad part Alonso never got the car he deserved while he was with Limping horses now this petulant child has been given the tool for the job he has thrown it down the gutter.

        1. I still think he will be the champion though

          1. Based on what exactly?

          2. Michael Brown (@)
            28th July 2018, 16:56

            @franton Based on their speed on the straights and their performance when it’s hot.

            On the other hand, I’m expecting Mercedes to make a big leap forward in the second half of the season like in 2017, when they figured their car out and won every race except 3.

          3. @mbr-9 I’d like a little more than blind faith on this. We don’t know what developments are gonna come from any team, although the mandatory shutdown coming up will slow that a little. Heck, Williams could fix their aero issues and be top 10 again. Apart from Singapore, do we have that many hot races left?

      2. Alonso committed career suicide. No top team will ever hire him again. Why is that hard for people to understand?

        1. because no team or driver has done better since he left them. Ferrari might this year but Vettel keeps throwing it away.

  11. Vettel is not in Hamilton’s league in the wets, he got even beat by Kimi SMH.

    1. Funny, it’s the other way around, VET taking the PP and winning at Monza in 2008 in a midfield car is a feat HAM never achieved.

      1. He got beat by RAI!

        1. Please don’t degrade Kimi by saying that. He was once a champion and for sure he knows how to drive. All drivers will once reach a stage when they won’t be able to match their past performance level. If we won’t compare the present Kimi with the 2005 season Kimi, he is doing a solid job at Ferrari.
          And FYI, Lewis is a great driver, but there were days when his teammates out performed him.

          1. I only meant that he is the unspoken no. 2 driver. I’m sure they will have him slow down for Vettel in the next wet qualifying ;). No disrespect to Kimi.

      2. @mg1982 Lovely! Incredible! HAM teaching VET how to drive in wet conditions. VET couldn’t cope with the pressure HAM put on him and messed up. Ferrari obviously had the car to fight for the PP.


        1. @ninjenius By that definition HAM messed up in Austria 2017 and Canada 2018, instead of just having a (though iirc mistake-free) off day pace-wise (though he did totally bounce back afterwards)

        2. @ninjenius totally it turned out that way since yesterday :)
          Damn that pressure on Vet was immense until the last corner :) he was checking his mirrors for Ham until final straight! :) /s

          Like Vet said, you party today, i party tomorrow/ what goes around comes around… he has been laughing and mocking Merc lately, which i think karma making him think again, you know karma is bi… bitter :)

          1. @davidnotcoulthard @mysticus

            *whispers* I was light-heartedly paraphrasing a boistrous comment @mg1982 made earlier today :)

            My serious comments tend to be more balanced and considered than that!

          2. yeah, know the sarcasm from fan-hearted comments :) i know other one was also sarcasm :)

          3. It made me chuckle @ninjenius :)

      3. 1. HAM hasn’t ever really driven a midfield car, so cannot make the comparison.
        2. The rain equals out the cars performances, so is a midfield car in the wet really a midfield car?
        3. The mighty Sebastian Bourdais qualified 4th for that race so was it really a midfield car?

        1. The 2009 McLaren was a midfield car, especially for the first half of the season.

          Don’t think Hamilton drove it in the wet, though.

        2. HAM has driven enough to be where he is… Winning an odd race or two in certain circumstances in a midfield car doesnt automatically make you a magical driver… Take notice? Vettel vs Ric 2014? 4 time champion vs noname back then Ric? Has Vettel started racing against 2time WDC in his first year? Would he be able to cope with a no1 driver syndrome of another driver? struggling only one year, he jumped ships… to midfield car? He has the car to win WDC yet, he manages to mess up in the slightest pressure… Ham struggled for 4 years in McLaren, in 1 of them was in a remotely competitive but greatly unreliable car!

      4. That “midfield car” was an Adrian Newey designed chassis with a Ferrari engine. Remember that in 2008, Torro Rosso wasn’t designing their car– they were running the same chassis as the big brother team, Red Bull.

      5. @mg1982 so the Mercedes wasn’t a midfield car in 2013? Or the 2009 McLaren? Don’t be a poor loser

  12. The king of the rain

    1. An absolute phenomenon. People always bring out that HAM has always been in top cars. Well first of all he was deemed good enough to be in said cars and also he proves time and time again that he is in a class of 1 in the wet. Conditions that are the best equaliser we have. People criticising Ham after that performance today are just showing their ignorance.

      1. Michael Brown (@)
        28th July 2018, 16:58

        That’s true, but he also won every rain-effected race since 2014 with the exception of Hungary 2014, where he finished 3rd after being out early in qualifying.

        1. He’s also had the best car since 2014

      2. Calm down. Hammy outqualified Felipe Bottas by 0.2 of a second.

        This isn’t exactly Schumacher in the mid to late 90’s.

        1. This isn’t exactly Schumacher in the mid to late 90’s

          And who was Schumacher out qualifying? Irvine. Not exactly Senna.

          1. Schumacher in Spain ’96 with the third best car on the grid (and a long way off the Williams) was lapping two seconds quicker than the field.

            Hammy would be outqualifying Felipe Bottas by 0.2 of a second if it’s dry, so I don’t think this qualifying session or winning last week thanks to team orders proves mastery in the wet.

            It’s not like winning with a Toro Rosso in Italy 2008, or with a Toro Rosso outdriving the eventual world champion in a McLaren in Brazil 2008.

            Those were stunning wet weather drives.

        2. Felipe Bottas is the best

      3. he is in a class of 1 in the wet

        Button always did a pretty good job (though his best-remembered drive in the wet was one involving him crashing HAM out of the race and getting penalised for it, so there’s that)

        1. @davidnotcoulthard Yeah that was a weird race. He also punted Alonso off with no penalty.

          Button was mostly famed for predicting exactly the right moment when to change tyres. Mostly because he got it right once in Australia after his tyres were shot and lucked into an early tyre change. He certainly got it massively wrong in Canada. He was a lap down at some point because of all the wrong tyre choices.

          Still ALO out, HAM out and Vettel spun when put under pressure (though on older tyres IIRC).

          1. He certainly got it massively wrong in Canada. He was a lap down at some point because of all the wrong tyre choices.

            @patrickl At least he still won, if maybe a bit like HAM in Baku this year, or maybe VET in Abu Dhabi 2012 (either memory fails me or that…wasn’t the best drive from the back of the grid to the podium though he did make it).

            BUT did also win races like Hungary 2006 and Brazil 2012 though (HUL hit HAM but hey you still had to be there to pick up the scraps) so saying it all had to do with AU 2010 would imo be unfair.

      4. BlackJackFan
        28th July 2018, 17:45

        To those who claim this about HAM… How many F1 World Champions have there been who were NOT in one of the best teams…
        Off hand I can only think of Jenson… but at least the Brawn was (at the time) one of the best.

        1. How many F1 World Champions have there been who were NOT in one of the best teams…

          Rosberg? (Williams was 4th though it involved 2 Ferrari drivers suffering career-ending incidents)

  13. Neil (@neilosjames)
    28th July 2018, 16:24

    Surprised at how poor Vettel was. Thought he’d easily have the beating of Raikkonen in the wet…

    1. @neilosjames Why? Raikkonen and Bottas is both also quite good in the wet.

  14. The timings during the end of Q1 were so confusing and wrong!

    A smashing quali though, the race will be very interesting if it rains too..

  15. Michael Brown (@)
    28th July 2018, 16:49

    Last race we were talking about Hamilton winning all rain affected races minus one since 2014, so how has he done in wet qualifyings? Off the top of my head, he’s taken poles for most of them (China 2014, Malaysia 2014, Italy 2017, Hungary 2018). I don’t know if I’m missing any.

    1. He missed Austin 2015

  16. Man they were so close..

    And tommorrow? Second row is much faster than first row, what could happen?

    Overtaking is hard, but so is qualifying in the rain, yet some drivers can do it better.

    It will be interesting. I hope Ham and Vet battle for the lead till the last lap, then let it happen, whatever will.

  17. Gasly though… superb.

  18. Fast in the dry and fast in the wet in EVERY car you have driven. Good job!

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