Hungaroring: Free Practice 3 & Qualifying

Free Practice 3:

  • Ferrari: Massa had a scare at the chicane where he almost dumped the car into a tyre wall. The weather is playing into their hands, the track was around 35ºC which suit the Ferrari’s preference for warmer, softer tyres.
  • Force India: di Resta’s car had balance changes made overnight and will be getting used to that this morning, the wind was making the car feel unsettled.
  • Hispania: Part of Liuzzi’s front wing departs his car.
  • Lotus: Trulli is still happy with his power steering saying he can feel set up changes more accurately.
  • McLaren: Hamilton followed Maldonado through the 6/7 chicane and missed it, and is told too find 2 tenths around the track. Hamilton, on a low fuel supersoft run, goes wide in turn 1 and says on the radio that the brakes didn’t work, but he stays out suggesting it isn’t quite that bad. He is forced back into the garage early and we don’t get to see him on a clean lap.
  • Mercedes: Schumacher is struggling with the rear of his car. Rosberg having issues with car around the seat area.
  • Red Bull: The team broke curfew last night for Vettel’s car, making ‘wholesale’ changes to the car focusing on the set up according to Christian Horner. Vettel also joins the list of those missing the 6/7 chicane. Webber doesn’t get a clean lap on the supersofts, so true pace is unknown for him.
  • Renault: Heidfeld is having fuel pressure issues and goes back to the garage.
  • Sauber: Perez takes a detour off the first corner onto the tarmac before rejoining the track.
  • Toro-Rosso: Alguersuari uses the extra tarmac and manages to overtake a Lotus in the process.
  • Williams: Maldonado missed the 6/7 chicane by braking too late. But the team have reported there is more grip than yesterday.
  • Virgin: Glock reports that the rear of his car feels ‘strange’ so the team set to work getting it sorted.

Top FP3 times:

Position Driver Team Time
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:21.168
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:21.469
3 Jenson Button McLaren 1:21.639

Read: Full FP3 Results

Qualifying:

Q1

The Lewis Hamilton braking issue was to do with the brake material, a similar problem he had in Germany and has switches brakes with bigger cooling ducts for the session. Hispania are out first on track with Ricciardo and Liuzzi and the visuals around the track show an ominous dark cloud and breeze rattling the trees. Paul di Resta reporting the his tyres are up to speed and temperature, gets a confirmation from the team to push on his first timed lap. The improvements overnight made on Vettel’s car have given him the confidence to punch in fast lap times. Webber and Button get caught up in some traffic which hampers their times, but the other McLaren of Hamilton gets ahead of the field showing the pace he couldn’t in the morning practice. The 6 main competitors have their hold on the top spots, with Hamilton half way through gaining a tenth over closest man Vettel. As Liuzzi sheds some more carbon fibre off his car Alonso pips the rest and goes fastest. Trulli sets a P19 time on the prime tyre with around 6 minutes, meaning that on the softer compound he has another 0.8 seconds to play with. With 3 minutes to go the top 6 of the top 3 teams stay in the garage as the back markers battle it out for pride. Webber is have his front end looked at by an engineer, with the aim of helping his man gain back the 6 tenths he’s off the top time with. In the dying seconds it’s a shoot out for those concerned to avoid the first drop out zone, it’s between Maldonado and Buemi at the flag signals the end of the session. Maldonado saved him second with just over a tenth. Kovavlainen is juts 3 tenths off the Toro Rosso of Buemi, great session for him and for Ricciardo who keeps himself off the back of the grid. Last image from the garages is Vettel having his rear wing looked at.

Out in Q1 are: BUE, KOV, TRU, GLO, LIU, RIC, DAM  and all are inside the 107% rule

Q2

Just revealed that Webber had to change his DRS rear wing elements, both flaps, between free practice and qualifying. Di Resta is out first for this 15 minute session and Vettel joins him on the supersofts and is told just to use his KERS at the beginning of his timed lap. Hamilton must believe he has the pace to get through this session on the harder compound where Button switches up to the options. The wind may be having an effect on the times as Vettel sets an alright time with the options, Hamilton a little twitchy around the rear on the final corner gets within a tenth of Vettel on that harder compound. Now the times begin to tumble Webber goes sub 1:21 on the options first but it soon beaten by Button who finds an extra 3 tenths, who is subsequently overtaken by Alonso who has discovered around 2 tenths. Schumacher is fighting the oversteer in his car to only just get into the top 10 with 6 minutes to go, and is a second adrift of Rosberg. Renault are burning through their supersofts to get themselves into the Q3, they even used a set in Q1. Barrichello complains of his KERS not fully charging and that someone has been fiddling with the buttons on his steering wheel. Sutil puts in a great lap to push himself inside the top 10 ahead of his di Resta again, who dips out in this session due to Schumacher’s final lap. Maldonado did not set a time and Perez gets himself into the top 10 shoot out.

Out in Q2 are: DIR, PET, KOB, HEI, BAR, ALG, MAL

Q3

With the likes of Hamilton, Button and Button looking so supreme around the Hungaroring, the possibility of a non Red Bull pole position looks good. Although as we going into the final session of today and Ferrari is the first to blink. Alonso sets the first time and goes quick, Hamilton is next and goes sub 1:19 with a scappy lap in terms of balance. Vettel’s lap gets close, but is almost 7 hundreths off and leaves Hamilton with the only sub 1:20 time. Webber’s lap is far from the pace he showed in practice and settles in behind Massa, but will be the last out for the shoot out with a full KERS to play with. Alonso is first out for the second run and is joined by Schumacher and Perez who have yet to set a time. Alonso is going quick, but Vettel is already a tenth quicker but then Hamilton smashes them both. Vettel grabs pole for the moment, Hamilton had a poor middle sector and can only get himself into second bumping off Alonso. Button goes quicker that his previous time and takes the third grid position. Next up is Webber who doesn’t improve and to make his day a little worse Massa finds the power and pushes him down into 6th. But it’s hard to feel anything other than pure unadulterated joy for the Brazilian as he out qualifies Alonso for the first time this year.

Top Qualifying times:

Position Driver Team Time
1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:19.815
2 Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:19.978
3 Jenson Button McLaren 1:20.024

Read: Full Qualifying Results

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