Lewis Hamilton has secured pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix, narrowly beating championship leader Max Verstappen by just 0.003 seconds. The session was tightly contested, with Lando Norris claiming third place, and the top three drivers all covered by less than a tenth of a second.
Verstappen initially looked set to secure another pole position with his opening flying lap in Q3, setting a time of 1:16.612. Norris also had an impressive lap, finishing just 0.082 seconds behind Verstappen. However, Hamilton, the last driver to cross the line, managed to snatch pole position with a time of 1:16.609, just 0.003 seconds ahead of Verstappen. This makes it Hamilton‘s ninth pole at the Hungaroring, setting a new record for the circuit in Formula 1.
The qualifying session also introduced the Alternative Tyre Allocation, with teams restricted to 11 sets of tires for the weekend instead of the usual 13. This change added a new dynamic to the battle for grid positions, as teams had to use Hard tires in Q1, Mediums in Q2, and Soft tires for the top-10 shootout.
In Q1, Verstappen initially set the pace with a lap of 1:18.658, but his teammate Sergio Pérez moved to the top of the leaderboard with a time of 1:18.209. Alfa Romeo‘s Zhou Guanyu then went faster, followed by Carlos Sainz for Ferrari. Verstappen slipped to seventh, but managed to snatch second place with a late lap of 1:18.318.
Pérez initially set the benchmark in Q2 with a time of 1:17.675, but Verstappen topped the timesheets with a lap of 1:17.296. However, Verstappen‘s time was deleted for a track limits infringement, allowing Norris to take provisional pole. In the final moments, Hamilton pushed Verstappen to third place.
Unfortunately, Carlos Sainz missed out on a place in Q3, finishing in 11th position. The top 10 shootout saw Verstappen claim provisional pole with a time of 1:16.612, 0.126 seconds ahead of Hamilton. However, Hamilton managed to edge ahead in the final runs, taking pole position by just 0.003 seconds.
Joining Hamilton and Verstappen on the front row is Norris in third place. Oscar Piastri impressed by taking fourth place, followed by Zhou Guanyu and Charles Leclerc. Valtteri Bottas, Fernando Alonso, and Sergio Pérez complete the top 10.
Overall, it was a thrilling qualifying session at the Hungarian Grand Prix, with Hamilton managing to break Verstappen‘s grip on pole position by the narrowest of margins. The stage is now set for an exciting race tomorrow.
2023 FIA Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix – Qualifying:
1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:16.609
2. Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing 1:16.612
3. Lando Norris McLaren 1:16.694
4. Oscar Piastri McLaren 1:16.905
5. Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:16.971
6. Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1:16.992
7. Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo 1:17.034
8. Fernando Alonso Aston Martin 1:17.035
9. Sergio Perez Red Bull Racing 1:17.045
10. Nico Hulkenberg Haas 1:17.186