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Hamilton leads surprise front row lock-out in Hungary

NEWS STORY
28/07/2018

As is so often the case with F1, events away from the race track almost overshadowed the track action earlier, as it was confirmed that Force India has gone into administration.

Surely, however, it is merely coincidence that since it was confirmed earlier that Sergio Perez was behind the legal action, the Mexican finished 19th in this morning's session.

As expected, Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari led the way, however, Valtteri Bottas gave the German a run for his money, finishing just 0.059s off the pace.

However, on their qualifying sims as they pushed ever harder to close the gap to Ferrari, both Silvers Arrows driver spun, both at the chicane, and when advised of Vettel's best time, Lewis Hamilton admitted "I haven't got the grip".

With Ferrari so strong here, Mercedes really does need to up its game this afternoon, for waiting in the wings is Red Bull, the Austrian outfit aware that the Hungaroring is one of those track on which it should shine.

Should one or both of the Bull qualify ahead of Hamilton, the Briton will face a nightmare race this afternoon, for on a circuit that has never been overtaking friendly he will find it far harder to make up lost ground than he did in Germany last week.

Giving Red Bull even more impetus earlier, Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul suggested that the Red Bull team will have the benefit of an engine mode similar to that enjoyed by Mercedes and Ferrari.

The midfield fight is as gloriously manic as ever, and while Carlos Sainz was best of the rest this morning, the order seems to change with the wind, with Haas, Renault, Toro Rosso and Sauber all looking strong thus far.

To further spice things up, half-an-hour before the start of Q1, the heavens open up.

Ahead of Q1, the air temperature is 27 degrees C, while the track temperature is 34 degrees.

Even as the rain falls, race control confirms that there is an 80% chance of rain.

Despite the rain, such is the heat the drivers should be able to get away with slicks quite early on.

The lights go green and Leclerc leads the Mercedes duo out on to the track, with Raikkonen right behind. All are on Inters. The Bulls stay ut until everyone else has gone out, Verstappen leaving it worryingly late.

Hamilton is warned of rain approaching T14.

"It's very dry in 6 and 7," says Raikkonen, "at least it looks dry."

As Verstappen finally leaves his garage, Bottas posts the first time of the afternoon (27.245).

Hamilton posts 26.847 and Raikkonen 25.988.

Hulkenberg goes third, ahead of Bottas, Leclerc, Ocon and Ericsson.

Hamilton complains that his tyres are overheating.

A 26.303 sees Vettel go second, the German listing the condition of the various corners, while calling on his team to have another set of Inters ready.

Ricciardo can only manage 11th (28.700), as Verstappen posts 27.304 to go sixth.

Sainz is first to pit, as Hamilton warns that his tyres are falling apart.

"More rain is coming soon," Vettel is told. "How soon," he replies. "Minutes," he is told.

Sainz heads out again, now sporting ultras, Hartley, Hulkenberg and Magnussen also.

As Ericsson pits for slicks, lightning rakes across the sky.

Vettel improves to 25.176, as attention switches to Sainz.

The Spaniard only manages a PB in S1, as does Magnussen. In S2 however he goes quickest, while Magnussen maintains his pace.

Sainz goes quickest with a 22.476, as Raikkonen switches to ultras, along with the rest.

As they all switch to ultras the thunder can be heard and the lightning seen, but no more rain.

Hulkenberg goes quickest and Ericsson second.

"I think it's started to rain again," warns Raikkonen.

Bottas goes quickest in S1 as Verstappen also looks quick.

Grosjean goes quickest as the times tumble.

A 19.828 sees Raikkonen go quickest, ahead of Bottas only for Hartley to split the pair.

Verstappen goes second and Hamilton third as Sainz improves to 19.642 to go top.

Vettel improves from nineteenth to third with a 19.878.

Currently 20th, Ricciardo is on the softs.

Verstappen posts 18.673 to go second to Raikkonen, as Hulkenberg improves to fifth.

Ricciardo can only manage 17th (22.775).

As the clock counts down, Magnussen, Leclerc, Ricciardo, Perez and Sirotkin comprise the drop zone.

Perez improves to 13th as Hartley goes fifth.

Ricciardo improves to twelfth.

The thunder and lightning continue but still no sign of the rain.

Vettel goes quickest with a 17.670 but moments later Raikkonen demotes him with a 17.526.

Fastest in the first two sectors, Hamilton goes quickest with a 17.419.

"Is it going to rain or not," asks Vettel. "No more rain," he is told.

Alonso goes sixth with an 18.208 as Ricciardo finally finds some pace. The Australian posts PBs in all three sectors to go 13th (18.811).

Leclerc improves to 14th just as the chequered flag is waved.

Vettel goes quickest (16.666), as Sirotkin fails to improve.

"You should've told me I was running out of time," says Hamilton.

Magnussen goes 10th while Verstappen goes second, ahead of Bottas and Hamilton.

Quickest is Vettel, ahead of Verstappen, Bottas, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Sainz, Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Alonso and Magnussen.

We lose Vandoorne, Leclerc, Ocon, Perez and Sirotkin.

Check out our Saturday gallery from the Hungaroring, here.

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1. Posted by Daydah, 28/07/2018 19:29

"Why is it beyond the wit of these super sophisticated teams to post observers round the course to report the arrival of rain and the track conditions?"

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by klmn, 28/07/2018 15:50

"Lewis is god not just a god but the upper god ."

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