Jul 26, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT
Is there such a thing as luck? “No,” grumble the cynics. “You make your own luck.” If that is the case, then I dread to think just what Lewis Hamilton has done in a past life, because at the moment, he is probably the unluckiest man in Formula 1.
Just one week on from his terrifying brake failure and crash during the first part of qualifying for the German Grand Prix, lightning struck the #44 car once again as his engine caught fire following a fuel leak. He will start tomorrow’s race from the pit lane.
On the other side of that coin, you have Nico Rosberg, who clinched his fifth pole position in six races today at the Hungaroring. However, it was by no means an easy feat even without his teammate playing a part. Sebastian Vetttel and Valtteri Bottas both put up a fight again the championship leader, but neither could stop him from capitalizing on Hamilton’s demise.
It was a thrilling qualifying session in Hungary today, with a sprinkling of rain and a red flag really spicing things up. Now we’ve cooled down, here’s the complete paddock round-up from Saturday at the Hungaroring.
- Lewis Hamilton ominously topped FP3, picking up where he left off on Friday, and didn’t appear to give the rest of the field much chance heading into qualifying.
- But then the racing gods intervened. An engine fire robbed him of a shot at pole, with Rosberg picking up the pieces to claim his sixth pole position of the season.
NEWS FROM THE PADDOCK
- The eleven Formula 1 teams are likely to follow the FIA’s lead for the Russian Grand Prix, amid concerns in the region.
- Red Bull team principal Christian Horner says that Sebastian Vettel remains absolutely committed to the team.
- VIDEO: Watch Lewis Hamilton’s qualifying session go up in flames.
- Rosberg was delighted to nail his final lap in Q3 to bag pole position.
- Fernando Alonso was delighted with P5, saying it was better than he expected to fare.
- Sebastian Vettel was also pretty pleased with second place, given the pace of the Mercedes.
- Make it three happy chappies: Valtteri Bottas was surprised to finish third in qualifying at a track that should’t suit Williams.
- Kevin Magnussen will start tomorrow’s race from the pit lane following a crash in Q3.
- Lewis Hamilton has called on Mercedes to improve the reliability of his car after his sixth technical issue of the year.
- A strategy mistake by Ferrari left a disgruntled Kimi Raikkonen 17th on the grid.
- Force India owner Vijay Mallya sees no reason to change his line-up for 2015.
- Christian Horner has lashed out at the media in F1 for being too negative.
- I take a look at F1’s ongoing global expansion, which is continuing in Azerbaijan and Mexico.
THOUGHTS FROM THE TRACK
After Christian Horner’s outburst during the team principals’ press conference yesterday, we turned our focus back to the on-track action today – and boy were we served up a treat. Fire, rain, red flags, shock knockouts – you name it, this qualifying session had it.
However, the end result was not so much of a surprise. Once again, it is a Mercedes on pole, with Nico Rosberg the man on top. Although he faced less of a challenge following Lewis Hamilton’s firey exit, he did still need to see off Vettel and Bottas at the end of qualifying. His final lap was perfect: three purple (quickest) sectors for pole position.
For Lewis, it is just more rotten luck that is part of being a racing driver. Nobody wants to DNF ever, but it does happen. The cries of conspiracy from the fans is completely bonkers, yet you can understand their reasoning: this was the sixth time Lewis has hit trouble in 2014 (Australia practice, Australia race, Canada race, Britain practice, Germany race, and here); Rosberg has only come unstuck once (Britain race).
So could Lewis do what he did in Germany and rally to finish on the podium? Well, it might be a bit harder given that overtaking around the Hungaroring comes at a premium. Nevertheless, a bit of rain could spice things up; Lewis will be gunning to keep the gap to Rosberg at the top of the championship as small as possible.
The battle behind should be pretty interesting between Red Bull, Williams and Fernando Alonso for the final podium position. However, you can count Kimi Raikkonen up. He did not mince his words when talking about Ferrari’s mistake that caused him to drop out in Q1. The fact that he brushed it off because it’s been that kind of season sums up where his head is at right now.
Be sure to join us tomorrow for the Hungarian Grand Prix live on CNBC and Live Extra from 7:30am ET. Once again, MotorSportsTalk will be bringing you all of the latest news, reports and analysis from the paddock in Hungary.
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