Skip to content

Rosberg beats rain, red flags and Vettel for Hungary pole

Jul 26, 2014, 9:10 AM EST

Hungary F1 GP Auto Racing

Nico Rosberg has secured his fifth pole position in six races in Hungary today after seeing off the challenge of Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas in the final stage of qualifying.

After seeing teammate Lewis Hamilton pull over in Q1 thanks to an engine fire, Rosberg then had to contend with a brief rain shower and a red flag in Q3 en route to pole position, but he eventually gapped the field by a convincing four-tenths of a second.

Q1 began in slightly cooler conditions to practice, with the track temperature dropping under a cover of cloud. Most of the drivers opted to head out early to post a banker lap time, but Pastor Maldonado’s session lasted all of two minutes. The Lotus came to a halt at the penultimate corner, meaning that he will start tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix from the back of the grid.

He will be joined there by Lewis Hamilton, who suffered yet more disastrous luck in qualifying when his engine caught fire. He was forced to abandon his car in the pit lane, and for the second weekend in a row, he will face an almighty struggle to beat Rosberg in the race tomorrow.

It seemed likely that the remaining four places in the dropzone would be taken by the Marussia and Caterham cars, but Jules Bianchi had other ideas. The Frenchman found half a second in the final sector of his lap to knock out Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, who had remained in the pits and opted not to run again. The Finn was furious to have dropped out in Q1, and he will start tomorrow’s race from 17th place. Kamui Kobayashi, Max Chilton and Marcus Ericsson could not make it through, though.

Bianchi was quick out of the blocks to set a time in Q2, but it was Valtteri Bottas who set the early pace for Williams. Rosberg soon took Mercedes back to the top of the timesheets by going six-tenths of a second faster than the Finn, though. Sebastian Vettel slotted into second place, a further three-tenths back from his compatriot after the first run in Q2.

Sergio Perez’s session came to an early end after a hydraulic leak on his Force India car forced him to get out of the car with just one lap time on the board. He eventually was classified in 13th place, with teammate Nico Hulkenberg sneaking into the top ten.

On the final set of runs, none of the drivers in the dropzone managed to improve, with Daniil Kvyat spinning on his final lap to qualify 11th. Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez put in a good display for Sauber to qualify 12th and 14th respectively ahead of Romain Grosjean and Jules Bianchi.

As Q3 got underway, light rain began to fall over the Hungaroring, making it a race against time to get in a lap time and beat the weather. Rosberg was the first to head out, and was having to wrestle with his Mercedes in the slippery conditions. Just as he ran wide at the first corner, Kevin Magnussen shunted his McLaren in the wall, bringing out the red flag with ten minutes left on the clock. Thankfully, he walked away unharmed, but was disappointed to see his session end in such fashion.

The session resumed some ten minutes later with dry tires fitted to the cars despite the brief shower. Rosberg was the first to head out once again, but his first time was well off the pace. The drivers were able to push for more than one lap as the track continued to improve, seeing them trade fastest times for P1. Rosberg took to top spot with three minutes to go ahead of Vettel and Bottas, but there was still time for his effort to be bettered.

Bottas moved up to second place with his final effort, leaving the battle between Rosberg and Vettel. Although the Red Bull driver managed to move up to P1 for a few seconds, it did not last any longer as Rosberg improved through all three sectors to secure his sixth pole position of the season.

Daniel Ricciardo will start the race behind Bottas in fourth place, with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa behind him on the third row of the grid. Jenson Button will start seventh for McLaren with Jean-Eric Vergne in eighth ahead of Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen.

It wasn’t easy for Rosberg, but once again he was the man to beat in qualifying, capitalizing on the misfortune of his rivals to secure pole position at the Hungaroring. However, he will now need to convert it into a race win on Sunday if he is to extend his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship over Hamilton, who may have to start from the pit lane.

Join us for the Hungarian Grand Prix live on CNBC and Live Extra tomorrow from 7:30am ET.

Latest Posts
  1. Allison pleased with Ferrari race pace in testing

    Mar 1, 2015, 11:00 AM EST

    Raikkonen 13 Getty Images

    Ferrari technical director says that the SF15-T is working as expected.

  2. Maldonado hoping to fight with Red Bull and Ferrari in 2015

    Mar 1, 2015, 10:00 AM EST

    Maldonado 13 Getty Images

    Maldonado confident Lotus has made a big improvement after miserable 2014.

  3. Boullier expects McLaren to be up to speed by Spanish GP

    Mar 1, 2015, 9:00 AM EST

    AUTO-PRIX-F1-ESP-TEST-MCLAREN Getty Images

    Team racing director admits that it is behind schedule after a difficult winter.

  4. Lewis Hamilton explains decision to reject #1 for 2015

    Mar 1, 2015, 8:00 AM EST

    F1 Testing In Barcelona - Day Three Getty Images

    British driver says that sticking with #44 means far more to him than having the number designated for the world champion.

  5. FR3.5: Facu Regalia signs with Zeta Corse for 2015

    Feb 28, 2015, 5:00 PM EST

    © GP2 Media Service © GP2 Media Service

    Argentinian driver confirms his plans for the new season after a difficult 2014 with Hilmer Motorsport.

  6. Barcelona F1 2nd Test Paddock Notebook – Saturday

    Feb 28, 2015, 4:00 PM EST

    Sainz 282a Getty Images

    A full round-up from the penultimate day of F1 pre-season testing in Barcelona.

  7. Vergne enjoys first Ferrari run-out in Adelaide show run

    Feb 28, 2015, 3:30 PM EST

    V8 Supercars Clipsal 500 - Race 1 & 2 Getty Images

    Frenchman joined the team as a test driver for the 2015 season.

  8. More birthdays: Aldo Andretti, Bourdais, Hawksworth, Bachelart, Minassian, Leitzinger, Liddell

    Feb 28, 2015, 3:11 PM EST

    BourdaisTOR12 AP

    Bourdais, Hawksworth, Aldo Andretti and more all have birthdays today, February 28.

  9. Hamilton: “It wasn’t a particularly spectacular day”

    Feb 28, 2015, 3:00 PM EST

    Hamilton 282a Getty Images

    Despite posting a time that, when adjusted to account for tire compounds, could be 1.4 seconds quicker than the rest of the field, the Briton was unenthused about his performance.

  10. UPDATED: #AirJosef: Newgarden dunks with Pacers Power Pack (VIDEO)

    Feb 28, 2015, 2:30 PM EST

    AirNewgy AP

    How well does Josef Newgarden dunk? Find out in video he does with Indiana Pacers “Power Pack.”

  11. Sainz Jr. boosted by productive day for Toro Rosso

    Feb 28, 2015, 2:30 PM EST

    Sainz 282 Getty Images

    Today was Sainz’s last run in the Toro Rosso before his F1 debut at the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.

  12. Kevin Magnussen wanted Corvette Le Mans drive alongside his father, Jan

    Feb 28, 2015, 2:15 PM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Malaysia - Qualifying Getty Images

    Danish driver reveals he received the call to say he would not be racing in F1 very late, preventing him from securing a drive elsewhere in 2015.

  13. “Focus” light on IndyCar content, but oozes enough cool to enhance “cool factor”

    Feb 28, 2015, 2:00 PM EST

    FocusLede AP

    Is “Focus” IndyCar-focused? No. Is it cool to have IndyCar as a part of a Will Smith movie? Definitely.

  14. Massa positive after final winter testing run for Williams

    Feb 28, 2015, 1:30 PM EST

    F1 Testing In Barcelona - Day Three Getty Images

    Brazilian driver finishes second on day three of the final test in Barcelona, two-tenths of a second behind pace-setter Lewis Hamilton.

  15. Hulkenberg surprised by Force India mileage in Barcelona

    Feb 28, 2015, 1:00 PM EST

    Hulkenberg 282 Getty Images

    German driver completes 234 laps in just a day and a half in Barcelona as he continues to learn about the VJM08.

  16. Hamilton fastest as Mercedes impresses again on day three

    Feb 28, 2015, 12:02 PM EST

    Hamilton 282 Getty Images

    British driver finishes two-tenths of a second clear of Felipe Massa on the penultimate day of pre-season testing in Barcelona.

  17. Vettel left wanting more from Ferrari SF15-T in testing

    Feb 28, 2015, 11:00 AM EST

    F1 Testing In Barcelona - Day Two Getty Images

    Four-time world champion will get his final test run in the new Ferrari on Sunday ahead of his grand prix debut for the team next month.

  18. Button: 100 laps felt like 1,000 to McLaren on Friday

    Feb 28, 2015, 10:00 AM EST

    Button 282 Getty Images

    British driver delighted with breakthrough after a miserable winter testing programme.

  19. Happy 75th birthday to one of the best ever, Mario Andretti

    Feb 28, 2015, 9:00 AM EST

    Indianapolis 500 Parade Getty Images

    We wish Mario Andretti, one of the all-time greats, a happy 75th birthday.

  20. Manor Marussia “very close” to racing in Australian GP

    Feb 28, 2015, 8:00 AM EST

    F1 Grand Prix of Russia - Qualifying Getty Images

    Team founder John Booth is confident that the revived outfit will race in the Australian Grand Prix on March 15.