Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

lauantai 29. heinäkuuta 2017

Hungarian GP / Qualifying: Staggering front row lockout for Ferrari!

I knew the Hungaroring suited the red cars well, so I was quite confident in terms of qualifying. But I also knew that chief rivals Mercedes weren´t going to give up on pole without a fight. And what a qualifying it turned out!

Ferrari proved their performance already in Q1. Sebastian went fastest on the super soft tyres. Red Bull had also taken a step forward in terms of pace. Verstappen in his RB13 was only 22 thousandths of a second down on Sebastian, followed by Kimi in his SF70-H. Mercedes seemed to struggle a bit with their pace in the heat of Budapest. Eye-catching was the performance of Paul Di Resta, who was a last-minute replacement for Williams´ unwell Felipe Massa. Di Resta hadn´t been driving an F1 car since Brazil 2013; considering this it was impressive, that the Scot was only seven tenths down on his teammate Stroll. Unfortunately both of them were out of Q2, along with Haas´ Magnussen and the Sauber duo of Wehrlein and Ericsson.

Hamilton´s difficulties continued in the second session. The Briton went wide at Turn 4 on his first run. Sebastian, on the other hand, set a magical lap time on his first attempt. The German seemed to be on flames on the Hungarian soil. After a few not-so-successful races it was absolutely heart-warming to see such a strong and dominant Sebastian. Once again Verstappen was able to match Sebastian´s pace quite well, as the flying Dutchman was only two tenths down on the Ferrari ace. Both Ferrari and Red Bull drivers stayed in the garage at the end of the session, whilst the Mercedes teammates came out for the second run. Hamilton went fastest by a tenth of a second to Sebastian. Verstappen was third and Kimi fourth. McLaren had also made an improvement in terms of pace, as both Alonso and Vandoorne made it among the top ten. Toro Rosso´s Sainz took the last spot in Q3. This time the pinks didn´t make it in Q3. Along with Ocon and Perez eliminated were Renault´s Palmer, Toro Rosso´s Kvyat and Haas´ Grosjean.

Sebastian was absolutely untouchable in the last session. He set a blistering lap time -a new outright lap record for the Hungaroring! Bottas in his Mercedes was second, already over three tenths down on the storming Sebastian. Title rival Hamilton, who had been targeting a record-equalling 68th pole, abandoned his first attempt after sliding off the road at Turn 4. The Briton repeatedly complained about vibration on the team radio. Kimi, too, had a lock-up on his first run, and the Iceman was six tenths down on his teammate, ending up in modest P5 on his first run. Hamilton managed to improve his lap time on his second run -but he only made it in P3! Kimi underlined Ferrari´s dominance as he lapped just 0.168s slower than his teammate to complete the Italian team´s third front row lockout of the season! Without a small mistake in the middle sector Kimi could have challenged his teammate for pole. Bottas was the quicker of the two Silver Arrows drivers, lapping 0.2s slower than Sebastian. The Mercedes drivers had to settle for the second row this time. Verstappen was the quicker of the Red Bull teammates, who were never quite in the mix for pole. Once again Renault´s Hulkenberg was impressive seventh, followed by the McLaren duo of Alonso and Vandoorne. Toro Rosso´s Sainz rounded out the top ten.

After such a dominant qualifying, I don´t expect anything less than a 1-2 for Ferrari in tomorrow´s race! Sebastian really needs the victory to extend his lead in the championship standings, going into the summer break. Hopefully there won´t be any tyre issues this time... A clean start will be the key to a successful race. I really hope to see Sebastian standing on the top step of the podium! Accompanied by teammate Kimi and certain Max Verstappen please! ;)

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