Hungarian GP: Vettel’s on pole again
Ferrari will fill the second row of the grid with Fernando Alonso ahead of Felipe Massa.
Lewis Hamilton's McLaren and Nico Rosberg's Mercedes were next up with Vitaly Petrov a shock in 7th.
"The track suits the car well, with not many straights and lots of corners which is perfect for us," team boss Christian Horner told the BBC.
Mark Webber trailed his teammate and pole sitter Sebastian Vettel by a significant half a second, but the Australian was still eight tenths clear of the next-best car; a Ferrari driven by Fernando Alonso.
"We did our job which is to be best of the rest," said the Spaniard and Hockenheim winner.
A key moment will be the start, after Vettel lost his pole position to the Ferraris before he got to the first corner a week ago in Germany.
"We found a problem from last week so hopefully we can have a normal start tomorrow," said the German.
The highest placed McLaren on the grid is Lewis Hamilton in fifth, but the MP4-25s are approaching a worrying two seconds off the pace this weekend.
"To be the first of the fixed-wing vehicles is something. That's how we feel at the moment -- perhaps it's time for some clarification," said team boss Martin Whitmarsh, still annoyed that the front wings on the Red Bulls and Ferraris are visibly flexing towards the ground.
So obvious was Red Bull's flexing on Saturday that mechanics used sandpaper to smooth out the scuffed bottoms of the endplate sections.
"The regulations are clear," argued Horner. "There is a clear FIA test the cars have to pass; we're happy the car complies."
Lewis Hamilton (5th, 1:20.499): "I'm happy with today's result. I was relieved to get into Q3 – it was very close – and I feel I pulled every last drop out of the car. So I'm satisfied with the job we did today. Obviously, we'll have to work hard again tomorrow – but, all things considered, it's a good place for us to be starting from tomorrow: it's on the clean side of the track, which is a positive, and it's a long haul down to Turn One. So anything's possible. As I say, I'm quite happy. Our car is the best it's ever been at this circuit. And we'll stay focused for tomorrow: I need to get as good a start as I've been getting for the past few races, stay clean, get around the first corner and keep moving forwards after that. It would be great to make up some places off the grid because it's very hard to overtake around here. But we'll do the best job we can. I'm ready for it. Bring it on!"
Jenson Button (11th, 1:21.292): "In practice this morning, the car was working pretty well and I felt quite happy with it. We were still some way off the top two teams, but the overall pace wasn't too bad. This afternoon, I still felt pretty happy on the Prime tire, and ended Q1 seventh-fastest. But I just couldn't find a balance on the Option tire and I struggled for grip with it. The good thing is that I'll be starting on the clean side of the track. Normally, that can make you up a place or two at the start, and there'll be lots of opportunities into the first corner, which is always exciting here. Plus, I've got two new sets of tires for the race. So we can still do a lot from 11th – and I'll do my very best to pick up some valuable world championship points from there. I suppose you could say we've just got to be brave tomorrow."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Lewis did a fantastic job to qualify immediately behind the Red Bulls and the Ferraris – and, in fact, had he not lost a little time on the second sector of his best lap, it's just possible that he may even have been able to pip Felipe [Massa] for fourth. Having said that, P5 puts him on the clean side of the track for tomorrow's race, and you can be well sure he'll be his usual precise yet aggressive self on the initial run in to Turn One. Jenson was unlucky to miss out on getting through to Q3 by just 17 thousandths of a second. With hindsight I think perhaps we didn't engineer him sufficient opportunity to get to grips with the Option tire. Even so, he, too, will start on the clean side of the track and will also be attacking tomorrow's race with a mind to bag as many world championship points as he possibly can."
Nico Rosberg (6th, 1:21.082): "I'm pleased to be starting from sixth place as we didn't think we would be that far forward today, so it's an unexpected and pleasant surprise. We are a long way from the front which is a concern but we took everything that we could from today and I am happy with our performance. We did a very good job with the set-up which meant we could get the best out of the car. Hopefully I can have a good start and our aim as always is to make up a few more places and get some decent points again."
Michael Schumacher (14th, 1:21.630): "Obviously qualifying was not ideal for us today. After yesterday's performance, we purposely went for a different set-up which was supposed to tell us more about the car and was targeted more towards the race. It seemed to be reasonable this morning but as the track became hotter in qualifying, it went against us. Our set-up should work better in the race although starting from 14th place does not make it easy. Being on the dirty side of the starting grid does not specifically help, but I will certainly try again to have a good start tomorrow. And from then on we will have to see how the race develops."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "We've had a challenging weekend with the cars here so far. We did make some progress this morning prior to qualifying and clearly we got the car to suit Nico and he did an excellent job this afternoon. However we didn't find the right solutions for Michael which was not helped by some vibration problems on his last set of tires in Q2. I must compliment Nico on a great job and achieving a strong starting position which is as good as we could have hoped given the performance of the car."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "Nico and our team did the maximum they could and achieved the best possible result for us today. Sixth place on the dirty side of the track with less grip is not the ideal place for a good start, but our result could have been worse after we faced some problems in finding the right set-up direction for the cars yesterday. Well done to the team for the recovery. Michael tried a different set-up solution which did not work out in the end. A week at Hockenheim, he was eight-thousands of a second slower than Nico and here the margin is much bigger so we just did not get it right."
Sebastian Vettel (1st, 1:18.773): "It was a very good day for us. We have felt comfortable all weekend and I think we were able to improve overnight also. I said on the radio to the team on my in-lap, "Mark and I were pushing hard to finish first and second, but this is your moment, enjoy it – you built this wonderful car'. It's a pleasure to drive and I'm looking forward to tomorrow. It was quite a difficult session today. I didn't have a good run in Q2 on the option tire and didn't feel 100 percent. There's not really much you can do to the car between Q2 and Q3, just little trims, but it worked quite well and I had a lot of confidence in Q3. I was able to go quite a bit quicker, so it was a good step. I'm happy to be on pole; hopefully we have a good start tomorrow and a good race."
Mark Webber (2nd, 1:19.184): "Sebastian did a good job. We have pushed each other most of the weekend, but he put Q3 together well. The tires are the gold thing around here – you need to get them just right, understand them and then nail the lap, they can be pretty sensitive at times. We'll see how we go tomorrow, it's a long race and I'm in a good position to get some good points. The first three seconds of the race can be crucial and can deliver 70 per cent of the result."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "It was a fantastic team performance today. The team and both drivers did a fantastic job to secure a dominant front row lock out. Grid position is very important here, it's also one of the longest runs to the first corner, so we're starting the Grand Prix in the best possible positions. Hopefully we can have a successful race tomorrow."
Fabrice Lom, Renault: "Our eleventh pole position. We really have a quick car this year and have been such a strong force on Saturdays. We have to build on this performance tomorrow and take advantage to score the maximum points tomorrow. It's not a difficult track for engines here and power is not the most important factor – I hope we convert this to a one / two result."
Fernando Alonso (3rd, 1:19.987): "I am pleased with my qualifying lap and with the performance of our car, as I don't think I could have done better today. The Red Bulls proved to be very strong and the gap to them is certainly a surprise. Having said that, we have to remain focused on our work and try to do the maximum, aiming at getting on the podium. We must bear in mind that the leaders in both championships are behind us on the grid and our aim is to make up ground on their points total. The start will be very important. Usually at this track, starting on the clean side brings a clear advantage, but this year we have seen good starts from the dirty side and bad ones from the clean: it will be vital to do everything as well as possible and then we will see where we are at the end of the first lap. At that point we can also decide whether to have an attacking race or to manage the situation. The circuit is very demanding for cars and drivers and you must not lose concentration for a moment."
Felipe Massa (4th, 1:20.331): "When you are gapped by over a second in qualifying, there is always something to think about: the way in which they make their tires work on the first lap is especially incredible and their aerodynamics help them so much in some corners, especially in changes of direction. In the race, the situation can be different, but clearly we cannot claim that we will be quicker on track. However, overall, we have to be pleased with this result because, all the same, we are ahead of everyone else. I did not produce a perfect lap: with these tires you have to drive extremely precisely because you can easily run the risk of going off the ideal line. The start will be very important and, unfortunately, I am on the dirty side of the grid: let's see what we can do. The race will be very long and as always, anything can happen. What did I feel today, thinking of events one year ago? During qualifying, I did not think about it for a moment, as I had too much to do in the car, but now, I can tell you it's a nice feeling being here having completed qualifying! Today, Professor Robert Veres was in our garage, one of the doctors who looked after me when I was in the AEK hospital and I was very pleased to have him here with me."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "First of all, we wish to offer our respects, along with all Italian sport, for the recent death of two Italian soldiers in Afghanistan, where they were part of a peace-keeping mission, representing our country abroad with honor. We are pleased with this result because it is the most we could reasonably have expected from this qualifying session. Certainly the gap to the top is very significant and it's incredible to see how the picture can change in the space of one week: from a gap of two thousandths, we have gone to 1"2 seconds on the same tires and with almost identical cars to those raced in Germany. Probably, we were not that close in Hockenheim and we are not that far off here: as they said in Ancient Rome, 'in medio stat virtus.' I wish to congratulate both our drivers who got the very most out of the car's potential. Now we must concentrate on the race which will be very long and tough, both in terms of reliability and for the drivers: here the slightest mistake carries a high price. Our aim is to try and make up as much ground as possible in both championships."
Chris Dyer: "A good job from both our drivers who today were able to extract all the potential available to them from the car. Honestly, I do not think we could have aspired to a better result: we definitely did not have the speed to fight for the front row, however, we managed reasonably comfortably to lock out the second one. Given the situation on the grid, I am almost very slightly disappointed that one of our rivals did not manage to go quicker than Felipe, so that he could start from the clean side! We will try and get a good start and to get amongst the cars starting ahead of us: if we manage it, the race could turn out to be interesting."
Nico Hulkenberg (10th, 1:21.710): "Reaching Q3 was good today as everybody is very aware how closely bunched the field is behind the front few teams, but as always, it is human nature to feel that more could have been possible. The Renaults and De La Rosa were strong today with just a couple of tenths between us all. Although overtaking will be challenging tomorrow, we know that the race is going to be highly competitive with the form of the cars around us."
Rubens Barrichello (12th, 1:21.331): "In Q1, I was very happy, the car was perfect and I only needed one run and was quite comfortable to see the rest of the session out in the garage. Then going into Q2, I had a lot of traffic on my out lap and basically because the lap was so slow, I don't think the tire got up to operating temperature. The tires were just not there, and the car balance was out and by the last run, the tires had given up."
Patrick Head, Director of Engineering: "It is a long race ahead tomorrow and we will need better starts than at Hockenheim, as well as good first laps. Both tires look stable but I think most of the front teams will run similar strategies."
Vitaly Petrov (7th, 1:21.229): "I think we did a good job today and I'm very happy to reach Q3 and to be starting seventh ahead of Robert because you first goal is always to be ahead of your teammate. We knew that the car would be quite good here and I have been very happy with the balance during the whole weekend. But the guys in front are still very strong so we know that we need to keep pushing to catch them. For the race tomorrow, overtaking will be very difficult, and the only real chance is at the start, but I will do my best to try and pass some guys and score some points."
Robert Kubica (8th, 1:21.328): "We were hoping to be closer to the front today. It was looking better this morning during practice, but in Q3 I just didn't have enough grip and had a lot of bottoming with the car, which was quite strange. My lap in Q3 was very slow – half a second slower than my Q2 run, but I just didn't have the grip. For the race, everything will be about the first lap and the start of the race, so we hope to get a good start and make up some positions tomorrow."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "Today's qualifying result confirms the strong pace that we have seen from both cars since the beginning of the weekend and especially during practice this morning. It's good to see Vitaly in P7 and both cars are well placed to score points tomorrow. However, we struggled a bit with the option tires in Q3 and we probably didn't extract the maximum performance from them, so we could have been even higher up the grid. But, as I say, it's still a good result and we know that we can be quick in the race. It will be important to be opportunistic and our target will be to get ahead of Rosberg and see if we can catch Hamilton."
Alan Permane, Chief Race Engineer: "To get both cars into Q3 for the third time this year is a good result for the team after a weekend where the car has been very competitive. Vitaly did an excellent job to qualify seventh, but I still feel that we could have got more pace from both cars in Q3 where we struggled more than we expected. Robert in particular was lacking grip and couldn't repeat his lap time from Q2. Still, we saw on Friday that our race pace on high fuel was very competitive so I'm confident that we can race strongly tomorrow and hopefully have both cars finish in the points."
Adrian Sutil (13th, 1:21.517): "I am quite happy about the qualifying performance today. We're very close to the top ten, which we didn't think we would be after this morning. We struggled to make the soft tires work again and in the end went out in qualifying not really having a clear picture on performance, so 13th position is a good result. We know tomorrow will be tough as it's a hard place to overtake but our race pace is good. We will look to have a quick start, use strategy and pit stops to make a difference and try to gain as many positions as we can. I always think points are possible and I'll be going into the race pretty positive after this performance today."
Vitantonio Liuzzi (16th, 1:21.927): "We had some problems with a driveshaft boot in the morning and didn't run the soft tires so we went into qualifying not knowing completely how we would perform. However the balance was very easy and we looked positive in Q1, setting a good time fairly quickly. Unfortunately I hit traffic in Q2 and didn't get a clear lap, and then lost the rear in the last corner on my last lap. I was more than half a second faster until that point so we could have got a much better position for the start. Q3 would have been very difficult but for sure we are not in a position we should be. Tomorrow it's going to be difficult to overtake but there's always hope and with our race pace we're encouraged we can make up at least a couple of positions."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "A very good effort from the team and both drivers on a track we know doesn't completely suit us. It's very twisty and low grip and our strengths tend to be more to the quicker, flowing circuits. We knew it would be a tough weekend but we've put ourselves in a reasonable position for tomorrow's race. It's not ideal, but bearing in mind the small issues this morning, to be just two tenths from Q3 is a very encouraging result. The Hungaroring is a difficult place to overtake but it's not impossible and we will be trying to get as many positions back as we can to maintain our championship position."
Sebastien Buemi (15th, 1:21.897): "I would say the car worked well and the balance was quite good, even if I did not feel so comfortable in the car up until now. At least I finished in front of my team-mate, having been behind him most of the weekend, which is every driver's first target. I think our main problem is still a lack of downforce and pace, especially in the twisty corners in the second sector. I think it will be a long and difficult race, in which the key will be to try and make up some places at the start, because after that moment, it gets very hard to overtake other cars. Last year, I was on the dirty side of the grid and made a very bad start, so I hope that being on the clean side will be a big improvement tomorrow."
Jaime Alguersuari (17th, 1:21.998): "Not too bad today and for me at least, I was on the limit of what the car could do. We found a good set-up for Q1, but maybe I had a bit too much front wing in Q2 and the car was oversteering too much. My lap times were all similar and I think it was the best I could do today, even if I had expected a little bit more from the upgrades we had here. And just to make it clear, I was not held up by Schumacher."
Giorgio Ascanelli, Technical Director: "Today's performance was a little bit better than usual, as we genuinely got both cars into Q2. By this I mean that even if our two drivers have also been in Q2 in recent races, it has usually been because of the misfortune or mistakes of others. We have worked hard over the past months to produce the updates we have brought here, which have delivered something, but clearly it is still not enough."
Heikki Kovalainen (20th, 1:24.120): "I think we got as much out of the car as we could today. Considering the time I lost yesterday it felt like the maximum this afternoon. The car felt ok, and it's a bit of a relief we got to where we are as I wasn't sure about the balance today, bearing in mind I'd missed most of FP2. We're still in a decent position for tomorrow and we'll focus on the start and the strategy, and make sure we stay ahead of the other new teams in the race itself."
Jarno Trulli (21st, 1:24.199): "It's a bit disappointing today. I was going well on the first run but I was held by the traffic in the last sector and lost about 4/10ths, so we had to abort that lap – it's a shame as that was looking like pretty good. On the second run the tires didn't work as well as we'd hoped and that cost me a lot of time. Despite that we'll do our best tomorrow, and want to see both cars across the finish line."
Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director: "Little bit of a disappointing qualifying session today. After the first run both drivers were relatively happy, but neither of them got a clean run on the second set of tires – Jarno in particular said he had very little grip with the second set. However, we are where we are, and we're looking for a strong two car finish tomorrow."
Kamarudin Meranun, Deputy Team Principal: "After the issues we had on Friday with Heikki we've got to be relatively pleased with where we are. Jarno's lap was obviously affected by traffic, and I think Heikki got as much out of his runs as he could with the time he lost yesterday, so we're still hopeful about getting ahead of the Virgin tomorrow, and getting both cars home."
Bruno Senna (23rd, 1:26.391): "It was a bit frustrating qualifying today and we had the potential to be further up. We were experimenting with the set-up this weekend as we were chasing after the changing track conditions. The car was hard to drive in qualifying and we have to look into the data and find out what we can do for the race tomorrow."
Sakon Yamamoto (24th, 1:26.453): "I am quite happy with this result for the team, which worked really hard and provided me a good car. The track conditions have changed compared to the practice session in the morning and it was a bit slippery. Consequently, it was a challenging qualifying and I could have done a better result but unfortunately, I lost some time in the last sector of my fastest lap. Apart from this, we could improve all over the weekend and we are looking forward to the race tomorrow, which is going to be a long one. I'll try to concentrate from the beginning until the end and to show my best performance."
Colin Kolles, Team Principal: "Today, Sakon Yamamoto has shown a good performance but unfortunately, he made a mistake in the last sector of his final lap, which cost him three and a half tenths. He improved continuously over the weekend and found his pace early in the practices. Bruno Senna did his best lap time on his second outing on option tires. Tomorrow is going to be a long and physically tough race as the temperatures are getting high on this technical track here in Hungary."
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