F1 Hungaroring Quali Results & Report: Vettel On Pole Belies Fighting to Get There


What Happens When It’s a Fight For the Same

9:12am EST — Sebastian Vettel (1:19.815) took pole from Lewis Hamilton on his final lap in qualifying, in a Q3 shootout that involved six drivers from three teams. Jenson Button will start third, with Felipe Massa next to him on the second row as both bumped Fernando Alonso to fifth in the final seconds. Mark Webber, who was suffering from continued KERS issues, will start sixth and alongside Alonso.

Vettel (1:21.168) was fastest in the final practice on Saturday morning after a late night by the Red Bull crew, their first curfew violation of the season. Each team is allowed four before being punished, with former Benetton mechanic (and SPEEDtv commentator) Steve Matchett explaining on Twitter, “the chaps in Hungary were awaiting set-up data/simulation confirmation from the vehicle dynamics department back in Milton Keynes, England.” Alonso, Button, Webber, and Massa were the five fastest at the end of that session, with Hamilton back in seventh.

The former world champion had led both the Friday morning and afternoon practice sessions, but was unable to put down a fast lap Saturday morning on the super soft tires. He complained that the breaks didn’t work on his first lap when he went wide into Turn 1, but proceeded to lock up on his next lap as well. Alonso was in the top three in all three sessions, with the Red Bulls, McLarens and Ferraris locking out the top six in each session, but for Rosberg on Saturday morning. For qualifying Hamilton was, according to Peter Windsor, “looking to go back to his unusual N’ring brake set-up – Brembo front, CI rear, Akebono calipers all round.” Also, Buemi will lose five grid positions due to a penalty from last weekend’s race, involving a collision with Heidfeld.

Q1:
The first twenty minutes session of qualifying began under somewhat cloudy skies. Ricciardo led the way, with teammate Liuzzi following him into the headwind on the circuit. D’Ambrosio waited until three minutes were gone in the session before joining them, then di Resta and a number of other drivers were out as well. Surprisingly, Vettel and Webber were out moderately quickly. They were the first of the fast teams to join, but were soon followed by the McLarens as well. Liuzzi (1:27.850) was the first to lead, with just a time from Ricciardo joining him with fifteen minutes remaining.

The two Red Bulls set a proper fast time on their first laps, with Vettel (1:22.387) nearly a second faster than Webber. That time would not long stand, as Hamilton (1:21.636) went seven tenths faster than his rival. At the halfway point, Hamilton led Vettel, Button, Massa, Rosberg, Schumacher, Webber, di Resta, Petrov, and Sutil as the top ten. Neither HRT had yet set a time, while Alonso, Glock, D’Ambrosio, Kovalainen, and Ricciardo had joined them in the relegation zone. The slightly cooler temperatures in the afternoon looked to favor McLaren and Ferrari over Red Bull for pole.

Soon thereafter, Alonso’s second fast lap put him third fastest, two tenths ahead of his teammate. Button then dropped both of them down a position as Buemi joined the “new” teams in the relegation zone. Most were back into the garage, but for the Ferraris and Barrichello, with Alonso on a blistering lap that put him ahead of Hamilton by less than a tenth. It was still Buemi, Trulli, Kovalainen, Glock, Ricciardo, D’Ambrosio, and Liuzzi in the drop zone with five minutes left, as cars began returning to the track. di Resta and Petrov had moved up to ninth and tenth as the mid-pack moved to stay off the bubble.

The Lotus drivers were the last to rejoin, with just three minutes remaining. Heidfeld in seventeenth looked to be on a fast lap on the super softs, with a fastest of all first sector. He moved up to tenth as all but the top six were on the track. Sutil moved up to seventh, as Buemi was the fastest man in the knockout zone. malsonado was on the bubble to be knocked out if someone in the relegation zone moved up. In the final minute, Barrichello moved up to fourteenth, as Buemi bumped Maldonado. The Venezuelan returned the favor on his final lap, dropping the penalized Buemi while both were on the harder tire. After the flag, Alonso (1:21.578) led Hamilton, Vettel, Button, Massa, Webber, Sutil, Schumacher, di Resta, and Rosberg as the fastest ten.

Knocked Out in Q1:
18. Buemi
19. Kovalainen
20. Trulli
21. Glock
22. Liuzzi
23. Ricciardo
24. D’Ambrosio

Q2:
There was no rush to get out for the fifteen minutes of Q2, though soon enough di Resta and Vettel were out and joined by Sutil and Perez. Once one began lapping, a number of teams followed like lemmings. There were no times set five minutes into the session, though Vettel’s first (1:21.095) was quite quick, and on the super soft tire. Hamilton was barely slower and on the harder tire, though it was soon Webber (1:20.890) who was fastest while not ten drivers had posted times. It wouldn’t last long, as Button went faster yet by three tenths.

Halfway through the session, Alonso (1:20.262) led Button, Webber, Vettel, Hamilton, Rosberg, Perez, Kobayashi, di Resta, and Sutil as the top ten. Quickly, Perez, Alguersuari, Kobayashi, di Resta, Sutil, Barrichello, and Maldonado were the residents of the kockout zone. With five to go, Hiedfeld was on the bubble in tenth, with Massa having slotted into fifth. At Red Bull, there was some issue with the DRS mount, which Webber changed for qualifying and Vettel did not. Only Perez was on track with four minutes remaining, in eleventh position.

Sutil and Barrichello joined him with three to go, both in the drop zone, as did di Resta. Perez moved up to safety in eighth, forcing Petrov back out as he had been dropped to ninth. The top seven (Alonso, Button, Webber, Vettel, Massa, Hamilton, Rosberg) remained in the garage, as did Alguersuari in twelfth. Meanwhile, Barrichello had KERS issues, in that it was latched off and he had to turn it on to be able to use it. Sutil also moved up, to eighth, and dropping Schumacher to twelfth. Maldonado did not set a time in Q2, as di Resta also moved up to tenth. Neither Renault managed a faster lap to move forward. However, Schumacher returned the favor to di Resta and moved up to eighth. The top seven remained, with Schumacher, Sutil, and Perez joining them in Q3.

Knocked Out in Q2:
11. di Resta
12. Petrov
13. Kobayashi
14. Heidfeld
15. Barrichello
16. Alguersuari
17. Maldonando

Q3:
Yet again, there was no line-up to start the ten minutes of Q3, though it was Alonso who led them out. Hamilton soon followed, as did Button. All were on the softer tires, and all but the Mercedes duo, Sutil and Perez were out with seven minutes to go. All six were quick, with Alonso first fastest with a 1:20.365. Hamilton bested him in the final sector, by nearly four tenths. Button slotted into third with Massa fourth, only to have Vettel split the former teammates at the top. Five minutes were gone and Hamilton led Vettel, Alonso, Button, and Massa, then Webber went only sixth fastest.

The McLaren, Red Bull, and Ferrari drivers streamed back into the garage while the others remained there. Hamilton had only used the one set of super soft tires in qualifying. Meanwhile KERS had “come to life” for Webber, who could use it on his second run. Alonso led Rosberg, Schumacher, and Vettel back out with two minutes to go, with everyone following quickly behind and Massa last.

Alonso was the first to cross the line on a hot lap, with Rosberg matching him in the first sector. Both Vettel and Hamilton were quicker. Alonso was again quick in the second, only to have Hamilton match it and Vettel go faster. Alonso only remained third, with Vettel taking pole from Hamilton, who could not better his time to take the starting position back. Button’s lap bumped Alonso, as did Massa who took fourth from the Spaniard. Webber could only manage sixth, with Rosberg seventh. Perez did not waste his tires on a fast lap.

Final Qualifying Times for the 2011 Hungarian Grand Prix:

Driver Team Time Laps
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:19.815 14
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren 1:19.978 12
3. Jenson Button McLaren 1:20.024 15
4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1:20.350 15
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:20.365 15
6. Mark Webber Red Bull 1:20.474 16
7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP 1:21.098 12
8. Adrian Sutil Force India 1:21.445 19
9. Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP 1:21.907 17
10. Sergio Perez Sauber no time 16
11. Paul di Resta Force India 1:22.256 13
12. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1:22.284 14
13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber 1:22.435 16
14. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1:22.470 14
15. Rubens Barrichello Williams 1:22.684 16
16. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso 1:22.979 10
17. Pastor Maldonado Williams no time 9
18. Sebastien Buemi* Toro Rosso 1:24.070 9
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 1:24.205 8
20. Jarno Trulli Lotus 1:24.534 7
21. Timo Glock Virgin Racing 1:26.294 10
22. Tonio Liuzzi Virgin Racing 1:26.323 11
23. Daniel Ricciardo HRT 1:26.479 11
24. Jerome D’Ambrosio HRT 1:26.510 8

*Buemi will be dropped five positions for the starting grid on Sunday, after a penalty sustained last weekend at the Nurburgring for an avoidable collision with Heidfeld. The others will move forward a position.

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