Lewis Hamilton scorched to a surprise pole for the Hungarian Grand Prix in searing heat yesterday, the Mercedes driver edging out defending champion and season leader Sebastian Vettel.
Hamilton bagged his third consecutive pole and fourth of the season with a best lap of one minute 19.388 seconds with Red Bull’s Vettel timing 1.19.426 for a margin of 0.038sec.
Frenchman Romain Grosjean in a Lotus was third fastest to take his place on the second row of the grid.
It was 2008 champion Hamilton’s fourth pole at the Hungaroring circuit.
The 28-year-old Briton pulled off his fastest lap right at the conclusion of a closely-fought session. His rivals had been able to test the tyres at Silverstone, where Mercedes were banned from running last week.
Hamilton admitted, “With the temperatures, it was pretty tough. I was really surprised when I came across the line and they said I got pole. I didn’t feel like that was a great lap.
“These guys [Vettel and Grosjean] are going to be ridiculously fast so trying to keep in front or holding onto them is going to be the challenge.”
Hamilton surpasses Fangio by taking 30th career pole
Hamilton’s latest gambit in temperatures hitting 35 degrees Celsius at the start with track temperature reaching 50 degrees lifted him beyond five-time champion Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio to a career total of 30 poles.
After squeezing defending triple world champion Vettel out Hamilton had on his slowing down lap asked his team, “Are we on pole?” The response from his care engineer was: “Yeah — and we are as surprised as you, mate!”
Meanwhile, Vettel was also full of praise for Hamilton.
“Lewis did an exceptional job today — you have to hand it to him.”
But Vettel, seeking a first career win in Hungary, stressed, “I am still in a good position and we have a good car for the race.”
German Nico Rosberg in the second Mercedes was fourth fastest ahead of two-time champion Fernando Alonso of Ferrari, who outpaced 2007 champion Kimi Raikkonen in the second Lotus, Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari and Daniel Ricciardo of Toro Rosso.
Mexican Sergio Perez took ninth place for McLaren ahead of Mark Webber who sat out the session for Red Bull after yet another KERS failure.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2013.
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