Still catching-up with life, here’s TV notes from last week’s Hungarian GP Qualifying session.
Sebastian Vettel made it twelve consecutive pole positions for Red Bull at the Hungaroring last Saturday.
The reigning champion powered to the head of qualifying on his second run in Q3, giving himself a 0.163 advantage over McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.
Vettel’s initial run would have left the 24-year-old 2nd on the grid and nursing poor off-line grip, yet an “on it” final blast around the fourteen-turn course – setting a quickest lap of 1:19.815 – ensured another qualifying top spot for the German.
Unlike Vettel, Hamilton could not improve as the clock wound down, although the Briton’s best was just enough to keep him ahead of teammate Jenson Button.
Felipe Massa filled out the second row in his Ferrari. It was a notable achievement for the Brazilian, out-qualifying team-leader Fernando Alonso by 0.015 thanks to a stellar last moment effort.
Mark Webber filled out the third-row; however the Australian had been handicapped somewhat by a faulty DRS and inconsistent KERS unit.
Mercedes headed the “best-of-the-rest”, with Nico Rosberg claiming 7th and Michael Schumacher 9th. The silver and turquoise pairing squeezed Force India’s Adrian Sutil (8th), while Sauber’s Sergio Perez made the top ten, yet chose not run and save a set of tyres.
Paul di Resta only just missed out on the top ten. The Force India rookie was on target for another Q3 appearance, when bumped by Schumacher in the dying moments.
Vitaly Petrov led the Renault charge by taking 12th – two places and two-tenths ahead of teammate Nick Heidfeld. The dark green machines found themselves split by the second Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi (13th), while Rubens Barrichello (15th, Williams) and Jaime Alguersuari (16th, Toro Rosso) assumed the eighth row.
Pastor Maldonado did not attempt a run in Q2, opting to take 17th place and a spare set of Pirelli rubber.
Indeed Maldonado only just made into Q2. The Venezuelan pipped Sebastien Buemi in the Toro Rosso as the clock ticked to zero; however as the chequered flag waved, Buemi’s time was nowhere near good enough to progress.
With Buemi accepting a five-place penalty for offences caused during the German Grand Prix, the Toro Rosso man would have to make do with starting 23rd. The Swiss driver secured a best lap of 1:24.070 – some eight-tenths shy of the cut-off point and only three-tenths clear of Heikki Kovalainen Lotus (18th).
As per usual, Kovalainen’s teammate Jarno Trulli was next up on the timing sheet, with both green and yellow machines some two seconds clear of Timo Glock (20th, Virgin).
A pair of HRT’s followed Glock, headed by veteran Vitantonio Liuzzi, although new boy Daniel Ricciardo continues to run Liuzzi close. Jerome d’Ambrosio was last of the runners, three-hundredths shy of Ricciardo.
Pos Driver Team Time Gap 1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m19.815s 2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m19.978s + 0.163 3. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m20.024s + 0.209 4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m20.350s + 0.535 5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m20.365s + 0.550 6. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m20.474s + 0.659 7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m21.098s + 1.283 8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m21.445s + 1.630 9. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m21.907s + 2.092 10. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari No time Q2 cut-off time: 1m23.067s Gap ** 11. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m22.256s + 1.994 12. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m22.284s + 2.022 13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m22.435s + 2.173 14. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m22.470s + 2.208 15. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m22.684s + 2.422 16. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.979s + 2.717 17. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth No time Q1 cut-off time: 1m23.285s Gap * 18. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m24.362s + 2.784 19. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m24.534s + 2.956 20. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m26.294s + 4.716 21. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1m26.323s + 4.745 22. Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1m26.479s + 4.901 23. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m24.070s + 2.492 *** 24. Jerome D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m26.510s + 4.932 107% time: 1m27.288s * Gap to quickest in Q1 ** Gap to quickest in Q2 *** Five-place grid-penalty