Many thought that the Hungarian Grand Prix would be the race when Red Bull did not secure pole position, but Sebastian Vettel has once again claimed the top spot with a time of 1:19.815. Vettel was one of two drivers to get into the 1:19’s, the other being Lewis Hamilton. Jenson Button finished third behind his team mate.
Behind the two Mclarens came the Ferraris of Massa and Alonso. Massa must be satisfied as he out qualified his team mate for the first time this year, even by a miniscule margin of 0.015 seconds. Massa has shown a recent increase in pace, and competitiveness. Both he and Ferrari must be pleased to see that he is able to keep up with Alonso. This increase in pace has many wondering if Massa never fully returned to his pre- 2009 incident in Hungary, and is now finally beginning to return to that 2007-2008 Massa form.
Webber finished in 6th position, sandwiching the McLarens and Ferraris between the two Red Bulls. Webber had DRS issues in qualifying. He also complained of cold tires, which could be the reason for his lack of pace. He should not be in a position to challenge for the victory tomorrow.
Behind Webber is Nico Rosberg, and Adrian Sutil will start next to him on the fourth row. Force India have made a major step forward and are looking like they will secure themselves at the front of the midfield, ahead of Sauber, Williams, and Toro Rosso.
Schumacher qualified ninth in the second Mercedes, ahead of Sergio Perez. The Mexican driver did a good job of getting into Q3, but decided to not set a flying lap and save himself a set of tires. He is in a great position to score solid points tomorrow. Behind Perez was di Resta, who was 2.5 tenths slower than his team mate Sutil. Behind di Resta is Petrov in 12th, Heidfeld in 14th, with Kamui Kobayashi splitting them in the second Sauber. Kobayashi will surely be looking to overtake a few cars in front to land himself in the points.
Williams had an unsuccessful day with Rubens Barrichello 15th and Maldonado 17th, both with technical difficulties during the day. The first Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguesauri split them. Sebastian Buemi did not make it into Q2, and will start 17th on the grid. He also faces a 5-place grid penalty for his collision with Nick Heidfeld last week, moving him back to 23rd on the grid.
Behind him are the Lotuses of Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli. Lotus has just fixed the power steering in their car, and Trulli says it is now “much better,” complaining that he “could not feel the car” without it. If Lotus had a KERS system, I could see them making it into Q2. They are clearly the strongest of the “new” teams, and next season will be hoping to climb up to the “midfield” group.
Timo Glock is in the first Marussia Virgin, followed by Tonio Liuzzi and Daniel Ricciardo in the HRT cars, with Jerome d’Ambrosio taking up the rear in the second Marussia Virgin racer. There should be an interesting scrap between these four during the race tomorrow.
Who’s looking good for the race tomorrow? Vettel, as always, will be competitive. However, Hamilton looks like he is in a great position to challenge for victory. He did not go on the super soft compound in Q2, meaning that he has one set of brand new option tires, while the rest of the top 10 only have the set that they qualified on. This fresh set of tires gives Hamilton a great advantage in terms of strategy, but anything can happen during the race tomorrow.