Budapest (dpa) – Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took pole position on Saturday for the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix as the world champion’s pursuit of standings leader Max Verstappen gathered pace.
The Briton set a 1 minute 15.419 seconds to pip team-mate Valtteri Bottas by 0.315 seconds. Verstappen had to be content with third in his Red Bull.
Seven-time champion Hamilton was involved in a major spat with Verstappen after colliding with the Dutchman en route to winning the British Grand Prix last time out.
He said he was booed by fans in Budapest, presumably Verstappen supporters, but said such reactions urged him on.
“It was an amazing qualifying lap and it has been amazing teamwork from everyone, Valtteri included, trying to push the car forward,” Hamilton said.
“I’ve never felt so great with the booing, I don’t mind it.”
The Briton is one victory away from a 100th career F1 win and trails Verstappen by eight points in the title standings.
“It is a rebound on a track that is always tricky for us,” Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff told Germany’s Sky Sport.
Verstappen said: “I think the whole weekend we’ve been a bit behind and it showed in qualifying. We’re still there in P3 and we’ll see what we can do.”
Sergio Perez was fourth fastest in the other Red Bull ahead of Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri and Lando Norris’ McLaren.
Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc could only manage seventh on Sunday’s grid while team-mate Carlos Sainz crashed during Q2, meaning he will start from 15th. The Spaniard damaged his front wing considerably.
Mick Schumacher also lost control and hit the tyre wall late on in final practice.
He was unhurt but there was significant damage to his Haas and his team could not manage the repairs before qualifying. The German will therefore start from the back of the grid.
Sebastian Vettel in his Aston Martin will start 10th, just behind Alpine’s Fernando Alonso, having helped a Hungarian fan with his proposal to his girlfriend before the day’s proceedings.
Sunday’s race in Budapest is the last before a four-week mid-season break.
Photo British Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes-AMG Petronas in action during the qualifying session of the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary at the Hungaroring circuit in Mogyorod, near Budapest, Hungary, 31 July 2021. The Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary will take place on 01 August 2021. EPA-EFE/Zoltan Balogh