Muscat Daily - - PRESS RELEASES -

Bu­da­pest, Hun­gary - Cham­pi­onship leader Se­bas­tian Vet­tel grabbed pole po­si­tion for Sun­day’s Hun­gar­ian Grand Prix as Fer­rari locked out the front row of the grid in a tense, dra­matic and record-break­ing qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion on Satur­day.

The 30 year old four-time cham­pion clocked a best lap of one minute 16.276 sec­onds to se­cure his third pole at the Hun­garor­ing cir­cuit and the 48th of his ca­reer. His suc­cess gives him a per­fect op­por­tu­nity to make the most of the prime start­ing po­si­tion and in­crease his one-point lead over Lewis Hamil­ton in the stand­ings.

"Yes, yes, gra­zie tuti (thanks ev­ery­one)," screamed Ger­man Vet­tel on his slow­down lap. "The car has been in­cred­i­ble to­day and I love this track. Front row for us is in­cred­i­ble.

"We're work­ing hard. It is just great. Ob­vi­ously, the last race wasn't great for us, but we are here now and I am happy where we are as a team."

His Fer­rari team­mate Kimi Raikko­nen was sec­ond fastest and will start along­side Vet­tel at the front of the grid ahead of the two Mercedes led by Valt­teri Bot­tas, who was third, and three­time cham­pion Bri­ton Hamil­ton.

Hamil­ton said he was not sur­prised by Fer­rari's overnight leap in per­for­mance. "They were al­ways go­ing to be quick here and I was rea­son­ably sat­is­fied with our per­for­mance. I thought we did quite well, ex­cept in Q3, for me," he said.

Dutch­man Max Ver­stap­pen was fifth for Red Bull ahead of his Aus­tralian team­mate Daniel Ric­cia­rdo, with Ger­man Nico Hulken­berg sev­enth for Re­nault and two-time cham­pion Spa­niard Fer­nando Alonso eighth for McLaren-Honda on his 36th birth­day.

On a hot day at the Hun­garor­ing, with an air tem­per­a­ture of 28°C and a track tem­per­a­ture of 57°C, the ses­sion be­gan with a fiercely-com­pet­i­tive open­ing sec­tion in which Bri­ton Paul di Resta, Williams's re­serve driver, made his first ap­pear­ance at a Grand Prix since 2013 as re­place­ment for the un­well Brazil­ian Felipe Massa.

It was a tough re­turn for the Scot and, de­spite a valiant ef­fort, he was elim­i­nated in 19th place along with Dane Kevin Mag­nussen of Haas, his Williams team­mate Lance Stroll and the two Saubers of Ger­man Pas­cal Wahrlein and Swede Mar­cus Eric­s­son.

Vet­tel topped the times, but the chas­ing pack, led by Ver­stap­pen, were closer at that stage than in the fi­nal prac­tice, with Raikko­nen third ahead of Hamil­ton. Vet­tel, Hamil­ton and Bot­tas were the first out for Q2.

The Ger­man main­tained his nar­row ad­van­tage af­ter the first fly­ing runs ahead of Ver­stap­pen and Hamil­ton, who then re­sponded with a new track record lap of 1:16.693 to go top as Vet­tel, Ver­stap­pen and Raikko­nen stayed in the pits.

In a fi­nal flurry of Q2 ac­tion, Spa­niard Car­los Sainz squeezed through in tenth for Toro Rosso, push­ing Bri­ton Jolyon Palmer of Re­nault out of the fi­nal ses­sion.

On the open­ing Q3 laps, Hamil­ton went off at turn four and chose to abort the lap, pulling into the pits. Bot­tas clocked 1:16.631 and then Vet­tel raised the record bar again to 1:16.276 and take pole from Raikko­nen.


Fer­rari's Se­bas­tian Vet­tel races dur­ing the qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion at the Hun­garor­ing cir­cuit in Bu­da­pest on Satur­day


L-R: Valt­teri Bot­tas, Se­bas­tian Vet­tel and Kimi Raikko­nen wave to crowd af­ter the qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion on Satur­day

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