Hamil­ton fears Fer­rari on way to Hun­gar­ian romp

Mercedes driver in fourth with ri­val Vet­tel on pole Di Resta ‘scared’ af­ter late call-up to re­place Massa

The Sunday Telegraph - Sport - - Sport - By Philip Dun­can in Bu­dapest

Lewis Hamil­ton last night feared that the Hun­gar­ian Grand Prix would be a walk in the park for his cham­pi­onship ri­val Se­bas­tian Vet­tel af­ter the Fer­rari driver stormed to pole po­si­tion.

Hamil­ton, who trails Vet­tel by a sin­gle point in this year’s see-saw ti­tle race, was bid­ding to match Michael Schu­macher’s all-time pole record in qual­i­fy­ing yes­ter­day. But Hamil­ton never came close to equalling the Ger­man’s haul of 68 and his wait to lay claim to be­ing For­mula One’s great­est one-lap speed­ster will go on un­til af­ter the four-week sum­mer break. For now, the 32-year-old has the more press­ing mat­ter of con­coct­ing a plan to some­how stop pole-sit­ter Vet­tel from ex­tend­ing his cham­pi­onship ad­van­tage from a lowly fourth on the grid.

Hamil­ton’s Mercedes team ap­peared to hold the up­per hand over Fer­rari in the ti­tle race af­ter his crush­ing vic­tory on home turf at Sil­ver­stone a fort­night ago. But the high down­force na­ture of the twisty 2.7-mile Hun­garor­ing, cou­pled with a track tem­per­a­ture of 133F (56C), have suited the Ital­ian team.

In­deed Vet­tel will be joined on the front row by his team-mate Kimi Raikko­nen with Hamil­ton’s Mercedes team­mate Valt­teri Bot­tas third on the grid. And with over­tak­ing far from straight­for­ward here, Hamil­ton, who was the best part of half-a-se­cond slower than Vet­tel, pre­dicted a gloomy fore­cast.

“It is go­ing to be a breeze for Fer­rari to­mor­row,” Hamil­ton said last night. “I don’t think there was any mo­ment that we had a shot at pole be­cause we could not match the Fer­raris. They have made an im­prove­ment this week­end and they de­served it.”

Hamil­ton’s fa­ther An­thony ar­rived here in the pad­dock on Fri­day, per­haps in the hope of see­ing his son en­grave the fam­ily name into F1 folk­lore by match­ing Schu­macher’s pole tally.

Hamil­ton Snr has been a pe­riph­eral fig­ure on the grand prix tour in re­cent years, and his ap­pear­ance, with his wife Linda, marks his first at a grand prix week­end since the 2014 Abu Dhabi ti­tle de­cider. Hamil­ton beat Nico Ros­berg to the ti­tle by virtue of win­ning un­der the lights at the Yas Ma­rina cir­cuit on that oc­ca­sion, but an­other vic­tory here ap­pears im­prob­a­ble.

His shot at pole was thwarted af­ter he ran wide at the high-speed Turn 4 dur­ing his first at­tempt. He was forced to aban­don his lap, and it left him with too much to do.

“If I fin­ished the first lap then I could have taken a greater risk on the se­cond one,” Hamil­ton added. “When you serve in ten­nis you try to ace the first, and, un­less you are Roger Fed­erer, you don’t try to ace the se­cond one.”

Fer­rari’s re­sponse here is the per­fect an­swer to their dis­ap­point­ing show­ing at the Bri­tish Grand Prix af­ter Vet­tel fin­ished sev­enth fol­low­ing a penul­ti­mate-lap punc­ture. He said: “It is only Satur­day so there is noth­ing to get from to­day other than the best po­si­tion on the grid, but we did that which is great. The talk af­ter the last race was a bit too much so it was good to de­liver an an­swer on the track.”

Mean­while, Bri­tain’s Paul di Resta ad­mit­ted he was “scared, ner­vous and anx­ious” fol­low­ing his dra­matic 11th hour call-up for to­mor­row’s race. Di Resta, who had not turned a For­mula

How they will line up at Hun­garor­ing

One car wheel in anger for 1,343 days, will line up in last but one place on the grid.

The 31-year-old Scot, who com­petes in the Ger­man Tour­ing Car se­ries DTM but also acts as a re­serve driver for Wil­liams, was handed his sur­prise chance only 90 min­utes be­fore qual­i­fy­ing af­ter Felipe Massa with­drew from the event.

Massa fell un­well af­ter com­plain­ing of dizzi­ness dur­ing se­cond prac­tice on Fri­day, and was taken to hos­pi­tal in down­town Bu­dapest for pre­cau­tion­ary checks. He was given the all-clear to carry on fol­low­ing an FIA med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion yes­ter­day morn­ing, but lasted just 12 laps of fi­nal prac­tice be­fore he con­ceded de­feat.

“I’m not go­ing to lie, I was scared, ner­vous and anx­ious,’’ Di Resta said. “I’ve not driven one of these cars for three and a half years. Then you get thrown into qual­i­fy­ing which is the deep­est of all deep ends. It’s like jumping off a cliff and see­ing how you fight for sur­vival.”

Given the cir­cum­stances, Di Resta turned in a com­mend­able per­for­mance. He was within eight tenths of a se­cond of Lance Stroll in the sis­ter Wil­liams and 2.6 sec off the pace of the front-run­ners. He also out-qual­i­fied the Sauber of Mar­cus Eric­s­son.

Else­where, Fer­nando Alonso qual­i­fied eighth for McLaren on his 36th birth­day with Bri­tain’s Jolyon Palmer 11th.

Lead­ing man: Fer­rari driver Se­bas­tian Vet­tel qual­i­fied quick­est for to­day’s Grand Prix

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