Sebastian Vettel took his second pole position of 2017 as Ferrari claimed the front row of the grid at a scorching Hungaroring.
Lewis Hamilton was quickest in Q2 but trouble with tyre vibrations in the pole position shoot-out meant he had to settle for fourth on the grid behind Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas.
While the front runners eased their way into Q2, led by Vettel, Paul di Resta had to use the first part of qualifying merely to get used to driving his Williams FW40. Despite zero preparation, Di Resta quickly began improving his lap times and his final effort got him within eight-tenths of a second of team mate Lance Stroll.
Neither was quick enough to reached the second part of qualifying, though both were inside last year’s pole position time. The same was true of the entire field bar Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber.
The unluckiest driver in Q3 was surely Kevin Magnussen. He matched Sergio Perez’s best effort of 1’19.095 to within a thousandth of a second. But while Perez progressed into Q2, Magnussen missed the cut as he set his time after the Force India driver.
Classification at the end of Q1:
All of the front runners chose to start the race on the super-soft tyre, which remained the preferred rubber for Q2. Vettel led the way to begin with, but Hamilton produced a superb response with his final run to establish a new top time of 1’16.693. Max Verstappen also put his Red Bull in the mix, lapping two-tenths slower than Vettel despite catching traffic at turn nine.
There was little change among the five drivers who found themselves in the drop zone after the first runs. Jolyon Palmer came close to joining his team mate in Q3, but his final effort left him a tenth of a second down on Carlos Sainz Jnr. That meant Renault and Toro Rosso each got one car in the final ten, Palmer and Daniil Kvyat failing to make it through.
Both Force Indias dropped out as well and Romain Grosjean made no further progress after locking his front-left in turn six on his last run.
Classification at the end of Q2:
Hamilton’s challenge for pole position faded in the final part of qualifying as he hit trouble with his tyres. Beginning his first run Hamilton told his team to make sure his second set of tyres were better balanced, and an error at turn four left him on the back foot beginning their final runs.
Vettel set the benchmark time again with a 1’16.276, despite running wide of the apex at turn one and again at turn two, while Bottas took a provisional second place on the grid. But on the final runs Mercedes lost their grip on the front row entirely.
Hamilton began his final effort complaining of further tyre vibrations. His last effort was clean, if somewhat restrained, and he ended up four-tenths down on Vettel.
That translated to fourth on the grid after a last-gasp improvement by Raikkonen moved him up to second place. The Mercedes pair were relegated to row two, followed by the Red Bull drivers.
Row four will belong to the McLaren drivers after Nico Hulkenberg, who qualified seventh, takes his five-place grid penalty.
Classification at the end of Q3:
Note: This is the provisional classification and the grid penalties haven’t been applied.