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Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel will start Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix in pole position after finishing fastest in Saturday’s qualifying session, while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes star Valtteri Bottas will start second and third on the grid, respectively.
Vettel topped the times with a quickest lap of one minute, 16.276 seconds in the third qualifying session. He was a little less than two-tenths of a second faster than Raikkonen and close to half a second quicker than Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton.
The Briton failed to equal the Formula 1 record of 68 pole positions and will have to wait on that accolade after finishing fourth-fastest in Q3.
Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo pulled up in final practice with gearbox troubles but returned to the track to finish qualifying sixth-fastest, one place behind team-mate Max Verstappen.
Williams on Saturday promoted former Force India driver Paul di Resta in place of the unwell Felipe Massa, per BBC Sport, although the Briton only finished qualifying 19th out of 20.
Formula 1 provided a breakdown of Saturday’s qualifying classification and where on the grid the drivers will start Sunday’s grand prix:
Formula 1 @F1
INITIAL CLASSIFICATION (END OF QUALIFYING): A 48th career pole for Sebastian Vettel 👏 #Quali #HungarianGP 🇭🇺 #F1 https://t.co/J3q2iQeRk6
Despite impressing with some tremendous driving en route to taking the pole, Vettel was quick to humble himself in the wake and told BBC Sport “nothing has been won” yet:
“The car has been incredible all day. We made a good step forward. I like this track a lot and it’s been really enjoyable.
“It’s a front row for us, so we’re looking forward to tomorrow. Nothing changed overnight. The last race wasn’t great for us, but that doesn’t matter now. I’m very happy where we are as a team.
“The main task comes tomorrow. Nothing has been won today.”
Ferrari and Mercedes were unsurprisingly the two top contenders for the fastest times in the first qualifying session. It was much needed for the latter outfit given they didn’t impress much in the final practice.
Vettel pushed his way to the top of the order after clocking a lap in one minute, 17.244 seconds on super-soft tyres approaching the end of Q1.
At the other end of the table, Di Resta’s day came to a swift end after he only finished the first qualifying session 19th ahead of Marcus Ericsson, with Pascal Wehrlein, Lance Stroll and Kevin Magnussen also failing to make it into Q2.
Jolyon Palmer, Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez all missed out on Q3 after failing to finish among the top 10 in Q2, although Carlos Sainz prolonged his stay by scraping 10th place ahead of the last session.
Ferrari’s Saturday sessions came in stark contrast to some disappointing practice outings on Friday, and Raikkonen was also happy to bask in the Italian manufacturer’s success as Mercedes slipped off the pace.
Formula 1 @F1
BOT: “Ferrari really had the upper hand today. We still have work to do… we are focusing on the race tomorrow” #Quali #HungarianGP 🇭🇺 #F1 https://t.co/gcYKH5sYfd
Vettel is only one point ahead of Hamilton in the standings after two calamitous tyre punctures at the crescendo of the recent British Grand Prix.
Ferrari can look to Saturday’s qualifying run as evidence to suggest those woes are a thing of the past, while Mercedes and Red Bull each have work to do in their efforts to topple Formula 1’s in-form outfit.