HUNGARY: In a nail-biting qualifying session at the Hungarian Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton snatched pole position away from Max Verstappen, ending the Red Bull driver’s pole position streak.
The session took an unexpected turn as Formula 1 trialed a new format, shaking up the grid and delivering surprises right from the start.
The qualifying session, held at the Hungaroring, featured a novel system where drivers had to use different tire compounds for each segment. In Q1, all drivers ran on hard tires, followed by mediums in Q2, and finally soft tires for Q3, setting the stage for an exhilarating battle for the top spot.
Sergio Perez set the early pace in Q1, hoping to secure his first Q3 berth in several races. However, as the session unfolded, it became apparent that traffic and track limits would pose significant challenges for some drivers.
One of the biggest shocks of Q1 was George Russell, who struggled to find a clear path and ended up with a surprising 18th on the timesheet.
Moving into Q2, Perez, and Verstappen continued to show their prowess, but it was McLaren who impressed by taking the top two spots, with Lando Norris leading the way.
Charles Leclerc, a teammate of Carlos Sainz, thwarted his efforts by keeping the Spaniard out of Q3. Meanwhile, Daniel Ricciardo’s return to Formula 1 with AlphaTauri saw him secure a P13 grid position.
The showdown in Q3 promised intense competition for the pole position. Perez, eager to capitalize on his resurgence, set an early benchmark with a blistering lap time of 1:17.1. Verstappen, on a pole position streak, bettered his teammate’s time, putting him in a strong position.
With the pressure mounting, Hamilton stepped up to the challenge, making his presence felt with a superb lap time, slotting himself just 0.126 seconds behind Verstappen after the initial runs.
The scene was set for a thrilling finale as the drivers returned to the pits for fresh tires.
As the final minutes ticked down, Verstappen failed to improve on his time, leaving the door open for Norris and Hamilton.
Norris fell just short of pole position, securing a solid third place on the grid. All eyes were on Hamilton as he unleashed a masterful lap, crossing the line just 0.003 seconds ahead of Verstappen, snatching pole position, and celebrating his first of the season.
Hamilton’s impressive performance brought an end to Verstappen’s streak, setting the stage for an intense battle in the Hungarian Grand Prix. The 2021 championship rivals will line up in the front row, ready to fight for the win.
As Formula 1 experimented with the new qualifying format, it provided fans with plenty of excitement, shocks, and unpredictability. The grid positions for the Hungarian Grand Prix promise a gripping race where every second will count.
With Hamilton and Verstappen separated by a mere 0.003 seconds in qualifying, the race is sure to be a high-octane showdown between the two titans of the sport. Fans around the world eagerly await the lights-out moment to see which driver will come out on top in this thrilling duel.