Nico Rosberg Edges Lewis Hamilton for Hungary Grand Prix Pole
Nico Rosberg. (Image Credit: Getty Images)
Nico Rosberg rode his luck to grab pole position for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix ahead of Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton in a prolonged qualifying session punctuated by rainstorms and red flags.
The championship-leading 31-year-old German produced a fastest lap of one minute and 19.965 seconds at the end of a session stretched to nearly two hours by heavy rain and crashes in the hazardous conditions on the twisting Hungaroring circuit.
Defending three-time champion Hamilton, who is just one point behind Rosberg after 10 of this year’s 21 races, was 0.143 seconds behind his rival as the pair secured their team’s sixth front-row lockout of the season.
Hamilton looked to be on course to take pole when on an improved best lap he came across Spaniard Fernando Alonso’s McLaren spinning off the track in front of him.
The Briton had to take evasive action, which cost him time, before Rosberg came round and was able to continue without easing off.
The two Red Bulls of Daniel Ricciardo, who was also affected by Alonso’s spin, and Dutch teenager Max Verstappen were third and fourth ahead of four-time champion Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari.
Vettel’s team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was unable to progress from Q2 in the treacherous conditions.
Spaniards Carlos Sainz of Toro Rosso and Alonso were sixth and seventh ahead of Briton Jenson Button in the second McLaren, Nico Hulkenberg of Force India and Valtteri Bottas of Williams, who was 10th fastest.
Rosberg’s success brought him his 26th career pole position and his 50th front-row start for a race he has never won.
Hamilton will be seeking a third win in succession and his record fifth in Hungary.