Verstappen holds off Mercedes duo to make sure of pole position in Hungary

Verstappen holds off Mercedes duo to make sure of pole position in Hungary

Max Verstappen held off the challenge from Mercedes to secure the first pole position of his career for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Just six days after his sublime drive to victory in the rain at Hockenheim, Verstappen thrilled his travelling orange army once more with another imperious display.

The 21-year-old lit up the time sheets with a Hungaroring track record, finishing just 0.016 seconds ahead of Valtteri Bottas with Lewis Hamilton in third, two tenths back.

Verstappen crossed the line first, his lap greeted with huge cheers from the main grandstand, and despite late improvements by both Bottas and Hamilton, the Mercedes duo were unable to usurp the Dutchman.

The Ferrari pair of Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel line up fourth and fifth with Verstappen’s team-mate Pierre Gasly sixth.

Leclerc hit the wall in Q1 after losing control of his Ferrari at the final corner. But swift repairs by his team allowed the Monegasque to carry on.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will start the Hungarian Grand Prix from the front of the grid (PA)
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen will start the Hungarian Grand Prix from the front of the grid (PA)

“The car has felt good all weekend and it was flying in qualifying,” said Verstappen, moments after capturing pole.

“I am very happy about today. There is still a race to do and that is the most important thing.”

Hamilton, who holds a 63-point lead over Verstappen in the standings, said: “We always target first, but it got away from me.

“We are in a good position to fight for the win so we will be pushing hard for the victory tomorrow.

“I am always down for a fight. It is a long way down to turn one. It is not easy to overtake but hopefully we can give them a run for their money.”

I am always down for a fight. It is a long way down to turn one. It is not easy to overtake but hopefully we can give them a run for their money.

British rookie George Russell believes he is in contention to race alongside Hamilton at Mercedes next season.

The 21-year-old Englishman has impressed for the below-par Williams team this year, and here delivered both his and the British outfit’s best qualifying result of the campaign.

Russell finished 16th, putting his Williams above both Racing Points and the Renault of Daniel Ricciardo, too. He was also 1.3 sec faster than Robert Kubica in the sister Williams, extending his record over the Pole to a perfect 12-0 over one lap.

George Russell continues to make the right impression (PA)
George Russell continues to make the right impression (PA)

Russell is on the books at Mercedes and his impressive displays will provide team principal Toto Wolff with something to think about over the summer break as the sport’s all-conquering constructor determine whether to retain Bottas for another year.

The future of British motor racing is in safe hands. Following on from Russell’s display, Lando Norris finished seventh.

The 19-year-old, who has had the beating of McLaren team-mate Carlos Sainz all weekend, qualified one place ahead of the Spaniard.

- Press Association

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