Lewis Hamilton set a new track record as he roared to his 90th Formula One career pole for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
The six-time world champion pulled out another of his magical laps to see off Valtteri Bottas by 0.107 seconds as the all-conquering Mercedes team locked out the front row for the third time in as many grands prix.
Lance Stroll qualified third ahead of Racing Point team-mate Sergio Perez with the Ferrari duo of Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc fifth and sixth. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was only seventh. McLaren’s Lando Norris was eighth.
The Mercedes cars are in a league of their own this season, with Racing Point – designed on last year’s world championship-winning machine – the best of the rest.
But Hamilton was almost a full second ahead of third-placed Stroll with Mercedes on course to claim a staggering seventh consecutive drivers’ and team championships.
Hamilton enjoys a remarkable record at the twisty Hungaroring venue, and will go in search of his eighth win there on Sunday.
This was his seventh pole at the venue, matching Michael Schumacher’s record at the same venue. An eighth win on Sunday will also equal Schumacher’s record for the number of triumphs at the same track – the German having won on eight occasions at France’s Magny-Cours.
“I have to pinch myself,” said Hamilton. “It doesn’t register. It is quite humbling because I work with an incredible group of people.
“Valtteri doesn’t make it easy for me so it requires absolute perfection when it comes to doing the laps and qualifying is one of the things I enjoy the most.
“The lap was nicely hooked up today. Nothing is a given here. I have got to deliver on the start tomorrow.”
Valtteri doesn’t make it easy for me so it requires absolute perfection when it comes to doing the laps and qualifying is one of the things I enjoy the mostLewis Hamilton
For the second week in succession, George Russell was the standout performer in the opening phase of qualifying. “That’s a lap, that’s a lap,” he said over the team radio after comfortably making it through to Q2.
The Mercedes junior driver, who this week confirmed he will remain at Williams next year, finished 12th ahead of Red Bull’s Alexander Albon – the London-born driver a disappointing 13th.
Russell’s rookie team-mate Nicholas Latifi also made it through to Q2, to ensure both Williams cars progressed from Q1 for the first time since the Italian Grand Prix in 2018. It was a boost for the British team who have been on a downward spiral for the past few seasons.
On an afternoon to forget for Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion and most-capped driver on the grid will line up in last position for Sunday’s race.