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FIA F1 - Hungarian GP Qualifying Report

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Budapest, July 30, 2011: Just when it seemed that Lewis Hamilton had done enough to take pole position in Hungary after the first runs in Q3, lapping his McLaren in 1m 19.978s, Sebastian Vettel pushed his Red Bull to the front with seconds to spare with a lap of 1m 19.815s.

While it was a good session for both, it was a minor disaster for Fernando Alonso who had been third fastest going into the final runs. The Spaniard failed to better his earlier 1m 20.365s and dropped to fifth for Ferrari as McLaren’s Jenson Button improved to 1m 20.024s and his own team mate Felipe Massa to 1m 20.350s.

Mark Webber improved to 1m 20.474s for sixth in the Red Bull, with Nico Rosberg’s 1m 21.098s for Mercedes putting him on the fourth row with Adrian Sutil for company. The Force India driver lapped in 1m 21.445s. Michael Schumacher will start ninth in the second Mercedes on 1m 21.907s, while Sergio Perez, who didn’t run in Q3, will be 10th for Sauber.

Alonso set the pace in Q2, ahead of Button and Webber, as a late improvement for Schumacher bumped Paul di Resta whose 1m 22.256s didn’t match Force India team mate Adrian Sutil’s 1m 22.000s. Behind the Scot, Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld were 12th and 14th for Renault on 1m 22.284s and 1m 22.470s apiece, sandwiching Kamui Kobayashi on 1m 22.435s in his Sauber. It was a poor session for Williams; Rubens Barrichello posted 1m 22.684s with only intermittent use of KERS, and Pastor Maldonado had a technical problem which prevented him from leaving the garage. Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari was 16th, splitting them, with 1m 22.979s.

Alonso just pipped Hamilton and Vettel in Q1, as Sebastien Buemi was the first who did not make Q2 after lapping his Toro Rosso in 1m 24.070s. The Lotuses were close, as Heikki Kovalainen jumped ahead of team mate Jarno Trulli, with 1m 24.362s to 1m 24.534s.

Behind them things could barely have been closer, as Timo Glock just beat Tonio Liuzzi, Daniel Ricciardo and Jerome D’Ambrosio for 21st. The German lapped his Virgin in 1m 26.294s, the Italian his HRT in 1n 26.323s, the Australian his sister car in 1m 26.479s, and the Belgian his Virgin in 1m 26.510s.

They were actually fighting for 20th, however, as Buemi drops to 23rd because of the five grid place penalty he incurred for his collision with Heidfeld in Germany.