Max Verstappen finished tenth in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday due to problems with his Red Bull. Mercedes driver George Russell took pole position for the first time in his career.
Verstappen complained of problems with his engine as he drove out of the pits for his last attempt in qualifying. Despite instructions about the on-board radio to let the Limburger press all kinds of buttons, Red Bull Racing was unable to solve them.
It also went wrong on Verstappen’s first attempt, after he made a mistake in the first sector and was briefly shot off the track. In the first two parts of qualifying, things still went well for the Dutchman. With his times he could compete with the Ferraris and certainly the Mercedes.
A rain shower in Budapest in the morning had washed all the rubber off the asphalt again. As a result, the track got faster and faster during qualifying and it was therefore important to be in the right position in the final phase.
Russell did. In the final phase, the Briton snatched pole from Carlos Sainz with 0.044 seconds, who had the fastest time with his Ferrari. The Spaniard will start second on Sunday, ahead of his teammate Charles Leclerc. Lando Norris starts in his McLaren from fourth place.
Esteban Ocon will start fifth in the Alpine on Sunday. Last year’s winner in Hungary is thus ahead of his teammate Fernando Alonso. Lewis Hamilton also had problems. With the Briton, his DRS system did not open, so he did not get further than the seventh time. Hamilton starts on Sunday alongside his former teammate Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo), who clocked the eighth time.
Hungary’s top ten qualifying
1. George Russell (Mercedes): 1.17.377 2. Carlos Sainz (Ferrari): +0.044 3. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari): +0.190 4. Lando Norris (McLaren): +0.392 5. Esteban Ocon (Alpine): + 0.641 6. Fernando Alonso (Alpine): +0.701 7. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes): +0.765 8. Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo): +0.780 9. Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren): +1.002 10. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) : +1,446
Worst qualifying of the season for Red Bull
Verstappen is close to his teammate Sergio Pérez on the starting grid. The Mexican did not make it to the final part of qualifying and starts eleventh. It is therefore the worst qualifying of the season for Red Bull.
Sebastian Vettel also had a difficult Saturday. The four-time world champion, who announced his retirement at the end of the season on Thursday, crashed in the last free practice. With help from Vettel himself, the Aston Martin mechanics were able to repair the car just in time for qualifying, but he did not get past eighteenth.
The Hungarian Grand Prix starts on Sunday at 3 p.m.