Vettel & Red Bull utterly dominate Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying

Red Bull Racing converted its dominant practice pace with Sebastian Vettel romping to pole position in Hungary.

A lock out of the front row never looked in doubt for the Milton Keynes-based team, as both Vettel and Webber increased their advantage over their rivals in qualifying.

Although Ferrari locked out the second row, both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were over a second adrift and never looked like matching the pace of the RB6.

Behind Red Bull and Ferrari, Lewis Hamilton (McLaren) and Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) took control of row three, with the Renault duo of Vitaly Petrov and Robert Kubica seventh and eighth respectively.

However, qualifying was a nightmare for Jenson Button, who was eliminated in Q2 after failing to hook his car up around the Hungaroring.

Q1

With no sign of the forecasted rain, teams lined up for the first segment of qualifying for the 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix.

Following Red Bull’s superior pace in practice it was always going to be hard to bet against a front row lock-out for the Milton Keynes-based squad.

First to take to the track was Vitaly Petrov, who was looking to build on his impressive performance in practice and stay close to his team-mate throughout the hour.

Both Renault’s led the way in Q1’s opening segment, with Petrov getting the upper hand on his experienced team-mate.

However, with around thirteen minutes to go, it was Red Bull and Ferrari who unsurprisingly took control of the session Sebastian Vettel leading Fernando Alonso, with their team-mates in third and fourth respectively.

Ten minutes to go and it was Webber’s turn to top the session, with the Australian setting a lap time of 1:21.132.

Jenson Button continued to struggle for McLaren, with his first run over a second behind the leaders, in thirteenth. Team-mate Lewis Hamilton fared much better, but this did not prevent either from taking to the track on a brand new set of hard tyres to try and ensure their passage into Q2.

Michael Schumacher also had a scare and was forced to switch to the softer rubber to move up to twelfth in the dying minutes of the session.

As well as the usual suspects, it was Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi who fell foul of the drop zone the Japanese driver’s final effort being blocked by Bruno Senna.

However, it was Sebastian Vettel who laid down the gauntlet at the front with a lap time of 1:20.417.

Drivers eliminated from Q1:

18. Kobayashi  Sauber
19. Glock      Virgin
20. Kovalainen Lotus
21. Trulli     Lotus
22. di Grassi  Virgin
23. Senna      HRT
24. Yamamoto   HRT

Q2

Although the Ferrari duo of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were first to set a fast time in the second segment of qualifying, the F10 proved to not be able to match the Red Bull RB6 around the tight and twisty Hungaroring.

Sebastian Vettel, on the soft tyres, improved on his best effort in Q1 by nearly a second, as the German set a storming lap of 1:19.573.

The German was once again followed by his team-mate, who appeared to be unable to match his pace, with a lap time nearly half a second behind.

This appeared to be the cause until a minute to go when Webber responded, just edging out his team-mate by a matter of hundredths of a seconds (1:19.531).

More than seven tenths behind was Fernando Alonso, who cemented his third place with an improvement on his second attempt.

Meanwhile, whilst the Renault duo of Kubica and Petrov continued to run strongly in first half of the top ten, Williams’ Rubens Barrichello and Nico Hulkenberg were slowly starting to threaten McLaren.

Although Lewis Hamilton managed a safe passage, Jenson Button continued to teeter above the drop zone, as the team’s decision to complete two fast laps over the course of a stint, failed to work.

Subsequently, Button found himself relegated down the order with Mercedes’ Nico Rosberg and then Pedro de la Rosa (Sauber) slipping into the final top-ten shootout.

Complaining of a lack of grip, the result only compounded a disappointing weekend for the reigning world champion, who could not break out from behind his team-mate’s shadow.

Michael Schumacher also struggled in Q2 and could only manage the fourteenth fastest time – the German again having to contend with chronic understeer on his Mercedes.

Drivers eliminated from Q2:

11. Button      McLaren
12. Barrichello Williams
13. Sutil       Force India
14. Schumacher  Mercedes
15. Buemi       Toro Rosso
16. Liuzzi      Force India
17. Alguersuari Toro Rosso

Q3

Ferrari was once more the first team to set a time, as the final ten runners took to the track for Q3.

Alonso immediately improved with a 1:19.987, around half a second ahead of his team-mate.

But the Spaniard’s effort was uttered destroyed by Red Bull, with Webber and Vettel both breaking into the one minute-eighteen seconds bracket.

Although the former’s time comfortably put the Ferraris in the shade, it was nowhere near the ultimate pace of the latter – whose lapped the 2.72 mile circuit in a time of 1:18.773.

However, Webber could not deny his team-mate’s crusade for pole, making an error in the middle sector of his final run.

Although Massa improved with a late effort to grab fourth, both Ferrari were well beaten. The same could be said for Lewis Hamilton, who could only manage fifth.

Vitaly Petrov continued to grow in confidence and managed to out qualify his team-mate, Robert Kubica, by just over a tenth as Renault secured seventh and eighth.

Pedro de la Rosa (Sauber) and Nico Hulkenberg (Williams) rounded off the top ten.

So with Vettel having secured his sixth pole position in twelve races, Red Bull look set to be in a commanding position ahead of tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

However, with the start of the race always crucial at the tight and twisty Hungaroring, Ferrari will be hoping to upset the apple cart and challenge for victory.

Pos  Driver         Team                 Q1         Q2         Q3
1.   Vettel         Red Bull-Renault     1:20.417   1:19.573   1:18.773
2.   Webber         Red Bull-Renault     1:21.132   1:19.531   1:19.184
3.   Alonso         Ferrari              1:21.278   1:20.237   1:19.987
4.   Massa          Ferrari              1:21.299   1:20.857   1:20.331
5.   Hamilton       McLaren-Mercedes     1:21.455   1:20.877   1:20.499
6.   Rosberg        Mercedes             1:21.212   1:20.811   1:21.082
7.   Petrov         Renault              1:21.558   1:20.797   1:21.229
8.   Kubica         Renault              1:21.159   1:20.867   1:21.328
9.   de la Rosa     Sauber-Ferrari       1:21.891   1:21.273   1:21.411
10.  Hulkenberg     Williams-Cosworth    1:21.598   1:21.275   1:21.710
11.  Button         McLaren-Mercedes     1:21.422   1:21.292
12.  Barrichello    Williams-Cosworth    1:21.478   1:21.331
13.  Sutil          Force India-Mercedes 1:22.080   1:21.517
14.  Schumacher     Mercedes             1:21.840   1:21.630
15.  Buemi          Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1:21.982   1:21.897
16.  Liuzzi         Force India-Mercedes 1:21.789   1:21.927
17.  Alguersuari    Toro Rosso-Ferrari   1:21.978   1:21.998
18.  Kobayashi      Sauber-Ferrari       1:22.222
19.  Glock          Virgin-Cosworth      1:24.050
20.  Kovalainen     Lotus-Cosworth       1:24.120
21.  Trulli         Lotus-Cosworth       1:24.199
22.  di Grassi      Virgin-Cosworth      1:25.118
23.  Senna          HRT-Cosworth         1:26.391
24.  Yamamoto       HRT-Cosworth         1:26.453