Lewis Hamilton blows F1 title door wide open with pole at Hungarian Grand Prix

·3 min read

Lewis Hamilton blew the Formula One title door wide open by putting his Mercedes on pole for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The seven-time world champion, so often the master here at the Hungaroring, delivered a spellbinding lap to silence the thousands of Max Verstappen supporters.

Verstappen could finish only third, with Valtteri Bottas joining team-mate Hamilton to form an all-Mercedes front row.

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Hamilton, just eight points behind Verstappen following his controversial British Grand Prix win a fortnight ago, will head into the concluding round before the summer break with the chance to take the championship lead after racing to his first pole in almost three months.

Hamilton has now recorded eight poles in Hungary and will on Sunday bid to become the first driver to win at the same venue on nine occasions – and in the process claim his landmark 100th win.

“Great effort, guys,” said Hamilton over the radio. “Absolutely fantastic job.”

Hamilton, who was booed by Verstappen’s ‘Orange Army’, added afterwards: “It was an amazing qualifying lap.

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“The guys back at the factory have not left any stone unturned. I appreciate the great support we have here.

“I have never felt so grateful for the booing. I don’t mind it. It just fuels me.”

Verstappen simply had no answer around the 14 corners that make up the slow and twisty 2.72-mile Hungaroring, finishing four tenths behind his rival.

Verstappen’s Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez was fourth ahead of Alpha Tauri’s Pierre Gasly.

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Lando Norris is behind only Verstappen and Hamilton in the championship and the young Briton delivered another fine performance here.

Norris finished sixth, half-a-second faster than Daniel Ricciardo in the other McLaren who was knocked out of Q2 and qualified only 11th.

Q2 was red-flagged for eight minutes after Carlos Sainz’s afternoon ended in the barriers.

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The Spaniard carried too much speed on the entry to the final corner and hit the wall in a plume of tyre smoke.

Mick Schumacher was unable to take part in qualifying after he crashed out of final practice.

The German, 22, lost control of his Haas through the right-hander Turn 11 and slammed into the tyre wall.

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Schumacher was winded in the accident and taken to the medical centre for precautionary checks following the high-speed impact which registered at more than 30G.

But despite being given the all-clear, the significant damage sustained to his machine left Schumacher as a bystander for qualifying. He will start last on Sunday.

British driver George Russell will line up 17th after he failed to progress from Q1 for the first time this season.

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