Max starts from the 4th row in Hungary: 'Did not go well'

Published on 28 July 2018 by Raymond Snip

Max Verstappen will start the Hungarian Grand Prix from the fourth row on the grid. On a wet track, the young Dutchman qualified in a disappointing seventh place, while Lewis Hamilton took the pole position for Mercedes. Valtteri Bottas took second spot in his Mercedes followed by the Ferraris of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.

"It just did not go well", says a visibly upset Max after the session. "No grip and then in the rain there’s not much you can do. The whole year it doesn’t go very well in the rain. Also, during the restarts, when the tyres are cold, we can’t keep up. Just look at Baku and Hockenheim. Compared to last year where we would go on track and set three purple sectors it is different now. The car just does not work and I do not know what it is."

Looking forward to the race on Sunday, Max continues: "We can make up a little with the strategy. With pure pace we have to be able get passed the Toro Rosso and the Renault. Personally, I don’t want it to rain tomorrow because that is not working. We are not fast enough. Without incidents, we should be able to finish fifth tomorrow."

Half an hour before the session it starts to rain at the Hungaroring. When the lights go green for Q1 it still drips and the drivers go out on intermediates. The probability of rain during qualifying is 80%. Everyone, except both Red Bulls, are out on track immediately. Max is the last to go out. Valtteri Bottas is the first to set a time and after everyone has a timed lap in, Max is sixth and Esteban Ocon, Marcus Ericsson, Stoffel Vandoorne, Lance Stroll and Sergey Sirotkin are below the yellow line.

Max improves to P3 but Ricciardo takes over almost immediately. Almost everyone switches to ultrasofts and Sainz improves to P1. Max, meanwhile fallen back below the yellow line, jumps to P2. His teammate, on the soft tyres, is in the elimination zone. Kevin Magnussen, Charles Leclerc, Daniel Ricciardo, Sergio Perez and Sirotkin are all below the line. Ricciardo gets himself out of the danger zone a short while later and lands on P12. It thunders over the Hungaroring, but the track is still getting faster. When the checkered flag finally falls, Max is second behind Sebastian Vettel, and Vandoorne, Leclerc, Ocon, Perez and Sirotkin are eliminated.

When Q2 starts  it doesn’t rain and everyone, except Raikkonen, goes out straight away. Everyone is on ultrasofts, except Vettel. He is on inters in his Ferrari. In the last sector it is still really wet, hence the inters for Vettel. The German is the first to set a time. The rest comes in to switch to inters. Max is told on the onboard radio that the weather will get worse. A good first run for the Limburger is therefore important.

The track is now really wet and while Stroll shoots off the track Max puts his RB14 on P3. Fernando Alonso, Nico Hülkenberg, Ricciardo, Ericsson and Stroll are below the yellow line and the weather is getting worse. A little later, Raikkonen spins and we see no further improvements. Alonso, Hülkenberg, Ricciardo, Ericsson and Stroll are still under the line. Ericsson tries it on the full wet tyres and the rest is inside the pits. A courageous but hopeless mission for the Swede. After the first sector he is already 2.3 seconds slower then Grosjean, who is tenth.

Alonso, Hülkenberg, Ricciardo, Ericsson and Stroll are out after Q2 so for the first time this year we see 2 Toro Rossos in Q3. We will also see both Haas cars in the Q3.

At the start of Q3 it is still raining and all drivers are going out on the full wets. With this, everyone has a free tyre choice for the first stint tomorrow, even the ten participants in Q3. Max is the second to go out and is the first to set a time. But Hamilton, Bottas and Raikkonen are quicker. In the following ten minutes, he drops back to P6 behind Gasly and returns to the garage. Hamilton leads, in front of Bottas, Raikkonen, Vettel, Sainz, Gasly, Max, Hartley, Magnussen and Grosjean.

On a new set of full wets Max cannot improve himself in his first flying lap but the Dutchman still has one lap left. Also in the following lap Max does not improve and remains disappointing seventh. The pole is for Hamilton in front of his teammate Bottas.

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Results qualifying Hungary:

1Lewis HamiltonHAMMercedes1:17.4191:31.2421:35.658
2Valteri BottasBOTMercedes1:17.1231:32.0811:35.918
3Kimi RäikkönenRAIFerrari1:17.5261:32.7621:36.186
4Sebastian VettelVETFerrari1:16.6661:28.6361:36.210
5Carlos SainzSAIRenault1:17.8291:30.7711:36.743
6Pierre GaslyGASScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:18.5771:31.2861:37.591
7Max VerstappenVERRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:16.9401:31.1781:38.032
8Brendon HartleyHARScuderia Toro Rosso Honda1:18.4291:32.5901:38.128
9Kevin MagnussenMAGHaas Ferrari1:18.3141:32.9681:39.858
10Romain GrosjeanGROHaas Ferrari1:17.9011:33.6501:40.593
11Fernando AlonsoALOMcLaren Renault1:18.2081:35.214
12Daniel RicciardoRICRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer1:18.5401:36.442
13Nico HulkenbergHULRenault1:17.9051:36.506
14Marcus EricssonERISauber Ferrari1:18.6411:37.075
15Lance StrollSTRWilliams Mercedes1:18.560DNF
16Stoffel VandoorneVANMcLaren Renault1:18.782
17Charles LeclercLECSauber Ferrari1:18.817
18Esteban OconOCOForce India Mercedes1:19.142
19Sergio PerezPERForce India Mercedes1:19.200
20Sergey SirotkinSIRWilliams Mercedes1:19.301