As Alonso recovered the green flags were soon waved just as Rosberg began the sector and he crossed the line to take his first pole since last month’s European Grand Prix. Behind Ricciardo, Max Verstappen was fourth in the second Red Bull ahead of Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel, Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz, the McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg and the Williams of Valtteri Bottas.
Torrential rain in the hour before qualifying was due to begin made the track undriveable and there were two 10-minute delays before Q1 eventually got underway. There was more rain to come, however, and a heavy shower a few minutes in brought out the red flags as the conditions again became impossible. The conditions proved tricky however and there were three more red flag stoppages as Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, Williams’ Felipe Massa and Manor’s Rio Haryanto all crashed out. In the end Q1 lasted more than 50 minutes with Renault’s Jolyon Palmer, Massa, Kevin Magnussen in the second Renault, Ericsson, Pascal Wehrelin in the second Manor and Haryanto exiting from P17 back.
Q2 began in wet conditions but with the track drying quickly the switch to supersoft tyres wasn’t long in arriving and when it did the times began to tumble. Thereafter the middle session was about timing and being careful to avoid mistakes. Two drivers who came close to failing the latter condition were Hamilton and Ricciardo. Riccirado ran wide at Turn One late in the session and required a last-ditch lap to vault from P16 to P3.
Hamilton, meanwhile, made a similar mistake in Turn One and though the rest of his lap was clean and quick, the error saw him squeeze through to Q3 in P10 with just a tenth of a second in hand over Haas’ Romain Grosjean. One driver who did lose out was Kimi Raikkonen. The Finn finished Q2 in P14 and was eliminated along with Grosjean in P11, Daniil Kvyat in P12, Sergio Perez in P13, with Haas’ Esteban Gutierrez and Sauber’s Felipe Nasr, in 15th and 16th respectively.
2016 Hungarian Grand Prix – Qualifying
P. DRIVER TEAM TIME GAP 1. Nico Rosberg Mercedes AMG 1:19.965 2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes AMG 1:20.108 + 0.143 3. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:20.280 + 0.315 4. Max Verstappen Red Bull 1:20.557 + 0.592 5. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1:20.874 + 0.909 6. Carlos Sainz JR. Toro Rosso 1:21.131 + 1.166 7. Fernando Alonso McLaren 1:21.211 + 1.246 8. Jenson Button McLaren 1:21.597 + 1.632 9. Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:22.823 + 1.858 10. Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:23.182 + 2.217 Q2 Fastest time: Max Verstappen 1:22.660 11. Romain Grosjean Haas 1:24.941 + 2.281 12. Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:25.301 + 2.641 13. Sergio Perez Force India 1:25.416 + 2.756 14. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:25.435 + 2.775 15. Esteban Gutierrez Haas 1:26.189 + 3.529 16. Felipe Nasr Sauber 1:27.063 + 4.403 Q1 Fastest time: Nico Rosberg 1:33.302 17. Jolyon Palmer Renault 1:43.965 + 10.667 18. Felipe Massa Williams 1:43.999 + 10.697 19. Kevin Magnussen Renault 1:44.543 + 11.241 20. Marcus Ericsson Sauber 1:46.984 + 13.682 21. Pascal Wehrlein Manor 1:47.343 + 14.041 22. Rio Haryanto Manor 1:50.189 + 16.887 107% time: 1:39.833 * 2014: Nico Rosberg - Mercedes AMG - 1:22.715 * 2015: Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes AMG - 1:22.020