F1 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix: Hamilton needs 'a miracle' to win in hot Hungary
PUBLISHED: 11:46 28 July 2013 | UPDATED: 14:56 28 July 2013
FORMULA 1 star Lewis Hamilton starts the 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix from pole position today (Sunday), but thinks he needs "a miracle" to take the chequered flag.
2013 Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying result
1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
2 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
3 Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
4 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
5 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
6 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus)
7 Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
8 Daniel Ricciardo (Toro Rosso)
9 Sergio Perez (McLaren)
10 Mark Webber (Red Bull)
The 28-year-old Mercedes driver recorded a phenomenal lap time around the challenging Hungaroring circuit in qualifying to claim his third consecutive pole.
However, the Hertfordshire-born F1 racer is expecting a touch battle in the scorching heat of Hungary, with Red Bull rival Sebastian Vettel starting the Budapest race as favourite.
On possibly matching Michael Schumacher’s feat of winning four times at the Hungaroring, Hamilton said: “I’ve been very fortunate to have had a good car for quite a few years when I’ve come here with McLaren and I was privileged to have the opportunity with them and obviously now we are in a good position but now I don’t envisage tomorrow being a win for us.
“We’ve got a steep hill to climb tomorrow with these tyres and in these conditions. If we did win it would be a miracle and I would be really happy with it, of course, but I still feel the win is a while off.”
"If we did win it would be a miracle and I would be really happy with it, of course, but I still feel the win is a while off."
Today’s grid positions see Vettel and Lotus driver Romain Grosjean start between the two Silver Arrows cars of Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, in fourth.
Hamilton’s pole demonstrated that Mercedes’ qualifying pace has not been affected by the new Pirelli constructions. Race day, and 70 laps in the heat, is a different matter though.
“I’m not really looking forward to it,” was Hamilton’s brutally honest assessment after qualifying. “I was just saying to Sebastian [Vettel], it’s just a shame that we obviously have good pace... we’ve got a good car, so I think if we didn’t have the tyre issues we would be able to compete with the guys in the race.
“It sucks in the way that I’m not able to have a race with these guys, but we will do the best we can tomorrow [Sunday].
“The tyre degradation is an issue and no matter what rules change or whatever solutions we find, so far, generally it seems very difficult for us to improve.
“But we’re just working away at it and hopefully we will get there before the rules change again for next year, different tyres come in.
“Otherwise it’s just trying to get as many points as we can and trying to hold on to Sebastian for as long as I can.”
Looking at Mercedes’ long-run pace, Hamilton said: “It’s great to have the pole position but it doesn’t really mean a lot throughout the weekend.”
F1 Hungarian Grand Prix
* Race distance: 70 laps (306.630km/190.531 miles)
* Start time: 14:00 (local)/12:00 (GMT)
* Circuit length: 4.381km/2.722 miles
* 2012 winner: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren MP4-27) 69 laps in 1hr41m05.503s (179.391km/h)
* 2012 pole: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren MP4-27) 1m20.953s (194.824km/h)
* Lap record: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari F2004) 1m19.071s (199.461km/h)
Playing down his chances, he added: “Obviously the race is where we score the points. It’s going to be tough. It didn’t feel like a disaster through our long runs but it definitely wasn’t as good as the guys next to me [Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean]. So, that’s the way it is.”
World champion Vettel lines up on the front row this afternoon alongside Hamilton, who was stunned to take pole ahead of the German.
“I was really surprised when I came across the line and they said I got pole,” said Hamilton.
“I was expecting Sebastian to get it because he had shown some serious pace before. And it didn’t even feel that great a lap so that’s why I was quite surprised.”
Even Vettel praised Hamilton’s qualifying result afterwards in the FIA press conference. He said: “Obviously Mercedes have a very strong pace in qualifying.
“I think Lewis did an exceptional job today [Saturday] if you look also at the gap to Nico, so you have to be fair and respect that. I’m not arguing with that.”
Hamilton won the Grand Prix of Hungary for McLaren last year, after starting from P1, and has three victories in total at the Hungaroring.
With overtaking notoriously difficult, starting from the front of the grid will aid Hamilton’s cause, although Mercedes’ tyre concerns are likely to hamper their hopes once again, especially with track temperatures expected to hit the 50 degrees mark.
Lewis said: “It [being on pole] definitely helps. It’s very difficult to follow here.
“But looking after the tyres in these conditions is going to be, as always, trouble. These guys are going to be ridiculously fast so trying to keep ahead of them or hold onto them is going to be the challenge.”
The 2013 Grand Prix of Hungary starts at 1pm BST.