F1 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying: Hamilton bids for pole in Hungary
PUBLISHED: 08:05 27 July 2013 | UPDATED: 14:40 27 July 2013
FORMULA 1 driver Lewis Hamilton battles for pole position in qualifying for the 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit just outside Budapest today (Saturday).
The 28-year-old Mercedes AMG Petronas star from Hertfordshire lines up in qualifying having won the Grand Prix of Hungary from pole position last season.
However, Hamilton was only 13th and sixth fastest in Friday’s two practice sessions in the scorching heat of Budapest.
Speaking after second free practice, Hamilton said: “It’s difficult to know how the weekend will go for us.
“Others look quick here but we can generally pull a bit more out in qualifying, so let’s see how tomorrow [Saturday] goes.”
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)
Hamilton and Mercedes colleague Nico Rosberg completed 70 and 68 laps of the 4.381km Hungaroring circuit respectively – almost two full race distances – in the first two sessions.
Friday’s practice runs gave the Mercedes team a first opportunity to try the new Pirelli medium and soft tyre compounds, having been excluded from the recent Silverstone test.
The Mercedes programme focused on tuning the balance and set-up of the car to the new tyres, with longer runs in the afternoon.
“We got a lot of laps in on the new tyres, which was positive and gives us a lot of information to look at and take into our programme for the weekend,” said Hamilton.
“We came into the weekend on the back foot a little without experiencing the new tyres. The balance feels different and we need to work on the right set up but we learned over the course of the day, made some changes and will make more for tomorrow [Saturday].”
With track temperatures soaring in P2, Rosberg said: “That was a busy day for us and we learned a lot in the two practice sessions.
“We know that it’s quite challenging for our car in these hot conditions and we also had to learn about the new tyres for the first time.
“I’m pleased with the progress that we made today [Friday] but some of the other teams look quick here so we have more work to do.
“Tyre overheating is still an issue but I’m confident that we will be able to find a good set up and hopefully achieve a decent result this weekend.”
Mercedes F1 team principal Ross Brawn added: “It was an interesting day as we were running the new tyres for the first time.
“It took us a while to find a good balance with the car but our long runs looked respectable this afternoon.
“Both drivers enjoyed trouble free running in the very hot conditions here in Budapest and we have lots of information and data to work with.”
Team boss Toto Wolff said: “The target was to do as many miles as possible and collect the maximum amount of information on the tyres, which we managed to do.
“That means we still have improvements we can make to tune the car balance and that will be our challenge tomorrow morning [ahead of qualifying].
“There is now a busy evening ahead of us to find the right balance between qualifying and the race but we have made a decent start.”
Qualifying for the 2013 Grand Prix of Hungary starts at 1pm BST.