Nico Rosberg will start the Hungarian Grand Prix on pole position after taking advantage of a late yellow flag which ruined teammate Lewis Hamilton’s flying lap.
Hamilton looked set to take pole position after he went four-tenths of a second quicker than Rosberg in the first sector, however, Alonso spun at Turn 8 and brought double waved yellows out just as Hamilton was driving through. This meant the world champion was forced to back off his lap due to the caution on the circuit.
Rosberg was further down the road and Alonso had rejoined the track at this point which allowed the German to continue his lap for pole.
Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo qualified in third position just three tenths off the Mercedes pace, while his teammate Max Verstappen narrowly missed the chequered flag and was unable to complete another flying lap and will line up fourth on the grid.
Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel was also a victim of Alonso’s yellow flag and failed to improve on his time.
Despite his spin which brought the yellow flags out, Alonso qualified in seventh ahead of teammate Jenson Button, while Nico Hulkenberg and Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top 10.
The start of qualifying was delayed by 20 minutes as heavy rain hit the track and caused flooding around the circuit.
The session got underway although only lasted five minutes before being red-flagged, as the rain returned and the track proved too much for the wet compound tyre. Sergio Perez led the provisional standings ahead of Hulkenberg, while Mercedes pair Rosberg and Hamilton were down in 20th and 21st respectively.
Qualifying resumed for a further four minutes until the Sauber of Marcus Ericsson brought out the red flag again when he slid off the circuit into the tyre barriers at Turn 10. The session became green for another four minutes until it was red flagged once again, this time courtesy of Rio Haryanto who spun at Turn 10 and planted his Manor into the wall.
Q1 was ended prematurely as a result with a minute and 18 seconds left on the clock. Jolyon Palmer was unlucky to complete his flying lap and ending up being eliminated from qualifying, along with Massa, Kevin Magnussen, Ericsson, Pascal Wehrlein and Haryanto.
In Q2 the lap times consistently fell towards the latter part of the session. Drivers spent the first few laps on intermediate tyres until Valtteri Bottas was the first to make the switch to the super softs, posting the quickest lap of the session and promoting the rest of the field to follow.
From there the top of the timesheets changed every few seconds, as the track dried the grip improved allowing for drivers to register faster lap times. Alonso spent a brief amount of time at the top before he was demoted by Rosberg, who was then beaten by Verstappen.
Hamilton had a scare as he made a mistake in the first sector meaning his lap time wasn’t as competitive as the rest of the field, the world champion just managed to scrape through to Q3 by a tenth of a second over Romain Grosjean.
The only major casualty of the evolving track was Kimi Raikkonen, whose best time sees him line up 14th on the grid tomorrow.
Image via XPB Images