IN POLE POSITION: Mercedes' driver Lewis Hamilton (centre) poses with team mate Mercedes' Nico Rosberg (left) and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel after the qualifying at the Hungaroring circuit. Image: AP / Darko Vojinovic
BUDAPEST, Hungary - Lewis Hamilton, bidding for a record fifth 2015 Hungarian GP victory, will start from pole for Sunday's (July 26) race after posting the fastest time in qualifying on Saturday.
It is the fifth time in succession, ninth in 2015, he has out-performed his Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg in qualifying.
Hamilton's pole success was his fifth at the Hungaroring circuit where he is the only driver to have won from pole position in the last 10 years.
LEADING THE PACK
Hamilton leads Rosberg by 17 points in the championship standings with Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel a distant third, 42 points adrift, after nine races.
It was the 47th pole position of Hamilton's career and lifted him clear of fellow-Briton Damon Hill with his 18th successive front row start, leaving only legendary Ayrton Senna to catch on 24.
Four-time world champion Vettel was third fastest ahead of Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull and Finn Kimi Raikkonen, fifth in the second Ferrari.
As it happened: 2015 Hungarian GP - Qualifying
The intense heat - the air temperature was 32 Celsius and the track was 54 as qualifying began - meant that tyre degradation became a factor and accentuated the difference between the super-soft compound and the harder 'medium' rubber.
Hamilton, on the harder tyres, set the early pace with Rosberg, last year's pole-sitter, struggling.
'SO MUCH UNDER-STEER'
Rosberg said: "There's something wrong with the balance, so much under-steer..."
Outpaced by not only Hamilton, but also Vettel and Ricciardo, Rosberg pitted to switch to softs, forcing Hamilton to follow suit as he dropped to 10th as their rivals trimmed their times.
On softs, Rosberg went top only to be outpaced by Hamilton as the session ended with 2009 champion Briton Jenson Button, a two-time winner at the Hungaroring, taking an early exit in 16th place for McLaren Honda.
Ricciardo took 12th to progress to Q2, the only man to do so using the medium tyres. For last year's winner, it was proof that he had the confidence to resist the temptation of the softs.
In Q2, Vettel had set an early best time ahead of Raikkonen and Rosberg when, after Fernando Alonso's McLaren stopped at the exit of Turn 13, the session was red-flagged. With some help, he managed to push the car uphill and back to the pits.
The stoppage marred Hamilton's first flying lap, leaving him without a time, but he swiftly rectified that on resumption with a best of 1:22.285, half a second faster than Rosberg.
The two Mercedes men, led by Rosberg, were first out for the top ten shootout, both on used softs. The champion, in dominant form, went top on his first run with 1min22.408, 0.358 seconds quicker than his team-mate.
2015 Hungarian GP results:
1 Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes 1min22.020
2 Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 1min22.595
3 Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 1min22.739
4 Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull 1min22.774
5 Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 1min23.020
6 Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams 1min23.222
7 Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Red Bull 1min23.332
8 Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams 1min23.537
9 Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Toro Rosso 1min23.679
10 Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus 1min24.181
11 Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India 1min23.826
12 Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) Toro Rosso 1min23.869
13 Sergio Perez (Mexico) Force India 1min24.461
14 Pastor Maldonado (Venezuela) Lotus 1min24.609
15 Fernando Alonso (Spain) McLaren
16 Jenson Button (Britain) McLaren 1min24.739
17 Marcus Ericsson (Sweden) Sauber 1min24.843
18 Felipe Nasr (Brazil) Sauber 1min24.997
19 Roberto Merhi (Spain) Marussia 1min27.416
20 Will Stevens (Britain) Marussia 1min27.949
1-10: third and final session
11-15: second session
16-20: first session
Stay with Wheels24 for the 2015 Hungarian GP weekend.