Lewis Hamilton claimed his and Mercedes’ first pole position of the 2023 Formula 1 season in Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying, beating Max Verstappen and Lando Norris.
The debut of F1’s Alternative Tyre Allocation system – being trialled at the Hungaroring this weekend and at Monza in September – caused plenty of intrigue and surprises in the order.
Drivers had to use hard tyres in Q1, mediums in Q2 and softs in Q3, and the reduced tyre allocation meant they’d had relatively little practice running on the softs in particular.
Last year’s Hungary front row duo George Russell and Carlos Sainz both suffered. Russell didn’t even get beyond Q1, ending up 18th on the grid in the second Mercedes after his final lap was compromised in a final-corner traffic jam on his build-up lap. Sainz just missed Q3 and will start 11th for Ferrari.
There were positive shocks for others: Alfa Romeo backed up its practice pace by leading Q1 with Zhou Guanyu, before Norris topped Q2 for McLaren.
Norris was then a genuine pole contender, but missed out by just 0.085s and starts behind Hamilton and Verstappen in third, joined on row two by team-mate Oscar Piastri.
Just 0.003s separated the old rivals, with Verstappen’s failure to improve on his last lap giving Hamilton the opportunity to nip ahead of the Red Bull and take his first pole since late-2021.
POLE NUMBER 104!!!! 🙌
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 22, 2023
Zhou and team-mate Valtteri Bottas carried Alfa Romeo’s form through to Q3, where they claimed fifth and seventh, either side of Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari.
Sergio Perez only qualified ninth in the second Red Bull, between Fernando Alonso’s Aston Martin and Nico Hulkenberg’s Haas.
Daniel Ricciardo made Q2 in the first qualifying session of his F1 return, unlike AlphaTauri team-mate Yuki Tsunoda. Ricciardo starts 13th to Tsunoda’s 17th.
|2||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||1m18.318s||1m17.427s||1m16.612s|
|5||Guanyu Zhou||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||1m18.143s||1m17.675s||1m16.971s|
|7||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo-Ferrari||1m18.743s||1m17.547s||1m17.034s|
|8||Fernando Alonso||Aston Martin-Mercedes||1m18.577s||1m17.7s||1m17.035s|
|9||Sergio Pérez||Red Bull||1m18.36s||1m17.652s||1m17.045s|
|13||Daniel Ricciardo||AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT||1m18.854s||1m18.002s|
|14||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin-Mercedes||1m18.775s||1m18.114s|
|17||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri-Honda RBPT||1m18.917s|