BUDAPEST • Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton secured the 101st pole position of his career yesterday as he went quickest in qualifying for today's Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Briton, who is aiming for his 100th grand prix win, will be joined on the front row by Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas with championship leader Max Verstappen in third alongside fellow Red Bull driver Sergio Perez.
"It was an amazing qualifying lap and it has been amazing teamwork from everyone, Valtteri included, trying to push the car forward," Hamilton said. "It's definitely great having a lockout for our team."
Verstappen was disappointed to miss out on a fifth successive pole.
"Clearly the whole weekend we have been a bit behind and it showed again in qualifying," said the Dutchman, who will be starting today's race on the grippier but less durable soft tyres compared to Hamilton's mediums.
"Nevertheless we're still there and we'll see what we can do."
The session was briefly halted when Ferrari's Carlos Sainz spun off into the barriers at the last corner. The Spaniard will start 15th.
Mick Schumacher did not take part in qualifying with his Haas team unable to repair his car in time, after the German's crash in final practice earlier yesterday. He was also hit with a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change after Haas were forced to replace it due to damage.
The lead-up to this week's race has been all about the aftermath of the controversial collision between Verstappen and Hamilton at the British Grand Prix on July 18.
Mercedes ramped up the war of words with Red Bull on Thursday by accusing them of attempting to tarnish Hamilton's reputation.
The accusation came after Red Bull failed to win a review into the 10-second penalty handed to Hamilton for the crash.
"In addition to bringing this incident to a close, we hope this decision will mark the end of a concerted attempt by the senior management of Red Bull Racing to tarnish the good name and sporting integrity of Lewis Hamilton," said a Mercedes statement.
Red Bull had claimed that the penalty was "insufficient" and sought a review of the decision.
The first-lap crash at Silverstone ended Verstappen's race and left the Dutchman in hospital.
Hamilton went on to win and slash Verstappen's championship lead to just eight points - the latter currently has 185 points.
Verstappen blasted his rival for being "disrespectful and unsportsmanlike" for celebrating while he required medical treatment.
On Thursday, FIA, the governing body, said that Red Bull had not provided any "new, significant and relevant elements" likely to justify a review of the decision taken during the race. Earlier on the same day, Hamilton said he would have no hesitation in repeating the move on Verstappen.
"Growing up, wheel-to-wheel racing was always the best, from karting. The most exciting part of motor sport is when you see close racing," he added.
"I don't believe our behaviour was disrespectful. It was my home Grand Prix and we worked incredibly hard to get a result. Emotions were running high."
Verstappen distanced himself from claims of "dirty driving" made by his team boss Christian Horner. But he still insisted the 10-second penalty was too lenient.
"I don't think the penalty was correct because you take out your main rival and, especially with the speed we have in our cars, we are miles ahead of, let's say, the third-best team. We are easily 40, 50 seconds ahead... So, a 10-second penalty doesn't do anything," he said.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS
HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX
Race day: Singtel TV Ch114 & StarHub Ch208, 8pm
HUNGARIAN GP GRID
1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) Mercedes
2 Valtteri Bottas (Fin) Mercedes
3 Max Verstappen (Ned) Red Bull
4 Sergio Perez (Mex) Red Bull
5 Pierre Gasly (Fra) AlphaTauri
6 Lando Norris (Gbr) McLaren
7 Charles Leclerc (Mon) Ferrari
8 Esteban Ocon (Fra) Alpine
9 Fernando Alonso (Esp) Alpine
10 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Aston Martin
11 Daniel Ricciardo (Aus) McLaren
15 Carlos Sainz (Esp) Ferrari