Hungarian F1 Grand Prix 2019 Qualifying: Max Verstappen Earns First F1 Pole

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2019

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - AUGUST 03: Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing celebrates in parc ferme during qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on August 03, 2019 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Max Verstappen qualified on pole position for the first time in his Formula One career on Saturday at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Going into qualifying, there was little to choose between a number of the elite drivers, but in the end Verstappen's time of one minute, 14.572 seconds was enough to secure first place. Verstappen will be joined by Valtteri Bottas on the front row, while Lewis Hamilton had to settle for third.

Earlier in the day, Hamilton topped an entertaining final practice, which had initially been delayed by 10 minutes due to an oil spill at Turn 4.

Here is a look back at the best moments from Saturday, as Verstappen put himself in the perfect position to fight for victory in Sunday's race.

Formula 1 @F1

VER: "It is incredible. The car felt good all weekend, we knew it was going to be hard but the car was flying" #F1 #HungarianGP 🇭🇺 https://t.co/4ijDqkWdR9

Qualifying Recap

Here are the final qualifying results:

Formula 1 @F1

🏁 Q3 CLASSIFICATION 🏁 Here's how the gird will line up tomorrow 👇 #F1 #HungarianGP 🇭🇺 https://t.co/eLOxpOOm1w

After Vettel failed to set a time in Q1 in the German Grand Prix a fortnight ago, there was more drama for Ferrari in the first session on Saturday.

While he posted the second quickest time to ensure progression into Q2, Charles Leclerc lost control of his Ferrari soon after and hammered the rear of his car into the wall. It gave his engineers a race against time to get ready for the next session:

Sky Sports F1 @SkySportsF1

Charles Leclerc loses the rear on the final corner and slides into the wall!💥 Should be through to Q2, it's a race to get the car fixed and ready... 📺Live on Sky Sports F1 📱Live on the App and Sky Go: https://t.co/BFwOUmJQSn 💻Live blog: https://t.co/CkqLNAZAQx https://t.co/XRrj8yHOuo

The big shock in Q1 was that Daniel Ricciardo failed to progress in the Renault, while George Russell was just edged out despite a fine effort for Williams.

At the start of Q2, Leclerc was able to get back out on track and was advised by his engineer there'd been minimal damage to the car, per F1 journalist Luke Smith:

Luke Smith @LukeSmithF1

Leclerc's engineer tells him: "Everything is fine on data as before" Leclerc: "Copy. I took it easy in the last sector" #F1 #HungarianGP

Those words were given credence when the Ferrari man posted his first flying lap, as he was comfortably among the top four drivers. 

The drivers for the three big teams were all safely through the top-10 shootout, with Lando Norris producing a fine lap to finish in sixth spot in Q2 for McLaren. Luke Gardener of the Daily Express enjoyed what he was seeing from the 19-year-old:

Luke Gardener @LukeGardener82

Lando Norris looking impressive here. Looks favourite to be sixth and ahead of Pierre Gasly’s Red Bull in Q3 but we shall see. Should be mighty close between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen for pole. #HungarianGP #F1

With so many drivers showing pace at various points in Hungary, the battle for pole was always going to be thrilling.

Initially, Hamilton was bettered by his team-mate Bottas, before both of the Silver Arrows were beaten by Verstappen. Neither Leclerc nor Sebastian Vettel were able to get close to the leading mark, leaving the Red Bull man in the lead after the first runs.

The Dutch fans were getting excited at this point:

Formula 1 @F1

There's no prizes for guessing who they want to see on pole tomorrow... 🧡 #F1 #HungarianGP 🇭🇺 https://t.co/DVfvdKEjHN

When Verstappen lowered that time again, it was always going to be difficult for the field to chop down the gap. And despite the best efforts of Bottas, who was 0.018 seconds behind the Dutchman eventually, Verstappen had done enough to earn his maiden pole.


FP3 Recap

Here are the standings from final practice at the Hungaroring:

Formula 1 @F1

CLASSIFICIATION: END OF FP3 Lewis Hamilton ends the third practice session fastest at the Hungaroring, but the chasing pack are not far behind 🧐 #F1 #HungarianGP 🇭🇺 https://t.co/I6LObZRcBm

After rain disrupted much of second practice on Friday, those in attendance would have been hoping to see more action on Saturday. However, their viewing in the morning was chopped down by 10 minutes before any car took to the track.

That was because the session was delayed due to an oil spill following an engine blowout. The organisers were forced into a short-term fix to ensure it was safe to drive:

Formula 1 @F1

Nobody forecasted snow on Turn 4? ☃️ #F1 #HungarianGP 🇭🇺 https://t.co/csfsCzgRMj

Formula 1 @F1

🔥 x ❄️ #F1 #HungarianGP 🇭🇺 https://t.co/Zywxd1qI3C

Not only did the move leave a stain on the track, the drivers had different kinds of problems to deal with as a result:

Luke Smith @LukeSmithF1

The cars are throwing up massive dust clouds over the oil slick. "It's really slippery at Turn 5," reports Giovinazzi #F1 #HungarianGP

Unsurprisingly, it took a while for the drivers to get used to the conditions and for the natural order to establish itself at the top of the timesheets.

After a short spell on top for Vettel, Hamilton and Verstappen resumed their battle from Friday. The Mercedes and Red Bull drivers traded places, with the former eventually going quickest.

In the final minutes of the session, the boards were lit up further, as the drivers sought to build momentum before qualifying. Verstappen was able to hammer in a new benchmark, but Vettel was on course to better it after two sectors of his final flying lap, only for him to lose ground in the final sector and end up in second.

However, Hamilton saved his best until last.