Hamilton takes another pole

A stunned Lewis Hamilton scorched to his third pole position in a row for Mercedes in searing track temperatures at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday.

The 2008 Formula One world champion, a triple winner in Hungary with McLaren, lapped the circuit with a best time of one minute 19.388 seconds to deny Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel the top slot.

“Are we on pole?,” the Briton shouted over the radio on his slowing down lap at the Hungaroring. “Yeah, we're as surprised as you,” came the reply.

Triple world champion Vettel, who leads Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso in the standings by 34 points after nine of 19 races, could manage only 1:19.426 with the track temperature hitting 50 degrees earlier in the session. He starts second.

Hamilton had never before in his stellar career taken three successive poles and his fourth of the season took his overall tally to 30 -- one more than the late Argentine five-times champion Juan Manuel Fangio.  “With the temperatures, it was pretty tough. I was really surprised when they said I got pole. I didn't feel like that was a great lap,” Hamilton told reporters.

“I was expecting Sebastian to get it,” added the Briton who won from pole last year in Hungary but has yet to win a race since leaving McLaren at the end of the 2012 season.  Frenchman Romain Grosjean qualified third for Lotus with Hamilton's German team-mate Nico Rosberg fourth. Alonso, who has not started on pole for more than a year and turns 32 on Monday, will start fifth.

Big loser

The big loser in the first phase was Force India’s Paul Di Resta who qualified 18th and was baffled at the car’s lack of performance.  “Where did the grip and tyres go?” the Scot asked his team over the radio. “Looks like we've got some work to do,” they replied. However, team-mate Adrian Sutil managed to add some cheer, qualifying 11th.

Driver                                     Team                           Time           
1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain)        Mercedes               1:19.388
2. Sebastian Vettel (Germany)    Red Bull               1:19.426
3. Romain Grosjean (France)        Lotus                  1:19.595
4. Nico Rosberg (Germany)        Mercedes               1:19.720
5. Fernando Alonso (Spain)          Ferrari                 1:19.791
6. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland)          Lotus                   1:19.851
7. Felipe Massa (Brazil)                Ferrari                  1:19.929
8. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia)     Toro Rosso               1:20.641
9. Sergio Perez (Mexico)           McLaren                1:22.398
10. Mark Webber (Australia)        Red Bull                    DNS

Other results: 11. Adrian Sutil (Force India, 1:20.569); 12. Nico Huelkenberg (Sauber, 1:20.580); 13. Jenson Button (McLaren, 1:20.777);14. Jean-Eric Vergne (ToroRosso, 1:21.029); 15. Pastor Maldonado (Williams, 1:21.133); 16. Valtteri Bottas (Williams, 1:21.219); 17. Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber, 1:21.724); 18. Paul Di Resta (Force India, 1:22.043); 19. Charles Pic (Caterham, 1:23.007); 20. Giedo van der Garde (Caterham, 1:23.333); 21. Jules Bianchi (Marussia, 1:23.787); 22. Max Chilton (Marussia, 1:23.997).

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