26 Jul 2015

Hamilton on pole for Hungarian Grand Prix

9:26 am on 26 July 2015

Defending world champion and Formula One leader Lewis Hamilton, who is bidding for a record fifth Hungarian Grand Prix win, has secured pole position for tomorrow morning's race.

British driver Lewis Hamilton

British driver Lewis Hamilton Photo: PHOTOSPORT

It's the fifth time in a row and the ninth this season the 30-year-old Briton has out-performed Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in qualifying.

Hamilton's pole succes was his fifth at the Hungaroring circuit where he is the only driver to have won from the front of the grid in the past 10 years.

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 Brazilian Ayrton Senna to catch on 24.

Four-time world champion Vettel was third fastest ahead of Australian Daniel Ricciardo of Red Bull and Finn Kimi Raikkonen, fifth in the second Ferrari.

The intense heat - the air temperature was 32C and the track was 54 as qualifying began - meant tyre degradation became a factor and accentuated the difference between the super-soft compound and the harder 'medium' rubber.

Rosberg was the qualifying king last year -- winning the inaugural pole position trophy with 11 poles to Hamilton's seven.

The table has been overturned in spectacular fashion this season with Hamilton set to clinch that prize at the next race in Belgium given that he has nine poles to Rosberg's one with only nine races left.

"Part of it is that I worked on my racing to improve that and that's been...it's definitely been better, so I'm pleased with that," Rosberg, who won only five races in 2014 to Hamilton's 11, told reporters.

"Of course, that's slightly compromised qualifying, some of it, but most of it is not explicable for me. I don't understand why it's such a big difference to last year at the moment," added the German.

Rosberg was more than half a second slower than Hamilton's fastest lap and said that he did not know why.