Pierre Gasly struggled to comprehend the size of his achievement after becoming a winner in Formula One for the first time at a sensational Italian Grand Prix.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton was coasting towards another victory only to be hit with a pivotal 10-second stop-and-go penalty for getting fresh tyres while the pitlane was closed following Kevin Magnussen's retirement.

Hamilton had to serve that after the race was red flagged due to Charles Leclerc's crash at the Parabolica and he consequently dropped from first to the back of the field.

AlphaTauri driver Gasly subsequently held off McLaren's Carlos Sainz in a thrilling Monza finale to pick up an unlikely maiden F1 triumph.

"Honestly it's unbelievable. I'm not realising what's happening right now," he said in a post-race interview. 

"It was such a crazy race, then we capitalise on the red flag. The car was fast and we had a pretty fast car behind us."

It marks the culmination of a dramatic period for Gasly, who last season was demoted from Red Bull to sister team Toro Rosso, which became AlphaTauri this year.

The emotion was clear to see when the checkered flag was waved with Gasly yelling "Oh my God, what did we just do? Did we win the f****** race? We did it again" down the team radio. 

"I've been through so much in 18 months, my first podium last year I was already like 'Wow, with AlphaTauri?' And now my first win in Formula One in Monza … I struggle to realise," he added.

"I have got no words, no words, this team have done so much for me. They gave me my first opportunity in F1, my first podium, now giving me my first win.

"It's crazy honestly, I'm so happy. It's just an amazing day."

Gasly is the first French winner in F1 since Olivier Panis triumphed at the Monaco Grand Prix in 1996.

"That's right, Olivier Panis was the last one," Gasly exclaimed. "I always say coming into F1 that's something we need to change because it's been so long. I never expected it to be with AlphaTauri. 

"We just worked on improving ourselves step by step, it's so crazy."

Sainz may have finally caught Gasly with one more lap but the Spaniard, who recorded his best F1 finish, was philosophical about the outcome.

"It's incredible, I'm halfway disappointed with P2 you know?" He said. "I wouldn't have believed that I would have had a chance to fight for victory today, we were very, very close. 

"In a normal race I think I would have got P2 behind Lewis because we had really, really good pace. I think it's what we deserve but Pierre there out in front it's like 'Oh, wow, how could that happen?' 

"We had a bit of bad luck with the safety car but did well to recover it then with the red flag. I'm very happy with the P2, we were super quick all week, I felt like I could dominate the midfield pretty easily today, so I've got to be happy with that."

Racing Point's Lance Stroll was on the podium for only the second time in his career and felt it could have been even better had things played out a little differently.

"I am [happy], it's been a couple of years since I stood on a podium it feels good to be back after such a crazy race," he said. 

"I'm so happy for Pierre he really deserved it, he had a great start and stayed so consistent throughout the race. 

"It's a bit of a bummer I think it was kind of mine to lose there starting from second, but I had no grip at the start, a ton of wheelspin and everyone flew by me. 

"I had a good scrap with Carlos there in the first couple of laps, I overtook him there on the outside then he got me again down into turn one. We were battling out there, I'm happy to pick up third, I think the win slipped away today but third is great."

Lewis Hamilton's Italian Grand Prix was undone by a pivotal stop-and-go penalty on a dramatic day at Monza as Pierre Gasly won the first Formula One race of his career.

The F1 championship leader had looked on course for another serene afternoon having built up a sizeable lead when he pitted prior to the race's halfway point, only to discover he had erred due to the pitlane being closed following Kevin Magnussen's retirement.

It proved even more costly shortly after, though, as Charles Leclerc's big crash resulted in the race being suspended and the field being bunched up again, meaning Hamilton was last once he had served his penalty upon the resumption. 

He could only get back up to finish seventh, and it was AlphaTauri's Gasly who held off McLaren's Carlos Sainz to take an incredible victory, with Racing Point's Lance Stroll third.

Lewis Hamilton was relieved that significant "set-up changes" ahead of qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix paid off, with his post-practice nerves dispelled by a record-breaking run on Saturday.

On the Formula One calendar's quickest track, Monza, Hamilton set a new lap record of one minute, 18.887 seconds, therefore making it the fastest lap time ever posted in F1 history.

That was, of course, enough to secure a sixth pole in eight attempts this season for the Mercedes driver, who tops the championship leaderboard.

The practice sessions had hinted at a potential wobble for Hamilton, as he almost crashed into a queue of cars in FP3, and that led to him making alterations to his set-up.

In turn, that caused some pre-qualification nervousness, but his judgement proved to be on the money.

"I made some big changes coming into qualifying, so I was a little bit nervous going in that it was the right thing to do, but it worked just fine," he said.

There were a few jittery moments across the three qualification stages, with queueing cars almost getting tangled up with each other on several occasions, while a few drivers engaged in race-like behaviour with either aggressive overtaking or blocking manoeuvres on bends.

Hamilton acknowledged such scenarios required careful driving, and he was delighted with his own efforts in that regard.

"Just in terms of timing, when they put us out on track, and yeah, it wasn't the easiest," Hamilton continued. "You saw how close it was between us all.

"I think it demanded a clean lap and I think I got that on both. So, I'm generally really happy with the actual laps I did and Valtteri was very close, pushing."

Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton's team-mate, pushed the Brit all the way as he came in just 0.069 seconds behind, with Mercedes locking out the front row again.

Despite another impressive drive that sets him up nicely for Sunday, Bottas was ultimately a little rueful of not pipping his colleague to pole.

"It was a pretty close gap," he said. "I was expecting it always to be close and I've been feeling fast this weekend, so obviously a bit disappointed to be second instead of first.

"Ultimately it came to the choice if I'm running first or second. I took the first because from our analysis it shouldn't be much of a difference or maybe even better to be first so you can really focus on the clean lap and not to have any messy out-laps."

McLaren's Carlos Sainz equalled his best-ever qualifying result by securing third, but it was by no means a given.

After solid drives in Q1 and Q2, Sainz dropped off a little in Q3 initially before hitting the later corners impressively – the Spaniard believes he took a risk that ultimately paid off, though he had been "shaking" with nerves.

"I was chipping away. The last lap, I nearly messed up," Sainz recalled. "I had a big moment in Lesmo 1 and I nearly lost it. And since then on I had to drive like this and I am actually shaking a bit.

"I felt like I was nailing Q1 and Q2. Q3 run one, I didn't quite nail it. Waiting for Q3 run two and the lap, it didn't start very well and I was already needing some very strong final corners. I really went for it, I risked a lot and it paid off."

Carlos Sainz insists he is "very comfortable" with his decision to join Ferrari next year despite the Scuderia's dismal form in 2020.

Sainz will replace Sebastian Vettel at the Italian outfit at the end of the season after two years with McLaren.

Even after the Spaniard failed to start the Belgian Grand Prix last week due to an engine issue, he is outperforming Vettel in the drivers' standings.

Vettel's Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc is well off the pace in the title race, too, with the pair finishing 13th and 14th respectively at Spa.

The Scuderia have work to do to make their car competitive in time for next year, but Sainz is "100 per cent" confident in the team.

"I'm very comfortable with the decision I've taken," Sainz said. "I've got 100 per cent confidence in Ferrari's people and what they can do for the future.

"Let's just remember that last year they were capable of doing seven pole positions, so it's a team that I think knows how to produce very good cars."

Sainz was speaking ahead of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Ferrari's home race.

He added: "I can already feel the excitement of the tifosi. The way they've approached me whenever we leave the hotel, in between the hotel and the car, the tifosi manage to find you and to give you some good energy.

"That good energy that I've received this weekend is already starting to make me feel how exciting it's going to be next year being part of such a team, with such a history.

"Honestly, I don't think it's ever a bad time to go to Ferrari.

"I think going to Ferrari is such a unique experience and such a special place for a Formula One driver that I don't think there's ever going to be a bad time where you say, 'I do not want to go to Ferrari'.

"Give me that option 100 times again, I will always say yes."

Lewis Hamilton continued his dominance of the Formula One season by taking victory in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.

The Mercedes driver finished ahead of team-mate Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull's Max Verstappen on Sunday to make it five wins from seven races in 2020.

Daniel Ricciardo impressed to take fourth place and the fastest lap for Renault, who also saw Esteban Ocon overtake Alex Albon to claim fifth on the final lap.

Hamilton led from pole position and despite never building an enormous lead, his victory rarely looked in doubt as Mercedes took their first win in Belgium for three years.

Ferrari suffered more woe and failed to score a point, with Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc finishing 13th and 14th respectively.

As Hamilton led Bottas off the line, Verstappen narrowly held off Ricciardo as Albon lost a place to Ocon, one he later got back at the pit stops.

A safety car was required on lap 11 due to a significant crash involving Antonio Giovinazzi and George Russell, the Alfa Romeo spinning and his loose wheel colliding with the Williams. 

That delayed proceedings for four laps and meant the majority of the field pitted earlier than anticipated.

Rumoured rain did not arrive, as all top three drivers limped home on aging tyres, although there was to be no repeat of the blistering and puncture drama seen earlier this season at Silverstone.

The main focus at the finish was Albon ultimately being unable to keep Ocon behind, with Ricciardo taking the extra point from Hamilton as he sprinted home without the tyre issues of those in front of him.

Carlos Sainz was unable to start the Belgian Grand Prix after his McLaren suffered exhaust failure.

The Spanish driver qualified in seventh for the race at Spa but had to head back to the garage after his car failed to make it onto the grid.

McLaren announced on Twitter: "Unfortunately, @Carlossainz55 will not start the #BelgianGP after an exhaust failure on the way to the grid."

Sainz sat ninth in the season's driver standings before Sunday's race, with 23 points, 16 fewer than team-mate Lando Norris.

All 10 Formula One teams have committed to remaining in the series until 2025.

The teams have signed the new Concorde Agreement, which sets out the financial terms under which participants compete and the sport's governance.

After Ferrari, Williams and McLaren confirmed they had agreed to the new terms on Tuesday, F1 announced on Wednesday that the remaining seven teams had followed suit.

An F1 statement said: "The agreement will secure the long-term sustainable future for Formula 1 and combined with the new regulations, announced in October 2019 that come into force in 2022, will reduce the financial and on track disparities between the teams, helping to level the playing field, creating closer racing on the track that our fans want to see more of.

"With closer racing we will attract more fans to our sport, benefitting every team, and continue to increase the global growth of Formula One."

F1 chairman and CEO Chase Carey said: "This year has been unprecedented for the world and we are proud that Formula One has come together in recent months to return to racing in a safe way.

"We said earlier in the year that due to the fluid nature of the pandemic, the Concorde Agreement would take additional time to agree and we are pleased that by August we have been able achieve agreement from all ten teams on the plans for the long term future of our sport.

"All our fans want to see closer racing, wheel-to-wheel action and every team having a chance to get on the podium.

"The new Concorde Agreement, in conjunction with the regulations for 2022, will put in place the foundations to make this a reality and create an environment that is both financially fairer and closes the gaps between teams on the race track."

Max Verstappen stunned Mercedes by guiding his Red Bull to victory at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix at Silverstone.

Mercedes had won the opening four Formula One races of the 2020 season, but the brilliant Verstappen ended that run by triumphing from fourth on the grid as his tyre strategy paid dividends.

Pole-sitter Valtteri Bottas had to settle for third place after being passed late on by team-mate and championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

Charles Leclerc took fourth for Ferrari ahead of Verstappen's team-mate Alex Albon and Racing Point's Lance Stroll, with Nico Hulkenberg dropping down to seventh and Sebastian Vettel finishing outside the points.

Mercedes dominated both practice sessions on Friday but much of the talk around the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix was focused on Racing Point.

Valtteri Bottas went quickest in FP1 but Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton produced the fastest lap of the day in the second session, clocking a time of one minute, 25.606 seconds ahead of the second straight race at Silverstone.

The big story of the day, though, was the FIA docking Racing Point 15 points and handing them a €400,000 fine after it was deemed their rear brake ducts were designed by Mercedes, breaching the sporting regulations.

Racing Point boss Otmar Szafnauer claimed the sanction was "unfair" and that the team were considering an appeal, although they will continue to use the same parts.

A number of other teams are also thinking of challenging the severity of the punishment - though because they feel it too lenient - with the issue arising following a protest by Renault at the Styrian Grand Prix.

Renault team principal Cyril Abiteboul was pleased action had been taken but suggested the outcome was not satisfactory.

"I think that the question of sanction is open for debate. We will consider that matter bearing in mind that the advantage that was obviously obtained will keep on going for all the season and it's a very material advantage," said Abiteboul.

Williams chief Claire Williams and Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said they would study the 14-page decision before deciding whether to make an appeal.

McLaren boss Zak Brown was heavily critical and is concerned it is just "the tip of the iceberg" in terms of the similarities between the RP20 and Mercedes' title-winning car from 2019.

"My initial reactions are Racing Point has been found guilty. I am concerned they still have those [brake ducts] that were deemed illegal in Austria, on the race car now. I think that is confusing for the fans," said Brown.

"Regarding copying, obviously they claimed that they had copied the car via photography - it's clear from reading the document that that's BS. And, therefore, you have to question anything else around that car.

"So I think this is potentially the tip of the iceberg, the starting point of looking at what's happened here because I don't think it's healthy for the sport. It's thrown up a lot more questions than answers.

"It's something we too are going to review quickly and understand the appeal process and whether that's something that we want to potentially participate in."

The FIA announced its intention to amend the 2021 regulations to avoid further cases of copying or cloning another vehicle.

After the governing body's investigation found that Mercedes had supplied a complete set of W10 brake ducts to Racing Point six days after they became a 'listed part' in January, Toto Wolff insisted the reigning constructors' champions had done nothing wrong.

Wolff said: "We feel 100 per cent comfortable with our position. We have read the rules over and over again. The verdict that came out today is extremely complicated and comes up with an interpretation that is new to all of us.

"We have provided certain data in 2019 which was totally within the rules. The 6th of January [part of the FIA's decision] has no material effect on any of the actions, because the whole thing was delivered much earlier, and all the CAD drawings and designs were delivered much earlier. Racing Point and ourselves [collaborated] and that was in the regulations.

"At the end, to be honest, there is zero worry on our side – and when I say zero, I mean zero – that we were in any breach, nor do I think Racing Point was in any breach.

"And I believe that if that was called to the ICA [International Court of Appeal], it would be probably a complex matter because it was very technical, but I doubt there would be any outcome."

Lewis Hamilton will once again start from the front of the grid as he goes in search of a third straight win in 2020 at the British Grand Prix.

The six-time world champion posted a new lap record at Silverstone to finish Q3 in front of Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas, who is the only other driver to record a victory so far this year.

It will be the 71st edition of the famous race - seeing it move out of a tie with the Italian Grand Prix for most appearances on the Formula One calendar - and Mercedes are chasing a seventh win since 2013 at the track.

No driver has done so more often at the venue than Hamilton, with six to his name. He will be a red-hot favourite to add to that tally on Sunday and, in the process, extend his advantage in the drivers' standings.

Can anyone not named Bottas possibly deny the Briton yet another home triumph?


WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

There were two battles going on during qualifying. While the Mercedes duo contested pole, the rest battled it out to decide the order behind the obvious front row.

Hamilton did have cause for concern when he spun in Q2, yet recovered impressively to set a new lap record in the next session - a time he then bettered on his final attempt as he finished 0.313 seconds clear of Bottas.

Worryingly for those hoping to see another team mount a challenge, Max Verstappen was over a second adrift in third place in his Red Bull, with team-mate Alex Albon struggling to 12th.

Ferrari received a much-needed boost as Charles Leclerc claimed fourth place, though Sebastian Vettel's struggles continued. The German was slowest of the group involved in Q3 after having his fastest time deleted and will start the race on the softer tyres compared to his team-mate, too.

Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz were fifth and seventh respectively for McLaren, Racing Point's Lance Stroll splitting the pair. Meanwhile, Nico Hulkenberg - summoned to make a comeback at short notice to stand in for Sergio Perez, who tested positive for COVID-19 - will start from 13th position.


THE STARTING GRID 

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
5. Lando Norris (McLaren) 6. Lance Stroll (Racing Point)
7. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) 8. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault)
9. Esteban Ocon (Renault) 10. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 
11. Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) 12. Alex Albon (Red Bull)
13. Nico Hulkenberg (Racing Point) 14. Kevin Magnussen (Haas)
15. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) 16.  Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)
17. Romain Grosjean (Haas) 18. Daniil Kvyat (Alpha Tauri)
19. Nicholas Latifi (Williams)  20. George Russell (Williams)

BRITISH GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS

Hamilton clearly relishes the chance to drive in his own back yard. While there will be no crowd to cheer him on due to these unprecedented times, he is racing for the chance of yet more history.

A 91st career pole has him primed to break clear of a tie with Alain Prost for the most victories by a driver at a home race. In terms of the season as a whole, Mercedes are turning the constructors' title into a procession, such is their complete dominance.

"I guess we're not making many new friends," team principal Toto Wolff said afterwards. Of course, it is all about gathering points to win the prizes, rather than a popularity contest, but the rest of the paddock should be seriously concerned by what they have seen from the Silver Arrows so far.

Still, the most successful team historically at Silverstone has been Ferrari, albeit they seem a way off competing this time. The Scuderia have recorded just one podium finish in the opening three races, their worst start to a campaign since 2014.


WHAT THE DRIVERS SAID

Lewis Hamilton (pole): "Valtteri was pushing me right to the end. It was a real struggle out there. We had that spin, I was struggling through the first section. I managed to compose myself. The first Q3 lap was clean and the second was even better. We're still powering ahead, we're not resting on the performance that we have, we're trying to push the boundaries and the limits and that's the most impressive thing about this team."

Valtteri Bottas (2nd): "For me, the balance was shifting more and more towards oversteer as the session went on. Maybe the track temperature was getting high, I don't know. He [Hamilton] had a great lap in the end, a better lap than mine. It's still very close between us in the championship points, so of course I'm going to do everything I can and of course will look overnight with the engineers what we can do and if there’s anything different I can do. Last year [Hamilton won from second] with a pretty different strategy to mine [from pole]."

Max Verstappen (3rd): "I had a pretty good qualifying lap and starting third gives us the chance to fight for a good race result. We just hope to have a clean start and from there onwards I just try to do the best I can in the car and if that is just try to follow them a bit, we can be happy with that and score some points."

 

Lando Norris (5th): "It was very difficult with the wind – the cars are so sensitive. I'm very happy – it was better than I thought I could do. I think we out-qualified a few cars that are quicker than us, but that is only going to make Sunday's race more difficult. We have to convert it into a good result at my home race."

Sebastian Vettel (10th): "I struggled to find the rhythm. The car was not too bad, but it didn’t fit me. We made it to Q3, but with the wrong tyre, and then we didn’t make enough progress in Q3, so not a good day. We have to start with the soft tyre, which is probably not good news. Nevertheless, I’ll try everything I can, we’ll see what we could get."

Nico Hulkenberg (13th): "I feel there was more potential and I didn't get everything, but given the circumstances it is also very hard. I don't know if you can expect to get 100 per cent from the car. We were so close to making it to Q3, and I'm happy with that considering I've come in from the cold this weekend! It's a big ask after eight months away to come back and jump into a completely different environment – and into a Formula One car I've never driven before and immediately perform with a challenging circuit and conditions."


CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 63
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 58
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) - 33
4. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 26
5= Alex Albon (Red Bull) - 22
5= Sergio Perez (Racing Point) - 22

Constructors 

1. Mercedes – 121
2. Red Bull – 55
3. McLaren - 41
4. Racing Point – 40
5. Ferrari – 27

Lewis Hamilton needed deep breaths and composure to recover from a dramatic qualifying spin and claim pole position for the British Grand Prix.

Six-time Formula One world champion and 2020 standings leader Hamilton beat Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas by a comfortable margin of 0.313 seconds on Saturday.

But his two fine laps in Q3, including a track-record effort, came after he spun at Luffield in the second session, the debris caused by the incident bringing out the red flag at Silverstone.

That mishap, coupled with Bottas coming out on top in FP3, Q1 and Q2, meant Hamilton was up against it before taking a record seventh pole on home soil.

"Obviously there's a relatively big gap between us and third place, but it doesn't matter - Valtteri is pushing me right to the limit," Hamilton said after qualifying, with Mercedes' rivals over one second adrift.

"He's been doing such a fantastic job all weekend - I made some changes going into qualifying and it was worse, it was a real struggle out there. 

"This track is awesome because with a gust of wind, you have a tailwind and headwind and crosswind across the circuit so it's like juggling balls on a moving plate, at high speed!

"Obviously we had that spin. Qualifying is a lot about confidence building and man, I was already down and down in the first sector every lap. 

"I don't know how, but I took some deep breaths and managed to compose myself. Q3 still wasn't perfect but still a really clean lap, and the second one even better. It never gets old that's for sure."

Asked about the absence of his home supporters, Hamilton added: "You normally have sirens and flags and smoke and the atmosphere is buzzing. 

"We definitely miss the fans. Hopefully back home they enjoyed it."

Bottas was not giving up on his chances for the race as he hopes to reverse the result of last year when he claimed pole only to be beaten on the Sunday by Hamilton.

"It was a pretty good qualifying up until Q3," said the Finn. "I felt pretty good with the car but in Q3 I started to drift a bit more than I wanted with the rear end. We need to look into it.

"Lewis found a bit more than I did, but my performance has been pretty good this weekend.

"Lewis won it here last year from second place with a different strategy to me so hopefully I will get opportunities. Everything is still wide open for the race."

Max Verstappen was third for Red Bull and seemed resigned to battling to be the best of the rest unless the Mercedes cars run into unexpected issues.

"You could see early in qualifying Mercedes are way too fast, as they have been the last three races," said the Dutchman, who was 1.022s adrift of Hamilton. 

"You just have to expect that and do the best you can, and that's P3. I may not be able to fight them but we are little bit closer in the race and at least you have a fighting chance starting third.

"The newer cars are very sensitive to the wind, low speed corners and they become like a completely different car. But it was fun to drive."

Charles Leclerc was fourth for Ferrari, while Sebastian Vettel was a disappointing 10th and Verstappen's team-mate Alex Albon had to settle for 12th.

Lewis Hamilton continued his fine Formula One form by beating Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas to pole position on home soil at the British Grand Prix.

Having overcome a spin in Q2, Hamilton produced two impressive laps in Q3 and a track-record time of 1:24.303 put him 0.313 seconds clear of Bottas at Silverstone.

The Finn had been fastest in FP3 and the first two sessions of qualifying but had no answer when it mattered.

Max Verstappen was third for Red Bull with Charles Leclerc taking fourth for Ferrari, with both those cars over a second behind Hamilton, who came into the event on the back of two straight wins.

Lando Norris caught the eye again to take fifth for McLaren, with Racing Point's Lance Stroll separating him from team-mate Carlos Sainz.

Renault duo Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon took eighth and ninth, the latter promoted above Sebastian Vettel, whose second lap time was deleted due to exceeding track limits.

As well as being a poor day for Vettel, there was more frustration for Alex Albon as he failed to reach the final shoot-out and finished 12th.

That was one place ahead of Nico Hulkenberg, who is standing in for Sergio Perez at Racing Point after the Mexican's positive coronavirus test.

Along with Albon and Hulkenberg missing out, there was further drama in Q2 as Hamilton spun at Luffield, spraying gravel onto the track which led to a red flag.

Fortunately for the championship leader, he was able to continue with the damage to his car not significant.

He later looked relieved after taking what ultimately proved to be a comfortable seventh British Grand Prix pole, improving on a record he already holds.
 

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:24.303
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.313s
3. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +1.022s
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +1.124s
5. Lando Norris (McLaren) +1.479s
6. Lance Stroll (Racing Point)  +1.536s
7. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) +1.662s
8. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) +1.706s
9. Esteban Ocon (Renault) +1.906s
10. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +2.036s

Lewis Hamilton did all he could in qualifying to put himself in position to make Formula One history at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The six-time world champion took pole in Saturday's session at the Hungaroring, edging out Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

It was his seventh pole at a track where he has previously won on seven occasions, including in three of the last four years.

Should Hamilton win Sunday's race, he will not only overtake Bottas in the drivers' standings, but also equal Michael Schumacher's record for the most victories at a single F1 circuit.
 

WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

Hamilton set a lap record to hold off a determined Bottas by 0.107 seconds and take a 90th career pole, with Mercedes streets ahead of the other 18 drivers.

Racing Point impressed as Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez came third and fourth respectively, though even they were a second off Mercedes' pace, as Ferarri improved to lock out row three, with Sebastian Vettel pipping Charles Leclerc.

Red Bull struggled with Max Verstappen down in seventh and a frustrated Alex Albon - who criticised his team on radio - missing out on Q3. He starts 13th, a spot behind Williams' George Russell.


THE STARTING GRID 

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) 
3. Lance Stroll (Racing Point)  4. Sergio Perez (Racing Point)
5. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)  6. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari)
7. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) 8. Lando Norris (McLaren)
9. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) 10. Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri)
11. Daniel Ricciardo (Renault) 12. George Russell (Williams) 
13. Alex Albon (Red Bull) 14.  Esteban Ocon (Renault)
15. Nicholas Latifi (Williams) 16. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) 
17. Daniil Kvyat (Alpha Tauri) 18. Romain Grosjean (Haas)
19. Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) 20. Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo)

 

HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS

Schumacher won eight times in France, an F1 record Hamilton will hope to match at one of his favourite tracks in Hungary, especially with Bottas sitting six points clear of him in the championship.

Both Mercedes drivers referenced the crucial run up to turn one in their post-qualifying remarks and it seems a collision between them or a mechanical issue is the only hope the rest of the field have of finishing ahead of the leaders, who have a huge pace advantage.

Racing Point are primed to push for a podium finish as they start on the second row with the more durable medium tyres after a qualifying strategy gamble paid off, while this track appears to suit Ferrari better even if they are still well short of Mercedes.

Red Bull will hope better race pace can lift them after a frustrating start to the season continued in qualifying - a stark contrast to Verstappen's first career pole here last year. The Dutchman cited issues with the top speed and balance of the car after qualifying, saying the team were still unsure over the reason for their shortcomings.


WHAT THE DRIVERS SAID

Lewis Hamilton (pole): "I definitely wasn't expecting [Red Bull] to be as off as they have been this weekend. You saw the pace of them last year and that [1.4s to Verstappen] is a really big gap. This is not a power circuit, this is more about the car, the mechanical grip and aero package. I thought they had a better package than the result showed."

Valtteri Bottas (2nd): "It is going to be a bit of a drag race into turn one between us [Bottas and Hamilton] so I look forward to that – the first lap will definitely be interesting. I'm the championship leader at the moment, but I need to win races to maintain that, so that is the only goal I have Sunday and I'm fully focused on making it happen."

Lance Stroll (3rd): "Everybody's entitled to race out there, so I hope we [me and Sergio Perez] get to race hard. He starts fourth and is going to fight for the podium, I'm going to fight for the podium. I’m hoping we can have a good start and a good race as it would be nice to stand on the podium again, it has been two or three years since I last did that."

Sergio Perez (4th): "I didnt feel 100% physically during qualifying, I was getting dizzy and that is not great. I need to check with my physio what is going on but I should be okay for Sunday. I managed to get away with a good result, it was very messy, my qualifying - still, P4 is a good race start and it was a great result for the team. We will target a lot of points."

Sebastian Vettel (5th): "I think it's much better than the previous weekends. The first time both cars are in Q3. Austria didn't really suit us, we lost a lot of time in the straights, and here I think there's a lot more corners to make up for it. The car felt better balanced as well so I think we're much closer to the people, let’s say around us, like the Racing Point, the Red Bull, even McLaren."

Alex Albon (13th): "It was a bit of everything. Obviously I didn't do a great lap as well [as issues with the car and being put out in traffic], but we had another lap to fix it. It is a few things to be honest, so we need to sit with the team, discuss it and just be better prepared for the next time. I was [happier with the car] in FP3, not so much in qualifying. So we need to figure it out a bit better."
 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers

1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 43
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 37
3. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 26
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) –18
5. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) – 16

Constructors 

1. Mercedes – 80
2. McLaren – 39
3. Red Bull – 27
4. Racing Point – 22
5. Ferrari – 19

Lewis Hamilton held off Valtteri Bottas to claim pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix, with Red Bull well off the pace.

Reigning Formula One world champion Hamilton ended Saturday's qualifying session 0.107 seconds ahead of Mercedes team-mate Bottas, who leads the early drivers' standings.

As Mercedes dominated, Hamilton led after the first runs of Q3 before improving with a track-record 1:13.447, which was just enough to finish top of the timesheets and claim a 90th career pole.

That was despite Bottas also bettering his time in the second runs ahead of a race that the constructors' champions looks set to dominate.

Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez were third and fourth respectively, as a surging Racing Point locked out the second row.

An improved performance from Ferrari saw Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc claim fifth and sixth spots.

But it was a difficult day for Red Bull, who saw Max Verstappen have to settle for seventh, while Alex Albon fared even worse, qualifying in 13th behind the Williams of George Russell.

Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly rounded out the top 10, with Mercedes' pace proving to be significantly clear of the rest of the pack.

Perez topped a Racing Point one-two in Q1, a session both Williams cars impressively progressed from.

Hamilton was on top in Q2, as a struggling Albon, who criticised his team on radio after being put out on track in traffic, missed out on the top 10 along with the two Renault cars and the Williams duo.

Perez had his first time in Q3 deleted as he exceeded the track limits, but an assured second effort meant Racing Point looked well placed for a podium in Sunday's race, especially with both drivers due to start on medium tyres.

Stroll was 0.930s behind Hamilton with everyone else over a second adrift as the pole-sitter eyes his eighth career victory in Hungary.

PROVISIONAL CLASSIFICATION

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 1:13.447
2. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +0.107s 
3. Lance Stroll (Racing Point) +0.930s
4. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) +1.098s
5. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) +1.327s
6. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) +1.370s
7. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +1.402s
8. Lando Norris (McLaren) +1.519s
9. Carlos Sainz (McLaren) +1.580s
10. Pierre Gasly (Alpha Tauri) no time set

The podium at the end of the Styrian Grand Prix had a familiar look as Lewis Hamilton stood on the top step and he will have history in his sights at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Hamilton and Mercedes head to the Hungaroring on the back of a one-two led by the defending world champion, who can equal a pair of records belonging to Michael Schumacher this weekend.

Hoping to prevent Mercedes from making it three wins in as many races will be the Red Bulls, who have typically shown impressive pace at the Mogyorod circuit.

Sunday's race begins at 15:10 local time (14:10 BST), with Hamilton targeting a third successive win in Hungary that would take him top of the drivers' championship.

 

LAST TIME OUT 

Having had to settle for fourth in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, Hamilton was dominant at the same Spielberg circuit that hosted the Styrian Grand Prix.

He took pole in a rain-affected qualifying session by 1.2 seconds and was only leapfrogged at the pit stops in a routine win.

While it was a dream weekend for Mercedes, Ferrari endured a nightmare as both Scuderia drivers retired after colliding on the opening lap. They will hope a positive result in Hungary can atone for that.

Max Verstappen was third but Red Bull will surely have left their home circuit disappointed with their points haul of 27 from the two races.



WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN HUNGARY

Qualifying will be crucial at a circuit where there are notoriously few spots for overtaking. However, a pole-to-flag Mercedes victory should not be taken as a given despite Hamilton's recent success in the race.

Indeed, Silver Arrows boss Toto Wolff is expecting a sustained challenge from the Red Bulls at a track suited to their RB16 car.


"I'm 100 per cent convinced they will come very strong in Hungary," said Wolff. "It's a track they have shown historically great performance. We have improved there too in the last few years but it's always a difficult weekend.

"Hot temperatures are still a bit of an Achilles' Heel for us, and as far as I have seen on our weather forecast, it could be up to 30C on Sunday. We need to prepare well, put all the focus on Budapest and hopefully do the best out of it."


TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

Hamilton targeting Schumacher record –  Hamilton could make F1 history if he wins the Hungarian Grand Prix; the Englishman would equal Schumacher as the driver with the most wins at a single Grand Prix (currently 7, Schumacher has 8 in the French GP).

A historic pole –  Hamilton (6) is one pole position away from equalling Schumacher (7) as the F1 driver to record the most pole positions in Hungary. Only in Australia has Hamilton recorded more poles (8) than at the Hungarian GP.

Rapid Red Bulls –  Hungary is the Grand Prix where Red Bull have recorded the fastest lap on the most occasions, doing so seven times – each of those coming in their last eleven races there (set by four different drivers).

Verstappen out for repeat –  Verstappen has recorded two pole positions in his career, the first coming in Hungary last year after beating Bottas by just 18 thousandths of a second.

Norris leading McLaren resurgence –  Lando Norris' haul of 26 points is the best for a McLaren driver after the opening two races of a season since Hamilton in 2012 (30 points). 
 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers 

1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 43
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 37
3. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 26
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) –18
5. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) – 16

Constructors 

1. Mercedes – 80
2. McLaren – 39
3. Red Bull – 27
4. Racing Point – 22
5. Ferrari – 19

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