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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Max Verstappen Tops Mercedes to Take First Career Pole in Hungary

The 2019 Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix has a lot to live up to this weekend after an incredibly dramatic German Grand Prix. With the way free practice three went — with Lewis Hamilton, Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel all within a tenth of a second of each other on their qualifying simulation — it built even more excitement for the last race weekend until the summer break.

In the end, the 100th different pole position scorer is Verstappen, who notched his first career pole in F1 over the Mercedes teammates of Valtteri Bottas in second and Hamilton in third.

“Yeah, it’s incredible, yeah, this one was still missing [his first pole], and uh, the car felt good all weekend. And of course you know it’s always going to be hard in qualifying, yeah, but we managed to do it,” Verstappen said after his first pole in 92 career races.

Ferrari could not match the pace of Verstappen and Mercedes, as Charles Leclerc qualifies fourth ahead of Vettel. Honorable mention goes to McLaren, as they were best of the rest in Q3, with Lando Norris ahead of Carlos Sainz in seventh and eighth.

The drama started in the first qualifying session as Leclerc spun off of the final corner and knocked his Ferrari into the barrier. It wasn’t a big enough impact to force him to stop on track, but there was a bit a of damage to his rear wing. He did have a fast enough time to make it through the first session. But the rush was on in qualifying two to fix the damage to get Leclerc on the track, which they eventually did at the very beginning of Q2, relieving the tifosi after the terrible qualifying for Ferrari in Germany.

In the first session, there were a few surprises as Daniel Ricciardo in the Renault was knocked out for first time this season after having to back out entering his final fast lap of the session. He will start 18th. Also, George Russell just missed out on making it through to Q2, but it was still his best qualifying result of the season in 16th. And for the first time this season, Williams did not have both cars at the very bottom of the grid in terms of pace. However, Russell’s teammate Robert Kubica was still the slowest of all cars.

The 34th Hungarian Grand Prix and final race before the month-long summer break is set for lights out at around 9:10 a.m. EST. on Sunday, Aug. 3.

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