- Qualifying begins at 2pm BST
- Sebastian Vettel fastest in final practice
- Valtteri Bottas second but both Mercedes struggle in Hungary
Hello, good afternoon and welcome to our coverage of qualifying…
…for the 2018 Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring. We came into the weekend expecting Mercedes to struggle behind Red Bull and Ferrari. Things look fairly true to that expectation although it is hard to tell exactly – and we won’t find out for sure until qualifying ends this afternoon.
Sebastian Vettel was quickest in second and third practice and Valtteri Bottas was just under a tenth of a second behind him on Saturday morning. Kimi Raikkonen was third whilst Lewis Hamilton was fourth, well over half a second behind leader Vettel. It is a big weekend for Vettel, who trails championship leader Hamilton by 17 points after crashing out of the lead in the German GP last week.
It was an improvement in position and relative pace for Mercedes from Friday to Saturday but the cars still looked unstable around the tight and twisty Hungaroring. Both Bottas (pictured below) and Lewis Hamilton spun at the chicane, the Finn sliding into the barriers albeit gently. It did not appear that significant damage was caused. It could be another weekend of damage limitation for Mercedes but if they can target the second or even the front row then anything is possible from there.
Red Bull were expected to challenge the Ferrari cars here and it looked like they had a good chance of making the front row but their pace in final practice was relatively poor. However, both drivers looked to have left a lot of lap time out there and struggled with traffic on their runs. They were not the only ones and the first part of qualifying looks to be similar, with 20 cars all jostling for position on a slow-speed and short-ish lap. It could be tasty.
In other non on-track related news, it was announced this morning that Force India have gone into administration. Phil Duncan at the Hungaroring, reports.
The British-based Force India team have been placed into administration following a court hearing in London.
Force India will continue to take part at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix, the final round before the Formula One summer break.
It is understood that Mexican driver Sergio Perez is owed more than £3 million in sponsorship deals, while the team’s engine supplier Mercedes are also owed £11.5m.
Five separate parties are believed to be interested in buying the team.
Canadian fashion billionaire, Lawrence Stroll, whose son Lance drives for Williams, is believed to be among the potential buyers.
I’ll be here for consecutive few hours around as we’ve all the build-up, live updates and reaction to what we have a tendency to hope are going to be another thrilling qualifying session.