Rosberg on pole as Hamilton hits more trouble
26 July 2014 – Nico Rosberg claimed his third successive pole position during Saturday afternoon's qualifying session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, while Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton suffered another Q1 exit.
Hamilton had topped all three practice sessions earlier in the weekend, only for his car to catch fire and ground to a halt in the first phase.
But that did not give Rosberg a smooth ride to the top spot, with the championship leader having to negotiate a damp/dry final shootout.
As rain fell in the early minutes of Q3, the field struggled for grip while attempting to deliver banker laps on slick tyres, with McLaren rookie Kevin Magnussen hitting the barriers at Turn 1 and bringing out the red flags.
By the time the action resumed, the track surface had dried significantly and, despite a few scares, Rosberg fended off the competition with an effort of 1:23.236, half a second faster than Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.
Williams driver Valtteri Bottas took third. He will share the second row of the grid with Daniel Ricciardo.
With Kimi Räikkönen eliminated in Q1 after failing to make it through on the Medium rubber, Fernando Alonso was left to lead Ferrari's charge in fifth, edging out Williams' Felipe Massa and McLaren's Jenson Button.
Toro Rosso's Jean-Éric Vergne and Force India's Nico Hülkenberg followed in eighth and ninth respectively, while the sidelined Magnussen – who has left his mechanics with plenty of work to do – completed the top 10.
Daniil Kvyat fell at the second hurdle after making a rare mistake at Turn 12. The Russian rookie had shown enough speed through the first two sectors to suggest that he would have made to the final segment.
The Saubers of Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutiérrez enjoyed a stronger-than-usual session in 12th and 14th. Force India's Sergio Pérez split the pair, having missed his final planned run due to a hydraulic issue.
Lotus driver Romain Grosjean and Marussia's Jules Bianchi were the last of the Q2 runners, the latter putting together a stunning lap at the end of the opening phase to push down the aforementioned Räikkönen.
Although the Ferrari driver's Q1 exit came as a surprise, it was overshadowed by Hamilton's problems.
After suffering a brake failure at Hockenheim, Hamilton's Silver Arrow erupted in flames at the end of his first timed attempt, the former World Champion ultimately jumping out of his car at the entry to the pit lane.
Before that, Pastor Maldonado was forced to pull his Lotus off the track amid his own technical trouble.
They are set to share the final row of the grid, behind the remaining Caterham and Marussia drivers.
Sunday's 70-lap Hungarian Grand Prix gets underway at 14:00 local time (GMT +2)