LONDON (Reuters) – Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton celebrated a record-extending and “surreal” 90th career pole position on Saturday after a dominant Mercedes one-two in Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying.
Championship-leading Finnish team mate Valtteri Bottas qualified second with the Mercedes-powered Racing Point cars of Canadian Lance Stroll and Mexican Sergio Perez together on the second row.
Hamilton will be favourite to win the race for the eighth time at the Hungaroring on Sunday and equal a record for most wins at the same grand prix held by retired Ferrari great Michael Schumacher, who triumphed eight times in France.
“Hungary’s always been a good hunting ground for me but also I’m aware that qualifying isn’t everything here,” said the Briton, who lapped the twisty circuit with a best time of one minute 13.447 seconds.
The six-times world champion said he had not realised immediately the significance of the pole.
“It feels very, very surreal...it doesn’t seem real to have 90 poles,” declared the 35-year-old.
The Ferraris followed the two-by-two team trend, with Sebastian Vettel lining up fifth and Charles Leclerc qualifying sixth.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, on pole last year, could only qualify seventh and ahead of the McLaren pair of Lando Norris and Carlos Sainz.
Former champions Williams, who finished last overall in 2019, had something to cheer with both their cars through to the second phase of qualifying and George Russell ending up 12th and ahead of Red Bull’s Alex Albon.
Rookie team mate Nicholas Latifi qualified 15th.
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