Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton will start from pole position for the fourth time this season after setting the fastest time at the end of qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix yesterday.
The British driver sounded stunned when his team announced over the race radio that he had beaten three-time defending Formula One champion Sebastian Vettel.
"I'm really surprised," said Hamilton, who is looking for his first race win of the season. "We've got a steep hill to climb tomorrow with these tyres and these conditions." Hamilton clocked one minute, 19.388 seconds, just ahead of Vettel's best lap of 1:19.426.
"There wasn't much missing. Lewis did a really good job," said Vettel, who has never won in Hungary. "It's stupid to sit here and say 'We should have done this and we should have done that.' I could be on pole, but still I think it puts us in a great place for tomorrow."
Red Bull and Mercedes have combined to take all 10 poles this season - with Vettel getting all three for Red Bull.
Nico Rosberg has won two races, while Hamilton is still looking to finish higher than third in a Mercedes that has great speed, but lacks durability in a race.
"It's been the same for a long time. It's not a surprise for us," Hamilton said. "It's great to have the pole position, but it doesn't mean anything, it's in the race where we score points."
Hamilton, the 2008 F1 champion, will hope that the Hungaroring helps him end that barren run. He won here last year for his third victory on the track.
"I've been fortunate to have a good car for quite a few years with McLaren," Hamilton said.
Lotus driver Romain Grosjean, who was fastest in the final practice session, qualified third for his best grid position of the season. "I quite like this circuit, but it doesn't mean much unfortunately. The last lap was a pretty good lap," said Grosjean, who was third in Hungary last year. "I'm happy to be back in the top three in qualifying. It was a good lap and we're happy with that."