VIDEO: Lewis Hamilton surprised to start on pole

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Despite having won the Hungarian Grand Prix three times in the past and having claimed pole position at the last two grands prix, Lewis Hamilton is still surprised to be starting on pole position for the race tomorrow in light of Red Bull’s pace in qualifying.

Mercedes may have closed out Q1 and Q2 at the top of the timesheets, but Vettel’s 0.8 second lead heading into the final laps of Q3 suggested that the Red Bull would be hard to beat. However, Hamilton produced a sensational lap to steal pole by 0.038 seconds, although he did have to ask his team twice whether or not he had managed to secure P1 on the grid.

“I was really surprised when they said I was on pole,” Hamilton said in the post-qualifying press conference. “I was expecting Seb to get it because he had shown serious pace before, that is why I was surprised.”

Hamilton refused to get ahead of himself despite sealing his thirtieth career pole as Mercedes are expected to struggle on the long runs due to the heat in Hungary.

“It’s great to have pole but it doesn’t mean much for the race. It will be tough tomorrow. It’s a shame that we have got a good car and if we didn’t have a tire issue we would be able to compete.”

Having missed the tire test at Silverstone last week, Mercedes could lose out to their rivals if the long run pace of the W04 is as bad as many expect it to be. To make matters worse for the German team, Sebastian Vettel was incredibly strong during the long runs in practice, suggesting that he will be in a good position to extend his championship lead tomorrow.

Williams confirms Kubica and Sirotkin for Abu Dhabi F1 test

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Williams has confirmed that Robert Kubica will enjoy his third Formula 1 test outing with the team at the end-of-season running in Abu Dhabi next week as rumors grow regarding a possible race seat for 2018.

Almost seven years after his last F1 start, Kubica’s remarkable return from severe injuries sustained in a rally accident saw him enjoy two private tests with Renault before completing running with the team in a 2017-spec car in Hungary over the summer.

Reservations over Kubica’s capabilities prompted Renault to pass on giving him a seat, instead opting to hire Carlos Sainz Jr. for next year, only for Williams to become an alternative for the Pole.

Kubica tested a 2014-spec Williams at both Silverstone and the Hungaroring in recent months, and will now sample a 2017 car when he tests at Abu Dhabi’s Yas Marina Circuit next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Kubica will share track time with regular Williams racer Lance Stroll and Russian youngster Sergey Sirotkin, who has worked with Renault over the past two years but also missed out on a 2018 seat.

“Williams Martini Racing is pleased to confirm it will run Robert Kubica and Sergey Sirotkin for the Abu Dhabi Pirelli tire test, alongside current race driver Lance Stroll,” a statement from the team reads.

“The Pirelli tire test will take place over two days at the Yas Marina circuit during the week following the 2017 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

“On day one Robert Kubica will drive the FW40 in the morning session, before Lance Stroll takes over in the afternoon.

“On day two Sergey Sirotkin will drive in the morning and afternoon sessions before handing over to Robert in the late afternoon.

“The test is aimed at evaluating 2018 candidate tires on behalf of the Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli.

“Williams is excited to have this opportunity to assess the new tyres across such an interesting range of drivers: Lance, as confirmed race driver for 2018, Robert with his huge experience, and Sergey as a very promising young talent in Formula 1.”

Williams denied earlier this week it has signed Kubica to partner Stroll for 2018, but indications are the deal looks very likely to go ahead, subject to the relevant paperwork and contracts being finalized.