Marathon, 72-minute Hungarian GP Q1 features 4 red flags, 3 crashes (VIDEO)

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The FIA World Endurance Championship is at the Nürburgring this weekend for the Six Hours of the Nürburgring, but another FIA World Championship – Formula 1 – has put on its own endurance event in qualifying for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

What’s ordinarily an 18-minute session, Q1, took exactly four times that – 72 minutes – and featured a possibly unprecedented four red flags in the session.

The session was delayed 20 minutes to start owing to heavy rain that swept through the Hungaroring and soaked the track.

Teams then proceeded to get out for one lap of running on Pirelli P Zero full wet tires after the rains lessened, but then the rain came back and it brought out the red flag.

As such, because some teams got their timing better than others, the grid was jumbled:

Once the session restarted after a delay, then the red flags came out again for a series of accidents.

First up was Marcus Ericsson of Sauber, who shunted at Turn 10 and damaged his C35’s right front with nine minutes to go in the session. The Swede was OK and told NBCSN’s Will Buxton it was his mistake, but his session was over.

Ericsson was only the first to make a mistake. Next up was Felipe Massa, who made an arguably brave call to switch from full wets onto intermediates for Williams, then crashed off Turn 4. That occurred with 5:20 left on the 18-minute clock and brought out red flag number three.

“In these conditions you need to get the right tires at the right time,” Massa told Buxton. “I went to inters…and it looked reasonable, but the first lap would be difficult. But it was not me alone. I think it was correct what I did. But I aquaplaned in Turn 4. It was raining a lot. The conditions were not easy.”

After another restart, Rio Haryanto in his Manor capped off the marathon Q1 with a wreck at a near identical place as Ericsson. He shunted the Manor with 1:18 left on the clock, bringing out the fourth red flag of the session and mercifully, the session to an end.

The three drivers who joined Ericsson, Massa and Haryanto in the Q1 drop zone were Haryanto’s teammate Pascal Wehrlein and the pair of Renault F1 drivers, Jolyon Palmer and Kevin Magnussen.

Summing up quite how chaotic Q1 was the usually mild mannered, far-from-salty Scuderia Ferrari Twitter account, which had this to say:

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.