Lewis Hamilton talked down his chances of a sixth Hungarian Grand Prix win after qualifying fourth on Saturday, believing that Ferrari’s pace advantage combined with a procession in the race could put victory out of reach.
Hamilton appeared to be in the running for a record-equalling 68th career pole after topping Q2, only for Ferrari to up its pace through Q3 and sweep to a front row lock-out.
Hamilton made a mistake on his first Q3 lap, causing him to err on the side of caution with his final effort, leaving him fourth on the grid behind Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.
“This hasn’t been the easiest weekend for us. The car didn’t feel completely underneath me during practice but we made some changes into qualifying and the feeling started to improve,” Hamilton said.
“We knew Ferrari would be quick after seeing their pace this morning, so considering that fact I think we did pretty well to lock out row two.
“My laps in qualifying were generally good but I made a mistake in Turn 4 on the first run in Q3, so after that it was all about getting in a banker lap to make sure I set a time.
“Looking to the race, maybe strategy or the tires will come into play in a bigger way. Ferrari seems to have the upper hand this weekend and this race is usually a procession on a circuit where it is hard to follow, so there aren’t many opportunities to gain positions.
“But we will be giving it everything we can.”
The Hungarian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET on Sunday.