Vettel revels in Hungary F1 pole, Ferrari’s continued progress

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Sebastian Vettel reveled in Ferrari’s “incredible” charge to a front row lock-out for the Hungarian Grand Prix, believing it to act as further proof of the progress the Italian marque has made in the past 12 months.

F1 championship leader Vettel stormed to his second pole of the year with the fastest ever lap of the Hungaroring on Saturday, leading home teammate Kimi Raikkonen.

The result marked Ferrari’s third pole of the year, a total it has not reached through a season since 2008, with Vettel praising the performance of the SF70H car.

“The car to be honest all day today has been incredible. I think we did a good step forward, really enjoyable,” Vettel said.

“I like this track a lot. A front row for us which is incredible, and now we’re looking forward to tomorrow.

“Obviously the last race wasn’t great for us, but it doesn’t matter now. We are here and try to do our best. That’s what matters. Really step by step, very happy with where we are as a team.

“Again, we need to remember where we were 12 months ago and where we are now. Also thanks for the support and people believing in us. It’s great to get the result also on Saturday.

“As I said, the main task comes tomorrow. Nothing won today, but we’re very happy and we’ll take it to move forward.”

Vettel currently leads the drivers’ championship by one point, and is well-poised to extend his advantage and gain momentum ahead of the F1 summer break, but the German is giving that little thought right now.

“To be honest, numbers… I was decent I would say at maths at school, but it’s way too early,” Vettel said.

“I think we go racing, we go flat out. That’s what we’ve been doing in the first races and that’s what we keep doing. It’s the only way to succeed.

“Certainly we have a lot of boost from people here at home and in Italy. It can’t be any better than that. The main thing is to enjoy it.”

The Hungarian Grand Prix is live on NBCSN and the NBC Sports app from 7am ET on Sunday.

Starting lineup grid for IMSA Petit Le Mans: Tom Blomqvist puts MSR on pole position

Petit Le Mans lineup
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IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship contender Tom Blomqvist put the Meyer Shank Racing Acura at the front of the starting lineup for the Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Road Atlanta.

Blomqvist turned a 1-minute, 8.55-second lap on the 2.54-mile circuit Friday to capture his third pole position for MSR this season. Earl Bamber qualified second in the No. 02 Cadillac for Chip Ganassi Racing.

Ricky Taylor was third in the No. 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing, which enters Saturday’s season finale with a 19-point lead over the No. 60 of Blomqvist and Oliver Jarvis (who will be joined by Helio Castroneves) for the 10-hour race.

PETIT LE MANS STARTING GRID: Click here for the starting lineup l Lineup by car number

PETIT LE MANS: Info on how to watch

With the pole, MSR sliced the deficit to 14 points behind WTR, which will field the trio of Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Brendon Hartley in Saturday’s race.

“We really needed to put the car in this kind of position,” Blomqvist said. “It makes our life a little less stressful tomorrow. It would have given the No. 10 a bit more breathing space. It’s going to be a proper dogfight tomorrow. The guys gave me such a great car. It’s been fantastic this week so far, and it really came alive. I’m hugely thankful to the boys and girls at MSR for giving me the wagon today to execute my job.

“That was a big effort from me. I knew how important it was. It’s just awesome for the guys to give them some sort of reward as well. It’s always nice to be quick. If you do the pole, you know you’ve got a quick car.”

Though WTR has a series-leading four victories with the No. 10, MSR won the Rolex 24 at Daytona and has five runner-up finishes along with its three poles.

The strong performances of the ARX-05s ensure that an Acura will win the final championship in IMSA’s premier Daytona Prototype international (DPi) division, which is being rebranded as Grand Touring Prototype in the move to LMDh cars next season.

Taylor qualified third despite sliding into the Turn 5 gravel during the closing minutes of qualifying while pushing to gain points.

“Qualifying was important for points,” Taylor said. “Going into it, if we outqualified the No. 60 Meyer Shank Acura, they had a lot to lose in terms of championship points. So, we were trying to increase the gap over 20 points which would’ve made a big difference for tomorrow. We would have loved to get the pole and qualify ahead of the No. 60, but in the scheme of the points, it didn’t change a whole lot. I’m feeling good since it’s such a long race, and the No. 10 Konica Minolta Acura team does such a good job strategizing and putting us in a good position.

“I’m very confident in our lineup and our team compared to them over the course of 10 hours. I’d put my two teammates up against those guys any day. I think we are all feeling optimistic and strong for tomorrow.”

In other divisions, PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports (LMP2), Riley Motorsports (LMP3), VasserSullivan (GTD Pro) and Paul Miller Racing (GTD) captured pole positions.

The broadcast of the 10-hour race will begin Saturday at 12:10 p.m. ET on NBC, moving at 3 p.m. to USA Network.


QUALIFYING

Results

Results by class

Fastest lap by driver

Fastest lap by driver after qualifying

Fastest lap by driver and class after qualifying

Fastest lap sequence in qualifying

Best sector times in qualifying

Time cards in qualifying

PRACTICE RESULTS: Session I l Session II l Session III