Vettel rockets to Hungarian GP pole, Ferrari locks out front row

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Sebastian Vettel turned in the fastest ever lap of the Hungaroring to lead Ferrari to its third pole of the 2017 Formula 1 season in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel was able to carry his solid FP3 pace through to qualifying and grab his third pole in Ferrari colors, edging out Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen at the top of the timesheets.

A fastest lap of 1:16.276 saw Vettel send out a warning shot to championship rival Lewis Hamilton, who struggled with a vibration on his tires and could only qualify fourth for Mercedes behind teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Red Bull struggled to replicate its Friday practice pace, finishing fifth and sixth with Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo, while Nico Hulkenberg led Renault’s charge in P7.

McLaren lived up to its expectations of showing a better pace in Hungary by taking its best Saturday result of the year, qualifying eighth and ninth with Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne. Carlos Sainz Jr. rounded out the top 10 for Toro Rosso.

Jolyon Palmer put in one of his strongest qualifying displays of the season so far, narrowly missing out on a Q3 berth in P11, helping to ease some of the pressure he faces at Renault.

Force India suffered a double knockout in Q2 as Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez qualified P12 and P14 respectively, split by Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat. Romain Grosjean ailed to 15th for Haas, struggling under braking on his final flying lap.

Kevin Magnussen was knocked out in Q1 despite setting the exact same time as Perez, who advanced to Q2, acting as a tough break for the Dane in P16. Lance Stroll finished 17th for Williams ahead of Sauber’s Pascal Wehrlein, who complained of traffic during a late hot lap as he pushed to make it through.

Surprise super-sub Paul di Resta managed to qualify for his first F1 race since the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix, with Q1 providing his maiden run in a 2017-spec car.

Stepping in for the unwell Felipe Massa at Williams, di Resta finished 19th ahead of Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, but was able to rack up some important laps and finish within the required 107 per cent of the fastest Q1 lap.

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

2016 Knoxville Nationals champ Jason Johnson succumbs to injuries from sprint car crash

Photo courtesy Jason Johnson Racing official Facebook page
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Former Knoxville Nationals champion sprint car driver Jason Johnson has died from injuries suffered in a crash Saturday night in a World of Outlaws race at Beaver Dam (Wisconsin) Raceway).

Known as the “Ragin’ Cajun” for his aggressive style of racing, Johnson, 41, passed away this morning, according to an announcement by WoO. He was one of the most respected and well-liked drivers on the circuit by both fellow competitors and fans.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Johnson, a Eunice, Louisiana resident, was racing for the lead in the main event on the one-third-mile clay track with eventual race winner Daryn Pitman, when Johnson crashed on Lap 18 shortly after a restart.

Johnson’s car left the track surface in Turn 3 and flew through at least one billboard adjacent to the racetrack, according to media and witness reports.

It took rescue workers several minutes to extricate Johnson, who was taken by ambulance to a local hospital before being airlifted to Aurora Summit Hospital in Summit, Wisconsin, according to the Journal Sentinel report.

How many will remember Johnson:

Johnson, who won the 2016 Knoxville Nationals – the sport’s biggest race – in Iowa in storybook fashion, had been a primarily part-time racer on various sprint car circuits from 1998 until he went full-time on the Outlaws series, capturing Rookie of the Year honors in 2015.

MORE: Knoxville win should be big boost to Jason Johnson’s season, career

Johnson had 12 wins on the Outlaws circuit, including two victories this season.

The Journal Sentinel also posted a statement from SLS Promotions, which promoted Saturday’s race:

“Everyone at SLS Promotions offers our deepest, most sincere thoughts, prayers and condolences to Bobbi Johnson (Jason’s wife), Jaxx Johnson (the couple’s son) and the entire Johnson family and JJR Racing team.

“Jason was a great competitor and true ambassador for the sport. It was an honor and a privilege to work with him during his time on the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Car Series trail. Jason will never be forgotten”

Other notables also commented on his death on social media:

According to the Journal Sentinel, Johnson is the second driver in four years to die at the small track northwest of Milwaukee. In September 2014, Scott Semmelann, 47, was killed there while practicing for an Interstate Racing Association event.

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