The grid is set for tomorrow’s grand prix and there were a few surprises on the grid as you look through. The two most surprising have to be the Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz putting himself into 6th position showing some sneaky pace throughout the sessions today with a 1:21.13 in Q3, a little over a second off the pole time of 1:19.96 of Rosberg. Sainz was relatively quiet on camera time but his splits on the track were impressive out gunning McLaren, Williams and Force India.
The second big surprise was the extremely poor showing by Ferrari. Vettel nearly ended his afternoon disastrously in Q3 when he came out of the final turn and hit a patch of standing water which flung the back end out, somehow he managed to save it but he was still nearly a second back of Rosberg. Vettel wasn’t the more disappointing of the two Ferrari’s though; Raikkonen was eliminated in Q2 after running a 1:25.43 which landed him 14th on the grid. The wet conditions slowed the circuit down but Raikkonen proved the point that it could get worse for the Italian team.
The first two rows look as expected with the Mercedes of Rosberg and Hamilton one and two and the two Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Verstappen behind them. The Red Bull team which came into this weekend knowing they had an excellent chance to ruffle the feathers of the Mercedes garage showed that they do indeed have the pace to challenge. The gap between the two teams has been just a little more than .5 seconds at the most almost all weekend. With a hungry Ricciardo and the young and bold Verstappen anything could happen.
Watching qualifying wasn’t a good show of how good the cars can be I don’t think until the very end. Q1 was marred by insane amounts of rain and three red flags. Q2 was on inters and then dry compounds while the track was still drying out. Q3 was the closest we got and barring any more rain tomorrow I think the track could get a little faster. The drivers had to maneuver around some wet spots on the track and with those gone it could make the exits to some corners a bit less tricky and allow the drivers to pick up a few tenths in some areas.
All in all though, if this afternoons qualifying was anything to go by the race tomorrow will certainly be one to watch at the Hungaroring.