BUDAPEST, Hungary – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen scored his first Formula 1 pole position ahead of the 2019 Hungarian GP on Saturday with championship leader Lewis Hamilton third for Mercedes.
Between them will be Mercedes’ Finn Valtteri Bottas, 41 points behind Hamilton after 11 of 21 races.
It would have been a record-equalling seventh pole for Hamilton at the Hungaroing – as well as the 88th of his F1 career – but his team mate did score a record: he is now the 100th F1 driver to have taken pole.
“This feels good, this feels really good,” he shouted over the team radio after a roar had gone up from his massed supporters.
Reuters reported Verstappen, after he stepped out of the car, as saying: “It’s incredible. This one was still missing. The car felt good all weekend and you know it’s always going to be hard in qualifying but we managed to do it.
“For me, today was an important one, a very nice one, a great one for the team.”
He has had seven career victories – two from the previous two races – and Sunday’s race will be his 93rd GP.
Reuters added that the battle had looked like being between Hamilton and Verstappen, a driver popularly regarded as Hamilton’s ”heir apparent”.
Verstappen’s final flying lap of 1min14.572 beat Bottas by 0.018sec. Hamilton’s best was 1min14.769 (he won the race in 2018) and he commented later: “It’s an incredible feeling to get your first pole – I’m really happy for him.”