Brendon Hartley posts career best qualifying position at Hungarian Grand Prix, sits eighth on grid

Kiwi driver Brendon Hartley could be on the verge of a remarkable Formula 1 turnaround, qualifying eighth fastest for tomorrow's Hungarian Grand Prix.

On a miserable day in Mogyorod, Toro Rosso's Hartley put in his best qualification performance to date, and will start inside the top 10 for the first time in his relatively short Formula 1 career tomorrow morning.

Hartley's previous best qualification position was 11th place at the Bahrain Grand Prix, where he finished in a career best 10th place.

To cap a brilliant day all round for Toro Rosso, Hartley's teammate Pierre Gasly qualified in sixth position, giving the pair their best starting grid positions so far this season.

Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton led the way, qualifying in first place, with teammate Valtteri Bottas in second.

Ferrari duo Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel have qualified in third and fourth respectively.

The Hungarian Grand Prix takes place tomorrow morning NZT.

Toro Rosso driver Brendon Hartley of New Zealand sits in his car during the first practice session at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne, Friday, March 23, 2018. The first race of the 2018 seasons is on Sunday. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)
Brendon Hartley. Source: Associated Press


Sebastian Vettel leads the way in Hungarian Grand Prix practice

Sebastian Vettel led second practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix as Mercedes again struggled for speed, while Kiwi driver Brendon Hartley clocked 13th and 15th fastest times respectively across both sessions.

On a day of mourning for Ferrari, following the death this week of former president Sergio Marchionne, Vettel was faster than Red Bull's Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo.

The same three drivers had also led first practice hours earlier, with Ricciardo quickest ahead of Vettel and Verstappen.

Vettel's Ferrari teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, was fourth in both sessions, while Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes colleague Valtteri Bottas twice placed fifth and sixth.

The narrow Hungaroring track is among the most difficult overtaking circuits in Formula One, and considered more favorable to cars with a strong downforce like Red Bull and Ferrari - which clinched a 1-2 last year when Vettel won ahead of Raikkonen.

"I think we can still improve the setup of the car a little bit more and be quicker ... If that will be enough for pole position I'm not sure," said Verstappen, who has won one race this season.

"(The track) is very tight and twisty. Qualifying will be important as it's hard to overtake here, so getting ahead early is vital."

It appears Mercedes has much work to do to get its car competitive for qualifying tonight.

Hamilton, who won last weekend's German GP from 14th on the grid, briefly lost control of his car in P1 and complained about his tires.

"This is a tricky circuit and the tires are overheating; looking after the rear tires is the biggest issue," Hamilton said. "The (warm) temperature and the layout of the track - corner after corner - made it really tricky for the tires, as there's no time for them to cool down."

The British driver leads Vettel by 17 points after 11 of 21 races, with the four-time F1 champions winning four races apiece and retiring once each.

Vettel threw points away by crashing in the rain near the end last weekend. The German driver started from pole and was leading by nearly 10 seconds at the time of the incident.

Following Hungary, there is a four-week summer break.

Amid a somber mood, Ferrari's garage and motorhome flew its flag at half-mast and team members wore black armbands in memory of Marchionne, who died on Wednesday at the age of 66.

Vettel and Raikkonen also had black bands attached to their cars.



Watch: Helmet cam captures rally driver’s horrifying escape from blazing car after high-speed crash

A rally driver has somehow managed to walk away unscathed from a terrifying high-speed crash that saw his car catch on fire while he was still inside.

Ken Block was racing in a 1991 Ford Escort in the New England Forest Rally in the US State of Maine on Sunday when he clipped a rock and flipped his car.

The car rolled twice before landing on its wheels.

Block was looking to continue racing after the incident until he noticed the car was on fire, prompting him and navigator Alex Gelsomino to make a quick escape.

The 50-year-old managed to capture the entire experience on his helmet camera, sharing the vision on social media after the two-day event.

"WILD day for Alex Gelsomino and I," Block posted on Instagram.

"We were running in 3rd overall in the New England Forest Rally (with a gear box problem), pressing on to finish Stage 4 when I turned into a tighter left corner and downshifted.

"The box didn’t shift when I wanted it to (because mechanical issue), and when it finally did, it threw me into the inside of a corner and into a big rock.

"That rock sent us rolling over twice. We landed on our wheels, and I was ready to get going again because we were shiny side up.

"Buuuut as you can see, a fire started REALLY quick. Alex and I got out safely, but the car thoroughly burned right there on the stage.

"Such a bummer. These photos suck, and it was torturous to watch the car burn (it took a while), but that’s racing."