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Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton clinched pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix, where he will start at the front for the ninth time in 10 races this season and 47th overall in his career.

Hamilton, starting from pole for the fifth time here, topped all three practice sessions and all three sections of qualifying to clock a best time of 1 minute, 22.020 seconds, putting him .575 ahead of Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg and .719 clear of Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

"It's been a good weekend so far. I love the track, it feels like an old go-kart circuit we used to race on years ago," Hamilton said.

"It's been one of the best weekends I've had. Can't remember having a better weekend so far than this."

In an encouraging performance for Red Bull, Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo, the winner here last year, sneaked into fourth place ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

It was disappointing for Williams, with Valtteri Bottas sixth behind Finnish countryman Raikkonen and Felipe Massa eighth behind Red Bull's Daniil Kvyat.

Drivers wore tributes on their helmets and cars to Jules Bianchi, the French driver who died last week at the age of 25 from injuries sustained in a head-on crash at the Japanese Grand Prix last October.

Alonso had another terrible qualifying campaign [Getty Images]

Two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso sneaked into Q2 on his last lap but McLaren teammate Jenson Button just missed out, placing 16th.

Then, McLaren's persistent engine problems resurfaced as Alonso's car stopped suddenly early into Q2, forcing a red flag to come out and briefly halt the session.

Eager to get his car out of the way, Alonso quickly jumped out and started to push the car uphill on his own before a handful of track marshals helped him out.

Hamilton has won five races so far this year, with Rosberg clinching three.

Starting grid (top-10):

1. Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes  
2. Nico Rosberg (Germany) Mercedes 
3. Sebastian Vettel (Germany) Ferrari 
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) RedBull - Renault  
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) Ferrari 
6. Valtteri Bottas (Finland) Williams-Mercedes
7. Daniil Kvyat (Russia) RedBull - Renault 
8. Felipe Massa (Brazil) Williams-Mercedes  
9. Max Verstappen (Netherlands) Toro Rosso - Renault  
10. Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus - Mercedes

Source: AP