Hamilton's qualifying up in flames

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton's car catches fire during the first phase of qualifying for the Hungarian grand Prix.

    Hamilton started last weekend's German Grand Prix in 20th place after crashing in qualifying [GALLO/GETTY]
    Hamilton started last weekend's German Grand Prix in 20th place after crashing in qualifying [GALLO/GETTY]

    Formula One championship leader Nico Rosberg claimed pole position on Saturday for the Hungarian Grand Prix while Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton will start at the back of the race grid as an engine fire prevented him setting a qualifying time.

    Rosberg's time of 1 minute, 22.715 seconds at the Hungaroring was 0.486 seconds ahead of Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel while Valtteri Bottas of Williams qualified third.

    Hamilton, who was fastest in all three practice sessions, will start at the back for the second-straight grand prix as his engine caught fire in the early stages of the first session of qualifying.

    A brief rain shower complicated the final session of qualifying, with Kevin Magnussen of McLaren sliding off the track and making a heavy collision with a tire wall.

    Lewis Hamilton's run of bad luck continued when the Mercedes driver's hopes of a Hungarian Grand Prix pole position went up in flames as his car caught fire in the first phase of qualifying.

    Rosberg edging away

    The Briton is 14 points behind championship-leading team mate Nico Rosberg after 10 races and had been fastest in all three practise sessions and was favourite for pole.

    Instead the 2008 world champion, who has won for the past two years in Hungary and four times in all, faces another fight through the field in Sunday's race at a slow circuit where overtaking is difficult.

    "Guys, I'm on fire," Hamilton said over the car radio before coasting to a halt.

    "OK Lewis just stop the car where there is a fire marshal," his race engineer replied. "I can't stop it," said the Briton, who stopped at the pitlane entry and scrambled out as marshals extinguished the blaze.

    He then walked away, helmet still on and head down.

    The 29-year-old had to start last weekend's German Grand Prix in 20th place after he crashed in the first phase of qualifying due to a front brake disc failure. He ended up finishing third.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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