Nico Rosberg has claimed pole position for the Hungarian Formula One GP following a drawn out qualifying session that took nearly two hours to complete.
The session had been delayed by 20 minutes due to rain, which saw a flood of cars enter the circuit once qualifying did eventually begin.
Once out, and with more rain expected, the early laps proved critical to the progression into the second qualifying phase.
Their predictions proved correct as the weather deteriorated to the point officials elected to hang the red flag out, with 13 minutes still remaining.
When the session recommenced conditions were borderline but improving and at least offered those who’d not set a representative time in the opening minutes an opportunity to at least put something in the bank.
It was the right decision though as conditions quickly improved, though Marcus Ericsson drew the second red flag after skating into the tyre barrier at Turn 10.
A green flag and rapidly drying track, and eight minutes left on the clock, made for a busy and unusually elongated first phase of the session.
Another red flag was drawn when Felipe Massa slid off the circuit at Turn 4, damaging the front of the Williams to extend – the session had been running for an hour after the various delays and stoppages.
Yet another red flag was shown when Ryo Haryanto found the wall in the same place at Ericsson with little more than a minute remaining, finally ending the marathon session after 74 minutes and four red flags.
By midway through Q2 the circuit had tried to a point of switching to dry compound tyres and predictably times dropped sharply.
Fernando Alonso set the fastest time for a long period before Rosberg pipped the McLaren driver at the end of the session.
Hamilton just scraped through in tenth place, though Kimi Raikkonen didn’t make the cut.
The Englishman improved to second at the final chequered flag, behind team-mate Rosberg with Daniel Ricciardo third.
There was a brief concern over Rosberg’s pole lap since it was set while double waved yellow flags were out for Fernando Alonso who had spun in the final moments.
It proved much ado about nothing, and stewards cleared Rosberg of any doubt and the German was allowed to keep his pole spot.
With Sebastian Vettel only fifth and Raikkonen buried in the pack it will be left to Ricciardo and Max Verstappen in the Red Bull’s to mount a challenge to the Mercedes duo.
However, such was their pace on Friday, without rain, that seems a long shot.