Hamilton plans early surprise for pole-sitter Verstappen in Hungary

Budapest (AFP) –


Lewis Hamilton said he still believes he can win Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix despite winding up third on the grid after Saturday's closely-fought qualifying.

It was only the third time in 12 outings this year that the defending five-time world champion had failed to qualify on the front row in his Mercedes.

Max Verstappen secured his maiden pole position for Red Bull, qualifying narrowly ahead of Hamilton's Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas.

"It's a long way down to Turn One," said Hamilton, who is seeking a record-extending seventh Hungarian win.

"So, I am going to be giving it everything I can. I am still in with a chance and third is a position that I can fight from."

The Hungarian race has been won by a driver starting from the second row of the grid four times in the last decade, including a Hamilton triumph in 2009.

"It's not a terrible day and it's not a great day," Hamilton added.

"Unfortunately, I got to qualifying and lost some performance somewhere, so I've just got to figure out where."

The Briton was quickest on medium tyres in Q2, but could not match the pace that Verstappen and Bottas found on soft tyres in Q3.

"I didn't feel as though the car was really under me," he said. "It wasn't the same as it was in P3, for whatever reason."