Sebastian Vettel on pole at the Hungaroring

Sebastian Vettel returned to top spot on the grid at the end of one of the most hotly contested qualifying sessions of the season.

Lewis Hamilton led the way after the first run in the top-10 shoot-out for tomorrow's Hungarian Grand Prix, only to be deposed by the reigning world champion in his second outing at the Hungaroring.

The pole is Vettel's 23rd of his career, and eighth in 11 grands prix this season, but his first for three races following a lean run by his own high standards.

Hamilton, who endured a poor middle sector in his second run at the 2.722-mile circuit, missed out by 0.163secs to Vettel who posted a lap of one minute 19.815secs for his second successive pole at this track.

Hamilton's McLaren team-mate Jenson Button starts third in what will be his 200th grands prix, his best grid slot for five races as the Woking-based team proved they can again compete with Red Bull over one lap.

Remarkably, and for the first time this season, Felipe Massa out-qualified Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso, with Red Bull's Mark Webber a surprisingly lowly sixth after starting on pole at the last two races.

Behind the three leading teams, Mercedes' Nico Rosberg is seventh for his 100th race, with Force India's Adrian Sutil eighth, followed by seven-times champion Michael Schumacher in his Mercedes in ninth.

Sauber's Sergio Perez made the top-10 for only the second time this season, at least completing the session after crashing out of the one in Monaco when he sustained concussion and missed two races.

Paul di Resta, who throughout practice appeared poised for a top-10 spot, will start a disappointing 11th in his Force India, finishing a quarter of a second behind team-mate Sutil and a tenth off Perez.

Di Resta said: "My lap in Q2 wasn't quite there and maybe I could have been more adventurous.

"But it's a reasonable position to be in, and we're also on the clean side of the grid."

Behind the Scot will be Renault's Vitaly Petrov and Nick Heidfeld, the duo sandwiching the second Sauber of Kamui Kobayashi in 13th.

The Williams pair of Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado start 15th and 17th, forming another sandwich with Jaime Alguersuari in his Toro Rosso in between the Grove marque boys in 16th.

Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi led the list of names dropping out at the end of the initial 20-minute session.

Although qualifying 18th, the Swiss driver will drop five places to 23rd due to a penalty incurred after last week's German Grand Prix when he was found guilty of causing a collision with Heidfeld, a decision by the stewards he has described as "hard".

It means Lotus' Heikki Kovalainen, the Finn just three tenths of a second behind Buemi, and Jarno Trulli move up a place each to 18th and 19th, with Virgin's Timo Glock 20th.

Hispania duo Vitantonio Liuzzi and Daniel Ricciardo also climb a spot to 21st and 22nd respectively, with Virgin's Jerome D'Ambrosio the only driver behind Buemi come tomorrow's start.

Vettel had yesterday called on Red Bull "to raise their game" due to their dip in form in the last two races, and they did so to such an extent they broke the overnight curfew for the first time this season.

Teams are not allowed to work on cars between the hours of 2am-8am, although they have four exemptions in case of exceptional circumstances.

With Red Bull determined to keep their noses in front, with Vettel 77 points ahead of Webber in the drivers' standings, mechanics are understood to have made wholesale changes to the cars, finishing at 5am.

Expressing his gratitude, Vettel said: "It seems we did the right thing.

"Q1 and Q2 were about getting through to the last session, and we got the result.

"We changed a lot on the car overnight, the boys did not get a lot of sleep, so this is the best way of saying thanks.

"I've my confidence back in the car, so now I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Hamilton, who was ecstatic at clinching a front-row start at last weekend's German Grand Prix, knew he had missed an opportunity on this occasion.

"It's still a great achievement for us," said the 26-year-old, a two-time winner at this track.

"We knew we had the pace, but today they (Red Bull) had good pace, but with Jenson behind me I'm happy we can get some good points from here.

"You can always look back and think you could have found some more speed.

"But I went wide on turn nine, and then at the last corner I lost whatever advantage I had, otherwise it would have been very close."

As for Button, he appeared the more content of the British duo as he said: "I'm pretty happy with that.

"Qualifying has been my issue of late, but this was a good lap, so I'm happy to be up there and fighting.

"Tomorrow is a big day for me, my 200th grands prix, and when you are that close to the front you have to go for the win."

PA

Life and Style
tech
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
News
John Barrowman kisses his male “bride” at a mock Gretna Green during the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony
peopleBarrowman's opening ceremony message to Commonwealth countries where he would be sent to prison for being gay
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game