Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton has claimed pole position for Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix, edging out Sebastian Vettel with his last lap of qualifying. The Red Bull driver was widely tipped to start out front.
Red Bull, and perhaps Lotus, were widely expected to dominate in the searing sunshine in Budapest, with Mercedes still happier in cooler conditions. Still, Lewis Hamilton pulled out his fastest lap of the weekend when it mattered most, beating Sebastian Vettel to pole position by less than 0.04 seconds.
"Was that pole?" Hamilton asked on the in-car radio immediately after his lap, disbelief in his voice.
"Yep. We're as surprised as you, mate," came the reply from the 2008 champion's garage.
Lotus' under-fire French driver Romain Grosjean delivered his best qualifying session of the season at the Hungaroring, securing third place on the grid.
Hamilton's team mate, Nico Rosberg, was the second-fastest German in fourth position, followed by fellow championship hopefuls Fernando Alonso of Ferrari and Kimi Raikkonen in the other Lotus.
Adrian Sutil and Nico Hülkenberg failed to make the top 10 shootout at the end of qualifying. They will make up an all-German row six on the grid on Sunday, starting 11th and 12th respectively.
Vettel's teammate Mark Webber looked like a fierce competitor in the hunt for pole position, until he got a radio message saying a supplementary power unit on his car, known as KERS, had failed. Compromised on horsepower at key points in the lap, Webber thus dropped out of the hunt and could only qualify 10th.
The Hungarian Grand Prix is round 10 of 19, the midway mark of the season. Vettel goes into the race with a 34-point lead in the overall drivers' standings, meaning he will maintain the championship lead whatever the result on race day.