Hungarian GP: Nico Rosberg keeps pole after investigation as Red Bulls also cleared

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg
Lewis Hamilton trails Nico Rosberg by just one point in the standings heading into this weekend's race
Hungarian Grand Prix
Dates: 22-24 July Venue: Hungaroring
BBC coverage: Race commentary - Sunday, 24 July (build-up on BBC Radio 5 live from 12:00, race starts at 13:00). Live text and radio commentary of all practice sessions, qualifying and the race on the BBC Sport website

Nico Rosberg will keep pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix following an investigation into his conduct in qualifying.

Race stewards ruled after studying data from the car that the German slowed sufficiently for yellow flags waved to indicate a car stationary on the track.

Rosberg's Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton lost pole because he slowed after McLaren's Fernando Alonso spun.

Red Bull's cars also keep their grid places after a separate investigation.

Rosberg was running behind Hamilton and slowed only fractionally during the incident in the closing seconds of a rain-hit qualifying.

Stewards did not announce they were investigating the incident until 19:16 local time - more than three hours after qualifying finished.

But they subsequently decided that he had "reduced speed sufficiently into Turn Eight".

Drivers escape demotion under 107% rule

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen's fourth place on the grid remains in place

There was subsequently an investigation into whether the grid should be changed because, in the hectic conditions of a wet first qualifying session that featured three crashes and four red flags, half the field did not set times within 107% of the fastest lap in that session.

According to article 35.1 of the sporting regulations, any car that does not manage this will not be allowed to start. Exceptions can be made, but in that case the drivers in question are classified in the order of final practice.

Had this been applied literally, Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen would have been demoted from the second row to 12th and 13th and Force India's Nico Hulkenberg from ninth to 19th, and others promoted accordingly.

In the end, article 35.1 was applied but the stewards decided "exceptional circumstances" applied and the grid was left unchanged.

Hamilton in call for clarity over yellow flags

Meanwhile, world champion Hamilton called for the rules governing driving under yellow flags to be clarified after the events of qualifying.

"It is what it is and I will fight from where I am but more clarification would be good," he said. "For us drivers, we need to fully understand the yellow flag situation.

"The way it is written is not the way it is interpreted by the drivers or the stewards.

"For me, there was no question I had to lift because Fernando was on the track, but perhaps for Nico, I think, Fernando had cleared but there were still flags so it was just a different scenario."

Mercedes F1 drivers Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton took a trip through the gravel during an incident-filled qualifying session

Hamilton was fastest after the first laps of the final top 10 shoot-out and was 0.35secs quicker on his second run through the first sector before coming across Alonso.

Alonso's accident had triggered double waved yellow flags, which mean a driver has to "slow down and be prepared to stop".

Hamilton said: "Double yellow is: 'Be prepared for a car or steward on the track' - you don't know what's around the corner.

"So the clarification that's needed is that Nico only lost 0.1secs in that corner. I thought that was maybe the case on single yellow but with double you had to pay more caution.

"If that's what we are allowed to do in future, even though you lift and approach the corner with due care, that is different to how most drivers approached it but I am not sure that is the safest approach."

'You cannot follow closely round here'

Overtaking is notoriously difficult at the Hungaroring but Hamilton is still hopeful of beating Rosberg in the race and claiming the championship lead for the first time this season.

He goes into the race one point behind Rosberg after making up a 43-point deficit with four wins in the last five races.

"The start is definitely the most advantageous opportunity but there will be others, depending on the weather and tyre usage," he said.

"You generally have to have a second and half on the car in front here to overtake.

"If we are first and second into Turn One, it is most likely we will be following for some time because it is so hot here you cannot follow closely because all your temperatures get to the limit so I would have to back away by two or three seconds.

"There could be a safety car. There are lots of options. It's generally a great race."

Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying results

Hungarian Grand Prix coverage details

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