Romain Grosjean admitted he was surprised to secure a place on the front row of the grid for the Hungarian Grand Prix after the Lotus man earned his best starting position to date in F1.
The reigning GP2 champion endured a tough weekend in German a week ago where a grid penalty compounded a poor qualifying performance and left him out of contention on race day.
Grosjean was also off the pace of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen through the three practice sessions but when it mattered in qualifying, the Frenchman produced a fine performance to join Lewis Hamilton on the front row of the grid.
“Qualifying was very tight and it was difficult to see where we would end up so on the front row is fantastic,” he said. “We came here after a difficult weekend at Hockenheim and to be honest I didn't get off to the best start yesterday.
“We worked hard to improve things overnight and the car felt much better in practice this morning. I'm very happy and just a little bit surprised to be P2 on the grid. Today's job is done, let's see what we can do tomorrow.”
Raikkonen was fifth quickest having failed to improve on his Q2 time in the final stage of the session and trackside operations engineer Alan Permane insisted it had been a good day for the team.
“It's been a good day. It's great to be on the front row with Romain. We'd like to have seen Kimi a little further up the order – especially as his Q2 time was better than he achieved in Q3 – but overall it's been an excellent weekend so far; let's hope that continues tomorrow. Our target has been to improve our qualifying performance; we've clearly demonstrated that today.
“We're starting from the front row so there is good potential. It's a difficult circuit to overtake – one of the hardest next to Monaco and Singapore. A good start will clearly be very important. After the start, even with the DRS, the straight is not long enough to mount an overtaking bid unless a car ahead is suffering from tyre degradation or something else to slow them down.”