CLICK: Full GP2 qualifying results from the Hungaroring
Carlin's Felipe Nasr will start this weekend's feature race from pole position for the first time after topping Friday afternoon qualifying with a lap of 1:28.436s on the 2.722-mile, 16-turn Hungaroring circuit, while his chief rival for the GP2 championship Jolyon Palmer had his season-long run of front row feature race starts in 2014 brought to an end.
"The car felt really good and we definitely carried over our strong showing from last weekend and free practice this morning," said Nasr after the end of qualifying. "I knew the speed was there and that I could put the sectors together which I did and now we're starting on pole position which feels amazing. The weekend couldn't have started better for me; now we look ahead to continuing this through the racing this weekend."
With conditions continuing to be dry and sunny, the 30-minute session got underway with an embarrassing moment for Caterham's Tom Dillmann, whose efforts to slip into the queue for pit exit were soundly rebuffed by Trident's Sergio Canamasas, leading to slow-speed contact between the two cars.
Once that wrangle was taken care of, the drivers set off on one out lap followed by a warm-up before the first representative qualifying effort of 1:29.663s was set by Rapax's Simon Trummer, but he was quickly shuffled down and out of the top ten by a large number of cars significantly improving on that target time.
As he had in the earlier practice session, ART's Stoffel Vandoorne went to the top of the timesheets with a lap of 1:28.866s putting him 0.075s ahead of DAMS' Stephane Richelmi and his team mate, championship leader Jolyon Palmer. Johnny Cecotto Jr. was a tenth back for Trident in fourth ahead of Mitch Evans (Russian Time) and Conor Daly (Venezuela GP Lazarus).
Palmer went to the top next time around with a lap of 1:28.791s while other drivers were affected by yellows on the front straight for Richelmi, who had been forced to leave his car parked against the pit wall. The yellows didn't affect the two Campos Racing cars, however, with Arthur Pic grabbing provisional pole with a lap of 1:28.643s just 15 thousandths of a second ahead of his team mate Kimiya Sato, pushing Palmer and Vandoorne to third and fourth respectively ahead of Racing Engineering's Raffaele Marciello.
Almost of the drivers took this as the moment to return to pit lane for their mid-session hiatus, with just MP Motorsport's Daniel de Jong taking the opportunity of a clear track to try posting a flying lap. By the time he had improved his time to 1:29.143s to go into provisional 14th, he'd been joined on track by Dillmann who took advantage of growing cloud cover lowering the track temperatures enabling him to post a new pole target of 1:28.618s.
That sounded the alarm bells for the rest of the drivers who immediately filed out of pit lane, making overcrowding on the track once more a concern as drivers set themselves up for their flying lap attempts. Felipe Nasr was successful in finding the necessary space to improve, going 0.182s faster than Dillmann to take over the provisional time, and Cecotto was also able to improve his time to put him fifth fastest on the timing screens.
Other attempts fell short - Stefano Coletti (Racing Engineering) off-roaded along the outside of the penultimate corner on his run to leave him marooned outside the top ten, while Jolyon Palmer's next attempt was thwarted by traffic in the final sector which left him vulnerable to a late improvement by Vandoorne pipping him to sixth place on the timesheets.
But it was Nasr on pole as the chequered flag flew - his first in 57 race starts in the feeder series, putting him in ideal position to add to his three wins so far in 2014, the most of any driver. He will share the front row with Dillmann who had certainly quickly bounced back from the ignominy of that pit lane exit spat. The Campos Racing pair of Pic and Sato claimed a surprising but well deserved lock-out on row two ahead of Vandoorne and Palmer who will share row three when the lights go out.
Although Cecotto had qualified in fifth place, he will lose three grid positions and start from eighth place after the race stewards deemed him to have caused a "reckless collision" with Palmer in the earlier practice session; that means the Venezuelan will share row four with Marciello.
The 37-lap feature race 1 is set to start on Saturday afternoon at 3.40pm (2.40pm BST) following qualifying for the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary. The 27-lap sprint race 2 will be held on Sunday morning at 10.35am (9.35am BST) and all sessions will be shown live in the UK on Sky Sports F1
Practice for the GP3 field gets underway on Friday evening at 5.50pm local time (4.50pm BST) with qualifying on Saturday morning at 9.45am (8.45am BST). Race 1 is scheduled for 5.20pm (4.20pm BST) on Saturday afternoon and race 2 for 9.25am (8.25am BST) on Sunday morning.
See full GP2 qualifying results from the Hungaroring