Kevin Magnussen will start today’s Formula Renault 3.5 race in Hungary from the front row of the grid after a competitive qualifying session at the Hungaroring this morning. The Carlin racer held provisional pole for the final minutes of the session, before his best time was beaten by Robin Frijns by just 0.028 seconds. Will Stevens will start from 11th on the grid this afternoon after being blocked on his best and final lap.

Following one wet and one dry practice session yesterday, today’s qualifying session took place in dry conditions. Magnussen and Stevens built up the pace slowly on the low grip circuit as their Michelin tyres reached their optimum performance.

With 17 minutes to go, Magnussen demonstrated the pace that had seen him go second quickest in practice yesterday, as he went second on the timing screens in qualifying. The young Dane improved again next time round with the quickest first and second sectors of all to go just 0.027 seconds off Frijns’ leading time.

As the majority of the field entered the pits to change for new tyres, Stevens had the track to himself and improved from 16th to go fourth quickest.

At the half way point, the Carlin cars looked strong, with Magnussen still second and Stevens fourth. On returning to the track, Magnussen was determined to go one better and improved his time to set provisional pole. Magnussen’s former F3 team mate Carlos Huertas briefly stole the top spot, but Magnussen went quicker again to take back provisional pole.

Several drivers improved in the final seconds, but none could better Magnussen’s time, that is until championship leader Frijns put in his final lap to better Magnussen by 0028 seconds. With no time to improve that left Magnussen second at the chequered flag. Stevens looked to be on a good lap with his final effort, and was setting his personal best sectors, but the young Brit was blocked by Jules Bianchi which left him in 11th.

Reflecting on his session, Magnussen said, “It’s nice to be on the front row, obviously I would have liked pole and I wasn’t far off, but I’m happy to be at the front. From the front row a good start is possible and from there the win. I’m really focused on adding some good points this weekend. The car feels great and this is a really quick circuit, there are such fast corners; it’s great fun. I’m really enjoying driving here.”