Lewis Hamilton`s Mercedes catches fire in qualifying

Budapest: Lewis Hamilton`s run of bad luck continued on Saturday when the Mercedes driver`s hopes of a Hungarian Grand Prix pole position went up in flames as his car caught fire in the first phase of qualifying.

The Briton, who is 14 points behind championship-leading team mate Nico Rosberg after 10 races, had been fastest in all three practice sessions and was favourite for pole.

Instead the 2008 world champion, who has won for the past two years in Hungary and four times in all, faces another fight through the field in Sunday`s race at a slow circuit where overtaking is difficult.

"Guys, I`m on fire," Hamilton said over the car radio before coasting to a halt.

"OK Lewis just stop the car where there is a fire marshal," his race engineer replied. "I can`t stop it," said the Briton, who stopped at the pitlane entry and scrambled out as marshals extinguished the blaze.

He then walked away, helmet still on and head down.

The 29-year-old had to start last weekend`s German Grand Prix in 20th place after he crashed in the first phase of qualifying due to a front brake disc failure. He ended up finishing third.