Hungarian GP qualifying: George Russell wins surprise pole for Mercedes ahead of Ferraris

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George Russell surpasses both Ferraris incredibly by taking pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix

George Russell surpasses both Ferraris incredibly by taking pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix

George Russell stunned the Ferrari duo Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc by taking the first pole position of his Formula 1 career at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Sainz appeared to have beaten teammate Ferrari Leclerc to pole, but Russell – behind them on the track – managed to snatch a pole position that seemed extremely unlikely as Mercedes struggled through all three weekend free practice sessions. .

World championship leader Max Verstappen was 10th after a fuel problem caused him to interrupt his last attempt on a flying lap, while Red Bull’s suffering was compounded by the exit from Q2 for Sergio Perez, who will start 11 °.

Lando Norris secured a second-row seat for McLaren ahead of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso’s Alpine troops, while Lewis Hamilton only managed seventh place as a problem with the DRS saw him also interrupt his last flying lap. .

See on board how Russell takes his first F1 pole.

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See on board how Russell takes his first F1 pole.

See on board how Russell takes his first F1 pole.

The surprise grid prepares for a potentially exciting race on Sunday, with Russell looking for his first F1 win and Ferrari looking to reduce Verstappen’s 63-point lead, who will no doubt have plans to return to the field.

“I’m over the moon, absolutely thrilled,” said Russell.

“I mean yesterday was probably our worst Friday of the season and we worked so hard and didn’t know which way to go.”

Heavy rain and thunderstorms were expected throughout Saturday, but after a last wet free practice session, the rain stayed away for qualifying.

As the only dry run the teams had done on Friday was in the intense Budapest sun, the dry but cool conditions for qualifying meant there was a lot of mystery in the Saturday afternoon shooting.

Ferrari looked faster than Red Bull – and all the other cars – during free practice, but it was Mercedes that beat the standings with Hamilton ahead of Russell in Q1 and Verstappen fastest in Q2.

Anthony Davidson analyzes George Russell and Carlos Sainz's fastest laps in qualifying, which saw the Mercedes driver take pole position.

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Anthony Davidson analyzes George Russell and Carlos Sainz’s fastest laps in qualifying, which saw the Mercedes driver take pole position.

Anthony Davidson analyzes George Russell and Carlos Sainz’s fastest laps in qualifying, which saw the Mercedes driver take pole position.

However, when the time came for the start in Q3, Ferrari seemed to find their own pace, with Sainz leading Leclerc after the first two heats in the final 12 minutes.

It looked like this was still the case when Sainz beat Leclerc in the second heat, but Russell then made the perfect lap to secure his team’s first pole position of what has been an extremely busy season.

Mercedes’ race pace has gradually improved over the course of the season, with last weekend’s French GP bringing the season’s first double podium, and while Ferrari will be confident of seeing the Brit again, a first win of the season for Silver. Arrows cannot be excluded.

“We absolutely will,” Russell added. “But in any case that was a special day, no doubt.”

Sunday’s race is live on Sky Sports F1 at 2pm, with set-up starting at 12.30pm.

Hungarian GP Qualifications: Top 10
1) George Russell, Mercedes
2) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
3) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
4) Lando Norris, McLaren
5) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
6) Fernando Alonso, Alpine
7) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
8) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo
9) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
10) Max Verstappen, Red Bull

What happened to Verstappen and Hamilton?

Rivals from last year’s World Championship were left with similar frustrations at the end of the session, both feeling like they could have finished significantly higher on the grid.

Verstappen looked to have found his best pace of the weekend early in qualifying but faltered with his first flying lap in Q3, which at that point was only good enough for seventh.

This left him with no room for error in the second heat, but on this occasion it was the car rather than the driver that failed Red Bull.

Max Verstappen says he thinks the power problem he suffered in Q3 is not serious.

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Max Verstappen says he thinks the power problem he suffered in Q3 is not serious.

Max Verstappen says he thinks the power problem he suffered in Q3 is not serious.

The Dutchman reported on his exit lap that he was suffering from a power problem and the team was unable to fix it in time for him to attempt another full-speed effort.

Verstappen said: “I don’t think it’s a big problem, but something we haven’t been able to solve on the track. It’s very unfortunate.

“The change of course compared to yesterday was fantastic. In a way that is positive compared to today, we understood what went wrong, the car today was much better in terms of handling on a track that doesn’t suit us very much.”

Hamilton and Russell had looked closely matched all weekend, so when Russell crossed the line to take provisional pole, the focus naturally shifted to what the seven-time world champion would do.

Lewis Hamilton had a problem with the DRS during qualifying but congratulated George Russell on his first F1 pole.

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Lewis Hamilton had a problem with the DRS during qualifying but congratulated George Russell on his first F1 pole.

Lewis Hamilton had a problem with the DRS during qualifying but congratulated George Russell on his first F1 pole.

But at that point he had stopped his tour due to a fault with the DRS.

“I tried to open the DRS and it wouldn’t open, so it was a bit unfortunate,” explained Hamilton.

“I felt great, pole or front row was definitely there. It would have been great to get a front row for the team, but these things happen.

“Congratulations to George, he did a fantastic job and this is a great result for the team. Considering everything we’ve been through, it’s great, so I’m really happy for everyone.”

Perez makes a surprise exit from Q2

The second Red Bull of Perez was missing from the hilarious drama of Q3, surprisingly coming out of Q2 after a strange series of events.

The Mexican has been wasting time since his first run of the session after being judged for violating the track limits, only to then reset the lap.

While the lap still wouldn’t have been good enough to get him through, it seemed to have created confusion at Red Bull, and when he returned to the track for another run he was unable to approve sufficiently, complaining that he was held back by Kevin Magnussen of Haas.

Great surprise because Sergio Perez fails to pass to Q3.

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Great surprise because Sergio Perez fails to pass to Q3.

Great surprise because Sergio Perez fails to pass to Q3.

Perez then assisted from the garage as he was relegated to 11th in the final stages, leaving him out of Q3 for only the second time this season.

“It was very unfortunate because I lost a few tenths,” said Perez. “I lost Q3 by a few hundredths (of a second)”. Entering Turn 2 I lost a lot with Kevin. “

It wasn’t a great day for Red Bull’s sister team AlphaTauri either, with both of their cars joining Williams and Sebastian Vettel cars coming out of Q1.

Both Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly fail to advance to Q2 in Hungary.

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Both Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly fail to advance to Q2 in Hungary.

Both Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly fail to advance to Q2 in Hungary.

It compounded a difficult afternoon for Vettel, who announced Thursday that he will retire from the sport at the end of the season.

The four-time world champion crashed his Aston Martin in the final practice, leaving his team to work until moments before qualifying began to prepare the car.

However, their work proved largely in vain, as the German dropped out of Q1 for the fourth time in five races.

Qualification Timesheet for the Hungarian GP

Driver Squad Time
1) Giorgio Russel Mercedes 1: 17.377
2) Carlos Sainz Ferrari +0.044
3) Charles Leclerc Ferrari +0.190
4) Lando Norris McLaren +0.392
5) Esteban Ocon Alpine +0.641
6) Fernando Alonso Alpine +0.701
7) Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +0.765
8) Valtteri Bottas Alfa Romeo +0.780
9) Daniele Ricciardo McLaren 1: 32.922
10) Max Verstappen Red Bull +1.446
Out in the second quarter
11) Sergio Perez Red Bull 1: 18.516
12) Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1: 18.573
13) Kevin Magnussen Haas 1: 18.825
14) Walk with a spear Aston Martin 1: 19.137
15) Mick Schumacher Haas 1: 19.164
Out in Q1
16) Yuki Tsunoda Alfa Tauri 1: 19.240
17) Alex Albon Williams 1: 19.256
18) Sebastian Vettel Aston Martin 1: 19.273
19) Pierre Gasly Alfa Tauri 1: 19.527
20) Nicola Latifi Williams 1: 19.570

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