Hungarian GP qualifying: George Russell takes surprising pole for Mercedes ahead of Ferrari

George Russell unbelievably outpaces both Ferraris to snatch pole position at Hungarian Grand Prix

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George Russell unbelievably outpaces both Ferraris to snatch pole position at Hungarian Grand Prix

George Russell unbelievably outpaces both Ferraris to snatch pole position at Hungarian Grand Prix

George Russell surprised Ferrari pair Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc to take the first pole position of their Formula One career at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Sainz beat Ferrari teammate Leclerc on pole, but Russell – on the track behind him – came in to snatch a pole position, which seemed unlikely.

Meanwhile, Mercedes struggled in all three practice sessions over the weekend.

World Championship leader Max Verstappen was 10th when a power problem forced him to abort his last attempt on the flying lap, while Red Bull’s misery was compounded by a Q2 exit for Sergio Pérez, who finished 11th. will be in place.

Lando Norris secured a position in the second row for McLaren ahead of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso’s Alpines, while Lewis Hamilton could only manage seventh as a DRS problem caused him to abort even his final flying lap.

Watch on board as Russell takes his first pole in F1.

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Watch on board as Russell takes his first pole in F1.

Watch on board as Russell takes his first pole in F1.

The Surprise Grid hosts a potentially exciting race on Sunday. Russell will be looking for his first F1 win. Ferrari are looking to ease the 63-point lead held by Verstappen – who will no doubt have a chance to work back through the field.

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

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

Heavy rain and thundershowers were forecast throughout Saturday, but after a wet final practice, the rain held off for qualifying.

Given that the only dry running teams did on Friday was the intense Budapest sunshine, the dry yet cold conditions for qualifying meant that Saturday afternoon’s shootout contained a lot of suspense.

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

However, when it was time to go into Q3, Ferrari seemed to be finding its pace, with Sainz leading Leclerc after the first of two runs in the final 12 minutes.

It still seemed as though Sainz had taken out Leclerc on the second run, but Russell then delivered the perfect lap to secure his team’s first pole position in what has been an extremely challenging season.

Mercedes’ race pace has gradually improved throughout the season, with last weekend’s French GP bringing its first double podium of the season, and while Ferrari will be confident of overhauling Britain, the first win of the season for the Silver Arrows cannot be denied.

“We’re totally going for it,” Russell said. “But either way it was a special day, no doubt about it.”

Sunday’s race is live on Sky Sports F1 at 2pm, with the build-up to 12.30pm.

Hungarian GP Qualification: 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?

Last year’s World Championship rivals were left with similar disappointment at the end of the season, both feeling they could have finished high up the grid.

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

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

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

Verstappen said: “I don’t think it’s a big issue but something that we couldn’t solve on track. It’s very unfortunate.

“The change from yesterday was amazing. In a way that’s positive about today, we understood what went wrong. The car was so much better today in terms of handling on a track that didn’t really suit us”

Hamilton and Russell appeared to resemble each other throughout the weekend, so when Russell crossed the line to take provisional pole, the attention naturally turned to what the seven-time world champion was going to do.

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

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

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

But by then he had missed his lap due to DRS failure.

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

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

“Congratulations George, he did an amazing job and it’s a great result for the team. Everything we’ve done is huge so I’m really happy for everyone.”

Perez surprises Q2 exit

Missing from the upbeat drama of Q3 was Perez’s second Red Bull, which surprisingly pulled out of Q2 after a strange series of events.

The Mexicans had lost their time from their first half of the session, having been judged to have breached the track’s boundaries, only for the lap to be re-established.

While the lap would not have been enough to pass him in any case, it appeared to have caused confusion among Red Bull, and was unable to concede enough when he returned to the track for another run. , complains of being caught by Haas’ Kevin Magnussen.

Perez then watched from the garage as he was placed 11th in the final stage, missing out on Q3 for just the second time this season.

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

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

Both Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly have not reached the second quarter in Hungary.

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Both Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly have not reached the second quarter in Hungary.

Both Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly have not reached the second quarter in Hungary.

It was a rough afternoon for Vettel, who announced on Thursday that he would retire from the sport at the end of the season.

The four-time world champion crashed his Aston Martin in final practice, forcing his team to work on preparing the car until shortly before qualifying began.

However, his work turned out to be largely in vain, as the German exited Q1 for the fourth time in five races.

Hungarian GP qualifying timesheet

Driver crew Time
1) George Russell mercedes 1:17.377
2) Carlos Sanzo 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) Daniel Ricciardo McLaren +1.002
10) Max Verstappen red Bull +1.446
Q2. in out
11) Sergio Perez red Bull 1:18.516
12) Zhou Guanyu Alfa Romeo 1:18.573
13) Kevin Magnussen Haas 1:18.825
14) Lance Stroll Aston Martin 1:19.137
15) Mick Schumacher Haas 1:19.164
Q1. in out
16) Yuki Tsunoda alpha tauri 1:19.240
17) Alex Albon Williams 1:19.256
18) Sebastian Vetteli Aston Martin 1:19.273
19) Pierre Gasly alpha tauri 1:19.527
20) Nicholas Latifik Williams 1:19.570