Formule 1 - GP de Hongrie : George Russell en pole sur le gong devant les Ferrari, Max Verstappen 10e !

Formule 1 – GP de Hongrie : George Russell en pole sur le gong devant les Ferrari, Max Verstappen 10e !

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The day of surprises! After Nicholas Latifi (Williams)’s best time in the rain, on a regular basis, after a good fight against Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and all the top names on the grid, George Russell (Mercedes) conquered pole position in the Grand Hungarian Prix, Saturday at the Hungaroring, in the dry; on one of the tracks that seemed the least favorable to his W13, fond of big fast curves and necessarily less comfortable in the tight turns of the Hungarian turnstile.

And then, Mercedes had spent an apocalyptic day on Friday, transforming its Silver Arrow into a veritable laboratory for all-out tests, more with a view to 2023 than qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix…

Hungarian Grand Prix

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One last mad lap for Russell

His teammate Lewis Hamilton, eight-time winner of the Magyar event, had nevertheless intrigued by sounding the charge in Q1 but we thought his best time was only circumstantial, that the big guys of the 2022 season would quickly regain control. This was also the case since Max Verstappen dominated Q2, had to go out of the game in Q3 because of an engine problem depriving him of power in his decisive run.

Sergio Pérez still struggling on the other Red Bull, the 13th pole position of the year seemed promised to a man from the Scuderia. But something had changed all the same, with a rain-washed track and a ground temperature about 25°C lower than the day before. Could an outsider stand out, reveal himself? To be honest, nobody thought about it. And yet! These changes in driving conditions were enough to reshuffle the cards, perhaps transcend a W13 capable of anything. Often the worst, maybe finally the best.

After the first round of Qualifying, the hierarchy seemed in place, with Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) in pole position in 1’17″505, and only in danger against Charles Leclerc, third at 0″480, with the desire to to remake oneself. At this moment, George Russell (Mercedes) did not seem able to get the “rossa” of the Spaniard in the money time, with a delay of 0″463 to fill.

But the young Englishman still had some under the pedal, and while his prestigious teammate missed out, the ex-Williams driver pulled off a breathtaking lap in 1’17″377, and snatched his first career pole position for 0″044 against in Madrid. A real feeling.

Hard blow for Verstappen, disappointment for Leclerc

It was with a cry of joy that George Russell welcomed his first major feat in Formula 1, happy to show the end of the tunnel to the Grays who had long been taken aback by a single-seater taken from “porpoising”, and especially inconstant. What about Sunday? The 105th poleman in the history of Formula 1 refused to project himself on a first victory. And he may be right, with two Ferrari drivers hot on his heels, since Charles Leclerc secured third place on the grid, not without displaying his disappointment. With 63 points to make up for, the Monegasque surely missed the mark on Saturday, given the troubles encountered by his rival, world No. 1 Max Verstappen (Red Bull), only tenth.

However, this does not mean that the driver from the Principality will not look in his mirrors on Sunday, at kick-off. The somewhat crazy scenario of this qualifying session gave him ambitious challengers: Lando Norris (McLaren), Esteban Ocon (Alpine), winner at the Hungaroring in 2021, Fernando Alonso (Alpine) and Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes). Without forgetting a revengeful Max Verstappen (Red Bull) who is always capable of anything. But whose technical staff will have to solve yet another DRS problem and put in place a strategy to allow him to quickly overtake Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo) and Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) who precede him on the grid.

A big job in perspective for the Austrian team, which will perhaps go hand in hand with the complicated race plan to be established for Sergio Pérez, 11th. At least, no real threat seems to point behind the RB18s, neither Guanyu Zhou (Alfa Romeo) nor Kevin Magnussen (Haas).

George Russell can’t believe it: he took his first F1 pole at the Hungaroring during the 2022 Hungarian GP

Credit: Getty Images

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