Russell stuns in Hungary as he claims maiden pole


While this morning's practice session was plagued by the rain, the W Series race that followed was run in the dry, albeit in overcast conditions.

Whether the rain will stay away for qualifying remains to be seen, but with tomorrow expected to be dry, though cooler, it's unlikely that many drivers will have been performing rain dances over the break.

While Ferrari were the clear pace-setters yesterday, it remains to be seen if Red Bull can close the gap, while McLaren appears to have the edge over Alpine. Mercedes had a tough opening day, Lewis Hamilton rightly describing it as "crazy", and while Aston Martin's controversial front wing appears to be paying dividends the same cannot be said for Haas' much-anticipated update package.

Ahead of Q1, the air temperature is 20.8 degrees C, while the track temperature is 28.4 degrees. It remains overcast... but dry. That said, there is a 30% chance of rain.

Following his crash at the end of this morning's session, Vettel's crew are still working on the German's car which sustained more damage than originally thought.

In the moments before Q1 the sky darkens... no doubt the drivers will be keen to get that 'banker' lap in the bag as quickly as possible.

The lights go green and Stroll leads the way, followed by Magnussen, Tsunoda, Gasly and Schumacher. Among the early risers is Vettel, along with Verstappen, Hamilton and Russell. Understandably, everyone is on softs.

Having passes Stroll on the out lap, Magnussen is first to post a time, the Dane stopping the clock at 20.388. However, Stroll responds with a 20.240.

Bottas posts a 19.930 as Schumacher has the dubious honour of being the first driver to have his time (20.905) deleted after exceeding the track limits at Turn 5.

Verstappen goes quickest (19.020), ahead of Hamilton, Russell and Perez, as the Ferraris finally head out of their garage.

Norris goes second with a 19.534 with Alonso claiming fifth (19.823) moments later.

Bottas improves to third with a 19.626, while Verstappen consolidates his top spot with an 18.792.

Perez improves to 19.118 and Russell 19.176.

Ricciardo's first flying lap sees the Australian go eighth (19.897).

Leclerc can only manage tenth (19.979) while teammate Sainz posts 19.317 to go fourth.

Ocon has oversteer and Schumacher understeer.

An 18.998 sees Norris retake second, as Ocon improves to eighth with a 19.636.

Gasly goes seventh, while teammate Tsunoda claims 12th.

Hamilton goes second with an 18.916 while Russell improves to fourth (19.044).

Leclerc improves to second (18.806) but is immediately demoted by his teammate who posts an 18.561.

With just over five minutes remaining, Magnussen, Zhou, Latifi, Vettel and Schumacher comprise the drop zone, with Albon, Tsunoda and Ricciardo hovering.

Tsunoda improves to 19.904 but has his time deleted.

Stroll improves to ninth, but is demoted when Magnussen posts a 19.155 to go eighth. Schumacher, who doesn't have the upgrade, posts a 19.164 to go tenth.

Zhou goes fifth with an 18.793, the track constantly improving.

Vettel improves to twelfth with a 19.273.

Hamilton goes quickest in the opening sector, while Sainz is quickest in S2. Hamilton goes top with an 18.374, while Sainz can only manage 18.434.

It's like the 'good old days' as Russell makes it a Mercedes 1-2 with an 18.407.

It's that man again! Latifi goes quickest in S1, as Norris goes fifth overall.

Despite that brilliant opening sector, Latifi fails to improve and falls out at the first hurdle after getting it all wrong at the final corner. Gasly had improved but his time was deleted for exceeding the limits at Turn 5.

Quickest is Hamilton, ahead of Russell, Sainz, Verstappen, Norris, Alonso, Ricciardo, Leclerc, Ocon and Bottas.

We lose both Alpha Tauris, both Williams and Vettel.

The Haas pair lead the way as Q2 gets underway, followed by the Mercedes pair and Leclerc.

Magnussen crosses the line at 19.378, which is instantly beaten by Hamilton (19.063) and then Russell (18.883).

However, Leclerc responds with an 18.769 and Sainz an 18.849, only for both to be demoted when Norris stops the clock at 18.121.

Perez posts an 18.516 but this is then deleted.

Quickest in all three sectors, Verstappen goes top with a 17.703.

Ocon, a winner here twelve months ago, goes third (18.741), but is demoted when his Alpine teammate bangs in a 17.904.

Ricciardo goes fourth (18.452), ahead of Zhou and Ocon, as the track is clearly constantly evolving.

Currently 10th (Russell) and 11th (Hamilton), the Mercedes pair head out on fresh softs.

With 5:20 remaining, Perez has yet to post a time.

Hamilton goes third with an 18.035 while Russell posts an 18.154 to go 5th.

Leclerc improves to second (17.768), while Sainz can only manage fourth (17.946).

As Perez reports rain on the back straight, his previous time is reinstated putting him ninth. How odd.

As the clock ticks down, Ocon, Bottas, Magnussen, Stroll and Schumacher comprise the drop zone, with Zhou and Perez hovering.

Though it isn't wet we're not seeing any improvements in the various sectors.

At which point Norris goes quickest in S1, as Ocon goes eighth overall and Bottas tenth.

All of which means that Perez, who is not on track, is out. Replays reveals the Mexican complaining of being impeded by Magnussen.

"F***, anyway thank you guys, finally we are back. I'm so happy," says Zhou.

Quickest is Verstappen, ahead of Leclerc, Alonso, Sainz, Hamilton, Norris, Russell, Ricciardo, Ocon and Bottas.

We lose Perez, Zhou, Magnussen, Stroll and Schumacher.

Both Ferrari drivers have two sets of fresh softs available, as does Verstappen and Alonso.

Check out our Saturday gallery from the Hungaroring here.

Ocon leads the way as Q3 gets underway, the Frenchman followed by Ricciardo, Leclerc, Norris, Sainz and Bottas. As is often the case, Verstappen is last out.

Ocon posts a benchmark 18.890, while Ricciardo can only manage 19.341.

No messing as Leclerc goes top with a 17.985, however Sainz responds with a 17.505.

Alonso goes third (18.303), but is demoted by Hamilton and then Russell, who goes second with a 17.968.

More shocks for Red Bull as Verstappen can only manage seventh (18.823) after getting it all wrong in the final corner.

"I don't know what happened," he admits. "Front end, rear grip, was very bad."

Ocon is first out for the final assault, followed by his teammate and Ricciardo. Leclerc is next out, followed by Bottas, Sainz, Verstappen and Norris. The Mercedes pair are last out.

"I have no power," warns Verstappen.

"You know what to do," Ocon is told. The Frenchman responds with a string of PBs, crossing the line at 18.018 to go fourth.

Alonso goes fifth, as Leclerc can only manage second (17.567).

Sainz consolidates his position with a 17.421, as Norris goes third.

As Verstappen calls on his team to fix his issue, Russell crosses the line at 17.377 to claim provisional pole, despite not having gone quickest in any of the sectors..

Teammate Hamilton fails to improve having suffered a DRS issue, while Red Bull's day goes from bad to worse as Verstappen qualifies tenth the Dutchman limping home with some sort of power issue.

The crowd cheers Russell's maiden pole.

So, Russell starts from pole, ahead of Sainz, Leclerc, Norris, Ocon, Alonso, Hamilton, Bottas, Ricciardo and Verstappen.

Perez will start eleventh, ahead of Zhou, Magnussen, Stroll, Schumacher, Tsunoda, Albon, Vettel, Gasly and Latifi.

"I was struggling with the tyres, getting the tyres in the right window," says Leclerc. "I'm sure we've got the pace in the car to come back a bit more into it so I'm sure we'll have a better Sunday."

"Today I felt I had the pace for pole," adds Sainz, "it went away in the last sector with a few snaps but congratulations to George, he must have done a great lap.

"We have the pace, but tyre management will play a big role and Mercedes race pace is an unknown. I think it will be an exciting race."

"Yesterday was probably our worst Friday of the season," admits Russell. "Then that last lap, Turn 1 was mega, Turn 2... the lap kept coming and I looked at the screen and saw P1, it was amazing.

"We need to understand where that came from today, we generally have good race pace and we're going to be absolutely going for it."

A great Q3 which sets us up nicely for a very promising race tomorrow, especially with the Bulls starting from the middle of the grid. We can't wait.

Check out our Saturday gallery from the Hungaroring here.

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 30/07/2022
Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2024. All rights reserved.