George Russell exults, Max Verstappen less: the Briton took his first pole position in Formula 1 on Saturday after qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, far ahead of the Dutchman, current championship leader, but only 10e on the grid.
• Read also: Final laps for Vettel
• Read also: The Strolls pay tribute to Vettel
The pole position holder still can’t believe it: “Yesterday was probably our most difficult Friday of the whole season, we were still there at 11 p.m., scratching our heads, lost,” he explains. -he. “Coming back 24 hours later and taking the lead position is something.”
Thanks to his first F1 lead position, George Russell, who will start alongside Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari, also offers a welcome success to Mercedes. After a complicated start to the year for the reigning world champion team, it is now only looking for a first victory in 2022.
Since the start of the season, the German manufacturer has been struggling to get rid of the problems that prevent it from competing with Red Bull and Ferrari.
This leading position, which will certainly give him a breath of fresh air, is it a harbinger of a return to the fore? “I don’t know to be honest, because we have to watch and understand where this turn is coming from,” said Russell.
In Hungary, we must not forget that the Hungaroring is also the kingdom of its other driver, Lewis Hamilton who has won there eight times (a record). This year, however, things are not as easy for the seven-time world champion who will start Sunday from the 7e square.
Lance Stroll stops in Q2
Quebec driver Lance Stroll successfully completed the first stage of qualifying (Q1), then finishing in the 14e position of Q2.
Sebastian Vettel, who is his teammate at Aston Martin, was among the first five drivers dismissed along with Yuki Tsunoda, Alexander Albon, Pierre Gasly and Nicholas Latifi.
In the second stage of qualifying, gathering 15 cars, only Mick Schumacher (Haas) was slower than Stroll, who recorded a time of 1 min. 19.137 sec.
Anonymous Red Bulls
On a dry track after heavy showers that fell until the start of the afternoon, the second line returned on Saturday to Monegasque Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), 3eahead of Briton Lando Norris (McLaren).
Leclerc, who occupies the provisional second place in the championship behind Verstappen, would have hoped to clinch his 8e pole for the season, but the Scuderia driver can however be reassured to see his rival’s Red Bull at a distance from his single-seater: the Dutchman will only start from the fifth row, ahead of his teammate Sergio Pérez, 11e.
At the moment, 63 points separate Verstappen from Leclerc before the 13e round out of 22. And it is indeed their duel which once again risks being in the foreground on the Hungaroring route, which is not conducive to overtaking.
A duel which will above all have a taste of revenge for the Monegasque, aware that he lost big in France last weekend, after having abandoned while leading the race.
To catch up – and upset Verstappen before the summer break – he will have to win on Sunday so as not to let his championship rival slip away for good.
“If we win all the races and he always finishes second, then we can still win”, has already calculated the Scuderia driver, aware that this is a “very optimistic objective”.
Between the two strong men of the season, the Alpines of Frenchman Esteban Ocon – who signed the first victory of his F1 career in Hungary in 2021 – and Spaniard Fernando Alonso will start from the third row.
The Canadian Nicholas Latifi (Williams), author at the beginning of the afternoon of the best time of the last tests disputed on a wet track, will start last after having signed the worst time of the qualifications because of a pilot error.
He will start behind the other Frenchman on the grid, Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), 19e only after seeing his best time canceled in Q1.
Off the tracks, the Formula 1 promoter launched a campaign on Saturday morning called “drive it outto fight against abusive behavior on the sidelines of GPs.
In a message posted on social networks, F1 boss Stefano Domenicali, FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem and the 20 drivers on the grid called for “respect” after behavior deemed “unacceptable” by supporters present at the Grand Price from Austria mid-July.
Many messages on social networks had reported sexist, racist and homophobic insults, especially towards pilots and between amateurs.