GGeorge Russell surprisingly won qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday (3 p.m. in the FAZ live ticker for Formula 1 and on Sky). The Mercedes driver clocked the fastest time of 1:17:377 minutes at the Hungaroring just outside Budapest on Saturday and will start from pole position for the first time in his career. Second was Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari, 0.04 seconds behind, followed by his teammate Charles Leclerc, 0.2 seconds off the best time.
“It’s an incredible feeling. We have to see where that came from,” Russell commented on his surprising result. “That last lap was awesome.” Lando Norris in the McLaren finished fourth ahead of Alpine drivers Esteban Ocon (5th) and Fernando Alonso (6th). World champion Max Verstappen had engine problems in the decisive qualifying phase and will only start from tenth place on Sunday. “I have no performance. Nothing works,” he radioed to his team shortly before the end.
Sebastian Vettel in the Aston Martin dropped out in the first qualifying phase and was 18th. The four-time world champion initially had to worry about being able to take part in the time hunt. During Saturday’s rainy practice, he lost control of his AMR22 and crashed into the tire barriers, but was unhurt. The mechanics were able to repair the car at the last minute. Vettel announced on Thursday that he would end his career at the end of the year.
Mick Schumacher, on the other hand, made it into the second phase and finished 15th in the Haas-Ferrari. “I’m not entirely happy with today. A lot can happen here, especially at the start,” said Schumacher, who was again slower than his teammate Kevin Magnussen (13th). Unlike Schumacher, however, the Dane drives the further developed version of the Haas racing car. In the team-internal qualification duel, the German is now 2:11 behind.
Latifi creates the sensation
During Friday’s two practice sessions, Ferrari looked like a solid contender for pole position. Verstappen had described the Scuderia as “almost unbeatable” over a lap.
The third training session on Saturday ended with a sensation. Persistent rain whirled the classification and so Nicholas Latifi drove the fastest time in the Williams-Mercedes. His team-mate Alex Albon in third completed a remarkable result for the English side, who are bottom of the Manufacturers’ Championship and have only picked up three points this year.
However, the Williams duo got along very well on a wet track, unlike Vettel or Leclerc, who turned 360 degrees in his Ferrari but was still able to catch the car. In the dry qualification, the Williams pilots had no chance again, Latifi was 20th last, Albon 17th.
It could also rain during the race on Sunday, and it will also be significantly cooler than on Friday. If it stays dry, there is a lot to be said for Ferrari. Above all, the cars at the Hungaroring need a lot of downforce in order to be fast – the red F1-75 generates the most of it. The new underbody, which was used for the first time in France, also seems to be working well. Helmut Marko, sports director of Red Bull, spoke of a “demonstration of power” by the Scuderia in view of Red’s superiority on Friday.
The winding track in Hungary is one of the slowest tracks on the calendar with only a few short straights, overtaking is difficult under normal conditions.