F1 Hungarian GP: Russell snatches first pole as Verstappen struggles
George Russell landed a remarkable first Formula 1 pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix over the Ferraris while Max Verstappen was taken out of contention by a power issue.
The Briton was an unlikely contender to top qualifying after the struggles for the Mercedes W13 all season, not least during both dry and wet running at the Hungaroring so far this weekend.
But it was a session to forget for Red Bull, with Verstappen only poised to line up 10th as Sergio Perez was eliminated in Q2.
The day-long downpour that was widely predicted held off to allow qualifying to take place as scheduled on Saturday afternoon in Budapest.
It was Sainz who ended the first part of the 12-minute Q3 run on top, his first flying lap placing him half a second clear of Russell after Leclerc had messed up straight away with a snap in his F1-75 at Turn 1 as he struggled with the tyres.
With Verstappen combatting understeer to run off track at Turn 2, he ended the first runout only seventh fastest.
Russell took his first F1 pole at the 73rd attempt, and Mercedes' first of 2022
Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images
The 10 fastest cars then emerged with 3m40s to run, but Verstappen was soon complaining of no power aboard his RB18 - with cycling through sensor modes not enough to remedy the problem.
With the defending champion, who leads Leclerc in the standings by 63 points, out of the picture, Sainz cycled to the top with the fastest first sector of anyone (pipping Nicholas Latifi).
That gave the British GP polesitter the bragging rights initially as Leclerc slotted in 0.15s adrift, but then three personal best sectors at the death for Russell gave him an unlikely pole.
His 1m17.377s effort pipping Sainz’s 1m17.421s best, while Leclerc managed to keep ahead of the McLaren of Lando Norris - the MCL36 impressing in dry qualifying and race simulations during FP2 on Friday.
Perez was the major casualty from Q2 in a strange session for the driver, his Red Bull being knocked out by a slender 0.05s courtesy of the late improvements from Ocon and Bottas.
Verstappen was only seventh after the first runs due to a Turn 2 mistake, then suffered engine issues on his final attempt
Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images
The Mexican complained that Kevin Magnussen’s line through the Turn 3 left-hander had ultimately cost him a place inside the top 10.
Perez had his first lap in Q2 scrubbed off for exceeding track limits at Turn 5, but it seemed a marginal call as replays showed not all four wheels crossed fully over the white lines.
Seven minutes after the fact, the lap was therefore reinstated to put him eighth. The reports of spots of rain plus a dip in track temperatures might have kept him safe enough.
The Dane aborted his final lap after missing his personal bests in sectors ones and two.
Perez had already been at risk in 14th in Q1 as the chequered flag came out, but he was given respite when Pierre Gasly had his improved lap time deleted for exceeding track limits at Turn 5.
Sainz was second-quickest for Ferrari, narrowly missing out on pole
Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images
That dropped the AlphaTauri to 19th, with his team-mate Yuki Tsunoda also eliminated in the first part of qualifying – the Japanese driver similarly crossing the white lines earlier in the session at the same protracted right-hand bend to have to start all over again.
With Tsunoda’s final, compliant effort not enough to progress as he landed 16th, Stroll had secured his slot in Q2 by 0.35s. Meanwhile, Alex Albon ran for 17th ahead of the hastily repaired Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel.
In the two-hour break between sessions, the German had helped his crew repair the AMR22 machine following his shunt into the barriers late in FP3 that resulted in a brief red flag.
The retiring four-time champion, who appeared to struggle for balance through the final corner, ultimately landed only 18th.
Nicholas Latifi, the unlikely pacesetter in a slippery final practice, might have progressed into the Q2 fight when yet again he mastered the first sector to set a purple run late on.
He combined this with a personal best sector two only to suffer a spike of oversteer in the final right-hander to cost him 0.7s and leave him last in qualifying - much to his frustration over team radio.
F1 Hungarian Grand Prix Qualifying Results
|8||Valtteri Bottas||Alfa Romeo||Ferrari||1'18.157||0.780|
|10||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||Red Bull||1'18.823||1.446|
|11||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||Red Bull||1'18.516||1.139|
|12||Zhou Guanyu||Alfa Romeo||Ferrari||1'18.573||1.196|
|14||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||Mercedes||1'19.137||1.760|
|16||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||Red Bull||1'19.240||1.863|
|18||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin||Mercedes||1'19.273||1.896|
|19||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||Red Bull||1'19.527||2.150|
|View full results|
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