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Formula 1 Hungarian GP

Russell: "We made a big cock-up" in Hungary F1 qualifying

George Russell says he and his Mercedes Formula 1 team "made a big cock-up" in Hungarian GP qualifying after he finished Q1 in 18th place.

George Russell, Mercedes F1 W14

Photo by: Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

Russell, whose fortunes contrasted dramatically with those of team-mate and pole winner Lewis Hamilton, admitted that he was hampered badly by traffic.

He was caught out as he tried to start his lap in the first part of qualifying, noting that the gentleman's agreement about drivers not passing each other was not respected by some of his rivals.

"My whole session was on track at the wrong time, wrong points, taking way too much risk as a team," he said when asked by Autosport after his tricky session.

"The car was so quick, we didn't need to fuel for one lap and go right at the end and in loads of traffic, but I was trying to respect the gentleman's agreement and got overtaken by a couple of cars, most notably Pierre [Gasly], who overtook me at the final corner.

"I was three tenths down before I even started, and the lap was gone. So not going to blame any of the drivers, we're all fighting for ourselves. As a team, we should have done a much better job."

Asked if he thought the gentleman's agreement was no longer valid, he said: "I don't think that it was ever really there, to be honest, and in all honestly I probably would have done the same if I was in their shoes.

"You've got to fight for yourself. But the track is big enough, it's 4.5km long and we're using a space of one kilometre with 10 cars, so we just need to look in the mirror and recognise that we made a big cock-up today."

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG

George Russell, Mercedes-AMG

Photo by: Steve Etherington / Motorsport Images

Russell said he wasn't concerned about the new challenge of having to qualify on the hard tyre in Q1.

"Of all the tracks, this was the one where it is probably most straightforward," he said. "This year's hard is last year's medium.

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"So and it's obviously so hot out there, that the hard is working fine. It would have been a different story in Imola for example, and I don't know where the next event is [Monza], but again it will be a different story."

Russell echoed the sentiments of other drivers while acknowledging that there was less track running under the alternative tyre allocation system.

"I think for qualifying it's good but with the lack of running in FP1 and FP2," he said. "It's worse for the fans, and we need to find a better solution because the fans pay a lot of money to come and watch on Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

"If we're doing only 60% of the laps compared to what we used to do, they're getting less for their money, so we need to find a better solution."

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