Mercedes showed small signs of its pace in Saturday’s qualifying for the 2022 Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix, as George Russell took the first pole position of his career and the team’s first of 2022.
Lewis Hamilton, on the other hand, suffered a problem with the DRS that prevented him from starring in a more than possible completely silver front row.
Ferrari also proved quick during the first half of the race, allowing Charles Leclerc to overtake the German team’s poleman, but his speed plummeted when he fitted a set of hard tyres. The Monegasque finished sixth , while his teammate, Carlos Sainz, could only finish fourth after two bad stops.
The Madrid native crossed the finish line seven seconds behind Hamilton, who followed the same strategy of putting on soft in the final stint, and the Englishman achieved his second consecutive place after France. Hamilton was accompanied in the first three positions by Russell, who saw the checkered flag in third place for the double podium followed by those with the silver arrows.
The seven-time champion said the result was “hugely satisfying” considering the problems Mercedes had had in 2022 and how poorly it went during Friday free practice at the Hungaroring.
“It’s a great feeling for us, given the year we’ve had and seeing the progress we’ve started to make,” Hamilton said after the Hungarian race. “Last week in France, just finishing second was already great for us, and it’s two rounds in a row that George and I have shared the podium, which is fantastic in terms of points for the team.”
“Finishing the two ahead of the Ferraris is huge given the pace they’ve had in Hungary, and for me obviously starting seventh and finishing second is a huge comeback,” the seven-time English champion continued. “I think, with the problems we’ve had over the weekend, we showed that we have really good pace.”
The Brackley-based team suffered many setbacks as they tried to adapt to the new Formula 1 rules that come into force in 2022, and that caused them to fall behind Ferrari and Red Bull in performance.
The W13 had problems with porpoising in the first part of the year, but the German team has worked hard to solve it and allow its drivers to obtain better results. The double podium has also allowed Mercedes to approach the Maranello team in the general constructors’ classification by just 30 points , and they have already tied them for the number of podium finishes, eleven.
Although Russell admitted he was a little disappointed after failing to take pole position in the race, he felt his third place was fair after seeing his pace and strategy.
“Obviously if you start from pole, finishing lower than first lets you down, but when you look at it objectively I think it was a fair result,” said the young Briton.
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