Russell slams Mercedes after Q1 exit: Not good enough

George Russell qualified 18th at the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix, where Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton landed pole position.

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George Russell was fuming with his Mercedes team as he blamed them for his Q1 exit at the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix, where teammate Lewis Hamilton landed a stunning pole position.

Russell had predicted Mercedes would be in the fight for pole but was eliminated in the first session by over a tenth of a second, having run into traffic on his final run.

Mercedes waited until the last moment to send him out and give him one shot at improving but he was overtaken by several cars at the final corner before starting his lap, which did for Russell.

“It’s disappointing because we didn’t need to take so many risks,” Russell told Sky Sports. “We were one of the few cars who just did one lap at the end, the car was more than quick enough to make Q2, Q3.

“It’s rare we make these kind of mistakes, it’s what you deserve I guess if you don’t do things right. We didn’t need to be in that position at that time, for the whole session it just wasn’t good enough from our side.”

It’s made all the more frustrating for Russell by Hamilton‘s fantastic performance to take his first pole position since the end of 2021.

Hamilton was second heading into the end of the session, but after Max Verstappen was unable to improve on his last flying lap, the Brit did just enough to beat his rival by just 0.003s.

“We were fast, the car felt great,” Russell added. “But the whole session we were out of sync with everybody and then I got overtaken by four cars into the final corner, one of which was Gasly.

“I was three-tenths down going to turn one, tyres were nowhere and it was totally normal that we went slower and didn’t improve.”

Russell predicts ‘extremely hard’ Hungarian GP

It’s Russell’s worst-ever qualifying at the Hungarian GP, after previously lining up 17th, 16th and 12th for Williams and landing his first-ever pole position with Mercedes at the Hungaroring in 2022.

Last year Sebastian Vettel made it up to tenth from 18th on the grid in a then-uncompetitive Aston Martin, and Russell was asked how difficult it will be to make headway in the grand prix.

“Extremely hard,” Russell said. “I’m going to be fighting and doing my best to come through, it’s not the easiest track in the world to overtake on, it’s disappointing.”

Adam Dickinson
Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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