Mercedes’ Russell claims stunning pole position for the 2022 Hungarian GP

Mercedes' George Russell claimed pole position for the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix despite not setting the fastest time in any of the circuit's three sectors


With many expecting Ferrari to lock out the front row in Hungary, Mercedes’ George Russell came out of nowhere to claim his first ever pole position in Formula 1.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc will line up second and third on a day that saw Red Bull struggle massively with Max Verstappen suffering from an engine issue and Sergio Perez with traffic meaning that they will start 10th and 11th respectively.

Russell’s teammate Lewis Hamilton could only manage seventh with the seven-time world champion struggling with a DRS issue. This opened the door for McLaren’s Lando Norris and Alpine’s Esteban Ocon who will start fourth and fifth.

Fernando Alonso will start sixth with Valtteri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo completing the top 10 in eighth and ninth respectively.

Q3: Verstappen plagued by engine issues

As the final part of qualifying got underway all eyes were on Leclerc, Sainz, and Verstappen with the title protagonists all looking good for pole. Sainz would go quickest with Leclerc and Verstappen struggling massively only managing third and seventh respectively.

Russell would go second with Hamilton and Alonso making up the top five after the opening salvos. The drivers would then make their way into the pits as they prepared to make their final runs.

As the drivers made their way out Verstappen would complain of a lack of power with the Dutchman so far struggling to get the best out of his car. Leclerc meanwhile would capitalize on the Dutchman’s misery going second, as Sainz would improve further though he would be pipped by Mercedes’ Russell who put in a stellar performance to claim his first ever pole in Formula 1.

Russell’s teammate Hamilton would struggle with a DRS issue, failing to improve his lap time and ending the session in seventh.

Norris and Ocon would out the top five with Verstappen starting one position ahead of his teammate in tenth.

Q2: Perez drops out

The second part of the qualifying session would once again see Kevin Magnussen get things underway with Mercedes’ Hamilton and Russell following suit, they would briefly lead the time sheets before Ferrari’s Leclerc and Sainz would go first and second.

Despite many expecting Ferrari to dominate the qualifying session, they would be pipped by Verstappen and the session’s big surprise Norris, who went second at the time. As the circuit rubbered up the order saw a massive shake-up with the likes of Alonso, Ricciardo, and Guanyu Zhou in the top five places.

As the times came down Verstappen would lead Leclerc with Alonso in third and Sainz fourth. Red Bull’s Sergio Perez meanwhile would have an eventful session, with his lap time being reinstated after being deemed to have violated track limits.

The Mexican however would become the big casualty of the session after claiming to be impeded by Magnussen only managing 11th. He would be joined by Zhou, Magnussen, Lance Stroll, and Mick Schumacher.

Q1: Mercedes lead the way

After undertaking FP3 in the wet, the drivers were greeted by a dry track though the skies looked ominously overcast. Haas’ Magnussen was the first to get things underway with the Dane being quickly displaced at the top of the time sheets by Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll.

Verstappen would eventually go fastest with the Mercedes pair of Hamilton and Russell making up the top three. After a short lull in the session, McLaren’s Norris would go second with Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas going third.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen during qualifying Pool via REUTERS/Ferenc Isza

With ten minutes left in the session, the Ferrari pair of Leclerc and Sainz set their first timed laps with the pair going second and third behind Verstappen.

As the session drew to a close, all 20 cars made their way onto the rapidly improving circuit. A flurry of action would eventually see Hamilton and Russell end the session at the top of the timesheets. At the other end of the grid, it was Yuki Tsunoda, Alex Albon, Sebastian Vettel, Pierre Gasly, and Nicholas Latifi who would drop out of qualifying, with Gasly having his fastest lap time deleted for exceeding track limits.

Rahul Sharan
Rahul Sharan
Motorsport journalist for
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