George Russell crosses the line sixth after Hungarian Grand Prix comeback drive
A superb recovery effort at the Hungarian Grand Prix saw the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One® Team driver gain 12 positions from his grid slot.
A mixed bag in practice
In the opening session of the weekend, FP1, George topped the timing charts as proceedings were largely interrupted by rain showers.
In FP2, George would occupy the other end of the leader board in P20, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One® Team opting not to run the Soft compound as a result of the limited tyre allocation trial run that weekend.
A return to form in the third and final practice session would see George running the Soft tyres and low fuel for the first time, eventually producing a representative sixth-fastest time.
Shock Q1 exit
In a shocking turn of events, George would exit Saturday’s qualifying session in Q1. As he prepared for one last attempt, a queue of cars developed at the final sequence of corners and as they jostled for track position, George’s last corner exit was compromised leaving him at a two-tenth disadvantage in the first sector alone. Ultimately, he’d end the session one tenth shy of the cut off time for Q2, lining up P18 on the grid ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Making moves in the early laps
As the lights went out, George got away well and amidst the melee of the opening laps, he moved up to P13 signalling the start of an impressive comeback drive. As drivers began making their first stops of the 70-lap contest, George made progress and by Lap 18, he was up to seventh. Ten laps later, he was one of the last cars to make their first stop and after a thrilling wheel-to-wheel battle with the resurgent Red Bull of Sergio Perez, George headed for the pits.
With a fresh set of mediums on board, George’s renewed pace set the timesheets alight as he claimed the fastest lap of the race. He began scything his way back through the field and made his way up to sixth, before pitting for a second time on Lap 47.
He re-emerged in eighth and promptly retook the fastest lap honours as he set about chasing down the two Ferrari drivers in the closing 20 laps. By Lap 65, he’d caught Carlos Sainz and with fresher Medium tyres againstthe Ferrari’s older Hards, George breezed past on the start/finish straight and up into seventh.
A five-second time penalty for Charles Leclerc after a pit lane speed infringement meant that George merely had to close within five seconds of the Monegasque to claim sixth in the final classification. He did that and more, finishing half a second behind Leclerc on the road to complete a sensational comeback drive, making up 12 positions from his initial grid slot.
George Russell, Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One® Team driver:
“P6 was beyond our expectations for today. It was definitely a good recovery. We thought we would be P11 in a typical race and P7 if we maximised everything. I’m happy with how it went. The car was really quick, and this place is one of my favourite circuits. As a Team, we usually go well here so I had a feeling we would be quick.
“Of course it is disappointing as we didn’t deliver yesterday. I think we could have been right up there and if we had two cars up front, the dynamic changes completely. Nevertheless, we’ve extended the gap over P3 in the Constructors’ Championship so we will take it. There are a lot of positives to come out of this weekend and we have learned a lot. We will go again at Spa next week.”