It's race day in Hungary and many questions remain: Can George Russell convert his maiden pole position into a maiden win? Will Leclerc take advantage of Verstappen's Saturday issues?
Saturday had its winners and losers, with George Russell scoring his first ever pole position in F1, by putting in a stellar lap around Hungaroring, leaving both Ferraris behind, and Max Verstappen suffering engine issues at the end of Q3, not being able to place his Red Bull higher than P20.
Despite their rocky Friday and Saturday morning, Mercedes was right there in Qualifying, with the two Brits scoring a 1-2 in Q1. George Russell managed to make his car fly around Hungaroring with ease and showed incredible pace, which resulted in him snatching the pole position away from Ferrari's hands. Lewis Hamilton was less lucky, as he had DRS issues at the end of Q3, so he didn't improve at all during his last lap, staying in P7.
He said: "My DRS stopped working, which was frustrating after all the struggle we had to finally have the chance to fight for the front row but then not being able to. The car didn’t feel good in FP3 but was strong in Qualifying. We didn’t know how strong our pace was and where it came from, so it’s a very positive day for us."
Race simulations from FP2 aren't enough to make a prediction, but Russell seemed to struggle a lot on the soft tyre, with his average being over than a second off both McLarens and Stroll. A P4-P5 could be possible, considering their pace.
Ferrari looked quick both Friday and Saturday, circulating around P1-P3 in every session, except for FP3, where rain was a grid-shuffling factor, shooting Williams to the top, with Leclerc finishing in P2 and Sainz in P7. Their 2-3 Qualifying result seemed to disappoint Carlos Sainz, who said that P2 wasn't good enough for him, thinking that he could extract more pace from his F1-75.
On the other side of the coin, it was one of the worst Saturdays Red Bull have had in a while, with Sergio Perez not making it to Q3 and Max Verstappen suffering some sort of power loss with his PU. Verstappen will start from P10, right ahead of his teammate in P11.
By comparing Ferrari's and Red Bull's higher fuel runs in FP2, it's the Italians who look like they'll dominate today's Hungarian Grand Prix. Both Sainz and Leclerc were half a second faster, by average, than Verstappen, and a second faster than Perez. Even with the Red Bulls receiving new PU parts, without receiving any penalties though, as it was announced just a while ago, it's unlike that they'll be able to overcome their Qualifying results, given the pace they showed earlier this weekend.
Saturday saw both McLaren and Alpine score a double-Q3 appearance, as Lando Norris starts from P4, Daniel Ricciardo from P9, and the Alpines from P5 and P6, with Esteban Ocon leading Fernando Alonso. The midfield battle will definitely be intense, once again, as only 4 points separate the two teams in the Constructors standings, and Alpine is winning the points battle for now.
A well as both Red Bulls, Pierre Gasly will also receive new PU parts, and will start today's race from the pitlane, as he not only exceeded the number of permitted PU components, but AlphaTauri replaced them without the approval of the FIA technical delegate. Not a big step back, as the Frenchman would initially start the race from P19.
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