George Russell at the post Hungarian GP Quali Press Conference

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

Here is the transcript of the Post 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix Qualifying parc fermé interviews and press conference featuring George Russell.


(Conducted by Naomi Schiff)

Q: Okay, well, we wish you the best of luck. George massive congratulations. The fans are obviously extremely happy for your first pole position in Formula 1. How are you feeling?

George RUSSELL: Over the moon, absolutely buzzing. I mean, yesterday was probably our worst Friday of the season and everybody last night was working so hard. We didn’t really know what direction to go in. And then that last lap, got round Turn 1, mega Turn 1, went round Turn 2, Turn 2 was mega. And the lap time just kept on coming and kept on coming. And I came across the line, looked at the screen and saw we went P1. And that was an incredible, incredible feeling.

Q: Well, it’s obviously an incredible personal moment for you. But it’s also an incredible moment for Team Mercedes. So are you telling us that Mercedes is back?

GR: I don’t know, to be honest. We need to look into it and understand where that came from today. There’s a few ideas we have. At the end of the day, there’s no points for qualifying. But we generally have good race pace, but the Ferraris looked very fast on Friday, but we’re going to be absolutely going for it. But either way, that was a pretty special day, no doubt.


Q: A very warm welcome to the top three qualifiers for the 2022 FIA Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix. In third place, Charles Leclerc. In second place, Carlos Sainz. And taking his first pole position in Formula 1 our polesitter, George Russell. George, as I say, your first pole in F1. And at such a demanding and technical racetrack as the Hungaroring as well. Very well done. You’ve had a few minutes to reflect now. First of all, describe the significance of this moment for you and for your career.

GR: For me, I’m not really thinking about myself to be honest, but for us as a team it’s massive. Yesterday was probably our toughest Friday of the whole season. We were all here until 11pm last night, scratching our heads and morale was pretty down. And we felt pretty lost. And to come back and grab pole position 24 hours later, it’s just such a [good] feeling, because I know what we went through last night. And there are no points for qualifying but I guess getting this result for all of us is pretty, pretty huge.

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Q: How different is the car you’ve been driving today compared to the one you had on Friday?

GR: I think today, we just got it perfectly in the window on that last lap. I went round Turn 1 and I was a tenth and a half up. I went round Turn 2 and I was three tenths up and everything was just perfectly in the window. And when you’re on one of those laps, and you’re in the groove, in the rhythm, it just keeps on coming and keeps on coming. I think everybody struggled quite a lot with tyres. A lot of people struggled this morning in the wet with the tyres. And we’ve been going all over the place to try and get our heads around it. But fortunately, we sort of nailed it on that last run.

Q: George, you’ve driven some mighty qualifying laps in your career. How good was that one?

GR: Dare I say better than the Spa one, I don’t know! I don’t think the feeling of this pole and the feeling of that Spa lap, I don’t think I’ll ever have qualifyings that will ever come close to these two feelings. Because obviously this was my first. As a team we’ve struggled so much. At Williams we were so far behind so to get that second was massive. So you know, this is what racing is about. This is why I wake up every single day and I want to be world champion, because feeling like this is something you can’t really dream of.

Q: No dry running this morning, a difficult day yesterday. So how much of an unknown is your long-run pace going into tomorrow’s Grand Prix?

GR: It’s a total unknown. We’ve turned the car upside down since yesterday. Conditions are changing and it’s going to be much cooler tomorrow. Our high fuel pace was probably the worst it’s ever been yesterday and Ferrari look pretty exceptional. But you know, we’re behind the curve at the moment, but we’ll be absolutely going for it. And, you know, victory is what we’re going for.


Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC Sport) George, I know you touched on it briefly but Spa last year; Russia last year, this one today? In terms of pure driving, where you’re taking it to the limit, which one do you think was your best? 

GR: I think the nature of this circuit, when you get everything absolutely hooked up, nothing comes close, because it’s so fast, so flowing, every corner leads on to the next. It’s so difficult to compare very different conditions, but pure driving probably the one today.

Q: (Frédéric Ferret – L’Equipe) Question to George. You said that you worked yesterday very late, was it to put the tyre on the right temperature today, or to have a good car for tomorrow’s race? 

GR: They were more, probably, chats of overall philosophy. And if we’re going in the right direction, as a team. We’ve been closing the gap but obviously yesterday was a disastrous day. We believe that there were many reasons as to why, and they all added up to making us well over a second off the pace. But that felt like we were being a bit generous. But then to have a day like today. Maybe P1 on pure pace – obviously Max had a bit of an issue – who knows, but we definitely turned it around. And we’re probably back to where we kind-of hope to hope to be.

Q: (Phil Duncan – PA). Well done George, you said after you finish your lap, that today basically counts for nothing, it’s all about tomorrow. So, have you allowed yourself to imagine what it would be like to win? Obviously getting pole is great, but winning’s another feat altogether. 

GR: No, you don’t even think about it. You take each day at a time; you don’t get carried away with yourself and you just focus. Step by step, getting off the line, good start, good first stint. Is it going to be a one, two or three stop? Charles said it’s going to be between a one and a three. I don’t think he was probably joking there. Based on Friday, could be a three but based on the conditions of tomorrow, it might be a one. So, we know we have, relatively speaking, a faster race car than we do a qualifying car. If that’s going to be the case again this weekend, I’ll be very shocked. I think we just absolutely nailed today 100 per cent and got every last millisecond out of it.

Q: (Panagiatis Seitanidas – Car Magazine, Greece) George, congratulations on the pole position. Given the fact that this is a track where you can defend, how confident you are that you’re going to add your name on the list of the first time winners on this track?

GR: Hopefully, we’re not planning to defend and  we’re just driving off into the sunset. But I know the guys around me and even Max, they’re not going to make it easy. As I said, generally speaking, we feel like we have a faster race car. This is a good place where you need a good qualifying, no doubt, but it’s still a circuit that if you have a faster race car, it counts for more than if you have a faster qualifying car. So if it’s a two or a three stop race, you won’t be able to defend, let’s say, because the other cars can go early, they can go late and they’ll find a way past.

Q: (Annett Johanics – George almost all the time you seem very confident. Where is it coming from? Have you ever doubted that you will achieve this, what you have achieved today?

GR: Personally I’ve never doubted it. I think it’s clear we’ve had a difficult season as a team. Qualifying historically for me has been one of my strengths. This year I’ve struggled a little bit but Budapest is a circuit I’ve always loved, I’ve always been fast here and I always knew if the car and myself were working perfectly together there’s no reason why we can’t achieve great things. So yeah, tonight, good night’s sleep, focus everything for tomorrow. But this is a huge day for us regardless.

Q: (Kevin Scheuren – George, you’re very good, very well against Lewis Hamilton this year, this season. Now your first pole position for you personally, how much would it mean for you personally if you would have the first win of the season for Mercedes and as far as going up, confirmation of the path you’ve taken over the last few years to come down?

GR: That stat being the first one to get the first victory for your team is meaningless. I think we’re both here wanting to fight for World Championships and to do that you need pole positions and you need race victories. We need to work together. Today was a great day, but something like that I I’m not focused about, I just want to do the best job possible, as simple as that.

Q: (Alto Ono – Racefans) George, you mentioned that you turned the car upside down last night. What things did you and the team focus on in terms of changes overnight?

GR: Well, we made a big step forward so I’m not going to tell you about that. In Formula 1, it’s (about) fine margins and there’s so many fine margins and so many different aspects and when you get everything into that perfect window, the car can just fly.  Equally, if one thing is just out, it can compromise everything. So there’s no guarantees, the changes we made overnight will translate into performance tomorrow, there’s no guarantees it will translate into performance in the future races, but for sure, for today, for the conditions it did. So let’s review again tomorrow.

Q: (Andrew Benson – BBC Sport) George, you’re being so measured and calm and controlled about it. Can you give us a sense of the emotions that must be going through you? How you feel about this?

GR: To be honest, I’m already thinking about tomorrow. I’m thinking about the run off the line, turn one, how can I try and keep a lead, and what I’m going to have to do to win the race. You know, getting a pole position is great, having a good Saturday is great but as I learned quite a lot last year, and as I’ve also learned a lot this year, Saturday doesn’t mean a huge amount. Sunday is when the points and prizes are won but I’m just so happy for what it means to us as a team, the progress we’ve made, and obviously going into the summer break, having a Saturday like this and a qualifying like this was huge. So we’ll do our best to have a great day tomorrow. But yeah, I think we can be happy that we’ve at least had one good Saturday from the first 12 or 13 races.


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