George Russell looks at Mercedes’ chances at the Hungarian GP

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

George Russell says Mercedes has “a faster race car” than “qualifying car”, but he’ll be “very shocked” if “that’s going to be the case again this weekend”.

After getting his first career pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix Qualifying, George Russell says the accomplishment means more to him because of the team, than because of himself.

“For me, I’m not really thinking about myself to be honest, but for us as a team, it’s massive,” the Briton said.

“Yesterday was probably our toughest Friday of the whole season. We were all here until 11pm last night scratching our heads, morale was pretty down and we felt pretty lost.

“To come back and grab pole position 24 hours later, it’s just such a feeling because I know what we went through last night.

“There’s no points for qualifying but I guess getting this result for all of us, is pretty huge.”

George then explained how he got his ‘perfect’ lap and compares it to his amazing 2021 lap at Spa, which put his struggling Williams in P2.

“I think today we just got it in the perfect window on that last lap. I went around Turn 1 and I was a tenth and a half up.

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“I went around Turn 2 and I was three tenths up and everything was just perfectly in the window. When you are on one of those laps and you are in the groove and the rhythm, it just keeps on coming, keeps on coming.

“I think everybody struggled with the tires. Everybody struggled in the wet with the tires 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.

“Dare I say the lap was 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 qualifying that will ever come close to these two feelings.

“Obviously this was my first and as a team we struggled so much at Williams. We were so far behind and to get that second was massive.

“This is what racing is about. This is why I wake up every day and I want to be world champion, because feelings like this, is something you can’t really dream of.”

George then admitted he isn’t sure how the car will perform in the race tomorrow.

“It’s a total unknown. We’ve turned the car upside down since yesterday. Conditions are changing. It’s going to be much cooler tomorrow.

“Our high fuel pace was probably the worst it’s ever been yesterday and Ferrari looked pretty exceptional.

“We’re behind the curve at the moment but we’ll be absolutely going for it and victory is what we’re going for.”

Although Mercedes has been known to have better race pace than single lap pace, George says he is not sure the same will be true in Hungary.

“You take each day at a time; you don’t want to 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?

“We know we have, relatively speaking, a faster race car than we do 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% and got every last millisecond out of it,” Russell concluded.

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