Mercedes’ George Russell believes his Hungarian Grand Prix pole position lap was his best performance in Formula 1 qualifying from a “pure driving” standpoint.
Russell earned his maiden F1 pole at the Hungaroring with a late lap in Q3 to deny Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz a second pole of the campaign by 0.044s.
It was Mercedes’ first pole of the season, with Russell going onto finish third in the race behind Max Verstappen and teammate Lewis Hamilton.
During his three-year stint at Williams, Russell carved a reputation as ‘Mr Saturday’ with outstanding qualifying performances – including in Belgium (second) and Russia (third) in 2021 in a lower midfield car.
Russell reflects on which lap was best
At Spa in 2021, Russell managed to qualify second in abysmal conditions in the Williams, splitting title rivals Verstappen and Hamilton.
When the race was abandoned due to heavy rain, Russell officially finished second despite only one lap being completed.
In Russia, again in wet conditions, Russell was able to qualify third behind Lando Norris and Sainz on a mixed-up grid for what would ultimately prove to be F1’s last visit to Sochi.
However, Russell believes that of the three laps, the one in Budapest was the best.
“I think the nature of this circuit when you get everything absolutely hooked up nothing comes close because it’s so fast, so flowing,” he explained to media, including RacingNews365.com.
“Every corner leads on to the next so it’s difficult to compare very different conditions, but [on] pure driving probably the one today [was the best].”
Pole and Spa feelings hard to match
Russell also said that he believed it would be hard to replicate the feelings of his maiden pole and that lap at Spa, as they would be two landmark moments in his career.
“I don’t think the feeling of this pole and the feeling of that Spa lap that I have qualifyings that will ever come close to these two feelings,” Russell explained.
“Obviously this was my first. As a team we struggled so much at Williams, we were so far behind [there that] to get that second was massive.
“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.”