The Saturday in F1 Hungarian GP remained dry in qualifying as George Russell popped in a surprise against Ferrari and Red Bull pair.

While the qualifying was expected to be taking under wet conditions in F1 Hungarian GP at Hungaroring, the weather was dry which provided an unexpected result. With troubles for Red Bull, Ferrari were looking for a safe 1-2 until Mercedes spoiled the party.

Despite not setting any purple sectors, George Russell stitched up a solid lap to secure his first F1 pole by 0.044s over Carlos Sainz, who managed to beat his teammate Charles Leclerc. The long run pace of Ferrari, though, should help in optimism.

For pole-sitter’s teammate Lewis Hamilton, it wasn’t the best of ends as he couldn’t put in a lap to hopefully end up on the front row or at least in the Top 4. A DRS issue ended his Q3 early as he couldn’t make the most of the issues for Red Bull pair.

Max Verstappen complained of power issues which the F1 team is still identifying and there could be changes which could drop him further down. Teammate Sergio Perez was further disappointed with lack of pace that saw him get knocked out in Q2 itself.

Russell: “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. 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. 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. 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. 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.”

Sainz: “It was good. I felt like today I had everything more-or-less under control through the whole Qualifying. We keep making steps in the right direction, which keeps getting me more comfortable and more together with the car, and today there were some good laps over there. But yeah, probably that Q3 Run 2 lap was nothing special. And it was not good enough for pole. So, a bit disappointed, because with a perfect lap for sure I could  have been up there. Clearly the track conditions, as they’ve switched, especially particularly on Soft tyres, maybe they haven’t gone in our direction because yesterday we seem to have a pace advantage that we certainly didn’t have today, even Q1, Q2. Going through those two sessions, we were not… we didn’t have the margin that we had in other races this year.

“And we had to make sure we put on a set of new tyres and do it at the right time because the midfield was certainly closer to us than where they were yesterday. And for us, we’ve been struggling to get the tyres into temperature over one lap here. We are certainly not particularly happy about today, the way the car and everything was handling, but with a perfect lap, I could have put it up there. So, that’s why I’m a bit disappointed. For the race, we need to see how with these conditions, this wind, how the car behaves in stabilised conditions, you know. Today’s a soft tyre, you start dealing with it quite cold out of the box and the car is behaving one way or the other. But tomorrow when the tyres are up to temperature in a sustainable condition the car could change completely, and hopefully we’re going to find a bit more pace than today and we can have a strong run in the first stint and go from there. I think the car has been quick all weekend so there’s no reason why not to believe that tomorrow we should be strong.”

Leclerc: “I struggled massively, especially in Q3. Q1, Q2, I felt quite good. We were doing good steps in the right direction but then in Q3, I don’t know what happened. The track changed a little bit, the sun came out, and suddenly the tyres were definitely not in the right window. So, I struggled a lot with inconsistency. I did the first lap in Q3, that was quite slow. And then the second lap that was more or less okay. But yeah, we paid a little bit the price of not having the tyres in the right window. For the race, I think things will change quite a bit compared to what we’ve seen yesterday so we just need to be able to adapt as quickly as possible. On my side I struggled with tyres today but tomorrow the race is going to be a complete different thing. So yeah, quite a bit of work tonight to understand in which direction it’s going to go for tomorrow and to be as ready as possible.”

Verstappen: “We made some changes which were very positive, so a lot of guys here and back at the factory were analysing a lot of stuff, and I think they understood and that’s of course very promising and very good. The car was a lot nicer to driver today but we couldn’t really show it in Q3 because of the power issue. I still don’t know what it is. I need to talk to the team, but I hope everything is fixable. I know this track is very hard to pass at, so we have to be patient as well. This year has shown that a lot of things can happen even on Sunday, so we just have to be patient.”

While Red Bull found itself in the lower end of the Top 10, it allowed the likes of McLaren and Alpine to pounce on the opportunity whereby Lando Norris put in a solid lap to end up fourth and ahead of their immediate rivals in the fight for fourth.

Teammate Daniel Ricciardo reckoned he lost grip on his final attempt which left him only ninth when he expected a better lap. It even got Alfa Romeo’s Valtteri Bottas ahead of him, while Esteban Ocon got the better of Fernando Alonso in a good show from both.

Norris: “I’m very happy with the fourth. Probably wasn’t expecting it: to be ahead of two Red Bulls is never the expectation. But also, to cut off the gap to the Ferraris, two-tenths off Charles, it’s not a lot knowing they have a much quicker car than us. I’m happy, felt like I did some good laps, put in the laps when I needed to, and I did a good job. So, I’m very happy with a lot of things. I guess maybe surprised with George to be so quick, but as soon as they went out in Q1, and they did their laps they looked fast. They are where they should be now, a little bit surprised at the same time but they did a good job.

“George drove well so congrats to him on pole position, his first one, now matching me! But yeah, great position for tomorrow, so we will go from there. I think the Mercedes, they are just quicker than us. Considering George is like four-tenths quicker than me now, they are purely quicker. You are not going to be four-tenths quicker today and slower tomorrow. So, yeah, I think we can still have a good race you know. I can fight the guys ahead. Might not have much of a chance, but we can give it a go, but… the main guys are the guys behind me, so as long as I stay ahead of them, then I’ll be happy with that.”

Ocon: “Yes, it’s definitely a track that I love racing at, and definitely the car came nicely together on that last lap. It’s been really nice to build up that well into quali, and towards that last lap, we pulled it together, so that’s awesome for us. We need to get in front of Lando though – that’s the only disappointing thing about today, but he was too fast for us, so let’s try and score some good points tomorrow. It’s not going to be easy, those guys are going to fight hard. But let’s try and do our best race first of all on our side and see what we can do.”

Bottas: “It is positive to be back in Q3, we finally got everything together and the results show for it. It has been a while since we have been there and it’s good to be where we feel we belong. We were closer to Alpine than we thought, which is a positive, and it seems we made a bit of progress since the last race. In terms of race pace, I believe there is not really a big difference between the teams at the top of the midfield, which should make for a good battle tomorrow. Still, this is a difficult track on which to overtake, so it is good to start from the Top 10 and be able to fight for the points right from the start. Tomorrow will be all about having a good start off the line and choosing the right strategy: I’m looking forward to it.”

The Q1 and Q2 had some fallers who were disappointed by their positions. Haas were a bit let down especially on Kevin Magnussen’s side who had the updates and it didn’t work as they expected straight up. He lacked pace all-through practice and was knocked out in Q2.

Mick Schumacher was not far behind him, as they had Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll’s company in Q2 when his teammate Sebastian Vettel was out in Q1. His crash in FP3 gave more work to his F1 team and despite having the car ready, he couldn’t make it into Q2.

The AlphaTauri pair were equally in the disappointment list as Yuki Tsunoda rued of lack of pace pretty much from practice. Teammate Pierre Gasly showed better pace to make it out but track limits got the better of him, as Williams’ Nicholas Latifi found himself last due to final lap mistake after his glory lap in FP3 to top the session.

Magnussen: “You always want to make Q3 and it wasn’t one of our best qualifying sessions but it seems this weekend we’ve been a little bit less competitive. There’s a lot of work going into it but it’s one of those things that will take time to extract the most out of it. From P13, I think you can fight for points. The pace looked alright on the long run, certainly the car felt good in FP2 with high-fuel, if anything a little bit better than low-fuel. We’ll take what we can tomorrow and go and have some fun.”

Vettel: “The off this morning in FP3 was a shame – obviously, it was my mistake, but I wasn’t pushing too hard when it happened. The track improved quite a bit throughout Q1. I thought my first lap was good, but then I could only do one cool-lap, so the tyres were still a bit too hot for my final lap. It doesn’t leave us in a good place for tomorrow. Getting the car repaired for qualifying with just minutes to spare makes failing to get out of Q1 hurt that bit more. There is very little possibility to overtake around here, so we will need to see what we can do with the strategy in tomorrow’s race.”

Gasly: “On one hand, it is extremely frustrating not to be part of Q2, but on the other hand we have made a small step forward since Friday. We managed to put a good lap together and were running in P13, set to get through to Q2, but unfortunately had our lap time deleted. It looked like we weren’t too far off the times of the cars in the top 10, so it’s all to play for during the race. There is definitely potential, it is up to us to make the right step forward to try and unlock the pace for tomorrow.”

Latifi: “After a positive FP3 in the wet, we had to reset the expectations for qualifying with it being dry. I was looking to be on the cusp of Q2, but I missed the last corner quite bad. It’s frustrating to make a mistake in the final corner with snap of oversteer on entry after a big tailwind. I was surprised to hear I had a purple sector one. However, we’re still missing downforce from the package, so we know where we need to improve. It’s difficult to overtake here but we’ll be looking to capitalise on any opportunities that may come in the race tomorrow.”

Here’s how F1 Hungarian GP qualifying panned out