Russell caught out by falling tyre temperatures in Hungary

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W13. 31.07.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest, Hungary, Race
© XPB 

George Russell admitted that he 'could have done better' than third place in today's Hungarian Grand Prix, having landing his maiden pole position in Saturday's qualifying session.

Russell did well to prevent the Ferraris of Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc from overwhelming him at the start, and he held on to the lead for the most of the first 30 laps of the race.

But he soon came under heavy attack from Leclerc, who finally broke through and took control of the race on lap 31, only for both end up being passed by Max Verstappen in the second half of the race.

Russell had started the day on soft tyres while the two Ferraris and his own Mercedes team mate Lewis Hamilton were on the more durable medium compound. That gave him immediate pace, but less durability.

"I had a really strong start, and it was a first good stint," he said. "We pitted quite early on both stints and tried to keep the tyres out until the end, as well as pushing as fast as possible at the same time.

"A bit of a challenging position to be in," he admitted.

"When it started spitting at the beginning and we were on the Soft tyres, I thought we were on," Russell told Sky Sports F1 afterwards.

"Then towards the end, on the mediums with the rain coming down, really struggled and lost a bit of temperature."

That allowed Hamilton to make an easy pass for second place in the closing stages. It left Russell looking less than thrilled in parc ferme despite having picked up his fifth podium of 2022, his second in a row after France.

"Pleased to have come away with a podium," he insisted. "Amazing job by the team – pole position yesterday, double podium [today].

"I'm sure there's a lot I'll look over and could have done better," he added. "But we're definitely making progress, so really proud of the work everybody's done."

Team boss Toto Wolff said he was delighted by Russell's performance this weekend. "George had a great qualifying session with pole and drove a solid race. He was in the fight utilising the tyres, but ran out of them in the second stint."

George Russell (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 in the post race FIA Press Conference. 31.07.2022. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest, Hungary, Race

Russell admitted that after a crowded schedule of four Grands Prix in July alone, he was now looking forward to getting a couple of weeks off as F1 goes on its traditional summer break in August.

"It's been an incredibly intense start to the season, and I think the break will do everybody good," he said. "Come back for the second half the season, reset, refocus, and try and fight for some victories!"

Today's result Russell moves back up into fourth place, two points ahead of Carlos Sainz with Hamilton a further ten points in arrears.

Mercedes have also eaten into the gap to Ferrari in the constructors standings and are now just 30 points behind their rivals with nine races remaining in 2022.

However Red Bull remain runaway leaders in the team championship, with almost 100 points over their nearest challengers.

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