George Russell savours 'dream' Hungarian Grand Prix pole position for Mercedes and vows to win Sunday's race
George Russell secured his first ever pole position with Lewis Hamilton starting down in seventh; Watch the Hungarian GP live on Sky Sports F1 from 12.30pm on Sunday with lights out at 2pm
Last Updated: 31/07/22 12:34pm
George Russell said securing his first ever pole position was the best feeling he's experienced in motor racing - as he vowed to beat Ferrari and win Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.
The Mercedes driver's maiden pole came from a sensational final lap at the Hungaroring on Saturday afternoon to edge Carlos Sainz by half a tenth with the other Ferrari of Charles Leclerc back in third.
The Englishman, who stunned F1 when he qualified second in a Williams at the Belgian Grand Prix last season, said taking pole position for the first time is likely to be the best emotion he will ever feel on a Saturday.
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"This is what racing's about. This is why I wake up every single day," he told reporters.
"I want to be world champion because feelings like this are something you can't really dream of.
"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."
The result was particularly surprising as Mercedes had displayed no form earlier in the weekend, as Russell finished fifth and eighth in Friday's practice sessions before struggling for grip during Saturday's rain-soaked final practice.
Russell explained that he was feeling even more elated after seeing his team go through such a tough period.
"I'm not really thinking about myself, but for us as a team it's massive," he said.
"Yesterday was probably our toughest Friday of the whole season and 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 is just such a feeling because I know what we went through last night.
"There's no points for qualifying, but I guess given this result for all of us, it's pretty huge."
Ferrari had been the hot favourites for the front row and Russell admits he will face a stern test in defending against Leclerc and Sainz on Sunday afternoon.
With Max Verstappen back in 10th following a power issue in Q3, Russell vowed to fight for the victory despite having potentially faster cars behind him.
"It's not going to be an easy race. We are going to need to be on our toes and just take it lap, by lap and step by step," he told Sky Sports F1.
"I can assure you we'll be going for it, come what may.
"I think the Ferraris looked really strong on Friday. It was a shame for Max - as a driver you never like to not get that opportunity to see what you could have done. He is going to be fast.
"If it is a two or three-stop race, it will be tricky to defend from the Ferraris as they can easily split the strategies and do something different.
"We have just got to be fast. If we are fast, we can win and it's as simple as that."
Hamilton: The front row was definitely there
Russell's team-mate Lewis Hamilton suffered a DRS issue on his final flying lap in Q3, which saw him struggle to seventh on the grid.
But he insisted that he could have matched - or bettered - the other Mercedes had he not been hindered in the closing stages of qualifying.
"I tried to open the DRS and it wouldn't open so that was a bit unfortunate," he told Sky Sports F1.
"I was feeling great, pole or front row was definitely there for sure. It would have been awesome to get a front row for the team but these things happen.
"Congratulations to George, he did an amazing job and that is a great result for the team. Given all that we have gone through that is huge so I am really happy for everyone.
"It is huge and we definitely didn't expect that."
Wolff: Joy for Russell, bittersweet for Hamilton
Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff was thrilled to give both of his drivers a strong qualifying set-up, but struggled to hide his disappointment that Hamilton failed to deliver a front row.
"We saw from the beginning of qualifying that our tyres were in the right window and the car was balanced," he told Sky Sports.
"They drove it really well, then gained confidence from run to run and this was the result.
"In this moment you want to cry joy for pole position but equally you know the car was good for [Lewis] to be there as well. Very, very bittersweet.
"That is a solid result, we were always off the pace on a single lap and now we are on pole so let's see what we can do with that tomorrow.
"If we have the pace there, then I believe we are part of the fun and games at the front again.
"I think if we can maintain the position at the start and be first coming out of the first lap and drive a solid race and have some good stops, why not? We can win this."
Russell is 90 points behind Verstappen in the race for the World Championship ahead of the final race before the mid-season break, with Hamilton 17 points further back - but Wolff argued anything is possible if they can secure victory in Hungary.
"We will never give up," he added.
"All the time we oscillate between depression and exuberance and that is what makes the sport so tough and on the other side exciting.
"I wouldn't discount anything if we are able to win tomorrow."
Hungarian GP Qualifying: Top 10
1) George Russell, Mercedes
2) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
3) Charles Leclerc, Ferrari
4) Lando Norris, McLaren
5) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
6) Fernando Alonso, Alpine
7) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
8) Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo
9) Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren
10) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
Sunday's race is live on Sky Sports F1 at 2pm, with build-up from 12.30pm.