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George Russell criticises Mercedes tactics at Hungarian GP Qualifying: We could have avoided mess

George Russell will start the Hungarian Grand Prix from 18th after being knocked out in Q1 at the Hungaroring; watch the Hungarian GP live on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday from 12.30pm, lights out is at 2pm; F1 Juniors will be live on Sky Showcase and Sky Sports Mix from 1.30pm

George Russell

George Russell has criticised Mercedes for their Qualifying tactics at the Hungarian Grand Prix which led to his surprise Q1 elimination.

Russell will start Sunday's race in Budapest from 18th after he was sent out towards the back of the field for the all-important final runs in Q1.

As other drivers improved, the British driver was bumped into the drop zone and was caught out by several drivers backing up in the final sector, so was overtaken by four cars and lost a lot of his tyre temperature.

"We were fast. The car felt great. The whole session we were out of sync with everybody. I got overtaken by four cars going into the last corner, starting my lap, one of which was [Pierre] Gasly," Russell told Sky Sports F1.

"I was three tenths down before I got to Turn 1, the tyres were nowhere and it was totally normal that we went slower and didn't make it through.

"Really disappointed. We didn't need to take so many risks. We went out for one lap at the end, one of the few cars that did that.

"The car was more than quick enough to get to Q2 and Q3. It's rare we make these mistakes. You get what you deserve if you don't do things right."

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George Russell felt his Mercedes was 'fast' and the team didn’t need to take so many risks as he got caught in traffic and missed out on Q2

Russell: If you don't get things right, you get punished

F1 has had a gentleman's agreement which requires the drivers to not overtake each other approaching the final corner of the lap on their warm-up lap in Qualifying.

But, this was largely ignored on Saturday as multiple drivers overtook each other at the final two corners, in order to not lose tyre temperature and ensure they crossed the line in time to complete a flying lap.

Russell, who says it will be extremely hard to fight through the field from the penultimate row of the grid, understands why the agreement was ignored.

"You all have to think about yourself at one point. There are so many cars on track. Valtteri [Bottas] was on a lap and got blocked by six cars," said Russell.

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Anthony Davidson explains the reasons why Mercedes driver George Russell exited in Q1 at the Hungaroring

"But we shouldn't have been there in the first place. There's 5km of track out there. The car was more than quick enough. At the beginning of the session we were sent out and got overtaken by everyone pushing and on our lap we were overtaking everybody.

"It was really not a good session for us. If you don't do things right, you get punished and we got punished for sure.

"We have got a great team around us and ultimately we could have avoided that mess. I'm not going to blame any drivers for overtaking me. I would have overtaken them if I was in there shoes."

Team principal Toto Wolff added: "Q1 was overall messy, not only for us but for many others. So many cars on a single piece of track. We put them in the wrong position.

"The first run was already compromised then everyone bunching up in the last corner was far from ideal. There is no code between the drivers because he was overtaken by three cars between Turn 13 and 14. That obviously completely screws your last lap. But we need to take it on us that we didn't put him in a better position."

Sky Sports F1's live Hungarian GP schedule

Sunday July 23
7:20am: F3 Feature Race
9am: F2 Feature Race
11am: Porsche Supercup
12:30pm: Grand Prix Sunday - Hungarian GP build-up
1:30pm: F1 Juniors: Hungarian Grand Prix (Sky Sports Mix and Sky Showcase)
4pm: Chequered Flag: British GP reaction
5pm: Ted's Notebook

Daniel Ricciardo's return and first F1 Juniors broadcast headline the Hungarian Grand Prix! Watch all the action live on Sky Sports F1 this weekend. Stream the Hungarian GP and more with NOW for £21 a month.

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