Russell pragmatic after failing to convert first pole in Hungary

George Russell believes third place behind teammate Lewis Hamilton in the Hungarian Grand Prix was a fair result despite leading more than half of the race from pole position.

Hamilton started from seventh on the grid but climbed through to finish second to Max Verstappen, who won from 10th. Russell led the opening stages and only lost out to Charles Leclerc around the halfway point of the race but after picking up his fifth podium of the season the former Williams driver had no complaints about dropping two places from his starting position.

“Coming away with pole position was great,” Russell said. “I think we had a really strong first stint on the soft tire which, given how the conditions panned out, probably wasn’t the best tire for that stint. Obviously, you’re always disappointed if you start from pole to finish anything lower than first position. But when you look at everything objectively, I think that was probably a fair result.”

Russell believes Mercedes made the right calls to give both drivers the best chance of winning on Sunday.

“It was always going to be a tricky afternoon because there was rain in the air throughout,” he said. “And usually, if you’re on pole position, and it’s spitting, you’re pretty disappointed. But knowing I was on the soft tire, I was kind of rubbing my hands together and made a really good start: the first four laps were really strong, pull the gap, three seconds, I think to Carlos (Sainz, Ferrari).

“And then unfortunately, the rain sort of stopped, (and) the medium tires came into their own. But we still had a good first stint. And we pitted early, both occasions to try and cover Max, cover the Ferraris. Ultimately, Max was too fast for us. But then, that put us in a very tricky place on that last stint when we were on the mediums.

“I was already struggling a bit and my engineer said we had 25 laps ago, and the rain started falling, temperature was dropping. I thought, ‘it’s going to be a tricky last few laps.’ But Lewis did an amazing job and obviously had far superior pace at the end. He had a very strong middle stint.

“So, I think as a team, we’ve got a lot to be proud about. We did everything right for both of us to give us, as a team, the best opportunity to fight for victory. Unfortunately, it didn’t go our way. As a team, we did everything right.”