Mercedes is at the front of the Formula 1 grid, for the first time in the 2022 season. And on a circuit where overtaking is classified as “difficult to impossible”. So what are the chances for pole man George Russell to win the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring near Budapest?
In any case, team boss Toto Wolff is confident and says on “Sky”: “I think if he has the pace, then you can win that too. If we hold the position at the start and come back first from the first lap, a solid one Racing with good pit stops, then yes, why not? We can win that.”
Above all, he is happy about Russell’s outstanding qualifying performance, “because [am Samstag] we would have thought [wir wären] happy to be in the top six,” said Wolff. “Now we’re on pole. We haven’t been fighting for wins this year but I reckon George will be very motivated and so will Lewis [Hamilton] as well.”
Why the result comes as a surprise for Mercedes
The performance over a fast lap was a “big surprise” for the entire team, admits Wolff. That’s why he immediately initiated appropriate measures: “I told the engineers to write down everything we’ve done so that we don’t forget it. Everything, every single step.”
Could the recent set-up experiments on the Mercedes W13 have contributed to Hungary’s success? Wolff thinks that’s possible and says: “Sometimes you really have to position the car so badly that you can see what doesn’t work at all, and then you can hit it in the other direction. We did that. You can see it too.”
He generally recognizes “uncanny fluctuations” in the form of the individual teams, says Wolff and refers to Ferrari: “They were [am Freitag] a second faster than everyone else. But from Q1 [am Samstag] somehow they didn’t get going.” But that could also be related to the significantly cooler temperatures compared to Friday.
Maybe there are still world championship chances for Mercedes?
And maybe there is a chance for Mercedes to intervene in the fight for the world title after all. Does team boss Wolff think his team can still play a role in 2022? He hasn’t ruled it out yet. Now he says: “It’s very difficult to say because we’re so far behind Max on points [Verstappen]like everyone else.”
“But you can see how fast it can go. So we never give up. We’re just constantly in doubt, swinging back and forth between depression and euphoria. That’s what makes this sport so tough and on the other hand so exciting.” Then a decisive sentence falls: “If we win on Sunday, I don’t rule anything out.”