After a three-year stint at Williams, this season George Russell made his long-awaited debut with Mercedes. This first half was certainly not what he would have expected after the absolute domination the team had over the grid during F1’s turbo hybrid era. The W13 has been struggling quite a bit trying to find pace and downforce due to the porpoising issues they encountered and both drivers are yet to claim a win.
Over the last few months, however, they have been working down in Brackley to bring in some upgrade packages that seem to have improved the performance of the car.
And it’s right before the start of the summer break that the 24-year-old secured his first ever pole position in Formula One, with a sensational final lap around the Hungaroring that put his silver arrow half a tenth ahead of Carlos Sainz’s Ferrari.
"It’s George's first pole position so that will always be something special for him and us, because that is a moment to remember,” commented Toto Wolff in a media session after qualifying in Budapest.
"But George had these extraordinary performances in junior series and he had it in Spa last year in the rain. Today it is just another milestone of the many that he is going to achieve."
Despite Mercedes’ struggles Russell has been proving himself as a consistent performer: five podiums, a DNF and all top-five finishes in the rest of the races so far for him this season. And Team Principal Toto Wolff has no doubts he has got what it takes to become world champion one day.
"George is a champion in the making and he was a champion in all the junior categories - in F3, F2, as a rookie,” he said.
"We would have never put him in a Mercedes if we didn't believe he can be a future world champion."