George Russell hits back at Martin Brundle after nightmare qualifying session – “Really disappointed with the tactics”

Mercedes driver George Russell has hit back at F1 pundit Martin Brundle’s claims of a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ existing in the sport after a nightmarish qualifying session in Hungary.

Although Mercedes can take pride in the fact that Lewis Hamilton will start the race in pole position, it was a bitterly disappointing outing for his younger teammate on Saturday, who will start the race in P18 after getting eliminated in Q1.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. Credit:
Lewis Hamilton and George Russell. Credit:

Sky Sports pundit Martin Brundle reiterated the fact that F1 drivers have an unspoken rule or a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ that they will not overtake one another as they prepare to start a lap in qualifying.

However, Russell is keen to give the former driver a reality check by claiming that this is not how the sport works in reality.

Russell was asked about the agreement. “No, because you’ve all got to think about yourself at one point and there’s just so many cars on track, I understand why some cars didn’t,” he said.

“Valtteri [Bottas], on a lap, got blocked by six cars. But we shouldn’t have been there in the first place. There’s five kilometres of track out there and the car was more than quick enough.

“At the beginning of the session we were sent out, got overtaken by everyone pushing, and then on our push lap we were overtaking everybody. So it was really not a good session for us.

“If you don’t do things right, you’ll get punished and we got punished for sure. It’s nothing to do with the driver. You’re all out there fighting for yourself.

“We’ve got a great team around us and ultimately we could have avoided that mess. So I’m not going to blame many drivers for overtaking me. I’d have overtaken them probably if I was in their shoes.

“We didn’t need to be in that position at that time. For the whole session, it wasn’t good enough from our side.”

Russell was frustrated with the tactics used by Mercedes.

“We were fast, car felt great. But for the whole session we were out of sync with everybody and then I got overtaken by four cars into the last corner starting my lap – one of which was [Pierre] Gasly – and I was three tenths down before I even got to Turn 1,” he said.

“Tyres were nowhere and it was totally normal that we went slower and I didn’t make it through. Really disappointed because we didn’t really need to take so many risks.

“We went out for one lap at the end, we were one of the few cars who did that, the car was more than quick enough to get through to Q2/Q3. It’s rare that we make these kind of mistakes. You get what you deserve, I guess, if you don’t do things right.”

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