Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2022

Wolff apologises to Hamilton for DRS failure as Russell takes first pole

2022 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff apologised to Lewis Hamilton after he suffered a DRS failure during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The fault left Hamilton seventh on the grid while team mate George Russell claimed a shock pole position. The Mercedes drivers are separated on the grid by the two Ferraris, Lando Norris’s McLaren and the Alpine pair of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso.

“Sorry for the fuck-up with the DRS,” Wolff told Hamilton on the radio after qualifying.

He consoled his driver by pointing out he will line up ahead of both Red Bull drivers. Max Verstappen, who suffered a power unit problem at the same time as Hamilton’s DRS glitch, took 10th on the grid. Sergio Perez was eliminated in Q2 and starts 11th.

“You have both Verstappen and Perez behind you,” said Wolff. “It’s just Norris, Ocon and Alonso which you should get so we can recover.”

Hamilton said he “tried to open DRS and it wouldn’t open” on his final run.

“I was feeling great,” he told Sky. “Front row was definitely there. It would have been awesome to get a front row for the team but these things happen.”

“Congratulations to George,” he added. “He did an amazing job and that’s a great result for the team. Given all we’ve gone through, that’s huge, so I’m really happy for everyone.”

“We definitely didn’t expect that,” he added.

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2022 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Wolff apologises to Hamilton for DRS failure as Russell takes first pole”

  1. How about Ham passes Alonso and just backs him up a bit..!

    1. Ahah, payback from hungary last year!

  2. Go Lewis go!

  3. He’ll probably pick up contact, but getting past Alonso won’t be easy.

    1. @icarby I disagree, Lewis has had good launches all season and Lewis ins only one row behind Alonso who should be more worried about his team mate driving the same machinery off the grid.

      Its a massive waste that a rare failure cost Lewis a potential pole..

  4. @ccpbioweapon – the two have history… Alonso is notoriously good at race starts and of recent races Hamilton has been good off on race starts too.

    Don’t forget what happened in Monaco, let alone last year…

  5. HAM has brought some of this on himself.
    He ran over curbs twice yesterday and damaged the floor board costing him laps.
    Today he smoked his tires again. These mistakes add up and increase the pressure.
    HAM isn’t expected to win a WDC at this point as his car isn’t on par with Red and RBR .
    I think the majority of pressure is from his teammate – he is still behind him in points.
    RUS has been very consistent.
    Wolff can only support HAM over RUS for so long – if the latter proved he is more consistent and outperforming him points wise, Toto will have be in a predicament.
    HAM is a great driver but mistakes such as crashing in qualifying at Silvestone are hard to overlook.
    There may be a new sheriff in town. The second half of the season may be interesting.

    1. Hamilton didn’t crash at silverstone in quali, and if you mean austria, then russell crashed too!

      1. I stand corrected. I realize RUS wrecked also. But HAM is making uncharacteristic mistakes. Mistakes that seasoned drivers let alone one of all time greats shouldn’t make.
        He could win tomorrow and I wouldn’t be surprised. But I think RUS is a step up from BOT and HAM is under more pressure than in past years.

        1. Hamilton is the pilot with the second highest points tally in the last six races. Ahead of Russel, Perez, and both Ferraris.

          His problems this season have been bad luck far more than driver mistakes, unlike Leclerc or Perez.

          1. True to a point but both Ferrari drivers have had their share of bad luck and stupid strategy.

    2. Dave, I don’t really see how Hamilton could have brought a DRS failure on himself. I think you are clutching at straws there.

      “Wolff can only support HAM over RUS for so long”

      I’m not sure what you are seeing which makes you think Wolff is favouring one driver over the other. It has been stated numerous times in the early part of the season that Hamilton had been spending more time in FP1 and 2 doing the lion’s share of car testing since his greater experience was more valuable to the engineers in developing the car. Having resolved some of their car issues, in the last four or five races Hamilton has been generally the more impressive on the two.

      1. Yeah I agree HAM has been better in the last several races.
        And if it’s so that he was doing the dirty work (for lack of a better word) then I agree but I find it hard to believe they would compromise his season by providing him with a lesser car.
        I’m not disputing HAM’s greatness but RUS is consistent and up until now less prone to mistakes than Lewis.
        It could be just the opposite the rest of the season but it’s intriguing.

        1. What season? Do you honestly believe lewis wouldn’t sacrifice a fight in the midfield, or with his teammate, to get back to the front?

        2. Yes, it is. I think racing fans always enjoy seeing someone promoted to a faster car, so we can see how much difference the car makes, and to see how the newcomer fares against an established driver, even more so now that we don’t have in-season testing, where the test drivers get a regular run-out. So in 2019, when LeClerc was put alongside Vettel in Ferrari, it was almost a case of Charles Who? His results in 2018 hadn’t been good enough to make people (and TV interviewers) sit up and notice, and equally they hadn’t been bad enough for his name to crop up every week in the way Latifi does, for instance, bottom of the timing screens, or like Maldonado, memorable for crashes.

          That’s what made 2007 so intriguing. When the rumours were flying around that McLaren were going to sign the virtually unknown Hamilton to partner Alonso, a lot of people rubbished the idea and said Pedro de la Rosa deserved to be given the second seat as he was a proven quantity etc. After Hamilton’s first corner of his first F1 race, every team manager outside McLaren must have been saying “Why didn’t we sign that guy?” Seeing how he compared that year against Alonso made that one of the most interesting seasons I have ever watched, whereas the following season, 2008, when Hamilton won his first WDC, his team mate Kovalainen just didn’t seem to have the same hunger.

          1. Well said

          2. Honestly? Leclerc’s results in ’18 were excellent. In particular because nobody expected anything from that team. They were the worst team of the previous season by some margin.
            He was very obviously special and to be promoted so fast felt natural and deserved, as Kimi had years of very bad seasons there and nobody ever said a thing.

            With Hamilton in 2007, it was always felt like De la Rosa was going to be a stop-gap of sorts, and Hamilton would debut on a smaller team and then take the seat. They gambled and as you said, by the first corner it was a very obvious bullseye.

  6. The fact of the matter is I have said this for years, when the Hamilton era is over, The Russell era begins fully. Just like when the Schumacher era was transitioning, there were a few champions along the way, but the most notable was Vettel.
    Simple as that. The G.O.A.T , Sir Lewis Hamilton doesn’t have to worry about a true champion coming up, when you are his mentor. It’s actually the biggest compliment of his true genius.

  7. Hamilton is a team player. When Rosberg abused that and Hamilton cut access to his data Rosberg was gutted and although he won the wdc that year he also retired at the end of it because he knew that he had no hope in the following seasons without the access he had become accustomed too. If George uses this info without passing anything back to the team I am sure Hamilton will do the same and deservedly so, but I like that Hamilton is giving him what he can to go at the competition and I am sure that Wolf knows exactly this which is why he is so apologetic on any failures with his equipment because it was equipment failures that handed the wdc to Rosberg that year. You only had to look at the styles of driving during qualifying to see who was the better driver. Hamilton was so smooth whereas Rosberg had to overdrive the car to beat him. The turns on the steering wheel showed that with Hamilton smoothly tiurning the wheel whereas Rosberg would be jaggedly moving it like a rally driver. Also Hamilton always used a good few percent of fuel less than Rosberg every race. Im not making this up, if you look back it was clear to see in the F1 feedback interface during the race. Hamilton also consistently got more out of the tyres but because he was generally in front he would have to pit first to avoid the undercutting. This is all fact and George is now benefitting off learning from the best in the sport, Hamilton is teaching him the proper way to develop a car and I hope he is gathering all this info rather than trying to use it against his team mate as Rosberg did.

    1. Michael Howe
      31st July 2022, 7:42

      Yes. Russell better not let this pole go to his head. Or Hamilton will school him

  8. As things stand, with neither driver realistically in the running for the drivers’ championship, Mercedes have no option but to concentrate onamassing as many constructor points as possible. That means letting the drivers race each other whilst trying to keep team dynamics on an even keel. I think Wolff and his drivers are managing to do this incredibly well and this is probably reflected in their current unexpectedly good points haul.

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