Starting the Hungarian Grand Prix from pole position, the first of his career, Toto Wolff says “why not” to George Russell winning the race.
Russell will line up on pole position, the Briton surprising the paddock when he beat the Ferraris in Saturday’s qualifying at the Hungaroring.
He laid down a 1:17.377 to beat Carlos Sainz by 0.044s, securing Mercedes’ best grid slot of the campaign.
Even Wolff was surprised.
“It’s also a big surprise for us,” the Mercedes motorsport boss told Sky Sports. “I told the engineers to quickly write down everything they did so that we don’t forget it.”
Jumping onboard with @GeorgeRussell63 for his first pole position 👏👏👏
— Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team (@MercedesAMGF1) July 30, 2022
He added: “The car was well balanced and everything seemed to come together.
“George drove very strong and became more confident with each run. The grip was there too and this is the result.”
The dream now is, of course, winning with Wolff saying why not.
“I think if we hold the position at the start, come through first after the opening lap, put in a solid race and get the pit stops done, we can win,” he said. “Why not?”
He does, however, acknowledge that Ferrari, starting second and third, have a “fast” car in their F1-75 while one cannot rule out championship leader Max Verstappen.
The reigning World Champion will line up 10th on the grid after losing power on his last run in Q3.
“We have seen how fast Ferrari has been so far,” Wolff said. “Charles was in the lead in the last race. Max starts a little further back, which will not be bad for the end result.
“But I think George will be very motivated.”
As for Russell, the Briton was asked how he may feel should he take the win on Sunday.
He replied: “You don’t even think about it, you take each day at a time.
“You don’t want to get carried away with yourself.
“You just focus step-by-step. Getting off the line, a good start, good first stint. Is it going to be a one, two, or a three stop?
“We know we have relatively speaking a faster race car than we do a qualifying car. If that’s going to be the case again this weekend, I’ll be very shocked.
“We just absolutely nailed to 100% and got every last millisecond out of it.”
Looking ahead to the Hungarian Grand Prix
The Hungarian Grand Prix is the final race before Formula 1's summer break.