Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff had some words of encouragement for Sir Lewis Hamilton after a DRS failure left the seven-time champion in seventh place in qualifying for the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Mercedes, who had looked significantly off the pace in practice, came into qualifying unsure of how their car would perform, but they went one and two in Q1 as they found some performance in cooler and drying conditions.
Both Hamilton and George Russell needed to scrap to get into the top 10, but they both seemed to have strong performance after the opening runs in Q3, particularly Russell, who split the Ferraris as he went second fastest.
Charles Leclerc improved to second as Carlos Sainz went even faster, but Russell put in an unbelievable lap to steal pole position away from the Spaniard.
Sergio Perez was eliminated in Q2 after he failed to put a clean lap in, while Red Bull team-mate Max Verstappen encountered power issues during Q3, leaving him 10th on the grid.
Hamilton, meanwhile, was forced to back out of his final run when his rear wing failed to open, so Wolff cheered his driver up after a disappointing end to Saturday.
“Sorry for the f***-up with the DRS,” he said over the radio.
“You have both Verstappen and Perez behind you, it’s just Norris, Ocon and Alonso [ahead] which you should get so we can recover.”
It was a shame for Hamilton, who had developed a good feeling within his W13 during qualifying, but he was happy for his team-mate Russell as Mercedes grabbed their first pole since the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix last year.
“I tried to open the DRS and it wouldn’t open, so a bit unfortunate,” he told Sky Sports.
“I was feeling great, front row was definitely there so it would have been awesome to have got a front row for the team but these things happen.
“Congratulations to George, that’s a great result for the team, given all that we’ve gone through – that’s huge so really happy for everyone.”
Asked if he could still take positives from the fact that the other car is on pole, the 37-year-old replied “Of course, yeah, it’s huge.
“We definitely didn’t expect that,” added Hamilton.
Hamilton ended up finishing the grand prix ahead of Russell, with the seven-time champion ultimately running a superior strategy to finish in P2, one position ahead of his team-mate.