Toto Wolff makes ‘weird’ claim ahead of Lewis Hamilton glory

Several teams limited their running on Friday to save tyres for the new qualifying format used at the Hungaroring.

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff admitted that the new qualifying format at the Hungarian Grand Prix was “weird”, just a few hours before Lewis Hamilton claimed a shock pole position.

Following the cancellation of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, a new qualifying format which was going to be trialled at Imola was instead trialled at the Hungaroring.

The new format saw a specific compound of tyre used in each part of qualifying, something which impacted each teams free practice plans.

Q1 featured just the Hard compound, whilst Q2 was completed solely on the Mediums with Q3 being conducted on the Softs.

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Due to all three compounds being needed, every team had to save tyres during free practice, something which resulted in Friday being incredibly odd.

The timesheets made no sense at all on Friday, due to the fact that everybody was saving tyres.

Wolff slammed the format as it meant “no one understands where you are”, with Hamilton having also shared his concerns about the format.

Mercedes worryingly ended Friday in 16th and 20th.

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“First of all this tyre format is weird because no one understands where you are,” Wolff said, as reported by

“We were only able to run one medium yesterday and that wasn’t good at all.

“But, the grip on the soft was very good. Lewis here, he’s able to add another two or three-tenths.”

Wolff’s views on the format seemingly strengthened after George Russell was embarrassingly eliminated in Q1, much to the shock of Mercedes.

The team principal was seen slamming his fist on his desk, whilst Russell was also furious.

There was later jubilation for the team though, as Hamilton claimed his first pole position since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

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Hamilton made the most of the format and ended Max Verstappen’s pole position streak, with the seven-time World Champion having been visibly emotional after the session.

Even he raised concerns about the format though, given that it impacted how much running fans saw on Friday.

Hamilton will now be hoping to claim his first win since the 2021 Saudi Arabian GP on Sunday, something which would bring some relief to the Silver Arrows.