Mercedes’ George Russell has “mixed emotions” about dramatic 2022 Sao Paulo Sprint Qualifying, which saw him qualify third on the grid.
A tricky Qualifying session saw rain affect all three segments with Russell surviving a Q2 scare but he ultimately caused a red flag with eight minutes and 10 seconds of Q3 left, having locked up at Turn 4 and beached the car upon trying to re-join the circuit.
He nevertheless qualified third for the Sprint Race after having posted a lap time before his mistake, with intensifying rainfall preventing any further improvement after Q3 resumed following his red flag incident.
Russell consequently felt that there are “mixed emotions” for him from “a pretty unique” Q3, in which he was one of the last cars to venture out onto the circuit as the rain began to increase in intensity.
Explaining exactly what happened on his second flier after he posted his first lap time, Russell said: “On the next lap, I lost the car into Turn 4 and actually broke the headrest because my head was bouncing round so much; then I tried to do a 360 and beached the rear tyres in the gravel, which wasn’t my best decision.”
Russell though believes that third on the grid will be “a good starting position” for the Sprint Race with further rain forecast tomorrow (12 November).
Reflecting on Haas’ Kevin Magnussen claiming a shock maiden F1 pole position by virtue of having set his lap time first in Q3, Russell described the Dane’s achievement as something which sums up sport as he said: “These kinds of unexpected results are exactly what make sport so special!”
Russell’s Mercedes teammate, Lewis Hamilton meanwhile qualified eighth after what he described as “a difficult” Qualifying session, as he blamed a lack of tyre temperature and grip for his poor one-lap performance in Q3.
Hamilton though did an outlap to scrub intermediates tyres down as he proceeded to explain: “We did a lap on Inter at the end, just to scrub the tyre, but the track was always going to be slower than when it was dry.”