The Mercedes driver, beginning with his maiden F1 pole position, opted to begin with the Hungary race on soft tyres as the Ferraris directly behind him picked the mediums.
With much rain shower forecast for the beginning of the race, Russell said he was “rubbing his hands together” in anticipation to utilize the soft tyre advantage which are better suitable for run in slippery conditions.
But after the rain didn’t materialise, he was kept in balance by the Ferraris and forced to pit earlier, leaving him exposed on the mediums later in the race.
“It had been always likely to be considered a tricky afternoon because there is rain in the air throughout,”Russell said, having finished third. “Usually if you are on pole position in fact it is spitting you’re pretty disappointed but realizing that I was on the soft tyres I was sort of rubbing my hands together.
“I made an extremely good start, the initial four laps were really strong and pulled the gap to three seconds to Carlos [Sainz] and unfortunately the rain stopped therefore the medium tyres arrived to their very own but we still had an excellent first stint and we pitted in early stages both occasions to cover Max and cover the Ferraris and ultimately Max was too fast for all of us today.
“That put us in an exceedingly tricky position for the reason that last stint on the mediums and I had been struggling a little and my engineer said 25 laps to go and the rain started falling and temperatures were dropping therefore i thought it had been going to be considered a tricky last few laps.”
George Russell, Mercedes W13, Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Having been leapfrogged by Verstappen in the next round of pitstops, Russell then conceded position to Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton who was simply on the soft tyres for the ultimate stint to drop to third by the final after keeping free from Sainz.
“Lewis did an incredible job and had far superior pace by the end, he had an extremely strong middle stint,” Russell said.
“I believe as a team we have too much to be proud about, we did everything right for both folks, to provide us as a team the very best possibility to fight for victory. Unfortunately it didn’t go our way today but as a team we did everything right.”
Russell has moved around fourth invest the F1 drivers’ standings, two points before Sainz, because of his fifth podium of the growing season.