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Max Verstappen

Verstappen asks Mercedes for a favour at the Hungaroring

Max Verstappen faces a recovery drive in the Hungarian Grand Prix, having placed only 10th on the grid after a messy final phase of qualifying.

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Max Verstappen is hoping that George Russell and Mercedes can convert their pole position and finish ahead of the Ferraris in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

It comes after Verstappen qualified only 10th for Sunday's race due to a mistake on his first Q3 lap and a loss of power ahead of his second run.

Red Bull's main rivals, Ferrari, were expected to lock out the front row in Verstappen's absence, but it was Russell who stormed to top spot with a blistering last lap.

Verstappen heads into the race with a 63-point lead over Charles Leclerd in the Drivers' standings, with Red Bull 82 clear of Ferrari in the Constructors' battle.

And the Dutchman is relying on Russell and Mercedes to keep as much of that advantage intact before F1 heads into the traditional summer break.

Verstappen: Russell's pole 'nice for me as well'

Russell's pole position is his first in F1, and Mercedes' first of the season, as the Silver Arrows work their way back to competitiveness.

It also came after the team experienced a particularly difficult first day of practice, which they ended around a second off the pace.

"I was surprised to see [Russell on pole]," said Verstappen.

"I mean, they were close, but I didn't expect them to make that that jump in Q3, but it's nice for me as well."

As for Russell and Mercedes aiding his title push by placing ahead of the Ferraris, Verstappen added: "Well, they need to do me a favour [in the race] – that's more important!"

Verstappen disappointed as issues hide progress

His problems aside, Verstappen added that the RB18 was feeling much more competitive around the Hungaroring circuit on Saturday.

"All the guys and girls here and also back at the factory analysed a lot [on Friday night], because we were not happy at all," he said.

"I think we made some really positive changes, the car was a lot better to drive for me, and we looked very competitive.

"In Q2, on all the laps, even on used tyres, we were always there and very quick, so I was looking forward to Q3.

"Of course, the first lap didn't go to plan. I knew the pace in the car was there, but unfortunately we couldn't show it."

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