Mercedes braced for Red Bull fightback in Hungary

Mercedes is braced for a fiercer challenge from Red Bull in Hungary, with team boss Toto Wolff feeling “100% convinced” the slow-speed layout will play to its rival’s strengths.

Mercedes braced for Red Bull fightback in Hungary

Mercedes has surged into a healthy lead in the Formula 1 constructors’ championship after winning the opening two rounds of the 2020 season in Austria, finishing 1-2 on-track in both races.

Lewis Hamilton took a comfortable win in the Styrian Grand Prix last Sunday, keeping Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at bay with ease through the first stint.

Teammate Valtteri Bottas was able to catch and pass Verstappen in the closing stages after starting the race fourth, proving Mercedes’ pace advantage.

But Mercedes is expecting a fightback at the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend after finding it lost time to Red Bull through many of the slow speed corners in Austria.

“I think where we lost to Red Bull is the slow speed [corners], particularly Turns 3 and 4, seem to be our vulnerabilities,” Mercedes F1 chief Wolff explained.

“Everywhere else on the straights and in the fast corners, we are quicker. We just need to continue to develop and push and understand the car.

“Budapest is a totally different ball game. Lots of downforce, lots of these slow and medium-speed corners. We’ll see how it works there.”

Read Also:

Wolff also feared the forecast higher temperatures in Budapest would work against Mercedes, having been a weakness for the team in recent years.

“I’m 100% convinced that [Red Bull] will come very strong in Hungary,” Wolff said.

“It’s a track that historically they have shown great performance. We have improved there too in the last few years, but it was always a difficult weekend.

“Hot temperatures are maybe still a little bit of an achilles’ heel for us, and as far as I have seen on our weather forecast, it could be up to 30 degrees on Sunday.

“We need to prepare well, put all the focus on Budapest, and then hopefully do the best out of that.”

Red Bull scored pole position with Verstappen in Hungary last year, and dominated the race before a late pass by Hamilton allowed Mercedes to snare victory away.

Hamilton will head to Hungary chasing an eighth victory at the Hungaroring that would see him match Michael Schumacher’s record for the most wins at a single circuit.

But he too is expecting Red Bull to pose a greater threat in Hungary than it did in Austria.

“It is a circuit that the Red Bulls usually do really well, I think they led the race there last year, so it is not going to be easy,” Hamilton said.

“They were quickest [in Austria] on Friday this weekend and we beat them today and managed to eke them out in performance, but I think we go to that track and it is more of a medium- and low-speed circuit.

“It should bode well for them, so it is going to be a closer battle. In Turn 3 the Red Bulls kept killing us here. They were stronger than us through there and I think Turn 4. There are areas where we can improve on.

“They are a fantastic team, and they do a really great job. I don’t know where they are weaker than us currently, whether it is on engine power or downforce, but I see them as our main competitors through the year.”

shares
comments
Renault better in dirty air than last year’s car - Ricciardo
Previous article

Renault better in dirty air than last year’s car - Ricciardo

Next article

Hamilton wants F1 to be "creative" with double-headers

Hamilton wants F1 to be "creative" with double-headers
The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche Prime

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche

OPINION: Everything looked set for Red Bull and Porsche to join forces for the 2026 season, before the marriage between both parties was called off. While at the time it looked like a major coup for Formula 1 in gaining both VW Group powerhouses Audi and Porsche for 2026, Red Bull and Porsche have really been spared a potentially fractious relationship.

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Prime

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2022
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Prime

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Motorsport.com in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi.

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Prime

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Prime

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon Prime

The physical focus bringing out the best from Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s teammate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy Prime

How Red Bull's dynamic leader Mateschitz shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022
Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom? Prime

Can Mercedes break Formula 1's cycle of doom?

OPINION: Teams that have dominated for long periods throughout Formula 1's history often take years to get back to the top of the tree once they've slipped down. But it remains to be seen whether the same will happen to Mercedes after a challenging 2022 season

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2022