Mercedes: ‘Different beast’ Hungaroring better suited to Red Bull
Mercedes expects arch-rival Red Bull to have the upper hand next weekend at the Hungaroring, but team boss Toto Wolff insists the Brackley squad will give it all they’ve got in Budapest.
Lewis Hamilton’s emphatic win in the British Grand Prix allowed the Briton to reduce his deficit to Max Verstappen in the world championship to 8 points, while Mercedes is now just 4 points behind Red Bull in the Constructors’ standings.
But the main talking point after the eventful round of racing at Silverstone was the opening lap crash between the two title contenders that set up Hamilton’s 99th career triumph in F1.
“Everyone has their own opinion on the events of Silverstone, and it was a very polarising incident,” said Wolff in Mercedes’ Hungarian Grand Prix preview.
“However, the most important thing is that Max is OK. It’s never nice to see a car crashing, particularly at such high speeds and at a corner like that, so we’re glad he emerged from the accident unscathed.”
Beyond Mercedes’ significant points haul in Great Britain, Wolff highlighted the performance boost enjoyed by Mercedes thanks to its latest – and perhaps final – update package developed for its W12.
“For us, it was an encouraging weekend with the pace of the car, the small upgrades we introduced worked well and we scored some big points, so we’re looking to keep that momentum going.
“We know how fine the margins are this season and how the advantage is swaying from one team to the other at each race.
“Us and Red Bull looked very closely matched at Silverstone and Ferrari were very quick, and now the battle moves onto the next round and a very different track.”
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Known as “Monaco without the walls” for its tight and twisty layout, the 4.3-kilometer Hungaroring is the second slowest track of the season behind the Principality and puts a strain on man and machine.
Although Hamilton and Mercedes have triumphed in the last three races in Budapest, Wolff isn’t expecting his team to hold an edge next weekend.
“The Hungaroring is a high-downforce, tight and twisty circuit,” said the Austrian. “Almost like a large version of a go-kart track.
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“Hungary will therefore be a different beast compared to the last race, and it is a track that will likely suit our competitors more, but we’ll give it all we’ve got.
“It’s been a long and intense first half of the season and we’re almost at the summer break.
“We want to ensure we head into the shutdown on the right foot, before we get the chance to recharge, take stock of everything that’s happened so far and then come back fighting in the second half of the season.”
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