Hamilton predicts 'great battle' with Red Bull as he chases another Schumacher record
This weekend Lewis Hamilton has the chance to match Michael Schumacher’s record for the most victories at a single venue, as he targets an eighth career win at Budapest’s Hungaroring. Although he dominated proceedings last time out in Styria, the six-time world champion is predicting a much tougher fight for victory this time round with his eyes fixed on the threat of Red Bull.
Perhaps Hamilton was remembering last year’s race at the Hungarian Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen took a first career pole position before pushing the Briton all the way for victory, only succumbing to Hamilton’s charge three laps from the chequered flag.
And the reigning champion says it’s the characteristics of the Hungary track that make him think the Milton Keynes-based team will be stronger against his Mercedes squad this weekend than they were at the Red Bull Ring.
“It’s naturally different from last week’s circuit being that here it’s not a power demanding circuit, it’s more about the downforce efficiency,” he explained.
“So if you look at previous years we’ve been here, Red Bull have generally gone well. They tend to do even better on circuits like this and Monaco where it’s all about the downforce package.
“So it will definitely close up the whole field and it’s going to be a real challenge I think, a good battle. We already saw some great performance from them in practice in Austria, and I think they are still very strong in the race – I think here even more so. So we really need to bring our A-game this weekend.”
If he does take an eighth victory on Sunday, Hamilton will match Schumacher’s eight wins that the German scored at former French Grand Prix venue Magny-Cours. But which of his Hungary wins does Hamilton remember most fondly?
“I’d have to pinpoint probably my first one with the team here in 2013,” said Hamilton, having mused that he actually remembers the pain of defeats at the track more vividly than his victories.
“I think that was the first win of the year with Mercedes and was significant in that they took, I wouldn’t say a risk, but there was a risk on both sides from the team’s point of view and my point of view moving into this new stage of my career.
“And then you know a team that I think was fifth or sixth best at the time to then get a win, already in our first year was then pretty exceptional.”
An eighth win wouldn’t just give Hamilton yet another record – it would also put him into the lead of the world championship, the Briton currently trailing team mate Valtteri Bottas by five points.
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