Mercedes’ Wolff expecting big threat from Red Bull in Hungary
Mercedes have won the last two Hungarian Grands Prix, with Red Bull’s last triumph at the Hungaroring coming in 2014. But Silver Arrows’ boss Toto Wolff is “100% convinced” his team’s chief rivals will offer a significant threat this year.
Red Bull recovered from a non-points score in the opening race in Austria to finish third and fourth behind the two Mercedes cars in the Styrian Grand Prix at the same track, confirming the belief that the Milton Keynes-based team are the second-quickest in the field at present.
But the tight and twisty nature of the Hungarian track should suit the RB16 more than the power-hungry Red Bull Ring, which is why Wolff is wary of the threat they pose.
READ MORE: We haven't seen the full potential of Mercedes or Red Bull yet, says Wolff
“I’m 100% convinced they will come very strong in Hungary,” he said. “It’s a track they have shown historically great performance. We have improved there too in the last few years but it’s always a difficult weekend.
“Hot temperatures are still a bit of an Achilles’ Heel for us, and as far as I have seen on our weather forecast, it could be up to 30C on Sunday. We need to prepare well, put all the focus on Budapest and hopefully do the best out of it.”
Intriguingly, Red Bull were a match for Mercedes in the slow and medium speed corners in Austria, with the world champions gaining their edge in the power stakes on the straights.
With power less of a determining factor in Hungary, the fight could well be tighter - after all, Verstappen scored a first career pole there last year and pushed Hamilton all the way for victory.
“Where we lost to Red Bull [in Austria] was the slow speed [corners] – particularly Turn 3 and Turn 4 seem to be our vulnerabilities,” said Wolff. “Everywhere else on the straights and in the fast corners, we are quicker.
READ MORE: Red Bull 'just too slow' to stop Mercedes in Austria, says Verstappen
“So we just need to continue to develop and push and understand the car. Budapest is a properly different ballgame, lots of downforce, lots of slow and medium speed corners, so we’ll see how it works there.”
Red Bull are currently fourth in the constructors’ championship, 53 points – more than two race wins – adrift of leaders Mercedes. But Hungary will have been a race the team would have earmarked at the start of the season as one where they should have an opportunity to score big.