Mercedes boss Toto Wolff expects a double threat at the Hungarian Grand Prix to his team’s 100% winning start to the 2020 season – from Red Bull and hot weather.
The F1 World Champions have won at the Hungaroring for the last two years via Lewis Hamilton, while Red Bull are without a Budapest victory since 2014 when Daniel Ricciardo took the chequered flag.
But the tight, twisty nature of the circuit should play to the strengths of Red Bull more than Mercedes – while a midsummer Hungarian heatwave is also something that concerns Wolff.
Red Bull have been overshadowed so far this term by Mercedes, who already have a 53-point advantage over them in the Constructors’ World Championship thanks to victories from Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton with McLaren currently holding second position.
However, the Mercedes chief is alive to the danger posed by Max Verstappen, who bounced back from his early Austrian Grand Prix retirement to finish third in the following weekend’s Styrian Grand Prix at the same Spielberg venue.
“I’m 100% convinced they (Red Bull) will come very strong in Hungary,” said Wolff, quoted by the official Formula 1 website.
“It’s a track (where) 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.”
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Wolff added that evidence from the two races in Austria backed up the conventional wisdom that Mercedes are stronger than Red Bull when speed is at a premium, whereas they are more susceptible when greater downforce is required.
“Where we lost to Red Bull (in Austria) was the slow speed (corners) – particularly Turn 3 and Turn 4 seemed to be our vulnerabilities,” he said. “Everywhere else, on the straights and in the fast corners, we were quicker.
“So we just need to continue to develop and push and understand the car. Budapest is a properly different ball-game, lots of downforce, lots of slow and medium-speed corners, so we’ll see how it works there.”
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