Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Monte-Carlo, 2016

Mercedes expect “major threat” from Red Bull in Hungary

2016 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Mercedes chief executive Toto Wolff is braced for a fresh onslaught from rivals Red Bull at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

The slow, tight Hungaroring is expected to suit the RB12 chassis. Daniel Ricciardo put the car on pole position for the Monaco Grand Prix in May and led the race until an error at his pit stop dropped him behind Lewis Hamilton.

Mercedes hasn’t won the either of the Hungarian Grands Prix since the current V6 turbo hybrid regulations were introduced and Wolff is wary of the treat from Red Bull this weekend.

“This circuit has not been kind to us over the past two years and it plays to the strengths of our rivals,” he said.

“The Red Bull, for example, is a car that functions well where high drag isn’t penalised as much as at other types of circuit. So, in wet conditions and at low-speed circuits such as the Hungaroring, they are a major threat.”

Wolff said Mercedes “will need to be flawless to come out on top at this track”.

Mercedes lost a one-two finish in the British Grand Prix after Nico Rosberg was penalised for receiving a forbidden radio message. The championship leader said he has “accepted the decision”.

2016 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 42 comments on “Mercedes expect “major threat” from Red Bull in Hungary”

    1. It’s almost hilarious they only won here in 2013 arguably lucky because others were stuck and never since.

      1. @xtwl and the last 2 races at hungry they only lost because the other teams were lucky.

        1. @foreverred How did Ferrari get lucky last year?

          1. @xtwl They were lucky the Mercedes got terrible starts or else Mercedes would have been off in the distance

            1. @foreverred 2013; Mercedes got lucky Vettel was given a terrible strategy and could not get past another driver, every single time in clean air he was faster than leading Hamilton. 2014; Ricciardo had a massive amount of luck with the SC, he gained a gigantic amount of time and went from behind leaders Rosberg, Vettel and two others to being ahead of them, granted he made a great recovery to overtake Hamilton and Alonso later on. 2015; Neither Mercedes had a bad start, Vettel just made one that was way better and lead from there on even dealing with several SCs.

              The first two have external factors that help the leader in a very handy way that they themselves would’ve never been able to whilst making a good start isn’t really among those factors.

            2. “2013; Mercedes got lucky Vettel was given a terrible strategy and could not get past another driver, every single time in clean air he was faster than leading Hamilton”

              If Mercedes were lucky it was because they were lucky Vettel was driving terribly, spent many laps trying to overtake Button (which Hamilton did in 2 corners) before crashing into the back of him and ruining the rest of his race.

              His strategy wasn’t terrible that day, just his racecraft.

          2. “How did Ferrari get lucky last year?”

            That was his point, Merc in 2013 were no more lucky than RB in 2014 or Ferrari in 2015.

      2. I guess its more down since recent years the Championship winning team never won the Hungarian GP bar 2010 and also no championship winning driver won here since 2004 :)

        1. Interesting stats Miki. Thx

    2. Toto taking the opportunity for a little jab at the “high drag” Red Bull :)

    3. They still managed to put themselves ahead of both Mercedes last year, including a podium for Kvyat… Given that this year, Red Bull appear to be more competitive than Ferrari, I can understand the threat coming from Red Bull…

    4. Tony Mansell
      18th July 2016, 13:47

      In other news a Hare has expressed concern over the pace of the tortoise. The tortoise was, not yet, available for comment.

      1. Adam (@rocketpanda)
        18th July 2016, 18:07

        Literally this

      2. It’s that time again, ladies and gents: Our biweekly pretense from Mercedes to be scared of the other teams they know are nowhere near them, and F1 Fanatic’s credulous parroting of said press release.

        A Mercedes engine has won in Hungary on seven of the last ten outings. As for the last two years, Merc would have won were it not for (in 2014) a technical glitch on Hamilton’s car and bad luck with the safety car for Rosberg, plus (in 2015) sloppy racecraft from both Merc drivers.

        We all know which team has a 99% chance of winning in 2016, as well. This is, as always, Merc’s to throw away if they want. Let’s not pretend otherwise, please.

        1. HighinDutchman
          18th July 2016, 21:48

          yeah…. only this time max will be a even harder pain in the ass…

      3. Are you saying that Mercedes is worried about Sauber?

    5. The last couple years certainly haven’t been kind to Mercedes at this track, but that was welcome given their superiority throughout the rest of each respective campaign. Having said that, under ‘normal’ circumstances I’d still expect them to win this race.

      Nico hasn’t ever seemed quite at ease here but Lewis loves it and both pole and the win are surely his to lose. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Daniel split them during qualifying if Red Bull’s one lap pace is close enough, and if that happens I’d back him to finish 2nd as his race pace here has historically been very strong.

    6. Dear Lord! Ferrari will be imploding reading this….. Question is, can they deal with the realities of yet another dismal season with their normal calm demeanour? :-0

    7. Mercedes was quick in Hungary in the last two days though. Their speed at Hungaroring wasn’t a problem. In 2015 they were over 0.7s ahead of opposition in qualifying, only to lose it at the start. They still had a shot but dropped down the order after collisions with Ricciardo. In 2014 they were half a second quicker in qualifying and Rosberg was lapping 1s/lap faster than others on intermediates. He would then struggle on dry in traffic but Hamilton almost won the race from the pit-lane. It’s not like Singapore, where they barely qualified 1-2 in 2014 and were nowhere in 2015.

      1. *last two years.

      2. You make it sound like Ricciardo caused both the collisions with the Mercs. Hamilton was 100% at fault for one of those collisions, and Nico certainly wasn’t blameless on the other one either. 70/30%. Daniel was more at fault though.
        I fully expect RB to be close here in the race. Ricciardo may even split them in qualifying as well. He has always performed well here. Max may also up his game in qualifying as well. He is sure to challenge in the race as will Ricciardo.
        I for once think Toto may be telling the truth about the gap to the opposition. Merc still lead though by a reasonable margin though.

        1. “They still had a shot but dropped down the order after collisions with Ricciardo”

          Erm you what? How does that sentence convey any blame whatsoever? If he had said

          “They still had a shot but dropped down the order after collisions with the wall”

          Would you have posted saying he was trying to blame the wall?

      3. Arnoud van Houwelingen
        18th July 2016, 20:44

        the comparison to last year won’t stick. The RBR car is so much better this year when compared to last year. I think quali will be very close with Mercedes! I think this race will be a beauty with Merc, RBR and Ferrari cars very close to each other. Strategy will be key i think :)

    8. For most of this season, Toto has been promoting Ferrari as their greatest nemesis on race weekend. Now, it’s Red Bull this weekend? Enough already, Toto. Like Mauricio Arrivabene, you’re just pleased that Red Bull does not have a factory-level engine package.

      1. That’s what happens when every weekend he is all scared of opposition and cries “Wolf!”..

        But there is real fear behind Red Bull performance at Hungary.

      2. “For most of this season, Toto has been promoting Ferrari as their greatest nemesis on race weekend. Now, it’s Red Bull this weekend? Enough already”

        If you don’t understand track specific performance differentials you really have no hope as a F1 fan.

        “you’re just pleased that Red Bull does not have a factory-level engine package”

        They do. Their Renault engine is exactly the same as the works team. In fact in Monaco RB got an engine update Palmer didn’t have.

    9. Hungary its all slow corners, weird cambers, hardly any straight…

      Ideal for Red Bull who now claim to be faster than Mercedes in slow corners. If they are, they can prove it.

      Then there is McLaren who claim the same… :D But probably wont “destroy” Mercedes.

      We shall see what happens. We can atleast anticipate an awesome fight for win. This and Singapore are two default tracks where Mercedes unperformed recently… by underperform I mean, not have 1 second advantage over second best team.

      1. It’s been a long time since Mercedes had a 1 second advantage over the second best team.

        1. True, but considerable gap.

        2. @scepter 9/07/16: British GP
          Mercedes 1:29.287
          +1.026
          Red Bull 1:30.313

          1. Arnoud van Houwelingen
            18th July 2016, 20:49

            Silverstone is also the second longest track (after Spa) so that partially explained the time gap of more then 1 sec to Red Bull. Hungary is very small and lots of slow corners so the gap with RBR will be extremely small!

            1. The second longest track after Spa is Baku, and Silverstone third.

      2. If max or dan are first in the first turn, they will be unstopable with that chassis, pit crew remembering to get the tires could be a issue..

    10. I think Mercedes biggest concern should be their own drivers. They have already had both cars fail to complete one race because of the actions of the drivers.

      1. They crash now every second race.. And it is gonna be a second race since they last crashed…

        Lets assume they will make quali with P1 P2. First time Hamilton lead the opening lap was in Silverstone after safety car start when position change was not allowed.

        We can thus anticipate him loosing position on first lap as it is common.

        We can also anticipate him to be fastest, also very common, and Nico impossible to overtake without some crashing.

        Then there are Red Bulls, then there are Ferraris. Scope for monumental drama is huge.

        Hungary also tends to be a fun race, despite major lack of overtaking opportunities. Thus even more reason for good solid clashes.

        1. “First time Hamilton lead the opening lap was in Silverstone after safety car start when position change was not allowed.”

          *cough*Austria*cough*

    11. I’m really looking forward to this one.
      Hopefully finally a battle between Max and Lewis.

      1. Max and Lewis battle would be either very short lived or a very long wait one if lewis follows Max, but surely Max will make mistake as he usually does when excited :)

        1. Actually Max is known for not making mistakes under pressure.
          That’s how he won on bad tires in Spain under pressure from Kimi who is normally really good with his tires too.
          Then I remember that he held off Nico for 10 laps and drove his car home to second on tires that were 56 laps old in Austria.
          Pressure?

          1. Ia what about Monaco?

    12. I would like to see a proper battle between the two Red Bull drivers in the race. That would be tasty! Especially if it was for the win….maybe I’m dreaming 😉

      1. Arnoud van Houwelingen
        18th July 2016, 20:51

        or a dog fight between Mercedes and Red Bull with all 4 drivers in the mix .. that would be awesome :)

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