Hungarian GP: I don't think Red Bull are favourites, feels Max Verstappen
"We know they have a good car. "We need to make sure we have a good set up in the car, and then hopefully we can be close to them."
Budapest: Max Verstappen and Red Bull head could well make it three wins from four races in Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix, but Mercedes should still be favourites to bounce back from a disastrous showing at the last race in Germany. The Dutchman, cheered on by his army of orange clad supporters, sailed to victory in a chaotic and rain hit race at the Hockenheim race track last Sunday. It was his his second win from three races, with the 21-year-old also winning at Red Bull's home track Austria in June. The tight twists of the 4.3-kilometer Hungaroring, which have traditionally favoured Red Bull's car, should present another opportunity, even if Verstappen is keeping his feet firmly on the ground. "I don't think we are favourites, but we'll try to do a good job," Verstappen, playing down his chances, told reporters on Thursday . "Mercedes have been the most dominant so far this season, after last weekend, I'm sure they will come here trying to bounce back from that. "We know they have a good car. "We need to make sure we have a good set up in the car, and then hopefully we can be close to them."
Mercedes have won nine of 11 races this season but endured a nightmare weekend in Hockenheim, where the German marque were celebrating 125 years of motorsport involvement. Valtteri Bottas crashed out. Lewis Hamilton, suffering from a flu-like bug, put in an uncharacteristically error-riddled display to finish out of the points in eleventh but was elevated to ninth in the final classification after penalties for Alfa Romeo team-mates Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi dropped them down the order.. It was surprisingly underwhelming display by the usually well-drilled champions. But the Hungarian race, usually one of their weaker venues, should give them the perfect opportunity to bounce back with their car this year revelling on circuits with lots of corners. Hamilton, winner of seven of this season's 11 races, leads Bottas by 41 points in the standings. "We had a painful Sunday in Hockenheim," said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff. "We made mistakes, took the wrong decisions and left Germany with only two points. "But we love Formula One for the challenges it throws at us as they present an opportunity to improve. "On Sunday, we were united in our pain; on Monday, we were united in our determination to turn our weaknesses into strengths. "In recent years, the Hungaroring has been a challenging circuit for us - but we managed to win there last year and there are a number of reasons to believe our car could be more competitive there this year than in recent seasons."
Ferrari also have a strong recent record of success in Hungary. They have won two of the last three races there. But, still looking for a first win of the season heading into the summer break that follows the Hungarian race, their car this year has generally been quick on the straights but struggled to match Mercedes through the corners. Their pace in Hockenheim, however, suggested they have made some gains which could see them take the fight to Mercedes around a track that features just one notable straight. But most crucially the Maranello-based squad will have to avoid running into the sort of reliability problems that sideline both cars in qualifying in Germany, potentially costing them a shot at pole-position and the win. "Hungaroring is a pretty physical track in a current Formula 1 car, because there aren`t any long straights and it's a very stop-start circuit, which means you are always working away at the wheel," said Sebastian Vettel, who went from dead last to second in his home race last Sunday. "And given the time of year, it's usually boiling hot, which definitely doesn't help." His team boss Mattia Binotto added: "It will be important to see if this race provides further confirmation that our car has improved on various types of track. "We will be able to count on the various elements we introduced recently, as well as some aerodynamic updates."
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