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Just better: is Mercedes afraid of Red Bull?

Slowly but surely Red Bull has risen to the biggest competitor of Mercedes. Two of the last three Grand Prix won by the cops with Max Verstappen, and even in Budapest the team is considered at least a co-favorite. For Lewis Hamilton, however, the recovery is no surprise.

People must remember that they are a multiple world champion and have always had a very good car,”says Hamilton and also looks at designer Adrian Newey as a great pawn. The weakness phase is mainly determined by a performance deficit when Red Bull lagged behind with the Renault engine.

This was tried to compensate with a little less drift, but with the Honda aggregate Red Bull can set back to more drift.” The car can make better use of it now, and the drivers are starting to show good performance,”says Hamilton.

“Besides, a car on some routes is just better,”he adds, and sees Red Bull as the best package in Austria. This could also be the case in Budapest, he says, and is curious about what it looks like on supposedly worse routes like Monza.” Sometimes they have even more performance than we do,”says Hamilton.

Hamilton: Much better than in Hockenheim

But first Budapest is on the program where Mercedes wants to say goodbye to the summer break with a victory. The silver arrows ended Friday with a best time, because Hamilton’s time from the morning could no longer be snapped because of the conditions.

For the British it was primarily a matter of rehabilitating himself after the bad hockey house weekend, where he was also sick: “It was a million times better,” he says. “It was a million times better.” It went very well from the start. The balance was quite good, and we made some changes during the break, which unfortunately we could not really test.”

Because Hamilton could only spin a few laps on hard tires in the second training, but still make room for three.” In the nose, it made no real sense to get out,”he says. Because it is supposed to be dry on Sunday, the findings have to be settled in the minimum area.” In a way, it’s irrelevant.”

Mercedes puzzles: Where do you stand?

That’s why he’s particularly interested in the results in the dry first part and they kind of surprised him:”I was surprised to see that we were so close to the Red Bulls and Ferraris. Hopefully this will remain the same for the rest of the weekend.”

Those in charge will also step on the euphoria brakes:”Due to the limited training time, it is not easy to say where we stand with regard to performance,”says Chief Technology Officer Andrew Shovlin. But we have driven far enough to know where the weaknesses lie in the balance. Now we will try to sort these out overnight.”

At Valtteri Bottas the starting position is different. The Finnish lost a lot of time in the first training, because Mercedes discovered a problem with his motor power and had the engine replaced. On my first run, I suddenly lost power and had some misfires, and then it went into some kind of security mode,”he describes.

engine problems for bottas

Only two laps made bottas before the session was over for him. We changed some parts, they could (the problems; Note.) but not corrected,”says Shovlin. That is why we started to install his replacement power unit during the training.”

The problem was solved for the second training, but there was hardly any repr es entative stretch time for him there either:”I drove about three real laps in the dry, and then a few in the wet,”he says. Bottas came on only 20-rounds, “but at least the time in the car always felt good”, he looks at it loosely.

Above all, it felt better in the nose than in Germany, where the teams could not resort to experience. “The team was not able to use the experience.” The set-up here is quite different, but I can only say that everything has felt much better and I had a lot more grip,”Bottas said.”It’s a lot better than that.” Compared to the others, the lap times at the end looked quite simple.”