Championship leader Max Verstappen is pushing the role of favorite in Hungary away from Red Bull and giving it to Ferrari, who he believes will be very strong at the Hungaroring. On the other hand, he doesn’t see his own team in the good shape of the past few weeks: “I think it will be a little more difficult for us,” says the Dutchman.
He believes that Red Bull will be at a disadvantage, especially in qualifying: “I don’t expect it to be terrible, but I think Ferrari will be super strong here,” said the Dutchman.
While he says Ferrari have obviously been fast all year, “but this is a track where they could be very strong”. The Hungaroring does not necessarily match the qualities of the RB18. Red Bull was stronger than Ferrari, especially on the straights, of which there are none in Budapest except for the start-finish straight.
So far, Ferrari had mainly taken its time in slow and medium-fast corners. The Hungaroing with its low average speed could accommodate the Scuderia.
The statistics also speak against Red Bull at the weekend. The team has only won twice in Hungary, but the last win was eight years ago: in 2014 Daniel Ricciardo surprisingly won in Budapest.
Max Verstappen is still missing the victory in Budapest in his collection. Although he has already been second twice, he has not been able to claim more podium places. Last year he only finished ninth after being involved in a mass collision triggered by Valtteri Bottas at the start.
Red Bull wants to “try out ideas” in Hungary
Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Pérez said on Thursday that Red Bull would like to try a few things over the weekend because the team lacks some pace compared to Ferrari. Verstappen does not want to go into detail when asked about it. He only says: “There are always ideas that you want to try out in free practice. We will do that again.”
It was “nothing drastic”, as the world championship leader emphasizes. “It’s just general directions in set-up that you want to look at, to be honest.”
Rain, which threatens over the Hungaroring, could also help Red Bull on Saturday. “I don’t know what’s going to happen,” says Verstappen. “But that can become a factor and affect the result enormously.”