The word returned to the track, and the verdicts sanctioned by the time trial brought the confrontation between Mercedes and Red Bull back to a level more suited to a sporting rivalry.
The rankings arrived from the first day of activity of the Hungarian Grand Prix were not in line with the forecasts of the eve, and the impression is that the environmental conditions have changed the cards (at least for today). very high temperatures dropped on the Hungaroring before the FP2 session.
The asphalt exceeded 63 degrees, and for both the drivers and the engineers the afternoon was more demanding than expected.
The results that emerged in FP1 were more in line with expectations, that is Max Verstappen in front of everyone with a decent margin, then the Red Bull technicians made some changes before FP2 that did not marry well with the track conditions , with the Dutch driver who repeatedly complained over the radio of an annoying understeer both in the qualifying simulations and in the long-runs.
“We have changed a lot of things – confirmed Verstappen – and we need to understand what worked and what didn’t. The temperatures didn’t help us, the conditions we found on the track this afternoon are never easy regardless. We suffered the most in the qualifying simulation, but I think they are all surmountable problems. I remain confident “.
Verstappen has sent a very clear message, and in view of tomorrow (with temperatures that will be lower and the arrival of rain given for very likely) there is optimism in the Red Bull garage.
A hope that fits well with the adjacent garage, namely that of Mercedes, in which the good verdicts of the day are not seen as the confirmation that it will be a downhill weekend. But there is also a bit of pre-tactic, a protective shield in which it is difficult to breach to grasp what the expectations of the World champion team really are.
Lewis Hamilton at the end of the day seemed satisfied as after a victory, declaring himself happy with the car, with the work of the team and also with the leadership of… Valtteri Bottas.
Perhaps a little too much, unless Lewis really feels the possibility of being able to make the weekend his own, a scenario that would be a real coup for him and for Mercedes since on paper the Hungaroring’s 4,381 meters should be one. ideal hunting grounds for the RB16B.
“I think I probably lost three kilos today! – Hamilton attacked talking about the temperature – When you ride in these conditions it is difficult to find the right balance on the car, I think everyone has had difficulties with the front tires. But it was an interesting process, we are all in the same boat. “
“Seeing that in the end Valtteri and I are in front of everyone is a fantastic starting point for the team, we can only improve. We have some work to do tonight to try and see how we can fine-tune the car setup a bit, but it’s a good start. We will fine-tune the set-up as much as possible for a dry qualifying, and if it rains, then it will rain ”.
The good mood in Mercedes was also confirmed by Bottas, who was also smiling as it hadn’t happened for some time.
“Honestly today it felt like being in a Finnish sauna – he commented – especially when you stop in the pits you have the feeling of being in a cabin with 60 degrees of temperature. I think our start to the weekend has been positive, lately we have made some improvements to the car that are needed in particular when it is hot, and today they confirmed to work well. I don’t think we’re in a bad situation, it’s very stimulating to think that tomorrow, if everything goes as it should, we can be fighting for pole ”.