Mercedes drivers surprised by F1 Hungarian GP qualifying gap to Red Bull

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas are surprised by the gap between Mercedes and Red Bull in Hungary Formula 1 qualifying after the teams fought for victory in 2020's opening rounds

Mercedes drivers surprised by F1 Hungarian GP qualifying gap to Red Bull

Red Bull hoped to be closer to Mercedes at the Hungarian Grand Prix after Max Verstappen took pole and battled Hamilton for the win at the same event last year.

The team also felt it was in contention for victory in the opening round of the 2020 season at the Austrian Grand Prix thanks to Verstappen's contra-strategy against Bottas before he retired, and the Dutchman chased Hamilton in the opening stages of the Styrian race before finishing third.

When asked how surprised he was by the 1.402s gap from pole to Verstappen's seventh place in qualifying at the Hungaroring - where Alex Albon qualified 13th - Hamilton said: "I didn't know that was the case, but that is a really big gap.

"Definitely wasn't expecting them to be as off as they have been this weekend.

"Because you saw the pace of them last year, this is not a power circuit, this is more about the car and the mechanical grip and aero package.

"I thought that they had a better package than I guess today's result showed. But I don't know if they all had great laps or not, but still either way that's a big, big gap."

Speaking in the post-qualifying press conference alongside Hamilton and Racing Point's Lance Stroll, Bottas added: "Yeah, very surprising.

"For sure I was expecting them to be maybe potentially closer here than Austria.

"I also don't know the details of how their session actually went - was it nice and clean or was there other issues?

"But the whole weekend they've not really been that close - so just surprising. Obviously I don't know the details [of] why."

Albon said he thought Red Bull's qualifying result was because "firstly the others have made a huge step".

"If you look at Mercedes, look at Racing Point, McLaren, they've all done a good improvement," he added. "We're a bit slower than we were last year, not by an awful lot but we are.

"We're not saying 'the car is unstable here or here, the car is washing out here or here', it's very much just a 'yes, we're just not quick enough really'.

"With set-up, it's not like we're a million miles out, the set-up for the car even this weekend is not bad at all."

shares
comments
Racing Point F1 team is a "race winning contender" in 2020, says Mercedes boss Wolff
Previous article

Racing Point F1 team is a "race winning contender" in 2020, says Mercedes boss Wolff

Next article

Mercedes wary of "foolish and complacent" F1 race strategies while letting drivers fight

Mercedes wary of "foolish and complacent" F1 race strategies while letting drivers fight
Load comments
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021