Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'
Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall
As Red Bull possesses 2021’s fastest Formula 1 car, it’s something of a misnomer to describe a certain circuit as favouring one team over another. After all, with the best overall package, the squad in that position would expect to be the leader at every venue the championship visits.
But the idea of the Hungaroring being considered a ‘Red Bull track’ stems from the reason why the team has 2021’s fastest package: the RB16B simply has the most downforce and the Hungarian GP circuit is renowned for rewarding cars with better aerodynamic performance and mitigating engine deficits. After dominant Red Bull displays in Monaco and Baku, with a little bit of help from Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc in the former, this weekend’s event returns to such a lower-speed, higher-downforce-dependent setting, and so the championship leader’s position is strengthened – on paper.
Supremacy in the McLaren vs Ferrari fight over third place in the constructors’ championship has ebbed and flowed between the two teams so far in the 2021 Formula 1 season. But for several key reasons, right now it seems the advantage has swung decisively back to the Scuderia and McLaren knows it.
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