Mercedes have won all but one race this season, and that was in Spain when Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg lasted a touch over 3 corners before clashing and both ending up in the gravel trap.
However that doesn’t mean they are feeling overly confident heading into the Hugarian Grand Prix. team boss Toto Wolff says they will have to be “flawless” to take a win this weekend, at a track where Mercedes have only one once.
Their main threat does not come from last year’s winner Sebastian Vettel and the bright red Ferrari, instead it is the pair of yellow nosed Red Bull’s who have started to creep up on first the Prancing Horse and now the Silver Arrow.
Red Bull were the dominant car in Monaco, only a mix-up in tyres prevented Daniel Ricciardo taking victory. In Austria and Britain Max Verstappen was lurking and able to pounce on mistakes from Mercedes. This weekend the Formula One circus goes to a track that plays to the Red Bull’s strengths. It doesn’t penalise high drag or low power nearly as much as many of the other tracks do.
In 2014 Daniel Ricciardo claimed the win at the Hungaroring after passing Lewis Hamilton on track. Last year Ricciardo passed Hamilton again and Red Bull claimed a 2nd & 3rd finish behind Vettel.
While Mercedes have had some rotten luck in Hungary their usual advantage on-track has disappeared in the slower turns and shorter straights of the Magyar Nagydíj circuit. Lewis Hamilton has been in imperious form recently but Max Verstappen is also brimming in confidence while Ricciardo loves the circuit and is a proven threat around it. Hamilton holds four race wins around the Hungaroring but only one with Mercedes while Rosberg does not have a good history with the Hungaroring at all.
It is a big statement on how the season has gone that Toto Wolff and the Mercedes guys view Red Bull as their main competition this weekend and not the Ferrari’s, who had grand designs on closing the gap this year and have only found themselves drifting further behind.