Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2018

Mercedes wary of “threat” from fast-starting Ferraris

2018 Hungarian Grand Prix

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The biggest threat to Mercedes from Ferrari in the Hungarian Grand Prix will come at the start of the race, team principal Toto wolff has predicted.

Starts have been a strength of Ferrari’s SF71H in recent races. The team also has a straight-line speed advantage over Mercedes. Wolff expects his team will come under threat on the run to turn one.

“I think in Hungary it’s extremely difficult to overtake. So everything’s going to depend on the start of the race.

“The run down to turn one if very long so any start advantage or power advantage can be a threat for us in the first row. And we’ve seen that the Ferraris have been very strong in that area in the past races.

“Insofar, it’s very difficult to make predictions. If we are able to hold on to one and two after the start then obviously that would be very positive.”

Wolf wouldn’t be drawn on whether the team would gamble on starting the race on the soft compound tyres, which may give them a strategic advantage, but could leave them more vulnerable to Ferrari on the run to turn one.

“I think the only tyre that really works on our car is the heavy wet,” he joked. “Maybe we take that one.”

Mercedes have been off Ferrari’s pace in dry conditions but a wet qualifying session brought the team into contention for pole position, which Lewis Hamilton took. Wolff said he is impressed with how Hamilton has bounced back from difficult practice sessions in recent weekends.

“What particularly impresses me is that he didn’t have the easiest of sessions during this weekend. Hockenheim in the race he came back and it was one of the best drives I’ve seen from him.

“This weekend in FP3 he wasn’t particularly happy with his own driving. Valtteri had a pace advantage. Then from qualifying, the session that matters, Q3, the last few laps, he was there. That is a great champion’s ability.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 6 comments on “Mercedes wary of “threat” from fast-starting Ferraris”

    1. Ferrari will win this race i think but Ferrari eats it’s tyres worse than Mercedes.

      1. Yes, it’s interesting how that has seemed to switch around from the start of last season, when it is hot Ferrari do seem to have more blistering, especially of the rears; It does seem quite likely Vettel will win this, I agree @noname

        1. It was also likely Vettel would win at the last race, or Singapore 2017, or Canada 2011. Or Hamilton would win Malyasia 2016.

          The race isn’t over till that chequered flag is being waved on that final lap.

          Heck, for all anyone can predict, Vettel might torpedo into Bottas again or one of the Torro Rosso’s outbrake themselves at the first corner and hit him.

          Or a series of stategy blunders may hand victory to someone completely unexpected.

          Not over till it’s over.

          1. I wonder if VB wanting to avoid racing or colliding with LH will open up the door for at least one Ferrari at the start.

      2. Are we watching the same formula 1? Mercedes is the car that have no rear traction and are burning up te rears sliding all over the track. Vettel did 22+ laps in practice with no tire issues… check your facts please.
        The ferrari is faster more stable and gentler on the tires at his track….Mercedes are on pole because they were able to switch on the wets ….that same switching on of the wets better than any other team is the same reason they are the only team with ultrasoft issues…..

    2. @noname yes, because the higher downforce, the higher tyre consumption. But with best aero and overalls balancing, Ferraris remains favourite. And mostly on hot track.

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