'Verstappen is in shape and Red Bull is closer to Mercedes than Ferrari'

29-06-2020 18:55
by GPblog.com
General
'Verstappen is in shape and Red Bull is closer to Mercedes than Ferrari'

Now that the first Grand Prix is fast approaching, everyone is putting their money where their mouth is when it comes to predictions, including former F1 driver and champion Damon Hill. He expects that Max Verstappen will be the biggest opponent of Mercedes in the upcoming two races on the Red Bull Ring.

Risky strategy

"Max will be up for it. Don't forget he's won there in Austria, twice. I think Red Bull will be looking at taking chances, doing risky strategies - they've got nothing to lose", says Hill at Sky Sports. That position is very favourable for Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing, where Mercedes also wants to be champion and has to keep the opponent away.

"For Mercedes, the issue is continuity - how can they play it aggressively when they've got to protect their position? Red Bull are a much more attacking team, they're in a position where they can go flat-out in every race and it might work for them." Especially now that they have the ambition to make Verstappen a champion this year.

Closer to

Not only does Hill see Red Bull Racing as the biggest threat to Mercedes, Karun Chandhok also values the chances for the Austrian team highly. "I would put Red Bull as the nearest challengers to Mercedes [rather than Ferrari]. Max has form, and in pre-season testing, certainly on the long runs and qualy one-lappers, they looked closer to Mercedes than Ferrari."

"Also, Red Bull are the only one of the top three teams who have run their 2020 car with their filming day. The images and pictures you saw from that last week showed a whole raft of updates on their car. So they've already had a chance to at least do some correlation work and know where they are heading to Austria, which will give them at least some direction", Chandhok concludes.

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