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Hughes: Red Bull was more conservative than Mercedes in terms of power unit'

Hughes: "Red Bull was more conservative than Mercedes in terms of power unit'

30-07-2021 22:23


It was warm in Hungary this Friday. Very hot. The drivers noticed this as well during the first two free practices of the weekend. Mark Hughes notices it too but doesn't want to draw too many conclusions. 

The heat of course has an impact on the performance of the cars and especially the tyres. This was also noticed by Hughes. In his article on the site of The Race he writes about the difference between Red Bull and Mercedes when it comes to tyre temperature.

"You could say Red Bull had it a lot harder than Mercedes. The window of the Mercedes seemed a bit more forgiving. But it's probably all irrelevant. When the track is significantly cooler, as is expected, everything becomes much easier. Only when both Mercedes and Red Bull get into a more natural balance because the tyres are no longer so difficult will we see a real comparison between them. It may look like it did in FP2, but it probably won't."

Less power Honda engine creates distorted picture

Hughes said. It turned out afterwards that the Honda engine Verstappen crashed with was anything but fully revved. Even for the standard of a free practice session the performance of the engine was low. A logical measure taken by Honda and Red Bull. This distorts the picture according to Hughes.

"GPS analysis of the Mercedes and Red Bull showed that the latter lost almost 0.5 seconds on the straights to the Mercedes and only made up about 0.25 seconds of that in the slow and medium slow corners. But this was with a mismatch in how poor the balance was between the two cars - and with a Honda power unit setting that seemed to be more conservative than Mercedes'."

"Red Bull's problems with balance meant it didn't do any long runs that were noteworthy", the Briton said. "Verstappen was changing wings in between runs and getting caught up in the heavy traffic on this relatively short circuit. Hamilton only did three consecutive laps between a spin and a pit stop for a balance change."

Saturday will probably be able to paint a better picture of the current differences between the two teams. Then Sunday's qualifying and race will reveal who has the advantage in Hungary.