Next to Verstappen, the rivals look like Formula 2 racers

Author of the article: , published July 23, 2023.

Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff said the Dutchman's rivals looked like they were driving Formula 33 cars after the Hungarian Grand Prix in which Max Verstappen won by more than 1 seconds, one of the biggest margins of victory in F2's hybrid era.

Red Bull recorded their twelfth consecutive win, beating the previous record set by McLaren in 1988, while Verstappen won his seventh straight. At Mercedes this year, they were completely without an answer to Red Bull's form, and the defeat at the Hungaroring is all the more painful for them, because in Saturday's qualifying, Lewis Hamilton, with the best starting position, gave them some hope in their chances of winning.

"They win because of their good work. We will fight, win and win titles, but today you saw what kind of pace Max dictated and you could already see it in the race simulations on Friday," said Wolff. "They are at that level. The races look like racing against Formula 2 cars. They did their job the best, within the rules.”

Wolff said his team had the second-best car but failed to capitalize on it. "Yesterday Lewis drove an outstanding lap. We made a mistake with George. We had the second fastest car today, judging by times and also by how far George made it. But we didn't take advantage of the speed of the racing car."

Hamilton started the race from first place, but had a poor start, losing first to Verstappen, then to Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris. But Wolff says the poor start wasn't the only problem. "The start played a role, but things like that can happen. Perhaps we were a little too cautious in warming up the tires, as suggested by the times at the end. We made up 15 seconds, but we were 1.9 seconds short of Perez and only four seconds short of Lando, which we could have made up.”

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