Lately I’ve been getting a lot of questions about whether Lewis Hamilton can get back on top. My answer is always the same that he never left, that he is still winning races and is still favourite to win the title this year. After three years of complete domination by Mercedes, I suppose to be fighting so hard this year with Ferrari does seem like a step back for the Silver Arrows. But believe me they’re looking very good as we enter the second half of the season.
Sebastian Vettel in his Ferrari may still be leading the driver’s world championship, but all the momentum is firmly back with Mercedes. In Austria and Britain, they have upped their development game and have improved their car considerably- to the point that Ferrari must be worried. Over the last few years Mercedes’ in season development has been second-to-none with only Red Bull able to match them. It’s been great seeing Ferrari fighting for the championship, but over recent years they’ve not been able to show that they can match the same rate of development during a race season.
That’s why this weekend here in Hungary is such an important one for the Prancing Horse. They need to show that they can compete, to win, and to stop the momentum that Mercedes has built up over the last month or so. I hope that the updates they bring are effective or they risk going into the summer break after this weekend firmly behind Mercedes.
Hungary is tight, twisty and slow. In fact after Monaco, it’s the slowest race on the grand prix calendar, where the chassis is important and the engine less so. McLaren have been targeting this race as one that can bring a big haul of points and I feel it’s possible for them to get their best result of the season here. They will however have to have a trouble free weekend for that to happen, and I’m not sure that is possible for them yet.
One team that will be electric to watch this weekend will be the Red Bull’s. They’ve made good progress with the development of their car and shown pretty well on some big horsepower tracks. I actually think we’ll see them in the fight for pole position this weekend and possibly the race win.
Both Red Bull drivers have been driving very well too, but I’m especially interested in watching Max Verstappen this weekend. He’s had a bad run of reliability lately and is due a switch in fortunes. Couple that with a car that is starting to go well at a track that should suit it and I’m expecting an exciting performance from the Dutchman.