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Wolff labels Red Bull RB19 an F1 car amongst F2 cars

Wolff labels Red Bull RB19 an F1 car amongst F2 cars

Wolff labels Red Bull RB19 an F1 car amongst F2 cars

Toto Wolff, the Mercedes boss, claimed the performance difference between Red Bull and their rivals was akin to a Formula 1 car racing amongst Formula 2 cars.

Red Bull celebrated a record 12th successive F1 win, and 11th of the season, on Sunday and left other teams feeling more than ever that they were racing a rival from another level.

As Max Verstappen reeled off his seventh win in a row this season at the Hungarian Grand Prix, his team also chalked up their 21st victory in 22 races.

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Verstappen has won 18 of them and the gap between him and McLaren’s second placed Lando Norris at the chequered flag on Sunday was 33.731 seconds, the largest winning margin since 2021.

If the Dutch driver was a constructor, his solo haul of 281 points for the current season would put him well clear of second-placed Mercedes on 223.

“Today you’ve seen the pace that Max had and we saw it in the long runs already on Friday. That’s where they are. It’s like a field of Formula 2 cars against a Formula 1,” said Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff.

That said, Wolff felt Mercedes had the second quickest car and were making progress with seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton on pole for the first time in 33 races, since Saudi Arabia in 2021. Hamilton finished fourth on Sunday with teammate George Russell sixth after starting 18th.

Mercedes didn’t monetise the opportunity

Hamilton: I just couldn’t keep up

In Mercedes’ race report, Wolff said: “I think we had the second quickest car today, but the result doesn’t show it. If you look at the lap time profile and George’s progress, there was opportunity for more, but we didn’t monetise it.

“That is obviously disappointing,” he lamented. “In the final stint, Lewis reeled in over 10 seconds to those ahead and we finished just 1.5 seconds shy of the podium. I think if we had executed our race slightly differently, we would have had that margin. We need to analyse and see what we could have done.

“We were far off a pole position at the start of the year, and we’ve started to comprehend the car more. Having said that, Max looked tranquil up front and we’re not here to race for second-best.

“Getting to the front is the objective and of course, that was far off today,” the Austrian concluded.

Hamilton was fourth into the first corner, beaten by Verstappen and both McLarens of Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri.

The 38-year-old Briton said he just lacked the pace to keep up on the first stint but the car started to become more driveable as the race went on.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Hamilton said. “We are a long way off beating the Red Bull in a race and obviously now we are behind the McLarens.”

Russell reckoned Mercedes were maybe equal second with McLaren, who are fifth in the Championship after a slow start to the campaign.

Mercedes are the only team to have beaten Red Bull in more than a year, with Russell winning in Brazil last November. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, Additional reporting by GrandPrix247)