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Hungary GP: Preview - Red Bull

NEWS STORY
14/07/2020

After two races at the same circuit, are you looking forward to going to a new track?
Max Verstappen: Yes, I think two weeks driving on the same track is enough but Red Bull did make a great event for us. It was nice to have the opportunity to drive at the same track twice and be able to test different set-ups on the cars and correlate the data from back to back races, but I think we are all ready for a new track now. After such a tough first weekend it was good to be on the podium on Sunday and it was nice to have some sort of reward for the Team. Now I'm just looking ahead to this weekend as Hungary is a really fun track to drive with these high downforce cars so let's see what we can do.

Looking ahead, what are your main focuses for the race this weekend?
MV: I will of course try to do the best that I can and see how competitive we are again against Mercedes, and of course the others. The track is more technical than Austria. There are more corners and if you get one corner wrong, you are not well positioned for the next one, especially in sector two. So you really have to work hard on the car set-up, that is always key. We need a really stable balance, but of course a car that responds well going into corners.

The Team have won the fastest pit stop twice now, is it good to see the crew come back so strong?
MV: Yes, it is great to see, it's always nice when the guys can give me such a fast pit stop. I mean I like to see the guys during the race but of course I want to get away from them as fast as possible in the pit stop! They all work super hard and I think that shows every Sunday.

After two races at the same circuit, are you looking forward to going to a new track?
Alex Albon: Hungary is a nice track. It's a drivers' circuit so we all enjoy coming here. This weekend the focus is a bit more on qualifying as it isn't as easy to overtake here as it is at the Red Bull Ring. We learned a few lessons between races one and two, we understand the car a lot better now and we're using that to push forward.

The season got off to a busy start with back to back races. How would you compare races one and two?
AA: I'd say race one was a bit better than race two. We optimised the package better in race one, but we had a better car in race two, so it's more or less about working on that car from race two and getting it into a good window. I had to manage the early race pace on the soft tyre last weekend due to concerns over blistering but on the medium the balance was much better. There's obviously a gap to Mercedes but we're probably going to a circuit that suits us more than the Red Bull Ring so with that in mind we're pretty hopeful.

In race two you equalled your career best finish with P4 and took a solid amount of points for the Team. What are your expectations for Hungary?
AA: The main thing is to close the gap to Mercedes. We will have to wait and see where we are in FP1 but I think the pecking order in the championship is maybe a bit different to what was expected and the Racing Point is probably up there. We've got to see what we can do. As always, the goal is to focus on ourselves and the end product is the result of that hard work. It's all about optimising what we've got and seeing how that compares to the rest of the field.

Christian Horner: We are now two-thirds into the first triple-header of the season and boosted by a much-improved result at the Styrian Grand Prix. Max picked up the Team's first podium of 2020, while Alex finished fourth.

It was good to be back on the podium, especially coming off the back of what was a difficult result to take, at the Austrian Grand Prix.

It was nice to see Max challenge for pole in a wet qualifying session. This was a new benchmark for us to understand as nobody has done any wet running this year.

Max got every last bit out of the car on Sunday, doing what he does best and fighting right until the final stages of the race.

We tried to retain track position early on against Bottas and tough-it-out in the second half of the race but he had the advantage of fresher tyres in the latter part of the race.

We have no regrets about the strategy and Max fully understood what we were doing as he explained in his post-race media.

I was asked some questions about Alex's early race pace, but let's remember that he came off the back of a strong weekend the previous week where he was challenging Lewis for victory. It just shows how people have a short memory in Formula One and they're quick to forget things.

During his first stint on the soft tyre, we were concerned about potential blistering on the front right, so he was managing his pace to ensure he was able to achieve the target lap for his pit stop.

This meant he gave away significant pace to the cars ahead, but as soon as he changed to the medium compound, he was back on pace.

If you look at the analysis, Alex was within a tenth of Bottas, who was chasing Max. He also did a very good job in holding off a very fast Sergio Perez at the end of the race.

Alex's feedback is very good and he and Max work well together which allows us to try different things on each car and make accurate comparisons, which is what we did in Austria.

Alex is improving with experience, he has a good feel for what the car is doing and that's very encouraging. We all want him to succeed and let's not forget he's only done 11 races with the Team whilst Max is in his sixth season.

Alex has taken a lot of lessons out of Sunday's performance, so I don't think he should be down in any way because he actually equalled his best race result in Formula 1 and scored the Team a solid amount of championship points.

With two races under our belt, we now have a clearer idea of the areas on the car we need to improve upon. The races are coming thick and fast and the production effort in the factory is astounding.

The results and feedback from the opening two races have allowed us to target specific areas and tailor the updates accordingly.

It is a very busy time in the factory and everybody is fully motivated in spite of Mercedes looking so strong in the opening races. Hopefully we will give them a harder fight in some of the upcoming races.

The final race in the opening triple-header is in Hungary this weekend. But it does come with added complications for citizens from the UK and some non-EU citizens.
Strict rules mean they cannot leave the hotel other than to go to the track or airport.

I have to admit that it is not something that was totally unexpected, given the current circumstances. The Team have been excellent in following the social distancing measures, with regular COVID-19 testing and practising PPE protocols.

First and foremost, we are going to Budapest to go racing. We normally spend so much time at the track that when we get back to the hotel, there is not time to go out and explore the city anyway.

Our focus will be on what's happening on track and not about the inconvenience of being confined to a hotel room. We know we have a gap to close to fight for this championship and that is what we will do.

These last few weeks have been busy for our Race Team, as well as back at the factory so I thank everyone for their continued dedication and teamwork.

This is a busy spell for us with nine races in 11 weeks and the safety and welfare of our staff is paramount.

I'm looking forward to Hungary. It is a different and slightly more technical circuit to the Red Bull Ring and offers us another great opportunity.

Mercedes have shown some great form here in recent years but last year, Max scored our first pole at the track using Honda power, so it will be another interesting weekend and we are fully focused on the task in hand.

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