Mercedes Formula 1 boss Toto Wolff reckons there is still plenty more performance to come from both his team and Red Bull as the 2020 season progresses.

Red Bull was tipped to provide Mercedes with its closest challenge heading into the delayed season and it proved to be the German manufacturer’s nearest rivals at the opening two rounds at the Red Bull Ring, though Mercedes has enjoyed a clear advantage.

Valtteri Bottas won the first race in Austria before Lewis Hamilton led home a Mercedes 1-2 in the Styrian Grand Prix, with Bottas battling back to pass Max Verstappen, who had fought Hamilton for pole position in a wet qualifying on Saturday.

“Lewis managed the gap,” said Wolff. “There was probably more in there, but it is always a bit easier to lead than to follow in the dirty air.

“We saw Max commenting on how difficult it was to follow. Lewis had the same to say when lapping cars.

“Therefore, we may have seen everything from Max following, but maybe leading, we haven’t seen the full potential of the Red Bull and we haven’t seen the full potential of the Mercedes either.”

Wolff believes that Mercedes is “vulnerable” to Red Bull in the slow speed corners, and reckons that could result in the Hungarian Grand Prix being a “properly different ballgame”.

“Where we lost to Red Bull was the slow speed, particularly Turn 3 and Turn 4, seem to be our vulnerabilities - everywhere else on the straights and in the fast corners, we are quicker,” he explained.

“So we just need to continue to develop and push and understand the car. Budapest is a properly different ballgame, lots of downforce, lots of slow and medium speed corners, so we’ll see how it works there.”

And Hamilton, who holds the record for the most wins at the Hungaroring with seven victories, is anticipating a closer battle against Red Bull in Hungary, adding the team will not be “pushovers” in the coming races.

“I think they’ve done a fantastic job so we’ve got to stay on our toes,” Hamilton said. "We’ve got to go to places like Hungary, where the shorter Red Bull is usually very, very strong

“It is a circuit the Red Bulls do really well, think they led the race last year, at and it is not going to be easy.

“They were quickest on Friday and yes we beat them and just eked them out in performance but that circuit is more of a medium and low speed circuit so it should go well for them.

“It will be a closer battle, but I’m excited to get out there. I love driving that track.”

 

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