Verstappen scored his seventh GP win in a row in Budapest, having dived past polesitter Lewis Hamilton into Turn 1 before pulling 33 seconds to runner-up Lando Norris.
Red Bull achieved their 12th consecutive victory, surpassing the record set by the esteemed McLaren MP4/4 in 1988, thanks to the outstanding performance of their team-mate Sergio Perez, who managed to climb from ninth to third place.
Verstappen’s exceptional control over the RB19 has led Mercedes motorsport boss Wolff to believe that the rest of the competitors appear to be maneuvering Formula 2 cars in comparison.
Wolff mentioned Verstappen’s impressive victory, stating that it is a fair competition. He expressed confidence in their ability to bounce back and achieve victories and championships. However, he acknowledged the exceptional speed demonstrated by Max, which was evident even during the extended practice sessions on Friday.
“They are located there. It resembles a scenario where Formula 2 cars are competing against a Formula 1 vehicle. They have performed exceptionally well, demonstrating superior performance within the established rules.”
Hamilton, who had a less successful start than Verstappen, finished in fourth place as the leading driver for Mercedes. On the other hand, George Russell secured sixth place despite initially qualifying in 18th position, which was partly due to the new and experimental Alternative Tyre Allocation qualifying format being tested for the first time.
The W14 seemed to exchange its typical consistent speed during the race for a more powerful performance in a single lap. Nevertheless, Hamilton’s fast final phase allowed him to catch up to Perez in the final moments.
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes F1 W14
Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images
Wolff was questioned about the disappearance of the qualifying pace, to which he responded that Hamilton’s performance on Saturday played a significant role. He also mentioned that Mercedes finished second in the race, right behind Red Bull, despite not being able to fully capitalize on their speed.
The individual from Austria stated: “In my opinion, yesterday’s lap by Lewis was exceptional. Unfortunately, we made a mistake during George’s qualifying session.”
“I believe our car was the second fastest today, considering both the lap time profile and George’s impressive performance. However, we failed to capitalize on this advantage.”
However, it should be noted that Verstappen’s lap times serve as a reference point, and currently, we are quite distant from achieving that level.
Wolff mentioned that Hamilton’s disadvantage was not solely due to his unsuccessful start, but also because Mercedes may have made a mistake in preparing the tires.
He stated that the beginning definitely had an impact, but acknowledged that such occurrences are not uncommon.
Perhaps we took great caution when bringing in the tires, maybe even excessively so, which is evident in the variation of lap times towards the conclusion.
“I believe our reeling time was approximately 15 seconds, and we were only about 1.9 seconds behind Perez and just four seconds or less behind Lando. I am confident that we were able to achieve that.”