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Hamilton issues verdict on Mercedes' performance compared to Ferrari after 10 races

Hamilton issues verdict on Mercedes' performance compared to Ferrari after 10 races

DANIEL Ricciardo topped the timesheets in a heavily-revised Red Bull in first practice for the Hungarian GP to offer encouragement of a three-way fight with Mercedes and Ferrari for supremacy at the Hungaroring.

Going into the weekend, Vettel leads the Drivers' Championship with 177 points, Hamilton is second with 176 points and fellow Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas is third with 154 points.

Jolyon Palmer struggled to match Renault team-mate Nico Hulkenberg for pace once again, lapping 0.8s slower in Q2 to finish 11th.

Vettel was second fastest, 0.183 off the pace, after a slow start to his weekend.

"Of course, we don t know what Mercedes are going to come up with on Saturday yet and it looks like Ferrari found some speed in the afternoon". Mercedes have won three of the four races since, only losing the Azerbaijan Grand Prix after Hamilton was forced to pit because of a loose headrest, and appear to have gained an edge over their rivals.

AFTER a hard start to the season Mercedes, with drivers Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, have grown in confidence as their supremely disciplined work machine starts to deliver results.

Though this doesn't tell much of his intentions after the season is over, it does give us insight into what has been an nearly completely drama-free relationship with Ferrari. "I don't know if they brought an upgrade but I think we did quite well considering", said the Briton.

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Past form is no guarantee of future success, however, and Mercedes had to recognise that Ferrari were back to their best and enjoying their most dominant Hungarian qualifying since Schumacher's day.

And he was only marginally in front of Red Bull wonderboy Max Verstappen. "I think we go racing".

We should also see another good performance from the two Force India cars, driven by Sergio Perez and Esterban Ocon.

"There's some more work to do overnight to fine-tune the balance to the get the vehicle just where we want it and I believe the pace is in there".

"I think this track has been my most successful track, and I hope that this is still the case this weekend. But we've definitely managed to understand the vehicle better, understand the tyres better and really start to utilise the auto in its happy envelope". Expect more on-track jousting with Vettel should he get near to him.

A auto that has a stable rear can put the power down earlier, and also have better rear tyre life, which could be crucial this weekend, as the margin between a one-stop race or a two-stopper looks fine.

In other F1 news, backmarker Sauber has extended a power unit supply deal with Ferrari, though Sauber will now receive Ferrari's latest power units instead of using the previous year's units as is the current agreement.


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