The Infiniti Red Bull Racing team were expecting to be challenging the Mercedes team at the Hungaroring this weekend, but Friday practice saw the German team dominate, while Red Bull struggled to stay within a second of them. World Champion Sebastian Vettel managed to get within six tenths of a second in the second free practice session, but Daniel Ricciardo was over a second adrift in both sessions.
Vettel was fifth in the opening session before finishing best-of-the-rest behind the Mercedes duo in third in the afternoon, but is fearful that other teams can get in front of them on Saturday, much like the Williams team did in Germany.
“I think we could be a little bit closer this weekend, at least today it looked a bit better, but then again we saw that people can make a big step from Friday to Saturday, particularly Williams, so we have to be careful,” admitted Vettel. “We hope we can do a big enough step to keep the pace of today (for tomorrow) and to be able to use a little bit more power, but we’ll have to wait and see where we are.”
Team-mate Ricciardo admitted to struggling for grip on Friday, and will be hoping to work on that overnight. He was eighth in the first free practice session and seventh in the second, but was disappointed to see Mercedes so far ahead of them again.
“To be honest we struggled quite a lot today trying to find the grip,” said Ricciardo. “This circuit does tend to ramp up a lot over the weekend, this morning’s session the grip was really low for everyone and we saw a lot of people sliding. We thought we would find some more this afternoon but we didn’t quite evolve with the track, so we’ve got a bit of work to do tonight to understand that, but that’s what Friday’s are for, you learn, you try things and hopefully you put it all together Friday night in the best way for qualifying.
“Mercedes showed today they were quick again; unfortunately quicker than we hoped. I don’t think we found too many positives for today. We tried to find the pace but it wasn’t there.”