The Infiniti Red Bull Racing team had a strong qualifying session at the Hungaroring ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, with Sebastian Vettel taking a front row grid slot, with team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in fourth.
Vettel qualified an excellent second on the grid, beaten only by Nico Rosberg, but admitted the pace of the Mercedes up front is still out of reach of his Red Bull. He believes the Hungaroring track suits the car better than the recent tracks at Silverstone and Hockenheim, so is hoping for a good result on Sunday.
“After Q2 I thought if we got everything right then we might have been closer to the Mercedes at the end than we were,” said Vettel. “Nico’s lap was very strong and it’s difficult to match them. But let’s see tomorrow, a lot of things can change if it rains and it may do tomorrow.
“We just have to focus on ourselves and, if we get a chance, try to make a pass, but the Mercedes is quite a bit quicker than us on the straights. The nature of the circuit here suits us more than it did in Germany, but we’re still quite far off the pace of the Mercedes.”
Team-mate Ricciardo will line-up directly behind in fourth, but was disappointed after the rain shower affected his tyre temperature, which he felt cost him valuable time. He hopes to stop as few times as possible on Sunday to give him the best possible chance of a good result.
“The car feels pretty good this weekend,” said Ricciardo. “In Q1 and Q2 we were looking good, but when the rain came in Q3 we couldn’t get the temperature back in the tyres quick enough for one timed lap so I’m a bit disappointed not to be further up the grid.
“It would be good to be on the front row, but fourth isn’t a disaster. It’s hard to overtake around this circuit, so we need to aim to make as few stops tomorrow as possible.”
Team Principal Christian Horner praised both drivers for their efforts in qualifying, and felt they got the best out of the car. He believes Vettel is on form in Hungary, and Horner is hoping both drivers can maximise their chances in the race on Sunday.
“It’s a great team performance to line up second and fourth, on the first and second row of the grid,” said Horner. “Both drivers did a great job, Sebastian extracted everything he could from the car and really seems to be in great form this weekend.
“Daniel as well put in a very strong performance to line up fourth on the grid. Hopefully we can capitalise on those strong grid positions in tomorrow’s race.”