Red Bull is aware that it has lost the technical supremacy it maintained until the British GP. Milton Keynes’s team was caught off guard by Mercedes: that “Pinocchio” by Toto Wolff had ensured that the package of novelties that would be seen at Silverstone was little, certainly not decisive to close the gap on the RB16B that had maramaldized in the last five GPs.
It was not true, because the changes introduced in GB made the W12 balanced, as if with the elimination of the bottom with the waves, the black arrow found the right aerodynamic load from the car body that allowed it to reduce the resistance to the advance due to overly loaded ailerons.
It might have seemed like a move to clear the cards at Silverstone, but the news worked especially in Hungary, on a slow track that, on paper, should have favored Red Bull. Seeing two black arrows in the front row at the Hungaroring swept away all the certainties of Christian Horner and his men.
Milton Keynes’ team blamed the backlash of the failure to revise the English result and over the Hungarian weekend did nothing but confirm the thesis that it is only at the beginning of a war, while Toto Wolff was prophesying a lowering of tones.
The strategy of… tension did not play in favor of Max Verstappen who yesterday at the press conference addressed the journalists because they kept asking him questions about the crash with Lewis, showing an uncovered side.
The world leader should be aware of his strength and, instead, he seemed to have become the unwitting victim of his team. Max, the boy who is not afraid of anything or anyone, blurted out as Hamilton grinned slyly in the other chair.
The epta champion does not have to do anything: he just needs to watch the events, because Red Bull will take care of the rest. The boy should be reassured and, instead, the certainties he had in his hand up to Austria are fading one at a time. Verstappen under his tough guy’s air shows a poorly concealed nervousness that can turn into weakness. Enough to push him to a reaction foul that could backfire?
The team unloaded the wings on a track where a lot of load is needed, but the result that emerged from the analysis of the telemetry is that the big difference between the RB16B and the W12 has materialized in the central section of the track: if in the T1 Max he paid 75 thousandths and in T3 another 33, it is in the piece where the car had to dance between one corner and the other that he totaled a gap of 123 thousandths.
Just where it should have made a difference, it has won them. But the unloaded wing and soft tires express the will to play for everything at the start, counting on the greater grip of the red tires when the traffic lights go out. But the hope is well founded of going to overtake the two Mercedes that can implement a team game or the attempt is to get close to the wheels of the W1 number 44.
It is as if Vestappen were putting a gun in Vestappen’s hands already with the trigger pulled, because the comparison of the telemetry data leaves little hope for Max: the car is inferior to the Mercedes. In the peaks of speed, the Mercedes power unit made the difference again, without the Brixworth engineers having to pull the neck of the 6-cylinder turbo due to the heat that touched 60 degrees on the asphalt.
And even on slower journeys there are few corners in which the RB16B seemed to exploit the sensational load that the car body has always been able to produce. What is happening? Perhaps the emphasis given to the incident at the Copse corner took away the attention from the technical overtaking that Silverstone sanctioned. In F1, values can change very quickly, faster than you think. At the moment when Red Bull was thinking of giving the knockout blow to Mercedes, it is suffering the reaction of the world champion team that has gathered around Lewis.
And Max again seems forced to fight alone with his talent against an opponent who seems unbreakable by adversity and impervious to any accusation or controversy. It will be up to the Dutch to keep a cool head and not fall into the great temptation …