Ferrari’s recent performances have been a ray of hope for the Italian giants after years of watching Mercedes and Red Bull dominate the F1 Championship. But the team is well aware that they are still quite far from challenging for the title. The focus for now being to secure maximum points and win the mid-table fight against McLaren.
It was a huge surprise when Charles Leclerc managed back-to-back pole positions at Monaca and Azerbaijan. The key factor being that both were street circuits and that means slower corners and a high downforce setup.
But a crash for Charles in Monaco during qualifying ended his weekend before the race could even start. Teammate Carlos Sainz was able to give the team something to cheer about finishing 2nd after starting in 4th.
Then in France, the team struggled again. Overheating front tyres and lack of pace during long runs meant both Charles and Carlos finished outside the points. Ferrari were themselves unsure what were the issues with the car and were hoping they could put that weekend behind them.
Since the double in Austria and the last race at Silverstone, Ferrari have consistently improved. Both cars have managed to finish in the points at these 3 races. And at Silverstone, Charles was just 2 laps away from winning the race. It could have been a double podium finish for the team if not for the terrible pitstop for Carlos Sainz.
Can Ferrari excel in Hungary
Hungary is a high downforce track with a majority of slow-speed corners and one serious straight. This suits the Ferrari car well and they could take another podium here. However, both Charles and Carlos downplayed their chances and chose to be more realistic.
“It’s good to be optimistic,” Charles told select members of the press. “I think we all want to be optimists after such a good performance in the last three races. On the other hand, we also need to be realistic.
“It’s good and we are in a good mood but I feel like going for the win in Budapest might be a bit optimistic. Realistically, I think I would be happy if we are just behind the two top teams.”
And Carlos also had the same opinion, “Budapest recently has become actually a medium to high-speed track with these cars. If you look at Monaco and Baku, there are second and third gear corners.
“Budapest nowadays with these crazy high downforce cars, you have a middle sector that you are in fourth, fifth gear all the time. So it’s not a pure low-speed track anymore like it used to be in the past. I don’t think it’s going to be such a good track for us.
“I do think that is a great opportunity to be right behind the Red Bull and Mercedes but downforce is still king and we see from data that these guys still have a bit more pace than us and they should be ahead in Hungary.”
Hungary will be the last race before the mid-season break. That means teams will try their best to get a positive result rather than have more doubts about their car. Ferrari’s performance will be an exciting aspect to keep an eye out for.