Mark Hughes was critical of Red Bull’s performance during practices, and said that Mercedes outguessed them for Istanbul.
The Turkish GP presents an interesting conundrum for drivers and teams. Last season saw one of the wildest yet shambolic races in a long time. The track was poor, the rain was pouring, and the spins were as common as salt in the ocean.
That was down to poor management of the race owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. This time, the grid is prepared for various scenarios. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case for Red Bull, who visibly struggled during both practice sessions.
Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez both fought a lot of understeer, and trailed rivals Mercedes on the time sheets. Hughes was critical of Red Bull’s performance during practices. Sand said that they didn’t do their homework well enough.
In his column for The Race, Hughes said, “What we have found on the evidence of Friday practice is that Mercedes seems to have made its educated estimate pretty much bang-on and Red Bull may not have.
“That said, the particular problem posed by a bigger than forecast level of grip – understeer – is more easily triggered on an extreme high-rake car like the Red Bull than on the more benign low-rake Mercedes.
“So yes, Mercedes got its simulation more correct but it may be that it was easier for it to get it right.”
Hughes also revealed who he thinks the favourite is, and has opted for a very surprising pick as the one he is backing.
“Whatever happens, Verstappen will likely still be starting ahead of Hamilton, of course, on account of the latter’s 10-place grid drop for the new power unit,” Hughes remarked.
“But as things looked today, Valtteri Bottas looks the heavy favourite, and that should worry Verstappen on what should be a very fruitful weekend for his championship hopes.”