Ho-Pin Tung expects that Red Bull Racing will have a harder time with the bumps this weekend in Brazil than the other F1 teams due to the ride height. According to the driver, the Austrian racing team is more affected by this, and then it also takes into account that it is a sprint weekend. In any case, Tung thinks that Max Verstappen remains the favorite for victory.
Looking back at the race in the United States, it was noticeable that Red Bull’s lead was not as large as normal. COTA was very bumpy and therefore the ride height of the RB19 had to be adjusted. Tung expects that this will also be necessary at Interlagos, and also looks at Singapore, which was a bad weekend for Red Bull. ‘We know that the RB19 works less well on bumpy tracks. Obviously, the other teams also have to adjust their ride height, but Red Bull seems to be having more trouble with this,” Tung begins in his preview at NU.nl. ‘It is also a sprint race weekend. So everyone only has an hour to adjust the car, then, just like in Austin, the trick is to see how low you can drive the car without being disqualified.’
After the United States Grand Prix, the FIA carried out a floor and plank wear test on several cars and found that the cars of Lewis Hamilton and Charles Leclerc were illegal. That earned them a disqualification. ‘Don’t forget that you are not allowed to adjust anything after qualifying, including the plank under the car. The plank must therefore not only last the Grand Prix, but also the sprint race,” Tung continues. However, the driver does not expect Verstappen to be under great pressure. ‘Red Bull will still go into the race as favourites. Interlagos is not as high as Mexico, but still eight hundred meters above sea level. The air is also a bit thinner here,’ Tung points out.
‘For Pérez it’s all about trust’
There was no problem for Verstappen in Mexico. The three-time world champion qualified third, but was already first after the first corner of the opening lap. That was slightly different with Sergio Pérez. The Mexican was a little too optimistic in the first corner and came into contact with Leclerc, causing him to bounce off the track. Will he take that with him to Brazil? “No, that no longer plays a role in your mind,” says Tung. ‘I’m sure he still thinks about it. It was a missed opportunity in particular as there was a possibility he would finish on the podium at his home race. But then you put it behind you,” the driver thinks.
“What does play a role is that Hamilton has good credentials going into the weekend in Brazil.” Hamilton is only twenty points behind Pérez in the championship and is aiming for P2. ‘But here too, there is only one training session to get the car in order. For Pérez, it all comes down to trust. That seemed to go a lot better in Mexico, up to qualifying. Of course, things went wrong in the race in the first corner,” Tung continues. ‘I don’t think he is still bothered by the crash, but I do think there is a lot of pressure on his shoulders. Mercedes will have a relatively strong car this weekend. He will feel Hamilton’s hot breath on his neck.”