Hungarian GP: Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes wary of Ferrari's fast starts
Silver Arrows may opt to start on ultrasofts for a quick getaway despite burning through the ultras in Friday practice; Sunday's race underway at 2.10pm, live on Sky Sports F1
By Pete Gill and Matt Morlidge at the Hungaroring
Last Updated: 29/07/18 12:51pm
Mercedes admit they face a difficult dilemma for Sunday's Hungarian GP with the threat of Ferrari off the line likely to force pole-sitting Lewis Hamilton onto the ultrasoft tyres.
After rain hit qualifying, all the teams have a free tyre choice for the start of Sunday's race.
But Mercedes overheated the ultrasoft tyres to such an extent in Friday practice that both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, who will start from second place, set their quickest times on the soft compound.
But the extra grip generated by the ultrasofts means it is the faster tyre at the start of a race - an attribute which may persuade Mercedes to use the ultras to ward off the quick-starting Ferraris at a circuit where overtaking is especially difficult.
"In Hungary it is difficult to overtake so everything is going to depend on the start of the race," said team boss Toto Wolff. "Down to Turn One is very long so any start or power advantage is a threat to us. If we can hold on to a one-two at the start, that would be very positive."
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Ferrari have tended to be quicker off the line than Mercedes in recent races, a divergence which was a factor in the crashes between Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas in France and then Hamilton and Raikkonen at Silverstone.
And Hamilton, who described his pole position as a "shock", added: "There's a difference between the two tyres, particularly for that long straight, so I think it's highly unlikely we're going to sacrifice keeping our positions at the start.
"I imagine we are going to start on the ultra, even with the choice."
Although Mercedes enjoyed a one-two in qualifying, Ferrari have held a clear advantage in dry running this weekend and Bottas expects a tough fight on race day.
"From our numbers we were the third quickest team on the long runs, so I think tomorrow we really need to get everything perfect from the race start," said Bottas.
"Overtaking is difficult but there are many opportunities for the cars behind to get us if they have more speed. So we really need to be on it."
Vettel, the favourite to take pole before a thunderstorm struck the Hungaroring track, still believes he has a victory shot from fourth on the grid.
The German, who will start alongside team-mate Raikkonen from the second row, told Sky F1: "In the dry we were under control. We will see what we can do in the race. We will focus on winning from fourth."
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Hungarian GP race-day schedule
Sunday, July 29
10.15am: F2 Race Two LIVE!
12.30pm: Hungarian GP Pit Lane LIVE!
1.30pm: Hungarian GP On The Grid LIVE!
2.10pm: THE HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX LIVE!
4.30pm: Hungarian GP Paddock LIVE!
6.30pm: Hungarian GP race replay
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