Hamilton sure of Mercedes pace in 'super tight' Hungary battle

Red Bull muscled into the F1 battle in practice in Hungary, but Lewis Hamilton is tipping Mercedes to edge a three-way battle.

Lewis Hamilton is one point of leader Sebastian Vettel going into the Hungarian Grand Prix.   -  Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton has no doubts that Mercedes has the pace to triumph in a "super tight" three-way battle with Ferrari and Red Bull at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The battle for the drivers' title in Formula One this season has largely been waged between Hamilton and Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel.

But for the first time this season there appears a genuine three-way tussle for the chequered flag as Daniel Ricciardo topped the time sheets in both of Friday's practice sessions for Red Bull.

Hamilton, who boasts more wins at the Hungaroring than any other driver, but was down in fifth after FP2.

The Briton – just one point shy of Vettel in the drivers' standings – is confident that a few tweaks will have Mercedes coming out on top, though.

"It wasn't the easiest start to the weekend, with the conditions very gusty," he said.

"We end the day in fifth but there's clearly good pace in the car.

"It's super tight between Ferrari, Red Bull and ourselves at the top of the leaderboard, so it's looking like it will be an exciting weekend.

"There's some more work to do overnight to fine-tune the balance to get the car just where we want it and I believe the pace is in there.

"We just need to unlock it ahead of qualifying because every tenth is going to be crucial with three teams in the mix."

Team-mate Valtteri Bottas says Mercedes has work to do on the balance of the car.

He added: "We have some work to do. The three teams at the front seemed very close.

"I was not quite happy with the balance of the car and I was especially struggling with the rear end.

"The temperatures are expected to rise [on Saturday], which means that we really need to get the rear end of the car more stable.

"I think that will be the main area for us to focus on. It should be interesting."

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