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Hungary a must-win for Ferrari?

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 27-07-2017 skysports.com

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Ferrari need to replicate Mercedes' post-Monaco surge to regain momentum in 2017's intense title battle, according to this week's F1 Report guests. 

The Italian team head into this weekend's Hungarian GP, the final round before the sport's summer break, seeking their first victory since May having seen Mercedes win three of the last four races.

Sebastian Vettel's lead of the Drivers' Championship has been cut to just one point by Lewis Hamilton, while Mercedes have streaked 55 points clear of Ferrari in the constructors' standings.

After finishing one-two in Monaco at the end of May, Ferrari held the leadership of both title races and appeared favourites for their first championships in nearly a decade. However, two months on, and Mercedes have reasserted supremacy.

Speaking on Wednesday's F1 Report: Hungarian GP Preview at 8.30pm, Sky F1's Marc Priestley says: "The fact is Mercedes have now turned things around after struggling.

"After Monaco they seemed disillusioned, or lost almost, with getting their tyres to work in the right window and they put so much effort in after that heading towards Canada and they really found some answers and turned it all around.

"That's what Ferrari now need to do. We saw at the last race how they seemed to be so much harder on their tyres at that particular circuit and they need to really drill down deep and understand that. That's what the best teams do."

Ferrari lost nine points in a dramatic end to the British GP when second-placed Kimi Raikkonen and fourth-placed Vettel suffered punctures within three laps of the finish. Although Pirelli have put Vettel's failure down to a slow puncture, they remain unsure what caused Raikkonen's front tyre to burst.

The twisty Hungaroring presents a challenge for a car's front tyres, and with temperatures in the region of 30 degrees forecast for the weekend, tyre management is likely to prove significant.

But Ferrari cannot let Silverstone affect them, according to the Press Association's F1 correspondent Phil Duncan.

"I don't think they can be cautious because they've got this title battle ahead of them," says Duncan on Wednesday's F1 Report.

Mark Hughes on Mercedes v Ferrari

"Seb has been very consistent this year and that's why he's been able to pull out first and seconds. He has been there or thereabouts. Silverstone was the first race where he sort of fell away. You could say the same about Baku too, but generally he's been quite consistent.

"I don't think they can let the issue they had at Silverstone play on their minds at this race, or the rest of the season, because they really need to keep taking the challenge to Mercedes."

But although Vettel has yet to be headed in the Drivers' Championship this season, Duncan suspects the four-time champion no longer holds the title cards in his favour.

"There is something that says to me that Lewis is now the favourite for this championship," he said. "The fact he managed to get it down to one point at Silverstone was a massive swing in this year's title race.

"So you fancy that if he wins in Hungary and extends his lead to at least six points the momentum is firmly with him. Mercedes have the quickest car at the moment and when we head back into the season after the summer break it would be Lewis's to lose."

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