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Helmut Marko

Marko predicts Hamilton Verstappen "fireworks"

Will the former title rivals clash again?

Red Bull Motorsport Advisor Helmut Marko has insisted the first three corners of the Hungarian Grand Prix will be "critical" for Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen to avoid "fireworks".

The 2021 F1 title protagonists line up alongside each other on the front row of the grid for the first time since that year's finale at Abu Dhabi after Mercedes driver Hamilton stunned his rival to clinch pole by just 0.003secs.

A controversial clash at the British Grand Prix two years ago, where Verstappen was fired into the barriers at Copse, followed a number of near misses at the first corner that year and since then, collisions at Monza and Saudi Arabia that season and in Brazil last term have left the rivalry with lingering tension.

Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff warned both drivers have nothing to lose given the current championship standings, though conceded Red Bull's race pace dictates a likely outcome in favour of Verstappen.

Addressing the potential for drama, Marko told Sky Sport DE: "The first three corners are critical at the start. The combination of Lewis and Max often creates fireworks."

Very strong

Verstappen has struggled with rear-end stability throughout the weekend but despite this, the RB19 remained in control based on practice long-run pace.

But high temperatures could lead to a race dominated by strategy, with Pirelli opting for a tyre allocation a step softer than previous years.

"In the long runs, we were very strong and the fastest," added Marko.

"However, we are in Hungary and overtaking is difficult here. It will be even warmer and maybe we will see a three or four-stopper, a lot is possible.

"We have two cars in the top 10 and possibly that can help."

F1 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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