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Mercedes backed to make it a 'three-way battle' with Red Bull and Ferrari

While Mercedes have been unable to match the pace of Red Bull and Ferrari during the first half of the 2022 season, former F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg is expecting the picture to change as the season progresses.

Nico Hulkenberg is anticipating that Mercedes will form part of a three-way battle with Red Bull and Ferrari as the 2022 season progresses. The Silver Arrows had a difficult start to the campaign, and struggled to match the pace of their competitors during the opening rounds. However, there have been signs of the team making steps forwards at recent races, and they now sit only 30 points behind second-placed Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship. As such, Hulkenberg believes that the battle at the front will intensify in the coming Grands Prix.

Hulkenberg predicts "exciting" battles ahead

"I am sure that the field will be even closer for the rest of the season. Mercedes is working hard – and successfully – to reduce the lead of Ferrari and Red Bull," Hulkenberg said in his half-time report via Aston Martin, for whom he acts as a reserve driver. "At Silverstone, the team was close to its first victory, and in France, Mercedes scored its first double podium this year. In the second half of the season, we can expect some exciting three-way battles between those top teams." As well as changes to the action at the front of the pack, Hulkenberg is expecting more battles further back in the field. "McLaren and Alpine are behind them on a very similar level, fighting for fourth place in the Constructors' Championship," he continued. "The other teams, including AMF1, will also bring updates over the rest of the year that promise exciting battles for the remaining points."

Increase in track action praised by Hulkenberg

Following the introduction of new technical regulations into the sport in 2022, Hulkenberg believes that there has been a positive effect on the cars' ability to battle. "The racing and the battles on track have become much more gripping than in previous seasons," the German driver explained. "While there is less tow effect with these new cars, following the driver in front is much easier and makes for great racing. "The recent five-way battle in Austria between the Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes drivers, or the sensational final laps for the podium at Silverstone, give an idea of what is now possible on the track between these brilliant teams." With F1 currently on its summer break, the season will resume with the Belgian Grand Prix on 26-28 August.

RESULTS 2024 F1 Hungarian Grand Prix - Free Practice 2