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Ralf Schumacher: Red Bull should not react to Mercedes' diversionary tactics

The momentum in the 2021 title battle might have swung back to Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton in the last two races but Ralf Schumacher believes that Red Bull and Max Verstappen are capable of bouncing back in the second half the season.

Ralf Schumacher believes that Max Verstappen and Red Bull can regain momentum in the title fight if they retain focus and do not become distracted by their rivals. Verstappen had previously built a significant points lead over Lewis Hamilton, but a non-finish at Silverstone followed by a challenging race in Hungary that saw him finish far lower down in the points than the Mercedes driver means that Hamilton is now eight points ahead in the Drivers' Standings. Schumacher thinks that Hamilton is trying to take Verstappen's eye off the ball but that he won't succeed in distracting the Dutchman. "Max Verstappen has been very unlucky twice now, but he has put in an incredible performance so far," Schumacher told Sky Sports. "Even when the Red Bull is not running like that, he gets the best out of the car. "He's let Hamilton go by now, but I don't think he'll overperform in the second half of the season because he's matured now. You've seen that all season and it was much needed. "Of course, Lewis is trying everything to get him off his guard, but he won't stand a chance with Max this year. For Red Bull, it will be important to focus on the essentials and not constantly react to Mercedes' diversionary tactics." The tension in the title fight seemed to escalate after the British Grand Prix, given that Verstappen and Hamilton collided on the opening lap of the race. The incident caused Verstappen to crash out whilst Hamilton remained in the race and was given a 10-second penalty for his part in the incident, though was still able to take victory. Schumacher is expecting a similar clash to happen again at some point, "I don't think Lewis and Max have clashed for the last time," the former F1 driver said. "The closer it gets in the championship, the tougher it will get. "For us as spectators, that's great because we can look forward to mega exciting races."

RESULTS 2024 F1 Hungarian Grand Prix - Free Practice 2