Red Bull racing team principal Christian Horner was not bothered by Lewis Hamilton during qualifying in Hungary on Saturday.

The Briton drove extremely slowly into his out-lap at the end of the third qualifying session to hold up Max Verstappen, who was sitting right behind him.

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"Mental games are being played," Horner told

Sky Sports


"Lewis had a great lap time and then deliberately held it up. He tried to stop our cars from doing a free lap. He can do that because he was in the right position on the track."

Despite the slow-driving Hamilton, Verstappen crossed the start-finish line on time, but failed to threaten the times of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas (second).

He finished third.

Sergio Pérez, who was still behind Verstappen, was less lucky and was not allowed to try to improve his time.

The Mexican starts the Hungarian Grand Prix in fourth.

The relationship between Red Bull Racing and Mercedes has fallen below freezing in recent weeks.

Verstappen was knocked out of the race by Hamilton on the opening lap of the Grand Prix of Great Britain, after which the Briton won the race.

Since then, both the team bosses and the drivers of Red Bull and Mercedes threw a lot of mud at each other.

Lewis Hamilton deliberately stopped Max Verstappen in the final phase of qualifying.

Lewis Hamilton deliberately stopped Max Verstappen in the final phase of qualifying.

Photo: Getty Images

Horner sees that Mercedes is faster

Horner acknowledged after qualifying that Mercedes seems to have the faster car at the Hongaroring.

"We saw that we couldn't get the same lap times as Lewis, so we decided to take a slightly different route," continued Horner, referring to Red Bull's tire strategy.

Unlike the Mercedes drivers, Verstappen and Pérez will start on the soft tires on Sunday.

"We are going to drive an attacking race, in which the start and strategy will be crucial. The fact that we are on a different strategy than Mercedes makes it interesting in advance."

World Cup leader Verstappen defends an eight-point lead over number two Hamilton on Sunday.

The start is at 3 p.m.

See also: Hamilton starts from pole in Hungary, Verstappen third in qualifying