Red Bull also has to deal with issues ahead of Sunday, having seen both cars retire due to different problems in the opening round. That clouded just how competitive Max Verstappen could have been in the race, as he had just started to peg back Valtteri Bottas due to his tyre advantage in the opening stint before slowing.
If Honda and Red Bull can find a quicker fix than Mercedes, then the team will have ambitions of fighting for a win once again. If not, then it could find itself falling into the exciting midfield battle behind.
Ferrari overachieved with Charles Leclerc’s podium, but a combination of good strategy and great driving from the Monégasque meant it was able to take advantage of the issues that others were facing. Even if similar chances don’t present themselves, there could be a quicker Ferrari out on track this weekend than last.
“We knew we would have a tough start to the season and it was even more so than we had expected,” team principal Mattia Binotto said. “That’s why we’re working flat out to try and already bring some of the updates due for Hungary to this next race. It’s a race against time but we’re doing our utmost.
“The fact we are racing again at the same track is a further reason to bring the updates here, so that we can confirm if they work and that our development direction is the right one.”
Being able to do back-to-back comparisons on the same circuit just one week apart is an attractive proposition for any team with upgrades, so we could be able to see their direct impact. But even for the smaller teams that don’t have new parts, it offers a chance to learn from their mistakes.
Haas, for example, went far too extreme when it came to its brake cooling and saw both cars retire. Getting the chance to understand its issues and rectify them could certainly change where it factors into a race this weekend.
“You can take a lot away from the first week and just use what you can,” Steiner said. “Some things will be usable and maybe some will not, but for sure it’s a nice thing to have that we can now come back here and should we have a dry race at least to build on what we learned this week.
“I’m actually not too worried about racing here again, actually at the moment I’m pretty happy that we stay here and can try and get a little bit more out of it. So not running around we have more time to focus on what we want to achieve next weekend.”
Ultimately, what we should see are teams up and down the grid getting closer to the true potential of their cars at this circuit, and it’s already a grid that looks extremely closely matched in many areas.
The characteristics of an unforgiving circuit with plenty of overtaking opportunities don’t change, so whether the pecking order does or not, the potential for another classic doesn’t.