The last race before the summer break is upon us. In F1, however, it is never calm. The shock in the paddock was caused by the announcement of the end of his career with Sebastian Vettel, which started transfer rumors, and in addition, behind the scenes, there is a struggle to create control for the next season. There is also a lot of tension in the song. After the French Grand Prix, Charles Leclerc is on the board and Max Verstappen is about to celebrate his victory. This race may answer the question of whether Ferrari will be able to climb.
Previously on F1
The French Grand Prix was a disaster for Ferrari. Charles Leclerc crashed, denying himself the chance to win, and the team’s poor tactics denied Carlos Sainz a place on the podium. Leclerc is currently 63 points behind Verstappen. In the constructors’ standings, Ferrari is 82 points behind Red Bull and only 44 ahead of Mercedes.
Mercedes in France again exploited the weaknesses of their opponents flawlessly and for the first time this season scored two podiums.
Alpine in France did not disappoint. His players took the sixth and eighth places, and ensured that the team was promoted to the fourth place among the constructors.
Sebastian Vettel unexpectedly announced his retirement from F1 at the end of the season.
An interesting discussion of the Hungarian Grand Prix
Ferrari under great pressure
The noise of Leclerc, after the accident in France, certainly dreams with his fans at night. It was a desperate, piercing scream, but it was enough for a situation that is slowly becoming hopeless. Mattia Binotto said he sees no reason why Ferrari should not win the last ten races. Considering that no driver in F1 history has won more races in a row, it seems that the reasons are there. And the fact that the boss of Ferrari does not see it is a sign of his inability to assess the truth, which has recently been seen in the team. It is not the lack of speed that is the problem of the team, which currently has the fastest car in the field, but a series of errors from which the correct conclusion has not been drawn.
Both Leclerc and Verstappen have 16 career wins, but Verstappen is 27 to 5 in wins. This is an amazing statistic. This year, Leclerc has already raced in eight races and won only three of them. It is inefficiency that is Ferrari’s problem. Leclerc has already lost an estimated 100+ points due to mistakes or underperformance. Everything is still in the hands of Ferrari and Leclerc, but you have to reach the championship level.
In Hungary, Ferrari must score two goals if they want to save any remnants of faith in the championship from their fans. It is also important that Leclerc wins, who needs all possible help to make up for the loss. Sainz has no real championship chances. Does that mean it’s time for team instructions? It seems so, but in Ferrari they often see a different reality than the rest of the world these days.
Mercedes from time to time
Ferrari Mercedes shows how a championship team should work. It shows how many points, even with a weak car, a championship team that works perfectly can score. To see the mission of recovery from the great crisis completed and to look to the future with hope, they need only one thing. Success. Lewis has so far won a race every season in F1, but has only won one race twice. This was the case in 2009 and 2013 and in both cases the only race won was the Hungarian Grand Prix. This is one of Hamilton’s favorite circuits, but his victory this year will be exciting.
Good condition Red Bull
Red Bull, despite the fact that it has recently lost its advantage in the series, has strengthened in the installation so that the team has stability. Everything is going according to plan both in sports competitions and behind the scenes. This week, the planned partnership with Porsche has finally been confirmed and will most likely be closer than expected. At Red Bull, it is only the FIA’s plans to deal with the jumps and changes to the relevant rules that are worrying. The team starts a campaign against this change. All this to keep your leadership in the next season. This season, they can probably calm down a bit.
The result of Vettel’s decisions
The number one topic behind the scenes at the Hungarian Grand Prix will surely be Sebastian Vettel’s retirement announcement. A four-time world champion whose legacy goes beyond titles. Fans will miss him not only as a driver, but also as a person who has become one of the most loved characters in the paddock during his career.
Vettel’s resignation kicks off a season of transfer rumours. Who will take his place? Will he be Vettel’s apprentice, Mick Schumacher? Looking for an opportunity to get into F1 Mercedes supporter Nyck de Vries? Maybe Daniel Ricciardo needs a fresh start? If Vettel is replaced by a driver who is currently employed by another team, it could start an impact and we will see an unexpected transfer. The question is whether the Aston Martin seat is attractive now. Certainly, a long-term contract with a team that has the potential to improve would be an attractive option for a young player, such as Alex Albon. But the current position of the team should exclude the most successful drivers like Fernando Alonso.
What about the Haas modification?
Haas is introducing the Hungarian’s first long-awaited major change to its car this year. What will be their effects? In theory, they could help a team that is still doing unexpectedly well despite the lack of improvements to get back into contention for the top spots, but on the other hand, so far in Haas’ history, the overhaul has often had disappointing results. For now, only Kevin Magnussen will get upgrades. We will see if they will give him an advantage.
In commemoration of Esteban Ocon’s victory in Hungary, Alpine is looking forward to a strong performance. So far, they have done particularly well on tracks with different characteristics, but recent modifications to their cars are slowly leaving the rest of the middle of the field behind. McLaren is still fighting them in the points standings due to more regularity and less analysis, but with each race ahead, the French team looks stronger and improves to fifth place among the constructors.
For many years, the track in Hungary was considered an almost impossible stop. A year ago, Alonso showed Hamilton here how difficult it is to pass here even with a fast car. What will this year be like? It will be a real test for the new generation of cars. However, we know from other tracks that the changes have made an impact and are therefore worth fighting for a place on the track.
Characteristics of the Hungaroring track
For many years, the track near Budapest was considered a facility not fully adapted to the needs of F1. However, it has remained on the calendar for three decades and, due to its unique character, has recently begun to be classified as one of the best songs. For many years, there have been complaints about the lack of excess, but in recent years, after the extension of the direct line and the introduction of DRS, interesting communities have been happening here more often than before.
Hilly and narrow (10-11 meters except for the starting straight), the Hungaroring is like a kart track. He is physically demanding, not only because of the heat that prevails in Hungary in the middle of summer. It has only one long straight, and beyond it, like in Monaco, there is no time to rest. Getting a good beat is important, especially in the heavily curved second sector.
Direct passing, even with the extension and introduction of DRS, is still not easy, but when the driver approaches his opponent before the first corner, he can use the second DRS lane before turning number two. You can go outside here. The biggest challenge for the driver, however, is four years. A quick, blind turn up the hill.
The Hungaroring is like a street track and requires the same set-up as Monaco, where downforce is the most important. On average, cars drive slower than in Hungary only in Monaco and Singapore. However, the surface is no longer as bumpy as before.
Low power and good traction are important here. You have to position the car so that the rear end runs on slippery, dusty roads, but you can’t lose much in high-speed corners because of the low. Due to the lack of straight sections, the track puts a lot of stress on the tires and we usually see more pit stops than on other tracks.
The track is rarely used outside of Grand Prix weekends. It is also very dusty. Grip improves over the weekend, but remains very low off the line. On Friday, it is still very weak, so we often see slips and accidents.
Although gravel pits have been removed over the years and safety areas covered with tarmac, they are not as wide as on modern tracks and usually end up in the tire barrier when losing control of the car in faster corners.
Track length: 4.381 km
Number of turns: 14
Race distance: 70 laps / 306.63km
Unofficial track record: 1:13.447 (Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2020)
Lap Race Record: 1:16.627 (Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2020)
Some facts from the history of the Hungarian Grand Prix
The first Hungarian Grand Prix of the 1986 season was a very important event as it was the first race behind the Iron Curtain. The track was built in a record eight months.
Nigel Mansell took one of his most famous victories in the 1989 season when he defied popular opinion at the time that it was impossible to overtake Hungary by winning from 12th place. This track turned out to be special for him too because it was here, in the 1992 season, that he celebrated his only championship.
Despite the extreme complexity, techniques have always been important in Hungary. Michael Schumacher won his first victory here in the 1994 season by making three stops. He used a similar technique four years later when he took one of his most famous victories at the Hungaroring. In the 2001 season, he celebrated the championship here.
The season favorite rarely wins here. In total, only 11 times out of 36 races held so far, the future winner of the championship has won here. Never happened 2005-2017.
Several drivers took their first win in Hungary. Damon Hill won here for the first time in 1993 and was usually very quick here. The race of the 1997 season made history, which Hill almost won on the Arrows-Yamaha, losing the lead on the last lap.
Fernando Alonso won his first race here in 2003, becoming the youngest winner for several years. However, he did not win again in Hungary.
In the 2006 season, Jenson Button got his first, long-awaited victory here. He also broke Mansell’s record for winning after starting from 14th place. It was the first race ever to rain in Hungary. It only rained twice in the 2011 and 2014 seasons, when Daniel Ricciardo won after a thrilling race.
Heikki Kovalainen took his only F1 win here in the 2008 McLaren-Mercedes season. McLaren won here eleven times.
Esteban Ocon made a big surprise in the 2021 season with his first F1 victory. It was also the first victory for the next incarnation of the Enstone-based team, Alpine.
Lewis Hamilton in the 2013 season scored his first victory here after joining Mercedes. He has won here eight times, three for McLaren and five for Mercedes.
For Polish fans, the track in Hungary is unique not only because of its geographical proximity, but also because of its special place in Robert Kubica’s career. It was here that the Pole made his F1 debut in the 2006 season.
Workout 1: Friday at 2 pm
Workout 2: Friday at 5 pm
Workout 3: Saturday at 1 pm
Qualifying: Saturday at 4 p.m
Race: Sunday at 15:00