Hungry for Hungary! – Weekend Preview!
Two weeks on from an extremely dramatic British Grand Prix, Formula One embarks on the tight twisty track of the Hungaroring for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix! Will Max Verstappen be able to enact his revenge? Or will Lewis Hamilton win yet again at a track he loves so dearly?
Written by Aiden Hover, Edited by Tanishka Vashee
The Hungaroring, located to the northeast of Budapest, became the venue of the first Grand Prix behind the ‘Iron Curtain’ in 1986 after Bernie Eccelstone failed to secure an event in the USSR. Since then, the Home of Hungarian motorsport has proven to be a true test for both driver and car. Often referred to as ‘Monaco without the walls,’ the 4.381-kilometre circuit boasts 14 storied and tricky turns with very few straights. This often forces teams to opt with high levels of downforce with minimal opportunity to reach top speeds on such a ‘go-kart’ style track. A track such as this poses a challenge that all the drivers relish with great enthusiasm as finding a smooth rhythm here is integral to a quick lap time.
A track as tricky as this one is sure to have played host to some iconic and truly legendary moments – and the Hungaroring does not disappoint! With its difficulty, the track stands as a proving ground for some of F1’s greatest – awarding debut F1 victories to two-time champion Fernando Alonso and one-time champion Jenson Button in 2003 and 2006 respectively. It also marked the beginning of a new era in 2013, as Lewis Hamilton won his first Grand Prix with Mercedes, and we all know where that led to.
The twisty flowing corners of the track also lends itself to some memorable wheel to wheel action; such as Ayrton Senna against Alain Prost in 1988, or, more recently, Lewis Hamilton against Max Verstappen in 2019 – featuring a strategic masterclass from Hamilton’s Mercedes team. Hamilton, who has won in Hungary a record-breaking 8 times, again features in Hungarian drama, this time in 2007! In the midst of a dramatic qualifying session in which Fernando Alonso sat on provisional pole, the two McLaren drivers were set to pit for fuel and a fresh set of tyres ahead of one final push for pole with Alonso scheduled to come in just ahead of his rookie teammate. Remarkably, however, Alonso chose not to leave his pit box upon being told to go as he instead opted to hold up his teammate and refuse him a final shot for pole!
What can fans look forward to this year?
Having been on the losing end of a dramatic collision with Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone two weekends ago, Max Verstappen will be eager to enact his revenge and once again take the top spot. His teammate in Sergio Perez will also be eager to right the wrongs of Silverstone where he too scored zero points. Meanwhile, in the Mercedes camp, Sir Lewis Hamilton will be hoping to continue his storm back to the front of the championship whilst his teammate will be looking to follow in his footsteps.
The battle for best of the rest continues as Ferrari look to be strong once again in Hungary as it’s a style of track that seems to suit their car, similar to Monaco. McLaren’s Lando Norris will surely continue his streak of impressive points finishes after a near-miss of a podium last time out with Daniel Ricciardo achieving his best finish this season in Britain. Meanwhile, Aston Martin will be hoping to forget their Silverstone blues and come back swinging in Hungary!
Fernando Alonso returns to a track he loves so dearly off the back of an impressive showing in Silverstone, proving that both he and his Alpine still have what it takes to do well in this sport, along with his teammate in Esteban Ocon. Alpha Tauri also look strong heading into Hungary as their car suits the twisty nature of the circuit whilst their drivers, Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda, both seem to be gelling well with the car and team following a respectable performance in Britain – narrowly missing out on a double points finish.
Alfa Romeo will likely struggle in Hungary as their performance as of late hasn’t been anything to write home about, however, Antonio Giovinazzi scored points during their visit to Monaco several months ago. Williams, meanwhile, will be looking to continue their charge through the pack with George Russell looking to score his third consecutive Q3 appearance – at the venue he scored his first-ever Q2 appearance in 2020. Haas, on the other hand, will see anything that’s not dead last as a victory as they must surely be looking forwards to the upcoming summer break.
With that then, be sure not to miss out on any of the action this weekend as well as any of the support events, such as the ever-exciting W-series!