2016 Track Preview: Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest

All rights reserved to F1 Mix

All rights reserved to F1 Mix

Lewis Hamilton wins the British Grand Prix ahead of Max Verstappen in second place and Nico Rosberg in third place. Ferrari, Force India and McLaren brought home some much needed points for their teams.

The Hungaroring circuit is regarded as very challenging and tough for the drivers, but also as one of the safest race tracks in Formula 1. The circuit benefits track position, pit strategy, and high downforce.

Overtaking is difficult unless the driver in front makes a mistake, so qualifying is really important and you need to start from as high up the grid as possible. Cooling is often a problem at Hungary because of the lack of straights and it is usually pretty hot in Hungary at this time of the year. The constant cornering places a demand on the tyres, as this generates high temperatures, and this combined with high track temperature have the potential to lead to issues with blistering.

Some drivers on the grid think that Hungaroring is similar in style to the Circuit de Monaco, due to its tight and twisty corners. Lewis Hamilton once said in an interview that “The Hungaroring is one of the most demanding circuits for drivers because you’re busy throughout the entire lap.”. Engines are only run at full throttle for around 55 percent of the lap, the second lowest percentage of the season after Monaco. The average lap speed is about 200 km/h, with top speed close to 300 km/h. The Hungarian race is one of the highest downforce races on the calendar.

The circuit is located just outside the city of Budapest. Due to its unique position in a small valley; about 80 percent of the 4.38 kilometer long race track can be seen from any part of the grandstands.

As a curiosity can be mentioned that the 1986 Hungarian Grand Prix, won by Nelson Piquet for Williams, was the first Formula One Grand Prix to take place behind the Iron Curtain. The race was attended by 200,000 people from both Eastern and Western Europe. Since 1986, Hungary has been on the Formula 1 calendar every year and the organizers have contract until 2016.

Here are the facts and figures going into the weekend…

Facts and Figures

  • Hungary has hosted the Grand Prix at Budapest since 1986.
  • Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton are the most successful drivers at the track with four wins each.
  • Lewis Hamilton is the most successful driver currently to win the Grand Prix with four wins.
  • McLaren is the most successful constructor to win the Grand Prix with eleven wins.
  • Race distance: 306.63km (190.53miles)
  • Number of turns:14
  • Top speed: 305kph
  • Lap record: Michael Schumacher- Ferrari (2004)- 1.19.071

Winners from the last five Hungarian Grand Prixs:-

  • 2011-Jenson Button
  • 2012-Lewis Hamilton
  • 2013- Lewis Hamilton
  • 2014- Daniel Ricciardo
  • 2015- Sebastian Vettel

My top five finishers of the Hungarian Grand Prix:-

In no particular order, here’s my top five predictions for the Hungarian Grand Prix as follows:-

  1. Nico Rosberg
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Sebastian Vettel
  4. Kimi Raikkonen
  5. Valtteri Bottas

Based on what the top five drivers have managed to achieve in the first ten Grand Prixs, I believe that Rosberg has to beat Hamilton this weekend again in order to show that he cannot be discounted for challenging Hamilton for the title.

Hamilton will also want to win this weekend at a track that has been kind to him over the years in front of his fans who will be attending this weekend and also maintain the small championship gap over to Sebastian Vettel who I believe could challenge the Mercedes pairing this year; provided that Ferrari keep going in the same direction they are currently. And finally, I believe that Raikkonen and Bottas could both have solid weekends provided that they are able to get the right set ups on their cars over the weekend.

Do you agree with my predictions for this weekend? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Sky Sports F1 are showing uninterrupted coverage of every Practice session, Qualifying and race for the Grand Prix (and every race of the season) and Channel 4 also are showing coverage, details for both are below:-

  • Sky Sports F1:- Friday (Practice 1 and 2) 8.45am and 12.45pm [Replays throughout Thursday and Friday], Saturday (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 9.45am and 12.00pm [Replays throughout Saturday], Sunday (Race) 11.30am
  • Channel 4- Friday (Practice 1 and 2) 8.55am and 12.55pm, Saturday (Practice 3 and Qualifying) 9.55am and 11.55am, Sunday (Race) 12.00pm
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