Hungarian Grand Prix Preview

hungaroringIf McLaren is to shine this year, one could say it will be at the Hungarian Grand Prix, an event they have won a record eleven times.

Jenson Button himself has two victories at the Hungaroring, 2006 in the rain and the most recent being in 2011; the mixture of low speeds corners and long straights should suit them and the Ferrari. The Italian outfit themselves have five victories to their name.

The ones to watch this weekend could be Lotus, who come from a double podium in Germany. Romain Grosjean in particular approaches the half way point in the season with a point to prove and a Formula 1 future to uphold. Lewis Hamilton may also be able to add to his three previous victories but this will all depend on the tyre wear they endure.

The greatest challenge for the drivers may not be the circuit itself but the heat and soaring temperatures it attracts. With sun forecasted all weekend, the Pirelli tyres will be under a different form of scrutiny. Expect to see Paul Hembrey looking more and more nervous this weekend as the tyres become softer and the compound ready to be criticised by drivers and media alike.

This modern track layout has been the same since 2003, boats 16 corners and, you guessed it, Michael Schumacher holds the fastest lap record. Incidentally, he performed the fastest lap in the previous layout too. One section of the circuit is named after Nigel Mansell who won the 1989 Grand Prix with McLaren-Honda.

Driver opinions, gathered from various different sources, differ with regard to the track; it is not a circuit that suits every driver and could catch out the Red Bulls this weekend – the important word being “could” in that particular sentence.

Felipe Massa’s crash at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying session has been held largely responsible for his general drop in form following a closely-fought 2008 championship battle. However, psychologically, the track itself seems to pose no real problems as the Brazilian has finished the last three races since his crash with strong points.

In an attempt to create more overtaking opportunities, the circuit has been fitted with two DRS zones compared to the typical one. This should make passing at the notoriously difficult turn two easier though the mid-field may still struggle to match the front runners in pace.

I will warn you. Tyres will once again be the main topic of conversation.

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