Hungarian Grand Prix

What happened at the Hungarian Grand Prix?

Sebastian Vettel heads a Ferrari 1-2 in Budapest, while friendly fire thwarts Red Bull’s chances of a podium on one of its strongest circuits of the year.

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton: qualified 4th, finished 4th. Valtteri Bottas: qualified 3rd, finished 3rd.
If Formula One truly is a team sport – and there are some who will scoff at that suggestion – Mercedes played it perfectly at a track where the Silver Arrows were a clear second-best to the Prancing Horse. Bottas had the measure of teammate Hamilton for most of the weekend, and while the Finn was ahead of the Briton for much of the first half of the race, Hamilton was clearly the faster of the pair after their pit stops on lap 30 and 31 respectively. Hamilton was given the green light to move past his teammate in an attempt to go after Raikkonen in second, on the proviso that he was to let Bottas back past before the end of the race on lap 70 if he couldn’t make it work. Hamilton did his best to no avail, and as he rounded the final corner on the final lap, slowed sufficiently to let Bottas back through – and just kept a fast-finishing Verstappen at bay in the process. Mercedes better hope the three points Hamilton relinquished don’t cost him this year’s world championship by the time we get to Abu Dhabi in November … With Vettel’s victory, Hamilton now drops 14 points behind the German in the drivers’ standings – and Mercedes now knows, after a four-race run of outscoring Ferrari 151-79 after Monaco, that the red team is well and truly back in the fight.

Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo: qualified 6th, did not finish. Max Verstappen: qualified 5th, finished 5th.
At Silverstone last time out, both Toro Rosso drivers hit one another on lap one, but were able to continue. At Hungary, the senior Bull team’s pilots clashed on the first lap, but the result was more costly; Ricciardo, who had led both Friday practice sessions and was eyeing a fourth Hungarian podium in a row, was out three corners into the race, Verstappen understeering into the Australian at Turn 2 and puncturing Ricciardo’s radiator. It was the first time in Ricciardo’s 120-race career that he’d been eliminated on the first lap, and his normally beaming visage was replaced by a face of barely concealed rage and contempt. “That was amateur to say the least,” he fumed, adding “he (Verstappen) doesn’t like it when a teammate gets in front of him – it was a very poor mistake.” The race stewards were quick to apportion blame to the Dutchman, hitting him with a 10-second penalty in the pits when he made his one and only stop. Verstappen flew the longer the race went, the heavily-revised RB13 looking mighty on the Hungaroring’s twists and turns, but the damage had been done. Verstappen’s margin to the winner at the end was 13.276secs, showing that, with Vettel ailing out front and a rare weekend of Mercedes not being on top of its game, the team may have blown one of its best chances for a win to add to Ricciardo’s victory in Baku through friendly fire. After the race, Verstappen immediately put his hand up. “It’s not nice and I apologise to Daniel and the team for that,” he said. “We could’ve scored some really good points here …”.

Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel: qualified 1st, finished 1st. Kimi Raikkonen: qualified 2nd, finished 2nd.
When you lock out the front row in qualifying and take a 1-2 24 hours later, Ferrari’s Hungarian weekend looks stress-free on paper, but it was quite the opposite. Vettel was metronomically brilliant in qualifying, taking pole and producing two laps within 0.002secs of each other, but knew he was in trouble from the moment the lights went out in the race, the car’s steering wheel pointing slightly to the left when traveling in a straight line, prompting the team to advise him to keep off the kerbs as much as he could, a near-impossibility at a track that seemingly never stops turning. Raikkonen was in his teammate’s wheeltracks for the entire race, but didn’t get the answer he wanted when asking to be allowed to move ahead of Vettel’s clearly compromised sister car, and spent the back half of the race under massive pressure from Hamilton. The Finn – out of contract for 2018, remember – stayed where he was, and Ferrari recorded its second 1-2 for 2017 (after Monaco, where Raikkonen was similarly unhappy), and its first 1-2 finish in Hungary since 2004 (Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, the latter of whom could probably tell Raikkonen a few stories about being Ferrari’s second driver). For all that, it’s hard to fault Ferrari’s arithmetic, given Vettel is 86 points ahead of his teammate and that the title fight essentially boils down to a three-way fight with Hamilton and Bottas.

Force India
Sergio Perez: qualified 14th, finished 8th. Esteban Ocon: qualified 12th, finished 9th.
A double-points finish – Force India’s ninth in the first 11 races – looked very unlikely on Saturday, when neither Perez nor Ocon made the top 10 in qualifying, and the team was clearly struggling to get its Mercedes-powered chassis – so competitive on high-speed tracks – to work effectively on the tight Hungaroring layout. Perez made a strong start in the race and had the seemingly obligatory stoush with his teammate – this time on the opening lap – to be the better of the pink cars on the day, finishing nine seconds ahead of Ocon on what was a good salvage job for the team.

Williams
Paul Di Resta: qualified 19th, did not finish. Lance Stroll: qualified 17th, finished 14th.
With regular driver Felipe Massa ailing with an inner ear problem, Williams brought in Di Resta for his first race since Brazil 2013 with Force India, and the DTM driver and TV pundit’s first laps for the weekend were in qualifying, in a car he’d never driven on a circuit and only in the simulator, and with next to no notice before he was strapped in. In many ways, to qualify within seven-tenths of a second of teammate Stroll – and beating Ericsson’s Sauber to not be last on the grid – made the 31-year-old one of the stars of Saturday. Completing 70 laps of one of the most physical tracks on the calendar on a scorching Budapest summer’s day was never going to be easy, but Di Resta largely stayed out of trouble and drove a clean if not particularly quick race before being stopped by an oil leak eight laps from the end. Stroll got bottled up behind Kvyat’s Toro Rosso, which was on the more durable soft-compound Pirelli tyre, for much of the race, and could make little headway from a lowly grid spot.

McLaren
Fernando Alonso: qualified 8th, finished 6th. Stoffel Vandoorne: qualified 9th, finished 10th.
It’s been a wretched year for everyone at McLaren-Honda, but Hungary shaped as a good race for the beleaguered team, the lack of straights that place a premium on sheer grunt a welcome relief for Alonso and Vandoorne. Both were instantly in the top 10 on Friday, qualified eighth and ninth on Saturday, and combined for nine points on Sunday, a huge haul considering the team had managed just two points in the first 10 races of the season. Alonso was the last car not to be lapped and, showing that there’s not a lot wrong with the McLaren chassis, set the fastest lap of the race (1min 20.182secs) on the penultimate tour. Vandoorne might have finished ahead of Ocon in ninth had it not been for a costly lap 42 pit stop when he over-shot his mechanics and caused them to scramble to change his tyres. At the end, he was just half a second behind the Force India.

Toro Rosso
Daniil Kvyat: qualified 13th, finished 11th. Carlos Sainz: qualified 10th, finished 7th.
Sainz came to Hungary in the midst of an unwanted run of outs – he’d had three non-finishes in the past four races – but came alive in Budapest, a superb 10th in qualifying coming as something of a surprise. The Spaniard had a heated battle with compatriot Alonso in the opening stages after the safety car period following Ricciardo’s retirement, and beating both Force India’s on merit was just reward for a stellar drive. Kvyat was penalised three grid positions for impeding Stroll in qualifying – the Russian now has 10 penalty points for a series of indiscretions over the past 12 months and is just two penalty points away from a one-race ban – and raced to 11th after trying an alternate tyre strategy from most of the rest of the field in an attempt to springboard into the points for the first time since Spain.

Haas
Romain Grosjean: qualified 12th, did not finish. Kevin Magnussen: qualified 16th, finished 13th.
Haas will be desperate to consign Hungary to the dustbin of history as soon as possible. Test driver Antonio Giovinazzi crashed Magnussen’s car on Friday morning, while Grosjean struggled with brakes and balance problems on a day team principal Gunther Steiner described as “brutal”. Magnussen was desperately unlucky in qualifying – his time of 1:19.095 was identical to that of Perez, but the Mexican advanced to Q2 as he’d recorded his time earlier than the Dane. In the race, a cross-threaded wheel nut did for Grosjean after he pitted on lap 22 with a slow puncture, while Magnussen was found to be at fault for shoving Hulkenberg’s Renault off the track at Turn 2 late in the race and had five seconds added to his race time, which dropped him from 11th on the road to 13th in the results. We’d tell you what he said to Hulkenberg afterwards, but perhaps Google can help you out there …

Renault
Jolyon Palmer: qualified 11th, finished 12th. Nico Hulkenberg: qualified 7th, finished 17th.
Palmer had the new floor fitted to his car that teammate Hulkenberg had used so effectively to claim sixth at Silverstone, and promptly destroyed it when he ran over the Turn 4 kerbs in opening practice. The under-pressure Briton then crashed at the final corner in second practice and buried the car in the barriers, missed Q3 by one-tenth of a second, and was out-qualified by Hulkenberg yet again – he’s now the only driver not to have beaten his teammate once in the 11 races to date. A long first stint didn’t pay off as his wait for 2017 points labours on. Hulkenberg clashed with Grosjean on the opening lap but looked like still scoring points despite being shunted back five spots on the grid for an unscheduled gearbox change, but a long pit stop caused by a sticking front-right tyre on lap 45 saw him drop to the back.

Sauber
Marcus Ericsson: qualified 20th, finished 16th. Pascal Wehrlein: qualified 18th, finished 15th.
As has been custom in recent races, Sauber made more headlines off the track for anything it did on it, the recent Honda engine deal brokered by team principal Monisha Kaltenborn before her hasty departure ripped up in favour of continuing with Ferrari power next season. In the race, both drivers made very early pit stops (Ericsson lap one, Wehrlein lap three) under the safety car to try to do something different than the rest, but needed to pit again for fresh tyres and finished only ahead of Hulkenberg’s parked Renault after 70 laps.

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Front to back: the Hungarian Grand Prix

Reviewing every F1 team and driver from Sunday’s battle of Budapest.

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM.AU

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton:
qualified 2nd, finished 1st
Nico Rosberg: qualified 1st, finished 2nd
Don’t let the final margin of victory – 1.9 seconds – fool you; this race was as good as over when Hamilton made a cleaner start than his pole-sitting teammate Rosberg, survived a bold move around the outside from Ricciardo at the first corner, and then streaked away to lead by a second after one lap at a circuit that, as the next 69 proved, is close to impossible to pass on even if the driver behind is faster, which Rosberg plainly wasn’t. Hamilton’s lead ebbed and flowed in the traffic that comes with 21 of the 22 starters finishing the race, and by the end, he’d lapped everyone up to and including Alonso in seventh. What’s more, his fifth win in Budapest set a record for the Hungarian Grand Prix, and his fifth win in the past six races this season saw him take the championship lead for the first time. Rosberg’s first podium in Hungary in 11 visits was bittersweet, as his championship lead that was established in Australia and ballooned to 43 points after Russia in round four is gone, and on current form, it’s hard to imagine him getting it back. The German’s biggest win over the weekend was signing a two-year contract extension to stay with the Silver Arrows until the end of 2018, but if those two years continue along the same lines as the past two, perhaps that won’t seem like such a victory after all. At a circuit where Mercedes hadn’t won since the advent of the V6 turbo hybrid era, the sport’s powerhouse outfit was what team principal Toto Wolff said it needed to be before the weekend – “flawless” – and then some.

Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel:
qualified 5th, finished 4th
Kimi Raikkonen: qualified 14th, finished 6th
With Mercedes doing as it pleased up front at a circuit where Red Bull and Ferrari were expected to challenge their superiority, Vettel and Raikkonen found themselves in spirited battles with Ricciardo and Verstappen respectively in the closing laps, but neither could get ahead. Vettel’s race was steady rather than spectacular for the most part, but he came after Ricciardo hard in the final stint, running out of laps to attack his former teammate and finishing six-tenths of a second adrift. The four-time champion was less than impressed by the masses of lapped traffic he encountered on the twisty Hungaroring layout, his displeasure over the team radio showing a solid grasp of English profanities. Raikkonen recovered strongly from a disastrous qualifying, and used a soft tyre-led strategy from 14th on the grid to run long in the first stint and get in the fight with the Red Bull of Verstappen, the two connecting at Turn 3 on lap 57 and leaving the Finnish veteran furious, and with bits of his front wing missing as he tried to snatch fifth to no avail. Those two extra championship points would have been handy, as Raikkonen dropped to fourth in the drivers’ standings, one point behind Ricciardo. Speaking of one point, that’s the slender margin Ferrari now leads Red Bull by in the constructors’ championship, with Mercedes – who Ferrari had targeted beating at the start of the season – a whopping 154 points in the distance.

Front to back: what happened at the British Grand Prix?

Williams
Felipe Massa:
qualified 18th, finished 18th
Valtteri Bottas: qualified 10th, finished 9th
Ninth for Bottas and a miserable weekend for Massa made it a total of just four points in the past three races for Williams, who struggled mightily at a circuit with no straights of note and plenty of twists and turns, which couldn’t play less to the FW38’s strengths. Bottas gained one place from his starting position – a result of Button’s retirement for McLaren – and was in no man’s land, seven seconds behind Sainz’s Toro Rosso and seven seconds ahead of Hulkenberg’s Force India to collect two points, while Massa’s weekend started badly and didn’t get a lot better; after crashing in qualifying, the Brazilian veteran’s build-up to the race was fraught when the team had to change his steering rack in the final minutes before the start.

Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo:
qualified 3rd, finished 3rd
Max Verstappen: qualified 4th, finished 5th
A second podium for 2016 was a long time coming for Ricciardo, especially as his other one had been at Monaco, where the second step that day left him feeling decidedly second-rate. A third podium in as many years in Hungary was just reward for being the only driver who looked capable of giving Mercedes a hard time for the entire weekend, although his final pit stop on lap 33 – an early and bold move to make Mercedes blink and perhaps pit Rosberg – almost backfired when Vettel came hard at him in the closing stages. Finishing 27 seconds from the winner at a race Red Bull targeted as perhaps its best chance for another win this season was less than the team wanted, but Ricciardo did very little wrong, and reclaimed third in the drivers’ standings. Verstappen’s race was less straightforward and more colourful – his comment that he was driving “like a grandma” early in the race was both amusing and more ammunition for those who deride the driving style required in the Pirelli tyre era, while his post-race comment about Raikkonen’s complaining after their tense battle – “I think it’s good to finally hear Kimi talk on the radio” – would have incensed the Finn even further. After showing so well against Ricciardo in their six previous races as teammates, the Australian had the Dutch teenager’s measure on this weekend – but Verstappen’s ability to keep his cool under pressure was evident once again.

Force India
Nico Hulkenberg:
qualified 10th, finished 10th
Sergio Perez: qualified 13th, finished 11th
Force India has made a habit of taking chunks of points out of Williams’ advantage for fourth in the constructors’ championship of late, but couldn’t make it happen in Hungary, Hulkenberg finishing in the same spot he started, and a communications breakdown condemning Perez to a pointless afternoon. The Mexican started ahead of Raikkonen and planned to use a similar strategy of a long stint on the softer tyre to start the race as his way through the field, but his second stop on lap 42 undid all of those gains, Perez arriving in pit lane to the surprise of his team, who didn’t have tyres ready for him. It was a familiar tale of woe at a circuit that has been less than kind to Force India; Hulkenberg’s point was the team’s first at the circuit since 2011, when Paul Di Resta finished seventh.

Renault
Jolyon Palmer:
qualified 17th, finished 12th
Kevin Magnussen: qualified 19th, finished 15th
British rookie Palmer was heading for his first F1 points while running inside the top 10 on lap 49 before he spun off at Turn 4; while he able to regroup and continue, his big chance to get off the mark was gone. “It’s a disaster because I was running 10th, I had no more pit stops – it was there for us,” he said afterwards. “It was the best drive of my career, but I spun it and we didn’t get any points. I’m gutted.” It was by far the most convincing display of the 2014 GP2 champion’s F1 career, but promising unfortunately doesn’t add up to points. Teammate Magnussen had a tough weekend too, the Dane beginning his final qualifying run on Saturday on a drying track on wet tyres rather than the appropriate intermediates, and fell backwards in the race after a long opening stint on supersoft tyres had him inside the top 10 as others around him pitted.

Toro Rosso
Daniil Kvyat:
qualified 12th, finished 16th
Carlos Sainz: qualified 6th, finished 8th
Sainz continues to impress, a season-best qualifying on Saturday after he’d struggled badly in third practice a pleasant surprise, and his cool head in finishing eighth for the fourth time this season most definitely not. The Spaniard spent most of the race in close proximity to compatriot Alonso, finishing just 3.4 seconds behind the McLaren driver after 70 laps, and jumped inside the top 10 in the drivers’ standings. Kvyat’s weekend unravelled when he was erroneously released into traffic as he attempted his final lap in Q2 on Saturday, and any chance of a top-10 finish went up in smoke when he was hit with a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane during his first pit stop. Second place in Budapest 12 months ago must seem like a very long time ago for the Russian.

Sauber
Felipe Nasr:
qualified 16th, finished 17th
Marcus Ericsson: qualified 20th, finished 20th
Nasr was one of the standouts in Q1 on Saturday, standing atop the timesheets for a time in the heavy rain, and the Brazilian made Q2 for the third time this year. Teammate Ericsson crashed in Q1 and caused one of the four red flags, and was forced to start from the pit lane in a new chassis for the second race in a row after his big shunt at Silverstone a fortnight previously. While neither driver looked likely to trouble the scorers in the race, Sauber’s troubled financial future was at least given some clarity ahead of the Hungarian round, with Swiss financial investments company Longbow Finance taking over the ownership of the team. Team principal and CEO Monisha Kaltenborn will stay on, while the team’s name – first seen in F1 in 1993 – will remain intact.

McLaren
Jenson Button:
qualified 8th, did not finish
Fernando Alonso: qualified 7th, finished 7th
Both Button and Alonso made it to Q3, the first time the team has had both cars in the top 10 in qualifying in this latest chapter in the McLaren-Honda partnership, but that was as good as it got for Button, whose race unravelled on lap five with a hydraulics issue that played havoc with his brakes, a controversial drive-through penalty for unauthorised radio communication while attempting to address the problem, and then a retirement eight laps from home with an oil leak. As for Alonso, his first points since Monaco five races ago came after a weekend of metronomic consistency …

Manor
Pascal Wehrlein:
qualified 21st, finished 19th
Rio Haryanto: qualified 22nd, finished 21st
Was Sunday Haryanto’s final Grand Prix? The Indonesian finished 21st and last of the classified runners after a heavy crash 24 hours earlier had caused the fourth red flag of a marathon qualifying session, and came on a weekend where there was plenty of paddock chatter that a funding shortfall could see McLaren test driver Stoffel Vandoorne take over from the rookie sooner rather than later. Teammate Wehrlein started a spot ahead of Haryanto, managed to beat the Sauber of Ericsson, and finished more than half a minute ahead of the man in the sister car – for now at least.

Haas
Romain Grosjean:
qualified 11th, finished 14th
Esteban Gutierrez: qualified 15th, finished 13th
Grosjean so very nearly found himself back in Q3 for the first time since round two in Bahrain, missing out by one-tenth of a second on Saturday, while teammate Gutierrez was 1.2secs and four places further back. The Frenchman put the brakes on Raikkonen’s charge in the early stages with some spirited defence before fading, while Gutierrez earned the ire of race-leader Hamilton – and an angry hand gesture from the world champion – when he was being lapped late in the race, Gutierrez hit with a five-second time penalty after the chequered flag fell that dropped him behind Palmer’s Renault.

The Hungary games

What to watch for as the F1 battle for Budapest heats up this weekend.

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM.AU

The F1 traveling roadshow rolls on to Budapest this weekend, with the Hungarian Grand Prix the first leg of yet another back-to-back with Germany that will see the weary teams, drivers and small armies of personnel to their mid-season break. And with the championship lead poised to change hands for the first time all year, inter-team rivalries hotting up and Mercedes looking to conquer its bogey track, there’s plenty of talking points ahead of round 11 of the season.

1. Can Hamilton make his point?
Two more points than Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg will do, as that’s all reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton needs to snare the series lead for the first time this year after the German dominated the opening part of the season. The Briton comes to Budapest with four wins in the past five races, and if he salutes on Sunday, he’ll become the most successful driver in the history of the Hungarian Grand Prix with five victories. Hamilton’s first win for Mercedes – when victories for the Silver Arrows were rare – came in Budapest in 2013, but he’s had two scruffy races at the Hungaroring since, an engine fire in qualifying and a row over team orders with Rosberg seeing him finish third in 2014, and he was sixth last year after an off on the opening lap. Hamilton’s momentum appears irresistible, and you can’t help but wonder if Rosberg will lead the championship again this season if he’s beaten by his teammate on Sunday.

2. Seeing Red?
Hamilton will be desperate to finish in front of Rosberg, but will he finish ahead of everyone else? Recent history suggests it will be tough – remarkably, given their domination everywhere else, the Hungaroring is the only circuit where Mercedes hasn’t won since the advent of the V6 turbo hybrid era, Daniel Ricciardo winning for Red Bull in 2014, and Sebastian Vettel taking victory for Ferrari 12 months ago. While Max Verstappen won in Spain and Ricciardo could have won in Barcelona (and absolutely should have in Monaco), Hungary was the race Red Bull would have surely circled at the start of the season, its lack of anything resembling a long straight and seemingly endless succession of medium-speed corners playing right into the hands of the RB12. And Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff knows it. “We will need to be flawless to come out on top at this track,” he said earlier this week. “We face a very different challenge – this circuit has not been kind to us over the past two years, and it plays to the strengths of our rivals. The Red Bull is a car that functions well where high drag isn’t penalised as much as at other types of circuit.”

Front to back: what happened at the British Grand Prix?

Against the backdrop of the inter-term rivalry that’s bubbling at Red Bull, the Ricciardo v Verstappen fight this weekend could well be for the biggest prize on offer. Verstappen has scored 77 points to Ricciardo’s 64 and taken three podiums to one in the six races they’ve been teammates, but the Australian is dynamite in Budapest, backing up his victory there two years ago with third last season.

3. Remember me?
Carlos Sainz has been the ‘other’ guy in Red Bull’s quartet of drivers this year, going about his business as former Toro Rosso teammate Verstappen was promoted to the senior team, Ricciardo was taking a mesmerising pole at Monaco, and Daniil Kvyat was demoted back to the company’s ‘B’ team after a calamitous race in Russia. But the Spaniard has shone of late, scoring points in five of the past six races, and fighting the good fight with a chassis propelled by a year-old Ferrari power plant that’s starting to look a little breathless – at the last race at Silverstone, the Toro Rosso was slower than only the Renault and the Honda-powered McLaren through the speed trap, but the Spaniard still managed to make Q3 and raced to eighth 24 hours later. Sitting 12th in the championship isn’t going to win Sainz too many headlines, but he’s doing a very strong job.

4. Stopping to go faster?
It’s the question teams wrestle with in the season ahead of a major regulatory change – how much time and money do you spend on developing a car that’s soon to become obsolete? With less than half of the season remaining and the new-for-2017 rules approaching at the speed of a Mercedes – rules that mandate wider cars with wider tyres, a shorter rear wing and, perhaps, some form of cockpit head protection – is it worth chasing performance and allocating resources to climb a spot or two in the constructors’ race, or is it better to think solely of next season?
Ferrari came into the season confident of challenging Mercedes but are now looking over their shoulders for second in the constructors’ race, the Prancing Horse now just six points ahead of the stampeding Red Bulls. Short of Vettel reprising his Budapest brilliance from last year, will the week after Hungary see a change of focus at Maranello?
Further down the grid, Force India is grappling with balancing an unforeseen opportunity to chase a best-ever constructors’ result with the harsh realities of development and expense for next season. The Indian-owned British-based squad is only 19 points behind fourth-placed Williams with 11 races to go and has superior momentum, but the upgrade introduced for the Spanish Grand Prix, which featured a new front wing, floor and sidepods, will be the team’s last.
“If I said we wanted to continue development during 2016 just to beat Williams, then I might compromise myself in 2017,” team principal Vijay Mallya said.
“2017 is a big opportunity for us to be really competitive, and I don’t want to lose that opportunity; 100 per cent of our resources are on ’17. There will be no more development on this year’s car.”

5. F1’s changing face
Hungary represented a seismic shift for F1 when the sport went behind what was the ‘Iron Curtain’ in 1986, but times have changed, and fast. Thirty years on from that first race (which featured one of the best overtakes in F1 history when Nelson Piquet put some manners on Ayrton Senna), the Hungaroring has become just the 10th track in F1 history to host 30 races, and only six circuits on this year’s calendar have held more Grands Prix.
The global imprint of F1 may have expanded, but genuine passing opportunities at the sinuous circuit remain slim. One statistical nugget to consider when watching this weekend unfold: just two of the 30 races in Hungary have been won from outside the first two rows on the grid, making qualifying more important than usual – and Red Bull’s chances of Sunday success hinging very much on what it can do on Saturday. Q3 will be very, very tense.