Budapest: Game on in the championship

Budapest: Game on in the championship

25 July 2012 – The Hungaroring is known as tight, twisty, complex and boring. The people who say such things have probably not been watching closely enough, as the circuit on the outskirts of Budapest has hosted a few of the most exciting Grands Prix in recent years. Once again, it has the job of kick-starting the second half of an F1 campaign.

Hungary debuted on the F1 calendar in 1986. Back then, Nélson Piquet slid his way past Ayrton Senna for victory on the outside of Turn 1. Last year, in his 200th Grand Prix start, Jenson Button picked up his second win of the season; it’s possible a similar result could come out of this weekend because McLaren are back in touch.

Here we go...the second half of F1 2012 promises to be absolutely scintillating
Who would have expected Button to chase down and challenge Fernando Alonso for the win in Germany? No, neither did I. The McLaren upgrades – notably new sidepods and a rear wing – paid dividends and more new parts are being finished in Woking this week, ready to ship straight out to the Carpathian Basin.

What cost McLaren at Hockenheim was the wet qualifying session. Button could manage no more than seventh in Q3 and – while that meant he out-qualified Lewis Hamilton for the first time this year – it simply was not good enough. Alonso did a superb job of controlling a race from pole and, just as Juan Manuel Fangio would have recommended, won at the slowest possible speed without damaging his tyres. We saw Hamilton suffer a puncture before catching Alonso and Sebastian Vettel when a lap down – and that was all the proof we needed that McLaren are back.

Alonso will lead the championship as we head into the summer break. A quite sensational thought when you consider that his best qualifying lap for the Australian Grand Prix was one and a half seconds slower than the Hamilton pole time. That’s massive. Ferrari’s recovery has been staggering but they are still more aware than anybody that the improvement isn’t enough yet, not least as McLaren are renowned in-season developers and that the silver cars are already threatening once again.

2006: Button clinches a maiden career win for Honda
For us F1 reporters and fans alike, the most exciting fact is that we still have just as many races to run as we have already seen in 2012…and that means just as many surprises. The only difference is that we now start a ten-race scrap with a championship order to go by, whereas in Melbourne it was zeros all round. So, just who will be quickest in Hungary? Of the eight races held there since 2005, McLaren have won five, meaning history is in their favour just as the current form is. One huge outside factor is the weather…most of us expected a bright and boiling few days, but the forecasters are not ruling out a few spots of rain!

Can Ferrari keep up their great run? It will be harder this time. As highlighted by Alonso himself, the Hungaroring is only 2.7 miles long – equating to a 70-lap race – meaning that the times will be even tighter than usual. You can rest assured that the Spaniard will be more than pleased if he manages a front row start, with the like of McLaren and Red Bull to contend with. We should also watch out for Lotus, who excel in the hot conditions, and yet more Red Bull engine mapping stories…

One final note. In the last decade, only one man has prevented the pole-sitter from leading into the second corner in Hungary. That was Felipe Massa, at the wheel of a Ferrari in 2008. Is anyone brave enough to bet against them this time?

At a glance:
- Hungaroring pole position sitters
- Hungaroring Grand Prix winners

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The facts: Hungaroring
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Michael Schumacher holds the Hungaroring lap record
Laps 70

Direction Clockwise

Corners 14

Length 4.381 km / 2.722 mi

First championship race 1986

First winner Nélson Piquet – Williams-Honda

Lap record 1:19.071 / M. Schumacher / Ferrari / 2004

Local start time 2pm (BST +1)

Slick Pirelli tyre compounds
Medium (white markings) & Soft (yellow markings)

DRS zone
Detection: 5 metres before Turn 14
Activation: 70 metres after Turn 14, along the start/finish straight

FIA driver steward
Danny Sullivan

2011 pole position sitter
Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull-Renault

2011 Grand Prix winner
Jenson Button – McLaren-Mercedes
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Circuit changes for 2012
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
- Track resurfaced at final corner, Turn 14
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Gregory Haines
GPUpdate.net Editor

related

Comments

Latest News
Full
Compact

  1. Saturday 23 July 2016

  2. Rosberg expects to keep Hungary pole 15:48

    Rosberg expects to keep Hungary pole

    Nico Rosberg expects to keep pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix, despite suggestions that he drove too fast under yellow…

    F1
  3. 15:04

    Hungarian Grand Prix: Qualifying results

    F1
  4. Rosberg snatches pole in eventful qualifying 15:02

    Rosberg snatches pole in eventful qualifying

    Nico Rosberg snatched pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix from Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton amid late yellow flags…

    F1
  5. 12:46

    Follow qualifying for the Hungarian GP!

    F1
  6. FIA warns of drive-through over track limits 11:11

    FIA warns of drive-through over track limits

    Formula 1 Race Director Charlie Whiting has warned that drivers are likely to receive drive-through penalties if they repeatedly…

    F1
  7. 11:04

    Hungarian Grand Prix: Full Practice 3 results

    F1
  8. Rosberg tops FP3, Red Bull splits Mercedes 11:03

    Rosberg tops FP3, Red Bull splits Mercedes

    Nico Rosberg edged out Max Verstappen by two thousandths of a second during Saturday morning's final free practice session for…

    F1
  9. 09:52

    Follow final practice for the Hungarian GP!

    F1
  10. De Vries takes stunning maiden GP3 pole 09:27

    De Vries takes stunning maiden GP3 pole

    McLaren young driver Nyck de Vries secured his maiden GP3 pole position with a stunning last-gasp effort during qualifying at…

    GP3
  11. Haas: No driver decision until after Monza 08:20

    Haas: No driver decision until after Monza

    Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner says the squad will not make a decision on its 2017 driver line-up until after the European…

    F1
  12. Video of the Day: Newgarden quizzed 05:26

    Video of the Day: Newgarden quizzed

    IndyCar quizzes Josef Newgarden on his knowledge of the series and his own motor racing career.

    Indy
  13. Friday 22 July 2016

  14. 17:02

    Latest F1 photos: Friday at Hungaroring

    F1
  15. Recurring fuel issue hampers Palmer 16:45

    Recurring fuel issue hampers Palmer

    Renault driver Jolyon Palmer was left to rue a recurring fuel system issue which restricted his running during Friday's practice…

    F1
  16. Vettel: Mercedes' advantage no surprise 16:44

    Vettel: Mercedes' advantage no surprise

    Sebastian Vettel says Mercedes' advantage over the field during Friday practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix came as no surprise…

    F1
  17. Bottas, Sainz Jr. reprimanded over pit entry 16:19

    Bottas, Sainz Jr. reprimanded over pit entry

    Valtteri Bottas and Carlos Sainz Jr. have been reprimanded by the Hungarian Grand Prix stewards for pit entry violations during…

    F1
  18. Rosberg lauds 'impressive' opening day 15:43

    Rosberg lauds 'impressive' opening day

    Nico Rosberg hailed an "impressive" Mercedes performance during Friday practice at the Hungaroring as the team dominated the…

    F1
  19. 15:34

    Latest GP2 photos: Friday at Hungaroring

    GP2
  20. Gasly flies to GP2 pole position in Hungary 15:32

    Gasly flies to GP2 pole position in Hungary

    Red Bull junior driver Pierre Gasly set three lap times quick enough for pole position as he dominated GP2 qualifying at the…

    GP2
  21. Hamilton apologises to Mercedes for shunt 15:22

    Hamilton apologises to Mercedes for shunt

    Lewis Hamilton has apologised to Mercedes after his accident during Friday's second practice session for the Hungarian Grand…

    F1
  22. Ricciardo sure Red Bull is second best 15:05

    Ricciardo sure Red Bull is second best

    Daniel Ricciardo says he and Red Bull are "where we expected to be" after finishing second to Mercedes during Friday practice in…

    F1
  23. 14:34

    Hungarian Grand Prix: Full Practice 2 results

    F1
  24. Rosberg fastest in FP2 as Hamilton crashes 14:33

    Rosberg fastest in FP2 as Hamilton crashes

    Nico Rosberg set the pace during Friday afternoon's second free practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, again comfortably…

    F1
  25. Hamilton checked over after FP2 crash 13:42

    Hamilton checked over after FP2 crash

    Lewis Hamilton was checked over at the Hungaroring medical centre following his crash in Friday afternoon's second practice…

    F1
  26. 12:52

    Follow second practice for the Hungarian GP!

    F1
  27. Formula V8 3.5 grid reduced to 13 drivers 12:39

    Formula V8 3.5 grid reduced to 13 drivers

    Absentees mean that the Formula V8 3.5 grid has been reduced to just 13 drivers for the British round of the championship at…

    FV8 3.5
  28. Leclerc feels he could handle GP3/F1 step 11:58

    Leclerc feels he could handle GP3/F1 step

    Ferrari youngster Charles Leclerc says he would feel ready to make the step up from the GP3 Series to Formula 1 for 2017 if such…

    F1
  29. Video: Nico Rosberg/Toto Wolff on new deal 11:02

    Video: Nico Rosberg/Toto Wolff on new deal

    Nico Rosberg and Toto Wolff comment on the German's two-year contract extension with Mercedes.

    F1
  30. Mercedes sees Rosberg as the 'real deal' 10:55

    Mercedes sees Rosberg as the 'real deal'

    Toto Wolff has described Nico Rosberg as the "real deal" after the German signed a contract extension, tying him to Mercedes…

    F1
  31. 10:36

    Hungarian Grand Prix: Full Practice 1 results

    F1
  32. Hamilton leads Rosberg in first practice 10:35

    Hamilton leads Rosberg in first practice

    Lewis Hamilton edged out team-mate Nico Rosberg during Friday's first free practice session for the Hungarian Grand Prix, which…

    F1
  33. 08:52

    Follow first practice for the Hungarian GP

    F1
  34. Rosberg signs two-year contract extension 08:18

    Rosberg signs two-year contract extension

    Nico Rosberg has signed a new two-year contract extension at Mercedes, after a drawn-out negotiation process, taking him through…

    F1
  35. Magnussen optimistic of new Renault deal 06:45

    Magnussen optimistic of new Renault deal

    Kevin Magnussen says he is optimistic that he will remain with Renault in 2017, as it bids to move up the Formula 1 grid, though…

    F1
  36. Video of the Day: Vettel's Hungary guide 05:12

    Video of the Day: Vettel's Hungary guide

    Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel previews this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit.

    F1
  37. Thursday 21 July 2016

  38. 17:12

    Latest F1 photos: Thursday at Hungaroring

    F1
  39. Rosberg dismisses suggestions of pressure 17:11

    Rosberg dismisses suggestions of pressure

    Nico Rosberg has dismissed suggestions that he is feeling the pressure after his 43-point advantage over Lewis Hamilton was cut…

    F1
  40. Vettel blasts 'bulls**t' radio issues, track limits 15:39

    Vettel blasts 'bulls**t' radio issues, track limits

    Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel has hit out at radio restrictions, labelling them as "complete bulls**t", and has also criticised the…

    F1
  41. Ericsson hails Sauber ownership change 14:27

    Ericsson hails Sauber ownership change

    Marcus Ericsson hailed Sauber's change of ownership as "very good news" after the Swiss team confirmed that Longbow Finance had…

    F1
  42. Gutiérrez says he has 2017 F1 deal 14:15

    Gutiérrez says he has 2017 F1 deal

    Haas driver Esteban Gutiérrez says he will remain on the Formula 1 grid into the 2017 season, though could not offer a…

    F1
  43. Bottas queries revised radio regulations 13:48

    Bottas queries revised radio regulations

    Williams driver Valtteri Bottas has queried the revised radio regulations, and potential penalties, amid tweaks for this…

    F1
more news