2014: Hungarian Grand Prix Preview

Before Formula One heads into its mid-season break there is time for one more race. The Hungarian Grand Prix will be the last race before the summer break which will see the factories going into shutdown for two weeks. Last time out there was another Mercedes victory but Lewis Hamilton fell short of making it a 1-2 after having to fight through the field following a qualifying accident. Valtteri Bottas took his third podium finish in a row, finishing in second place between the two Mercedes drivers.

Circuit: Hungaroring
Number of Laps: 70
Circuit Length:4.381km
Number of Corners: 14
Lap Record: 1:19.071 Michael Schumacher (2004)
Previous Hungarian Grand Prix winners still on the grid: 4
Most Successful Team:McLaren (11 wins)
DRS Zones: 2    
Pirelli Tyres: Medium and Soft

It’s hard to be believe that the mid-point of the season has already passed and the Hungarian Grand Prix will be the eleventh race of the year. Mercedes have won 9 races with Daniel Ricciardo the only other driver to stand on the top step of the podium.

Lewis Hamilton is the most successful current F1 driver in Hungary with four victories – tied with Michael Schumacher for overall most successful F1 driver there – including his first win for Mercedes at the track last year. Hamilton has won for the last two years and also won in 2007 and 2009. He will no doubt be hoping to retake the initiative in the Drivers Championship with another win. For every year that Hamilton has won the Hungarian Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen has finished second. The Finn has finished no higher than seventh this year and is languishing well behind his team-mate in the championship so a podium finish for him would be just what he needs to rejuvenate his season. Hungary has also been a location for first wins – Fernando Alonso in 2003, Jenson Button in 2006 and Heikki Kovalainen in 2008. With the form that Bottas has been of late, could he be Formula One’s next winner?

The Hungaroring has also been a happy hunting ground for McLaren with them winning six of the last ten races in Hungary. The Woking based squad started the year with two podium finishes in Australia but have gone backwards since then. They believe that recent upgrades have set them back on the right track however. Force India and Ferrari have scored at every round so far thanks to Nico Hulkenberg and Alonso and both teams have one podium apiece (Sergio Perez & Alonso). Red Bull may currently lie second in the championship but they should be watching over their shoulders for Williams who have enjoyed a string of good results with Bottas while Felipe Massa has been unlucky to retire from the last two races on the first lap.

The Hungarian Grand Prix has been a constant on the Formula One World Championship calendar since 1986. The Hungaroring has often been likened to a street circuit due to its tight and twisty nature and the low grip. It may lack the barriers of Monaco but it still provides drivers with a challenge as they navigate their way around the 4.381km track. Another similarity to the likes of Monaco is that it is a difficult track to overtake at, placing higher importance on qualifying position. Saying that, it is not a requirement to start on the front row to win there as Button proved in 2006 when he raced to his first Formula One victory from 14th on the grid.

The Hungaroring is a circuit which requires maximum downforce and is also the slowest on the calendar. It is also somewhere where hot conditions can have an impact. Pirelli will be bringing the medium and soft compound tyres expecting two stops to be the order of the day on Sunday. In relation to last year the track remains relatively the same, although there have been a few adjustments. The guardrail to the left of the run-off area at Turn 3 has been realigned while 50mm speed bumps have been instulled on the run-off area at Turns 6 and 7. New fencing has been installed between Turns 11 & 12 and around the outside of 14.

Can anyone stop Mercedes from securing their tenth win of the season?

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