This weekend marks round eleven of the championship, as well as the last race before the five week summer break, during which the teams must shut their factories down for a mandatory two week period. Hungary will play host to the race this weekend, an alternative home GP for Finnish drivers Kimi Räikkönen and Heikki Kovalainen, both of whom have won here before. The big talking point heading into the weekend is the controversy surrounding Red Bull’s engine mapping, which caused a stir before the German GP, when the FIA Technical Delegate Jo Bauer referred it to the stewards as he thought it to be against the regulations. Red Bull were allowed to race but have since been forced to make changes before this weekend’s race. Fernando Alonso took another commanding victory in Germany, extending his title lead, can he be stopped in Hungary?
Hungarian GP Stats
Circuit Name: Hungaroring
Number of Laps: 70
Circuit Length: 4.381km
Lap Record: 1:19.071 M Schumacher (2004)
2011 Results: 1. Jenson Button 2. Sebastian Vettel 3. Fernando Alonso
There are seven previous Hungarian GP winners still on the grid: Jenson Button, Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton, Heikki Kovalainen, Kimi Räikkönen, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso.
Last Time Out
Fernando Alonso took another convincing win at the German GP just three days ago after securing pole position in another wet qualifying. He was hustled throughout the race by Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button although neither were able to catch or overtake. The race marked a return to form for Button, who has been struggling of late, as McLaren’s upgrades seemed to make a substantial difference to both his and Lewis Hamilton’s car, although Hamilton was unable to finish the race due to an early puncture. During the race Hamilton was seen fighting with and even un-lapping himself against Vettel which created a number of heated debates after the race. Vettel branded it “stupid” as it got in the way of his battle for the lead, but Hamilton was faster and had every right to make the move, as it is not stated in the rules that you cannot unlap yourself – and why should it be? On the way to second place in the race McLaren recorded the fastest pit-stop EVER (2.31s) – another positive for the team who look to be on the up once again. Vettel did finish the race in second place but was demoted to fifth with a 20s post-race penalty after he illegally overtook Button with all four wheels on the run-off area. Kimi Räikkönen took another podium after being promoted to third with Kamui Kobayashi an impressive fourth for Sauber with Sergio Perez in sixth for the team.
McLaren have said they are bringing further upgrades to their car for the Hungarian GP as they look to get back into both title fights. They are the most successful team at the Hungaroring, with four of the last five GPs here being won by them, so they look to have a good chance coming into the weekend, especially if it stays dry. Alonso has proven to be the on form guy at the minute with Felipe Massa, despite an accident in Germany, looking fast at recent races. Ferrari currently lie second in the constructors championship, but a continuation of their recent form, particularly that of Alonso, could see them close the gap to Red Bull. Sauber had a strong race last time out, as did Räikkönen for Lotus, with Grosjean unfortunate in qualifying and the race. It could prove to be a close battle for qualifying and the race, and with pole position, or at least positions higher up the grid, more important here than the likes of Germany, then getting all the performance out of the car on Saturday could be crucial. Heikki Kovalainen and Button both had their first victories in Hungary so could this weekend throw up another new winner or will it be one of the ‘old guard’ crossing the line first on Sunday?
Local Hungarian Time
Free Practice 1 10:00 Friday
Free Practice 2 14:00 Friday
Free Practice 3 11:00 Saturday
Qualifying 14:00 Saturday
Race 14:00 Sunday
Don’t forget to check The H Duct for Free Practice, Qualifying and Race reports with a post-race discussion over at EnterF1.