• Matthieu Piekarski

#18 Hungarian Grand Prix Preview

After a 3 weeks little holiday, we are back, unfortunately just for a weekend before heading to the annual summer F1 holiday for 4 weeks. Without any further ado: Welcome to the 2015 Pirelli Magyar Nagdij Grand Prix!

Jules Bianchi

We begin this blog post with the sad news concerning Jules Bianchi. It is in times such as these that you question life’s fairness, especially towards those that are living their dream and passion. Jules, was undisputedly a rising star, from scoring the first points in Monaco last year for the Marussia team. In F1, sometime we are blinded by the performance and the front field, we rarely have the occasion to explore the personality of less popular driver. It’s only when its too late that we say this, as Jules was described as the most humble, loyal and down to earth pilot of the grid. His legendary #17 has become a sign that Jules will never be forgotten as the FIA have withdrawn this number from the number list F1 future drivers can chose from.

Now Jules is racing alongside angels in paradise and definitely running in the lead.

This weekend, there will be a minute of silence in honor of Jules Bianchi. You can show your support and thoughts for Jules under the hashtag #CiaoJules .

Hungaroring Circuit Description

The 4.381 km long circuit is located 20 km north-east of Budapest, the capital of Hungary. A very tight and twisty race track that has been since 1986 a Formula 1 venue, providing us with some great racing. Bear in mind, last year Daniel Ricciardo won the race for Red Bull!

Pirelli is bringing its Medium (White marking) and Soft (Yellow marking) tyre compounds this weekend. The expected performance gap between the two compounds is in the region of 1.2-1.5 seconds/lap.

The particularity of this circuit lies for spectators, as from certain vantage points you can see most of the circuit, something unique and probably envying other race venues. From a technical point of view, the Hungaroring is the complete opposite from Silverstone, where Silverstone was a fast and flowing circuit. Here in Hungary, the circuit is among the slowest of all season with seemingly non-.stop series of technical corners. The tyres are constantly solicited all around the track, except in the pit straight. The big challenge, will be the weather conditions as Hungary is in known in July to have extreme heat temperatures.

In regards to the weather, Friday morning until midday is expected to be rainy. While Saturday will see 37 degrees temperatures with a steaming sun, advantage Ferrari for a front grid position? Race day will be sunny with clouds.

I just wanted to take this opportunity to slide in a small paragraph concerning the latest F1 simulation game. Since F1 2015 the videogame has been released, I had the time to play and drive around the Hungaroring. What a pleasure it was, this circuit has become one of my favorite, the trickiest part is negotiating the chicane in turns 6 and 7. It is definetely not an easy circuit to overtake without colliding into someone else, therefore race strategy is crucial around this corner.

Things to watch out for:

  • Last year winning race strategy was a three pit stops, taking into consideration that the race started under wet conditions.

  • Hungaroring is often compared to Singapore (well known to be the most physically demanding track of the year for drivers).

  • “Monaco without the walls” that is how Daniel Ricciardo describes the Hungaroring circuit.

  • With only one significant straight throughout the circuit, tyres do not have enough opportunity to cool down. Expect degradation surprises.

  • Well balanced circuit in regards to traction, braking and lateral energy. A disadvantage for Williams most certainly.

  • Honda have said their engine will have full use of ERS, so expect to see McLaren probably going into Q2 with much more ease.

  • As this is the last GP before the summer break, expect a lot of gossip in order to maintain the flow of speculations during the 4 weeks holiday.

  • NEW record in perspective

  • If Lewis and Nico both make it onto the podium this weekend, it will be the 10th consecutive race that a F1 team has had two drivers on the podium. Something that has never happened in the history of the sport.

  • It has been over a decade since a driver won at the Hungaroring, went on to become World Champion.

  • Slow track with an average speed of 187 km/h.

  • 70 laps clockwise on race day

  • 49% of the time on full throttle.

  • High Brake wear.

  • 15% likelihood for a safety car.

  • 22 seconds perfect pit stop time to retain place.

  • 30% chance of the pole-sitter to win the race.

  • High downforce and numerous slow corners will favor more mechanical grip and low-speed traction. Engine power does not play a big importance here.

  • Very dusty track, slippery accidents unavoidable throughout the weekend.

  • Friday practice will be very misleading, don’t get your hopes up too much if you are supporting a team outside of Mercedes AMG.

  • Limited overtaking possibilities.

  • Lewis Hamilton has won four out of the total eight times he raced in Hungary.

  • Much emphasis will be placed on race strategy.

Predictions for the weekend:

Mercedes AMG, undoubtedly are once again the favorite this weekend. Lewis holds an excellent record here and could become the most victorious driver in Hungary this weekend. But never underestimated Nico Rosberg, he is gaining momentum race by race. It will be a close battle between both of them, with a risk of being played strategy wise by another team for the win. A team such as Ferrari.

Ferrari is in a position where this weekend it needs to re-establish itself as the clear best of the rest after Mercedes AMG. The condition are optimal for them to showcase this, as Pirelli is brining tyres which Vettel won in Malaysia. The weather conditions will be in their favor in regards to heating the tyres much faster, which in the previous races was a weakness. The third place on the podium will be a Ferrari driver in my opinion.

Renault powered, will disturb the hierarchy this weekend from 4th until 10th place. Monaco was a good illustration and one that mirrors this weekend, as engine power does not play a crucial factor. Therefore, I estimate that Red Bull will be aiming to beat Mercedes customer cars including Williams. They will be behind Ferrari.

Mercedes Powered teams, especially Williams will suffer this weekend. I do not expect them to be behind the Ferrar’sis and potentially behind Red Bull. One thing is for sure it will give us a good fight in the middle pack.

McLaren have a very good chance to score points this weekend. I am confident they will easily make it into Q2 in qualifying and potentially put one car into Q3. Race wise, if they can maintain the reliability they will have at least one car in the top ten to score points. Plus Honda, has promised to unleash the full power of the engine, allowing us to see the performance gap they have with Mercedes AMG.

Bet Quotes for the winner of the #HungarianGP :

1. Lewis Hamilton 1.30

2. Nico Rosberg 2.50

3. Sebastian Vettel 6.00

4. Kimi Raikkonen 12.00

Enjoy the Hungarian Grand Prix!

Don’t forget to follow me throughout the weekend for pics and roundup of the weekend’s paddock gossip on my Twitter: @m_piekarski

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