It’s certainly a quick turnaround. After having just finished digesting the German Grand Prix, we now start the process all over again and within a week of the previous instalment, we have another weekend preview, as the teams and drivers begin preparing in Hungary. The Hungaroring is often described as Monaco without the walls and this is understandable, as the relentless cornering through low and medium speed turns requires substantial mechanical grip. It is certainly a challenging circuit, but these very same challenges can often make for thrilling races. Consequently, its fair to say that most fans and pundits have high hopes for another exciting weekend.
- The Hungaroring has been the home of the Hungarian Grand Prix since 1986.
- The Hungarian Grand Prix was the first race to ever be held behind the Iron Curtain.
- The circuit is 4.381km long and the race will be comprised of 70 laps on Sunday.
- Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton both have four victories at the circuit, with the latter winning for McLaren in 2007, 2009 and 2012, with his fourth win coming in 2013 – his first for Mercedes.
- McLaren have won 11 of the previous 23 races at the Hungaroring.
Rewind 12 Months…
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Well, its the final round before the summer hiatus and therefore, the Hungarian Grand Prix carries a much greater significance than most Grand Prix, (although, perhaps not in the case of Abu Double). No team wants to enter the summer break on the back of a difficult weekend and a good points haul in Hungary can usually stimulate a successful summer. However, perhaps those drivers not driving a silver arrow will have to treat P3 as a victory this weekend as it is difficult, as always in 2014, to see past the Mercedes duo. I will come to them later.
So, P3 is perhaps the position to debate. The non-Mercedes spot on the podium has been claimed by Valtteri Bottas in recent times, but considering the nature of the Hungaroring, the Finn will have to put in his best performance yet if he is hoping to grab a fourth consecutive podium spot. The upgrades may bring Williams into play for a strong points haul, but perhaps Red Bull will be out of reach on this occasion. Another Daniel Ricciardo podium may be a safe bet this weekend, but both Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso will be looking to make experience count.
As for Hamilton and Rosberg…toss a coin? History suggests that Lewis Hamilton will take the chequered flag, but history suggested that Nico Rosberg would win in Bahrain, and looked what happened then! Ultimately, Lewis’ past visits make him my favourite for the victory but Nico will obviously be a huge threat this weekend. If they both perform on Saturday, it could be a tense race, with overtaking opportunities at a premium. Excitement will hopefully not be at a premium.