Clip The Apex
For the 32nd time in a row the F1 circus rolls into Mogyorod just outside Budapest for another race at the Hungaroring. 11 out of the last 13 F1 world champions have won a race in Hungary making it a badge of honour. The two that never won at Hungary by the way are Nico Rosberg and Alain Prost. The circuit now has to be regarded as an F1 Classic and unlike Silverstone and Monza there never seems to be any talk of it dropping off the calendar. This suggests to me they have a pretty dam good contract. I don’t even know who backs it but I don’t see it making more money that Silverstone so I can only conclude they are paying cheap rates.
In recent times the race has thrown up unpredictable results and actually was voted CTA race of the year 3 times in a row from 2013 to 2015. The track itself was resurface in 2016 and is no longer the dust bowl it used to be. The new tarmac made it much faster last year and with the new cars I imagine it’ll be off the charts this season. The twisting turning nature of the track means that a lack of engine power is no longer the disadvantage it usually is. This should catapult Red Bull into the mix for the win and Mclaren into the upper midfield battle. This can only be good for us watching. Verstappen has a point to prove and will be praying his car holds out on him whilst Ricciardo is in the form of his life at the moment as seen by his charge back through the field at Silverstone. The Mclaren drivers are also on form, Alonso always comes to life when he knows the cameras are on him and Vandorne had his best performance of the season last time out.
The main focus will of course be on the title challenge with just 1 point now between Hamilton and Vettel. If you look at the past performances here you’d say Hamilton’s was a mixed bagged compared to his results elsewhere but it eclipses Vettel’s easily who has not done well here in the past. The other title contender is of course Bottas who has shown a ton of speed of late and really has nothing to lose. Any ideas Hamilton has about using Bottas as a number 2 will have to wait until later in the season. Which of course brings us to Kimi Raikonnen who will of course be once again playing Vettel’s wingman. I don’t expect Kimi to go well here and imagine a lot of complaints about grip coming over the radio.
Hungary is always the last race before the Summer Holidays (Or if you’re Lewis Hamilton you call it ‘Yet more Holidays’) so has an end of term feeling about it. Apparently the drivers are allowed to bring toys and board games in, whilst Charlie Whiting wheels a big TV into the safety briefing so they can all watch Flight of the Navigator as a treat. Consequently there is always a bit of rough and tumble in the field. I expect Ocon and Perez to be on exactly the same piece of track again and both of them to get very passive aggressive about it. The Sauber pairing might go from hitting each other on the track(3 races in a row) to hitting each other off it (My moneys on Ericsson in a fight), whilst gethinceri's favourite driver Kvyat will probably torpedo most of the field off the first corner. Williams will probably disappear into insignificance, Grosjean will moan about the brakes and Carlos Sainz will sigh heavily. The drivers will be united though when they present Jolyon Palmer with a leaving cake that says on it “Thanks for coming” in frosted icing.
I always enjoy this race and I just have a sneaky feeling about a Danny Ric win. Having said that we all know how wrong my predictions can be.
We can only hope that Silverstone is closer in the action to Baku than to Austria, which is probably in the running for one of the dullest races this year.
The weather may well come to the rescue at Silverstone, it is often, windy, wet and frequently cold. It's also very flat and used to be very fast until the powers that be decided that fast wasn't really what F1 is about. So starting at Woodcote in 1975 started to make changes to slow the track down. In 1990-91 the tracks transformation from super fast to technical was pretty much complete, although they still tinker and tweak it from time to time. Now they may well be taking a break from 2019 until .....? But we shall know by the time the race is run next week-end.
They say that they can't afford to host the race anymore, and when you look at the other races round the world many are government backed, or at least backed by very rich oil countries, it becomes obvious that to keep pace is not easy, Silverstone does not get Government backing. Who does?
There is a suggestion that Liberty Media buy Silverstone, but that is only a suggestion. There is also a suggestion that the British GP should be run around the Docklands area of London, that might be fun. But it should all be clear soon.
As to the racing this weekend, well if it's wet, the driving conditions will be trickier, which is always good. If it's dry it could well be another Austria. Whatever the conditions, it will favour the Mercedes and the Ferrari, well the Ferrari driven by Vettel anyway, if Raikkonen can be bothered it would favour his Ferrari as well. Hamilton needs a win and I'm sure he would be happy if Vettel's car stuttered to a halt mid race. Meanwhile Bottas just goes quietly about the business of being Bottas and collecting a useful hoard of points.
The Red Bulls are getting better, but it would be brilliant if Max Verstappens car held together for a race. Danni R is doing a good job of point collecting, but two Red Bulls stealing points would be better for the championship. The rest of the field are all very close, and that includes the Williams which I was hoping would be closer to the top teams than the mid field this year, but Lance Stroll is developing which can only be a good thing.
As for McLaren, well what can you say ?
For those of you going to Silverstone I hope it's a fabulous race weekend, for those of you camping at Silverstone I hope the rain holds off.
But for the sake of an interesting race, I hope we get lots of "showers" on Sunday afternoon.