Grand Prix 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

After just 7 days the F1 circus rolls on to Hungary after an entertaining Grand Prix in Germany where Fernando Alonso won his third grand prix of the season to extend his lead at the top of the championship over the Red Bull duo.

From being a midfield clogger in Melbourne, Fernando Alonso finds himself in one of if not the quickest cars following a stunning turn around from the Italian team in the European season and now he has a considerable lead at the top of the standings. Despite a 20 second penalty for Sebastian Vettel, he still lies comfortably in third place in the standings and just behind team mate Mark Webber. It's nearly the halfway point in the championship and not many people would have predicted Webber to be above Vettel in the standings or maybe that Kimi Raikkonen would be ahead of Lewis Hamilton who was the only retirement in Germany after picking up an early puncture.

McLaren made the biggest gain in Germany as they rediscovered the form they had at the start of the season and if Saturday had been dry and Hamilton not have a puncture they could well have had 2 drivers on the podium or at the least one of their drivers at the top of the podium. Not so long ago I wrote a thread on their mid season development problems but they seem to have responded in the best possible way as Jenson Button finished third (later second after Vettel's penalty). Hamilton showed that despite problems after the puncture he had pace after matching the leaders pace and unlapping himself on Vettel and keeping up with Alonso before the stops, this didn't go down well with Vettel who was critical of this in the post race interview.

Sauber enjoyed an extremely fruitful weekend with Kobayashi finishing 4th and Perez finishing 6th and I think that's Kobayashi's best finish in F1 to date and it means that both Sauber drivers are now in the top 10 of the Championship which is a great result for the team and hopefully they can build on that. The interesting thing to note is the form (or lack of) of Torro Rosso, last season they scored 41 points with Alguersuari scoring 25 with Buemi scoring 15. Right now they have scored just the 6 points. While the loss of form surely can't completely be down to the drivers, but I wonder if they are regretting booting both out over the winter. While they argue that they are there to blood in young drivers, are they doing it at a cost to themselves? Last season they finished ahead of Williams in the constructors and just behind Sauber. Right now they are 41 points behind Williams and 74 behind Sauber, that's a pretty big turnaround. Either way, surely questions need to be asked there about what's going on as today both drivers were nowhere near the points and of the 'established' teams they only finished ahead of Senna, another driver who is under threat for his seat.

Looking ahead to Hungary it's a track which traditionally was one of the more duller tracks on the calendar but in recent years and mainly since the tightening of turn 1 it has produced some classic races and has also had the occasional sprinkling of rain such as in 2006 and 2011 where Jenson Button persevered to win both races. It's a track that has been good to both McLaren drivers with both Button and Hamilton winning there twice in previous years and after the updates working in Germany they will hope that one of them can make it 3 wins next weekend.

Galahad's track report -
I imagine Hamilton has to be the favorite for Hungary. He;'s strong in Hungary and McLaren seem to be on top if the weather is dry.
Historically the Hungaroring is a Williams circuit. A 2nd win for Sir Frank's team this season would be fantastic.
I can see McLaren, Red Bull, Lotus and Mercedes all with legit shots for the win, but it's hard to pick against Fernando Alonso and the F2012. As long as Alonso keeps pulling away from the Red Bull drivers I'm happy.
the circuit is a Red Bull track in recent years with mickey mouse corners that suit aero performance than straightline speed

However it is a track where Hamilton has always been a front runner... the DRS should help the overtaking down the straight at least rather than the procession that we use to see from the track
I really don;t think Lotus will win races now as they always seem to leave themselves too much work to do in the race unless Kimi has a stormer in Spa the next race after this
If the rain comes in qualifying in Q3 and any part of the race I expect an Alonso victory.

If it's dry all weekend, I expect a cracker, with Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari and Lotus fighting for the podium.
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