Grand Prix 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

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 once again be 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.
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Remember when this was a Williams track? No, it was quite some time ago. There is also some history of Ferrari, well Mansell in the No. 27 Ferrari, doing quite well here. I'm really struggling to work out how this went from one of the most boring tracks of the year (worse than Monaco?) to one of the most exciting. Did the drivers suddenly work out how to go round it on more than one line?

Let's hope this year isn't a return to the bad old days of processional racing. The first race in a (former) Communist country, now we have 4. Oh how those Commies have embraced the decadency of western capitalism.
I've always like this track. Somehow it always produced a decent race and yet it had a reputation for being boring. I never figured it out.
I could never understand the "boring" tag either. When I think of the great races over the years, it does seem to serve up more than most other circuits seem to manage*:
1997 - Hill in the Arrows pipped on the last lap for the want of a 50p oil seal
1998 - Schuey stops once more than Mika and still wins
2004 - Alonso laps Schuey to win his first race
2006 - JB's first win, from 14th on the grid in the wet
2007 - pitgate, and the start of the destruction of Dennis' version of McLaren
2010 - the Schuey chop on Rubens, Webber wins as Seb is penalised for poor SC protocol
2011 - JB wins again in the damp, after Lewis gets his tyres all wrong

(to be honest, the more recent ones have been a bit of a blur, but I remember lots of turn 3 side-by-side stuff, and tantalising chases through the latter part of the lap).

*disclaimer - all these are based on my admittedly patchy memory. I make no apologies for any historical inaccuracies, but I am more than happy to be corrected
greatest race was 1989 Mansell winning from 12th on the grid. Nige admitted he focused on race set up and the pass on Senna that got Murray nuts " Fantastic !"
Here are 5 of the best from Hungary which include the Mansell and Piquet overtake. I think Hamilton's one on Webber is pretty gutsy

This was in the days when the Honda drivers enjoyed the benefit of a power-to-fuel ratio that dwarved all the others. Different times altogether weren't they.
This awesome qualifying lap of Alonso sprung to mind after watching those videos. He definitely had a spring in his step after that one. ;)

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