F1 Today – Hungarian Prixview – 29/07/2021

F1 Today

Hamilton says he would attack Verstappen in same way

Sir Lewis Hamilton says he would attack Max Verstappen in exactly the same way he did at British Grand Prix if the situation ever repeated itself. Two weeks on from the opening lap collision at Silverstone the controversy is set to be re-examined by the stewards who will decide whether to reopen the case.

Reflecting on the specifics of the crash, with Hamilton making a move down the inside into Copse, the world champion was clear that he would not change what he did if the same thing happened again.

He explained, “In terms of the move, I would do the move exactly the way I’ve probably done it and I did it last [time]. In terms of how I’ve reviewed it and analysed, from all my experience, and my experience obviously over the years speaks for a lot, I wouldn’t change it.”

There has been a lot of analysis of the accident and why Hamilton took a different approach when he tried to attacking Charles Leclerc later on in the race was compared to the tighter line he took with Verstappen.

However, the Mercedes driver said he saw no need to waste energy explaining the difference between the two moves. Adding, “I definitely can explain but I’m not going to explain. I’ve been racing 20 and god knows how many years.”

“I know how to navigate through corners and [make] overtaking manoeuvres, and so I won’t waste my energy trying to explain it. But it’s definitely going to be difficult for people to fully understand.”

Hamilton rejected Verstappen’s claims that his victory celebrations as he was undergoing checks in hospital at the time. While the world champion was unaware that his rival had been taken away for further examination, he had ensured that Verstappen was uninjured from the crash in the immediate aftermath.

He added, “But it’s my home Grand Prix, and we worked incredibly hard for who knows how long to get a result like that. And what a monumental moment it was for us to experience the whole home crowd, being there for the first time, obviously since last year was missed, and emotions were running high.”

Hamilton says it wasn’t an intentional celebration, saying it was the joy of seeing so many people.

 

Verstappen renews attack on Hamilton

Max Verstappen says Sir Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes’ “disrespectful” celebrations after the British Grand Prix shows “how they really are”. In his first public comments since the accident, the dutchman said in his opinion the seven-time champion had not acted correctly.

Verstappen confirmed that he had spoken to Hamilton via phone after the accident, Verstappen did not tone down his belief that it was wrong of his rival to appear so happy after their win.

He told the press conference, “If you mean with disrespectful, [it’s] when one guy is in the hospital and the other one is waving the flag around like nothing has happened while you pushed the guy into the wall at 51G.”

“And not only that, just the whole reaction of the team besides that, I think. That’s not how you celebrate the win, especially a win how they got it. So yeah, that’s what I found really disrespectful and in a way I mean it shows how they really are, you know. It comes out after a pressured situation. But I wouldn’t want to be seen like that.”

Verstappen’s team has also been critical of the way Mercedes celebrated, with boss Christian Horner doubling down on his unease about his rivals’ behaviour in his post-British GP column.

Verstappen said he would not discuss details of the conversation, but while he remains unhappy says he was eager to try to draw a line under what happened.

At the time of going to press no ruling had been made

 

Honda still unsure if Verstappen’s engine can be used again

Honda says it will test Max Verstappen’s crashed British Grand Prix power unit in Friday practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix to check if it can be raced again. Since his high-speed crash with Sir Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone there have been concerns his engine would be a complete write-off.

Honda had to fly it back to its Japanese R&D facilities in Sakura for a deep analysis, and only after that could it judge whether it was salvageable. But despite heavy external damage to some components, it is understood that the initial investigation has pointed to the sealed parts of the power unit having come through the 51g impact.

By replacing as many of the free components as possible, Honda has some optimism that the engine, which is power unit number two of the season, can race on unaffected.

However, while laboratory analysis has given some cause for hope that Honda will not need to introduce a fresh engine already, the Japanese car maker still needs to run it on track to be completely sure. The regulations ban the teams from testing on track, meaning its impossible to do on track running. Therefore expected to be fitted to Verstappen’s car for Friday practice, so it can be properly analysed and looked at.

Once that initial running is done, then Honda will be able to make a final call on what its engine plans can be for the remainder of the weekend and the rest of the season. If the power unit is okay, then Honda will keep it in its pool and bring it back out again for races.

However, if there is damage, then Honda and Red Bull will have to choose when it would need to introduce a third and final power unit for events. Budapest is not a power-sensitive track, meaning it could also be decided to change the power units. Normally manufacturers are already likely to revert to their previous spec units in a bid to save their latest engines for the high-speed demands of Spa and Monza.

Introducing a third power unit already would not incur a penalty or Verstappen yet, but would open the door to one later in the season as the team would struggle to finish the campaign without needing a fourth unit.

 

No rules could prevent the Hamilton-Verstappen crash

George Russell believes there are no rules that could be introduced to stop a repeat of the “racing incident” between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at Silverstone. The two title rivals crashed while fighting for the lead on the opening lap while battling through Copse.

Verstappen suffered a 51G Impact with the barrier, and while Hamilton was hit with a 10-second time penalty for causing a collision, he recovered to win the race and cut the gap at the top of the standings.

Red Bull has requested a right to review the case, believing Hamilton deserved a harsher penalty, and a hearing is scheduled for Thursday afternoon in Hungary. The accident has also sparked a war of words between Red Bull and Mercedes, although both drivers have tried to stay out of the debate.

The stewards’ report issuing Hamilton’s penalty said that he was predominantly – but not wholly – to blame for causing the crash.  Russell felt it was “absolutely a racing incident”, making it difficult to enforce anything that could make it easier to place blame.

When asked by Motorsport.com for his thoughts on the incident. Russell said, “There are no sort of rules in that aspect, I would say, that can say who is right or who is wrong, because it’s just one of those things. Sometimes there is no right or wrong. It’s just a racing incident.”

“Lewis is one of the cleanest and fairest racers out there, always. And there was nothing malicious in the attempt, because there was a clear opportunity. Obviously, the consequences were huge and I’m very glad to see Max was relatively fine following the crash. These racing incidents are a difficult one to adjudicate on.”

Russell says he thinks there was nothing which needs to be any clearer in that specific scenario, as he believes it was a racing incident.

Russell’s thoughts were shared by McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo, who felt how to approach such incidents did not have to be “written on paper” for drivers. He added “I didn’t really see anything out of line with the incident itself. Obviously the consequence was really the big talking point. But I think deep down all of us know racing etiquette, and when to squeeze when not, so I think we’re pretty clear with that.

 

Hamilton & Vettel concerned suppression of LGBT rights

Sir Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have strongly criticised the Hungarian government and voiced his support for the LGBTQ+ community in the country. The seven-time champion said on Instagram the government was “cowardly” with new legislation in Hungary, which bans the depiction of homosexuality to young people, compared to Section 28 in the UK which was repealed in 2003.

The government of Viktor Orban announced last week  a nationwide referendum would be held on legislation that limits the teaching in schools about homosexuality and transgender issues.

The European Parliament voted in favour of taking action over the new law earlier this month. MEPs said the new legislation breached “EU values, principles and laws”. Orban says the policy is a matter for Hungary, not “Brussels bureaucrats”.

Hamilton urge people to reject the law, saying on Instagram, “To all in this beautiful country Hungary. Ahead of the Grand Prix this weekend, I want to share my support for those affected by the government’s anti-LGBTQ+ law,” wrote Hamilton.

“It is unacceptable, cowardly and misguiding for those in power suggest such a law. Everyone deserves to have the freedom to be themselves, no matter who they love or how they identify.” The Englishman called on people to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community, they need our support more than ever.

Vettel wore trainers with a rainbow design on them to the Hungaroring track for Thursday’s media and preparation day.

The German four-time champion added: “Everyone is free to do what they want and that is the point. We have had so many opportunities to learn in the past and I can’t understand why you are struggling to see people should be free to do what they like, love who they like.”

 

News in Brief

Testing to be spilt between Barcelona & Bahrain

Pre-season testing could be split next year between Barcelona and Bahrain. Testing will return to two three-day tests, after being reduced this year to one three day test, Barcelona n essence to be closer to home for transport of parts and to make travel easier for personnel, especially with COVID-19 restrictions still likely to be in place.

However, Formula 1 was keen to run both tests in Bahrain in the build-up to the first Grand Prix of the season, likely to be held at Sakhir on March 20.

Schumacher’s openness helping Haas

Mick Schumacher’s open and constructive approach to trying different things is proving “helpful to everyone” at Haas through his rookie season, according to chief race engineer Ayao Komatsu.

Komatsu highlighted Schumacher’s openness and willingness to try out different ideas or approaches, taking the team’s feedback on board even if he is personally unsure about it.

 

Alonso reflects on his fortieth birthday

Fernando Alonso says he did not expect to be racing in Formula One at the age of forty, as he celebrates his birthday today ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix. The Spaniard is the second-oldest driver on the grid behind 41-year-old Kimi Raikkonen and said at Silverstone two weeks ago that he still feels like he is 25.

Alpine helped celebrated Alonso’s birthday by bedecking its motorhome in decorations, while Sebastian Vettel attempted to set off a party popper in the press conference – only to aim it the wrong way and send confetti all over the floor.

Alonso marks his birthday at the Hungaroring where in 2003 he took his maiden win for what is now Alpine. Since then he has gone on to win two championship for the Enstone team, drive for both McLaren and Ferrari, racing in 321 Grand Prix, he has taken thirty-two wins, ninety-seven podiums, twenty-two poles and two championships.

Asked if he could have seen himself still racing in F1 at the age of 40, Alonso replied: “No, probably not. You live only the present, you are not thinking too much about the future at that age, and you are just focused on the race weekend. You’re hardly imagining yourself, more than two or three years in time from that moment.”

“But now, it’s a different thing. I’m more used to the sport, to the Formula 1, and all the things that are quite unique here.”

“When I came into the sport, I was from a very small town in the north of Spain with no experience, no background, no nothing, and then you arrive into this world and you are shocked for five, six, seven years until you get used to everything.”

Outside F1 he has won twice the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice with Toyota, and also took part in the Dakar Rally before deciding to embark on an F1 comeback. Alonso said in Thursday’s press conference that being forty years-old was “surprising him” given he did not feel that old.

Alonso added, “It’s the number that is surprising me as well, when I see it, when I see everywhere in the motorhome because the team prepared a really nice decoration on my room and in the lunch area as well.”

 

Track limits in Budapest

The FIA has announced they will be policing track limits at Turn Four, Eleven and Twelve. This weekend any time which is set when all four wheels go behind the red and white kerbs at these corners will be deleted.

On the third occasion, the drivers will be reported to the stewards, unless they are deemed to have been forced there by another driver.

New debris fences have been installed at Turn Thirteen extending down towards fourteen, a new guard rail from the pit lane entry to the control (finish) line. While the white line defining pit entry has been extended to the control line.

 

Alpine’s “fighting spirit” will help in battle for fifth

Esteban Ocon believes Alpine’s “fighting spirit” will be its biggest strength in the battle for fifth place in the constructors’ championship against Aston Martin and Alpha Tauri. Alpine has been left clearly behind McLaren and Ferrari who are battling for third leaving them fighting for fifth.

Alpha Tauri currently sits fifth, one point clear of Aston Martin, with both teams having already scored podium finishes this year. Alpine is a further eight points back in seventh. But earlier this week, the French manufacturer announced it had shifted focus to the development of its 2022 car, anticipating the overhaul of the technical regulations next year, leaving it to try and maximise its current package.

Ocon said that the competitive order in the fight for fifth was “pretty much how it is now”, but made clear Alpine would not back down and keep battling hard.

He added, “I think our strength is going to be probably our fighting spirit, because we are not always the fastest of that group. Alpha Tauri have been a little bit faster than we were. Aston Martin are also quite fast and giving us a hard time in most places.”

“But we are going to fight them until the end. And it’s going to be only the one that scores consistently throughout the year, little points by little points, who are going to finish in that fifth position. There’s still a long way to go. So we’re ready to fight.”

Alpine has scored points in all but one race so far this year, but has failed to finish any higher than sixth, recorded by Fernando Alonso in Azerbaijan. It had a strong weekend at Silverstone where Alonso and Ocon finished seventh and ninth.

 

The weekend ahead

The big talking point continues to be the collision on the opening lap at Silverstone between Sir Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen, I feel this now is being mainly driven by the teams rather than the drivers. But they will be both looking to prove themselves that they can battle hard on track, as we know they can.

This is potentially another historic milestone for Hamilton, this weekend he could become the first driver to win a century of Grand Prix, and the first to win the same Grand Prix nine times. We always say that Budapest is one of the track which just seems to suit Hamilton’s driving style, regardless of the car.

Budapest is a circuit you can compare to Monaco, is one where you need downforce and overtaking is harder than at most other permanent circuits. I think Ferrari maybe leading the midfield and challenge the top two, they had a great weekend in Monaco and you need to think that will continue.

Williams could be a strong midfield team like we saw at Imola where George Russell nearly score points and they have been so close in a number of races this season. The midfield pack will again be close I believe, but we know overtaking can be hard and can help but hinder races.

 

You can join us for LIVE coverage of this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix via Twitter @FormulaOneVault starting with FP1 Friday from 11:15 CEST / 10:15 BST, Qualifying 13:45/14:45 and forward race coverage 13:30/14:30 lights out 15:00 / 14:00
Jack

Jack is responsible for the day-to-day running of Formula One Vault. He brings you all the brilliant content. Has an obsession with all things Formula One and anything with an engine.