Prixview – Hungarian Grand Prix

Features Prixview

Round twelve of the season and the final race before the summer break sees Formula One head to eastern Europe for the Hungarian Grand Prix. First held in the 1980s the Hungaroring is a low speed and high downforce circuit, dusty circuit which is situated in a valley.

The first race for Formula One was in 1986, the race took place on the Hungaroring, a circuit which has remained largely unchanged over the last thirty years. Budapest is a low speed, tight and twisty circuit which is often compared to Monte Carlo. The teams bring the same levels of downforce as they do to the street circuit.

The circuit could be a challenge for man drivers, overtaking is very hard as the track is narrow and twisty, it is not used as much as the last four circuits. This means that speed and high downforce isn’t key. This could present an opportunity for smaller teams to score good points.

A good chassis tending to be rewarded over horsepower given the short straights on offer. It’s a challenge many of the drivers relish, however, with finding a good rhythm key to setting fast lap times. Also getting the tyres to work which has been an issue in this very hot European summer.

Thierry Boutsen demonstrated in 1990, keeping his slower Williams car in front of championship leader Ayrton Senna, unable to find a way by. Pit strategy is often crucial; in 1998, Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari team changed his strategy mid-race before Schumacher built up a winning margin.

Overtaking can be a challenge for the drivers, its difficult to follow other cars.  However, Lewis Hamilton demonstrated it is not impossible, coming from the pit lane to finish third in 2014. The Englishman is the most successful driver in Budapest, he has won six races in his career.

The only wet race in 2006 saw Jenson Button take his first win and Honda’s last win until Austria this year. He would beat Hamilton to take victory here again in 2011. However Ferrari has beaten Mercedes here in two of the last four races, and Daniel Ricciardo’s 2014 win makes this is his strongest circuit. The Englishman holds the record for the number of wins.

The midfield could make for an interesting qualifying, as in recent races, we have seen very tight battle between these teams to get out of Q1 and Q2. The midfield teams will need to make the most of this, as this could be hugely rewarding given the lack of overtaking.

Mercedes go into this weekend as the favourites having won nine of the first eleven races, and Hamilton’s driving style is something which really shows here. He can really attack the circuit, and with overtaking difficult he remains the favourite.

Facts and figures

Round 12 of 21
Race Rolex Magyar Nagydij 2019
Venue Hungaroring, Mogyoród, Hungary
Circuit Length 4.381 km (2.722 mi)
Laps 70
Race Distance 306.663 km (190.560 mi)
Lap Record 1:19.071 (Michael Schumacher, Ferrari F2004, 2004)
Most wins drivers Lewis Hamilton (6)
Most wins manufacture McLaren (11)

Fast facts

  • Four drivers have taken maiden victories in Hungary – Damon Hill in 1993, Fernando Alonso in 2003, Jenson Button in 2006 and Heikki Kovalainen in 2008.
  • While many drivers can boast a 100% finish rate at the Hungaroring, it’s Ralf Schumacher’s run which is the most impressive. He finished the race on all ten of his Hungarian Grand Prix appearances.
  • Apart from last year, between 2005 to 2017, the winner of the Hungarian Grand Prix failed to go on to win the Drivers’ Championship. In fact, in its history there have been just nine occasions where the winner of the event has won the title in the same year.
  • Kimi Raikkonen has stood on the podium on seven occasions in Hungary, more times than any of the other current drivers on the grid, making Hungaroring the Finn’s most consistently successful track, though he has scored more race wins at Spa in Belgium.
  • While many drivers can boast a 100% finish rate at the Hungaroring, it’s Ralf Schumacher’s run which is the most impressive. He finished the race on all ten of his Hungarian Grand Prix appearances.

Event timetable





P1 11:00-12:30 10:00-11:30
P2 15:00-16:30 14:00-15:30


P3 12:00-13:00 11:00-12:00
Qualifying 15:00-16:00 14:00-15:00


Race 15:10 14:10

What happened in 2018?

Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari arrived in Budapest days later with questions about his errors and Ferrari decisions being questioned. However, a media blackout was in place by the team because chairman Sergio Marchionne died in between Germany and Hungary following complications from surgery.

Conditions were the same in Qualifying as they were in the latter part of the race in Germany. This proved key for Mercedes who had struggled in the dry as Lewis Hamilton unlocked the performance in the wet to push Kimi Raikkonen off pole. Valtteri Bottas then pushed his fellow Finn down to third.

It was a race which Mercedes and Hamilton ultimately got right, a later pit stop and a long stop for Vettel brought the Englishman out in third. Bottas had the lead of the race until Hamilton’s stop. Vettel in the meantime had been caught in traffic losing two seconds and being stuck behind the Finn.

When Vettel tried to use the cut back on Bottas, the Finn braked too late trying to hold the position. They made contact, three laps later Bottas would make contact with Ricciardo, earning the Finn a ten-second penalty and two points on his licence.

On a difficult weekend for Force India, where the team went into administration, Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez were thirteenth and fourteenth.

Race Result – 1) L. Hamilton, Mercedes, 01:37:16.427, 2) S. Vettel, Ferrari, +17.123, 3) K. Raikkonen, Ferrari, +20.101

What to watch for?

Following the dramatic race in Germany, Budapest is a very different circuit, it’s a low-speed track with limited overtaking opportunities which will be difficult for the teams. However, its not impossible and you can describe it as a street circuit without the barriers. Lewis Hamilton will be looking to put Hockenheim behind him, he is brilliant around here it suits his driving style and we know he has six wins here.

Red Bull I believe are also in that front end mix, the team has taken two wins in three races where we didn’t expect them to and this should be a strong circuit for them. Its more about downforce and grip, rather than speed. Mercedes has in recent races begun to struggle with that and the heat as well it doesn’t look great on paper.

I feel however Valtteri Bottas really needs to beat Lewis Hamilton or going into the second half of the season it will get harder. Hamilton is normally very strong both here and in the latter part of the season, the belief is that Bottas needs a win and/or beat Hamilton to just regain that bit of confidence.

Hungary can also through up some odd results, but this appears unlikely given the advantage current advantage shown by the top three teams. Although Germany I feel was an unusual race and that why Daniil Kvyat got the podium, its unlikely we would have a similar race this weekend.

2017 vs 2018 Race Data

P1 Fastest

P2 Fastest

P3 Fastest

Q1 Fastest

Q2 Fastest

Q3 Fastest

Race Time

Fastest Lap


01:17.613 01:16.834 01:16.170 01:16.666 01:28.636 01:35.659 01:37:16.427 01:20.012


-0.873 -1.611 -0.847 -0.578 -11.834 -19.383 -02:30.286 -0.170


01:18.486 01:18.445 01:17.017 01:17.244 01:16.802 01:16.276 01:39:46.713 01:20.182

Data Profile

A lap of the Hungaroring

Here we see Sebastian Vettel hugging the apex as he exits the final corner crosses to the outside where he stays as crosses the line to begin the lap. He stays on the outside, breaking around fifty metres then crosses to the apex for Turn One. He then runs to the outside through Turn One A, running along the inside before breaking on entry to Turn Two. He runs to the inside briefly before switching to outside before turning into Turn Three.

He builds up the speed as he enters the second sector before he breaks slightly throwing the car through Turn Four. He then goes to the inside, running along the kerb. Crosses the track briefly before hugging the apex at Five, running to the outside of the track. Stays there before breaking just before 50m board. Through the chicane at Six and Seven before going to the inside for eight running nicely through the corner. Though Nine, goes to the outside keeps his foot down through Ten, breaks around 100m for Eleven good again.

Goes to the outside on the run to Twelve, goes back to the inside before breaking hugging the apex before running along the inside switches back to hug the apex of Fourteen. Runs to the outside crossing the line with a 01:16.278.




White Hard (C2)

Yellow Medium (C3)

Red Soft (C4)

L. Hamilton

Mercedes 2 3 8
V. Bottas 1 4


S. Vettel

Ferrari 2 2 9
C. Leclerc 1 3


M. Verstappen

Red Bull – Honda 1 3 9
P. Gasly 1 3


D. Riccardo

Renault 2 1 10

N. Hulkenberg

1 2


K. Magnussen

Haas – Ferrari 2 2 9

R. Grosjean

1 3


C. Sainz Jr

McLaren – Renault 1 3 9
L. Norris 1 3


S. Perez

Racing Point –Mercedes 2 2 9
L. Stroll 2 2


K. Raikkonen

Alfa Romeo – Ferrari 2 1 10
A. Giovinazzi 1 2


D. Kvyat

Toro Rosso –Honda 1 2 10
A. Albon 2 1


G. Russell

Williams –Mercedes 1 3 9
R. Kubica 2 2



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.

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