Prixview – Hungarian Grand Prix

Features Prixview

Round twelve of the season sees Formula One head to the capital of Hungary Budapest for the final round before the summer break. Built in the mid-eighties the race was the first to be held behind the iron curtain. However,  the first Hungarian Grand Prix was held in 1936, with Mercedes, Ferrari and Alfa Romeo taking part.

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 circuit then should be a stronghold for Ferrari, who won last years race.

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. Pit strategy is often crucial; in 1998, Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari team changed his strategy mid-race before Schumacher built up a winning margin after all the stops had been made.

Four drivers Damon Hill (in 1993), Fernando Alonso (in 2003), Jenson Button (in 2006), and Heikki Kovalainen (in 2008) all took their first wins in Budapest. But over the last decade, the race has belonged to Lewis Hamilton from eleven starts he has taken five victories, plus he has never won later than this race in a season.

Budapest was where in 2001, Michael Schumacher equalled Alian Prost’s record of fifty-one wins and four world titles. But over the last decade, Hamilton has taken nearly half the wins. Though that may be difficult for the sliver arrows this weekend, Sebastian Vettel proved dominant last season.

Red Bull should also be in the mix as this circuit requires downforce and a good aero package. The race has a habit of throwing up a few surprises in performance, this means that the midfield should be closer to the top three teams.

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.

Facts and figures

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 (5)
Most wins manufacture McLaren (11)

Fast facts

  • Only one Hungarian driver has ever participated in Formula 1. Zsolt Baumgartner raced at his home Grand Prix in 2003 and 2004, for Jordan and Minardi respectively.
  • Nigel Mansell secured his only World Driver’s Championship in 1992 at the Hungaroring with five races to spare. Michael Schumacher also won his fourth championship at the circuit, in 2001.
  • 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.
  • Over a decade since a driver has won the race in Hungary and also gone on to win the driver’s world championship. The last driver to do that was Michael Schumacher in 2004, when driving for Ferrari
  • 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.

Event timetable

Session Local BST
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 2017?

Sebastian Vettel held off both his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen as they withstood the pressure from both the Mercedes. The sliver arrows attempted to use team orders to try an put pressure on Raikkonen, however having allowed Lewis Hamilton to pass Valtteri Bottas, the three time champion was unable to pass Raikkonen. So Mercedes, reversed the team orders and allowed Bottas to retake third.

Meanwhile, both Red Bull’s collided on the opening lap, The Australian passed his Dutch teammate on the outside after he suffered oversteer causing them to crash. That earned Verstappen a ten second penalty at his first stop.

What to watch for?

Budapest is a circuit which is low downforce and speed, this means that Mercedes are going to be on the back foot this weekend. Following Sebastian Vettel’s retirement in Hockenheim and Lewis Hamilton’s in Austria, both men will look to recover some ground.

Red Bull are in the mix this weekend, they could prove key in both Ferrari’s and Mercedes races. Red Bull have performed well at these kinds of circuits this year, this will see I believe them being Ferrari’s main challengers. Also that midfield scrap could be one to watch as overtaking can be difficult for all the teams, making teams like Sauber could see big rewards from a good qualifying.

2017 vs 2018 Race Data

  P1 Fastest P2 Fastest P3 Fastest Q1 Fastest Q2 Fastest Q3 Fastest Race Time Fastest Lap
2017 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
Diff -3.141 -1.999 -3.224 -16.078 -6.262 -3.711 -16.602 -2.904
2016 01:21.347 01:20.435 01:20.261 01:33.302 01:22.660 01:19.965 01:40:30.115  01:23.086

Data Profile

A lap of Budapest

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.


Driver Team UItrasoft Soft


L. Hamilton

Mercedes 7 5 1
V. Bottas 7 4


S. Vettel

Ferrari 9 3 2
K. Raikkonen 8 3


D. Ricciardo

Red Bull – Tag Heuer 7 4 2
M. Verstappen 7 4


S. Perez

Force India – Mercedes 8 3 2
E. Ocon 8 3


S. Sirotkin

Williams – Mercedes 9 3 1
L. Stroll 9 2


F. Alonso

McLaren – Renault 8 3 2
S. Vandoorne 8 3


P. Gasly

Toro Rosso –Honda 8 3 2
B. Hartley 8 4


R. Grosjean

Haas – Ferrari 8 4 1
K. Magnussen 8 3


N. Hulkenberg

Renault 10 1 2
C. Sainz 10 2


M. Ericsson

Sauber – Alfa Romeo 9 2 2
C. Leclerc 9 3




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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