Hamilton Hungary For More Success: Hungarian Grand Prix Preview

By Stephen Williams

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Hungarian Grand Prix Preview

Formula One will be heading to Budapest, Hungary for the eleventh round of this year's championship.  Nico Rosberg's championship lead has been cut to just one point following his time penalty after the British Grand Prix, when Lewis Hamilton claimed his fourth victory in five races.  The momentum has now shifted in Lewis Hamilton's favour, as he knows finishing ahead of his teammate on Sunday would enable him to take the lead of the championship for the first time this season.

Max Verstappen comes into the weekend on a high after back to back podiums in Austria and Britain. His teammate, Daniel Ricciardo has not had the rub of the green recently, and perhaps should have already won races this season.  He goes well around this track and stood on the top step of the podium in 2014's classic race.

Ferrari had a woeful weekend in Silverstone and their second place in the Constructor's Championship is now looking under threat from the Red Bull team.  They can however be optimistic of a good weekend, as it was Sebastian Vettel who won the year's Hungarian Grand Prix.

The track surface has been relayed and curbs remodelled which may mean the lap record could be broken this weekend.  When the World Touring Car Championship came to the Hungaroring earlier this year, lap times were two seconds faster than they had been in the previous year.

The track itself has been described as 'Monaco without the barriers'.  It may be a tight and twisty circuit with limited overtaking opportunities, but there have been some absolutely classic races in the past.

Top 5 moments

5. Button's first win

The 2006 Grand Prix saw Jenson Button claim his first Grand Prix victory. Starting  from fourteenth on the grid he clawed his way through in mixed conditions, finishing ahead of Pedro De La Rosa and Nick Heidfeld.

4. Schumacher squeezes Barrichello

In 2010, the race became famous for a brave overtaking move by Rubens Barrichello on his former Ferrari teammate, Michael Schumacher.  Michael's comeback had been far from spectacular until defending his position from Barrichello, when he squeezed Rubens against the pit wall, leaving just enough room to avoid contact.

3. Hill robbed of victory on last lap

Damon Hill was the reigning world champion but drove for Arrows in 1997. The car was not competitive, but an update meant it was one of the quickest cars around the Hungaroring.  After passing Michael Schumacher early on, Hill lead right up until the last lap when a reliability issues robbed him of the win.

2. F1 remembers Jules

Before the start of the race in 2015, Formula One received the devastating news that Jules Bianchi had succumbed to the injuries he sustained during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.  Emotions were running high as the drivers gathered at the front of the grid to pay their respects to the Frenchman, laying their helmets on the ground as they served a minute's silence.

Both Ferraris leaped both the Mercedes to lead into turn one.  Although Raikkonen would retire later in the race, Vettel took Ferrari's second win of the season.  Drivers out of position, collisions and safety cars helped to produce a cracking race, one that was fitting to remember the life of Jules Bianchi.

1. Ricciardo wins 2014

An engine failure for Lewis Hamilton in qualifying forced him to start from the pit lane. But that didn't stop him from reaching the podium after strongly defending against his teammate at various points during the race.  When the race drew to it conclusion, Ricciardo on fresher tyres, hunted down Hamilton and Alonso, overtaking them both to take the victory.

Hungarian GP Stats

First Grand Prix - 1986

Most wins - Schumacher, Hamilton x4

Lap record - Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 2004 - 1:19:071

No. of laps - 70

Tyres available - Super soft, soft, medium

2015 winner - Sebastian Vettel

2015 pole time -Lewis Hamilton - 1:22:020

What to expect this weekend?

Lewis Hamilton can become the most successful driver at the track this weekend if he is to take his fifth victory at the circuit. However, he and Mercedes have not won there since 2013.  Red Bull are expected to do well at the track as it is not so reliant on engine power, so could challenge Mercedes for the victory.  The circuit should also help McLaren.  Fernando Alonso managed a superb fifth in last year's race.  Force India have performed very well recently and will be expected to bag more points this weekend.  On the flip side, Williams will be hoping to improve from their dismal performance at the British GP, but the layout of the Hungaroring has not usually favoured their car.  

Lewis Hamilton is closing in on second place in the all time list of poles and wins.  He is currently four victories behind Alain Prost in wins, and ten poles behind Ayrton Senna.

This weekend will be the penultimate race before the summer break and there could yet be more swings in this incredible championship.  Only once in the past ten years has the winner of the race gone on to win the championship in the same year.  

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