Formula 1 caravan arrives to Budapest for Hungarian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton chases the lead in driver’s championship. The race at Hungaroring will be the fifth event in last six weeks due to packed Formula 1 calendar ahead of summer break in August. This race also marks the mid-point of the season as this is 11th Grand Prix on this year’s stuffed 21-race championship.
After poor start of the season filled with technical problems with his car Lewis Hamilton is finally back to his championship form from the previous two years. Reigning champion has won four of the last five races and will look to break the tie with Michael Schumacher for the most career Hungarian Grand Prix wins with four. After receiving two penalties in last two races, Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg lost important championship points, which left him only one point ahead of Britton. These two have only realistic chances to fight for the driver’s title.
However, as dominant Silver Arrows have been this year, the Grand Prix at Hungaroring always had a tradition of producing unexpected results. The last time the leading driver or team in championship won in Hungary was in 2010, when Mark Webber won for Red Bull while the eventual end-of-the-season champion has not won at Hungaroring since Michael Schumacher way back in 2004. Last year the winner was Sebastian Vettel in Ferrari ahead of two Red Bulls drivers.
Speaking of Red Bull, young Max Verstappen took his second straight second-place at Silverstone two weeks ago and with Ferrari losing pace the Red Bull are now very close behind them in the battle for second place, with just six points separating the two teams in the constructors’ standings. The narrow, twisting Hungaroring goes well with Red Bull’s car strengths, and it will not be a surprise if Austrian team finishes Hungarian Grand Prix with second place in the championship.
Behind Rosberg with 167 and Hamilton with 166 points before the season favorite Sebastian Vettel has fallen to fifth place in driver’s championship with 98 points while his Ferrari teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, is third with 106, six points ahead of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo. 18-year-old Max Verstappen is rapidly closing the gap behind top five, as he outscored all drivers except Hamilton since his promotion from Toro Rosso to Red Bull after Russian Grand Prix. In Constructor’s championship Mercedes is far ahead with 335 points as they won nine out of ten races this season. Ferrari is second with 204 while Red Bull is closing in fast with 198 points.
The 4.38 kilometer long Hungaroring was the first circuit to host a Formula 1 Grand Prix in Eastern Europe. The track was built in 1985 outside Budapest and has 14 turns. The characteristics of this circuit are its narrowness which limits the overtaking, making the qualifications very important, and high summer temperatures in Hungary which impact tyre strategies. The track has been completely resurfaced for this year’s Grand Prix which makes it unknown how much grip there will be and how the tyres will perform. Pirelli is bringing medium, soft and supersoft tyre compound for this race.
The summers in Hungary are warm and dry which makes the track at Hungaroring hot and dusty every year. There were rain for 2014 race but it was anomaly for this Grand Prix three decades tradition. However, this anomaly is expected for this racing weekend also – there will be high temperatures around 30 degrees Celsius but with heavy thunderstorms. The race starts at 14:00 central European time on Sunday.