Over the weekend of July 29-31, Formula 1 arrives in Budapest, home to the Hungarian Grand Prix 2022, thirteenth round of the Formula 1 World Championship and last stage before the usual summer break. This is one of the oldest Grands Prix of the entire Formula 1 calendar and the first to be held in an Eastern Bloc country. The Hungaroring has hosted the Hungarian Grand Prix since 1986 and in 2020 the Hungarian Grand Prix contract was renewed until the 2027 season. With the 2022 edition, this Grand Prix has reached its thirty-eighth edition, the thirty-seventh valid for the World Championship. Several news have moved the approach to this Hungarian Grand Prix. First of all, Thursday, July 28, 2022 the news that makes the most noise is that of the retirement from Formula 1 at the end of the 2022 season of the German driver, currently in the Aston Martin team, Sebastian Vettel. After four consecutive world titles from 2010 to 2013, 53 victories, 57 pole positions, 38 fastest laps, and 122 podiums, the German driver announces his retirement at the end of a so-far disappointing 2022 season. At the beginning of the year, he said he was still motivated to do well in such an interesting season with completely new technical regulations. However, the 2022 Aston Martin turned out to be quite a slow car, with which, despite all its flaws, Vettel managed to score some hardly earned points. Now for Vettel the time has come to dedicate his life to other priorities, like his family. The news animated the paddock, which has already opened up to the scenario of who will fill the place left uncovered in Aston Martin by the driver, with already four drivers vying to occupy that seat, Fernando Alonso, Nyck De Vries, Mick Schumacher and Nico Hulkenberg. Other news arrive in the paddock, in particular those regarding the nature of the circuit, the weather conditions that await the race weekend and the correct choices of tire types and strategies. And in this regard, whoever better than Pirelli's car racing manager Mario Isola can remove any doubts about these aspects. He declares:
"In the past, the Hungaroring has been known as a place where it’s difficult to overtake, but the new package of cars and tyres this year helps drivers get much closer to each other, which is why we have seen some great races with plenty of overtaking so far this season. Hopefully that’s going to be the case at the Hungaroring as well; a tight and twisty track where the cars are often grouped together. Hungary is also known for being very hot, but it’s also rained for the last two years there: so the moral of the story is never to jump to conclusions! We’ve seen some surprises at the Hungaroring before, and that could be the case even more this year".
For this Grand Prix, Pirelli, the sole tire supplier, offers the choice between C2, C3 and C4 compound tires, the type of tires that characterize the central range of the kind of tires made available by the Italian company, the same choice used in the French Grand Prix, which took place the previous week. Since the 2019 edition of the Grand Prix, the Italian company has always mentioned the same type. The Federation confirms the two traditional areas of the Drag Reduction System in use since the 2013 edition of the race when the world motoring body decided to increase the two sections in which to use the mobile device on the Hungaroring circuit, after the only previous zone used from 2011, the season in which the device was introduced in the category, until the following season, in order to facilitate overtaking. Drivers can activate the rear movable wing on the main straight of the pits and between Turn 1 and Turn 2, the new additional section introduced later. For both activation zones there is always a single point for determining the gap between drivers, placed before turn 14. Compared to the 2021 edition of the Grand Prix, the marshals' positions along the track are increased, the numbering of which is now in line with the requirements of the international sporting code. On Wednesday night, Mercedes uses the third of the eight curfews granted during the season to carry out operations on its cars. The German team does not receive sanctions. Before the start of the first free practice session on Friday, it is established that in order to counteract the different speeds held, the pilots, during their launch lap or those at low speed, must stay off the line where possible between turn 11 and the first line of safety cars. The longitudinal synthetic grass at the exit of turn 5 is removed, as is that placed just before and after the apex of turn 7. The fourth unit relating to the exhaust system was installed on Lando Norris' car. The British McLaren driver is not penalized on the starting grid as the new component installed is one of those usable within the maximum number established by the technical regulations.
The fourth gearbox and fourth transmission are installed on Max Verstappen's car, while the third gearbox and third transmission is installed on Sebastian Vettel's car. Both drivers are not penalized on the starting grid as the new components are among those usable in the maximum number established by the technical regulations. The Grand Prix represents the thirteenth round of the season one week after the French Grand Prix, the twelfth round of the championship. For the fifth time during the season, the first between the Bahrain Grand Prix, the inaugural race of the season, and the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the second between the Spanish Grand Prix and the Monaco Grand Prix, the third between the The Azerbaijani Grand Prix and the Canadian Grand Prix, and the fourth between the British Grand Prix and the Austrian Grand Prix, the world championship sees the dispute of a Grand Prix one week after the other. It is the seventh overall race of the championship in the old continent, the fourth consecutive to be held in Europe, as well as the fourth and final race in July, and the second of the second half of the season, before the three-week summer break. The contract for the Hungarian Grand Prix in the Formula 1 World Championship calendar, again on the Hungaroring circuit, is valid until the end of the 2027 season. Sponsor of the Grand Prix for this edition is, as already happened for that of 2020, the Saudi national hydrocarbon company Aramco. Unlike the previous 2021 edition, run in August, the Grand Prix is held in July, for the first time since the 2020 edition. Around 295.000 spectators are expected over the course of the race weekend, which represents the all-time record for the Grand Prix. Present in the calendar of the Formula 1 World Championship since the 1986 season and valid as proof of the category since the same year, the Hungarian Grand Prix sees the dispute of its thirty-eighth edition, the thirty-seventh valid for the World Championship. The Grand Prix, once included in the World Championship calendar, was the first to be held in an Eastern Bloc country.
The Hungaroring circuit, which holds the record for the fastest-made circuit in the history of Formula 1, is the track to have hosted all editions of the race, on three main different configurations, the first of which was used since the inaugural edition of 1986 to that of 1988, the second from the 1989 edition to that of 2002, in which the length of the track, as well as the total number of curves, were reduced, while the current third in use from the 2003 edition, in which it is characterized by a longer length than the two previously used configurations, with an additional curve compared to the second old layout. The Hungarian track, for 36 times, is behind only the Monza circuit with 41, home to the Italian Grand Prix, for the number of editions of a Grand Prix played consecutively. Monday, July 25, 2022, Formula 1 claims to continue to be in the running to provide 100% sustainable fuels for 2026. As part of the category's plans to achieve net zero emissions by 2030, it announces testing of 100% sustainable fuel which can not only be used in Formula 1 cars from 2026, but also crucially by most road cars around the world. British engineer Pat Symonds, for many years engaged in the category with several teams, in order Toleman, Benetton, Renault, Marussia and finally Williams, leads the team focused on creating this revolutionary fuel, having spent months researching for create the best quality product for 2026. Ferrari announces its investment in solar power plants with Enel X through a new photovoltaic system at the Maranello site and a charging station for hybrid models, designed for the specific charging needs of the hybrid range used by the manufacturer. The Mexican driver of Red Bull Racing, Sergio Pérez, becomes the owner of a team, called Team Mexico, which will bear his name, in the Union Internationale Motonautique championship, which also has Alejandro Agag, an entrepreneur and former Spanish politician, among its co-founders. creator of Formula E and Extreme E. The World Federation Council, before the Grand Prix dispute, decides to put the introduction of the technical directive to the vote of the teams, in force from the next Belgian Grand Prix scheduled for the end of August after the three-week summer break, to counteract the phenomenon of the hopping of the cars in full straight, known as porpoising. The metric introduced by the Federation manages to measure the fluctuations only in straight lines and not in curves. Sunday, july 3, 2022, the Red Bull Racing team announces the engagement of Phil Prew, head of Mercedes' engine division.
The Swiss Alfa Romeo team renews its partnership with the Swiss brand Sauber also for next season. Formula 1 launches the campaign called Drive It Out to combat harassing attitudes, online and offline. In recent weeks, there has been the growing problem of aggression and abuses that have been unleashed among fans in the stands of the circuits, such as at the Austrian Grand Prix and in this Grand Prix, with serious discriminatory and violent attitudes perpetrated by some of these people towards others. Alfa Romeo's reserve driver, the Polish Robert Kubica, takes part in the first free practice session on Friday to replace Valtteri Bottas, with the number 88. Kubica is fielded for the third time this season, after taking the place of the other owner of the team, the Chinese Zhou Guanyu, during the first free practice session on Friday of the Spanish Grand Prix, and also of Bottas, in the same session, in the previous French Grand Prix. For this Grand Prix, like the previous one, the FIA appoints the Portuguese Eduardo Freitas as race director. Former Formula 1 driver, British Derek Warwick, is named assistant commissioner for the race. He has already held this function in the past, the last at the Monaco Grand Prix. The British car manufacturer Aston Martin supplies the safety car and the medical car. For this weekend, several teams bring news and updates on their respective cars. Among the teams most active in bringing consistent update packages are Red Bull, Aston Martin, Mercedes and Haas. The Milton Keynes Team bring an evolutionary package to the RB18, with three novelties that stand out to the eye: a modified bottom that has been elaborated through a careful study of micro-aerodynamics, a new modification to the rear end carried to adapt to the maximum to this track where as the main feature you need to have maximum load, and finally some wider rearview mirrors to meet the FIA's request ahead of 2023. Aston Martin and Mercedes have been working on the rear wings to try to find more load on this track, while Haas is the one that has brought a large number of updates and on this topic and regarding the future plans of the team, the Team Principal, Guenther Steiner, made a notable point of the situation. He touches many topics, including the lack of competitiveness shown in the French Grand Prix, to which the South Tyrolean Team Principal replies:
"We know now where the car can be if we do a good job and I think in France we did a good job. Kevin had a penalty with the engine so he started from the back but he showed in qualifying what he could do and Mick did the same, but unfortunately he was a little bit too far out from where you need to be, so we started at the back end but in the first laps we made up a lot of positions. I think we had a very good strategy, also looking back at it now, and we knew that would give us our best chance at getting into the points but unfortunately the safety car came out at the most inconvenient time for both cars so from then on it was downhill. What we can take away is that if we can get the car in the right spot set-up wise, we can compete at the top of the midfield".
Another topic of discussion that is addressed by the Haas Team Principal concerns the first important update package brought by the Team at Hungaroring. He declares:
"As many people know, we waited a bit longer to bring our upgrade to track because I think we still have good pace. Now what we want to do is put performance on. What exactly it will do, I don’t want to say because I don’t want to jinx it, but we know what it should be doing from our development. We’ll just have to wait and see what we can get out of the package. In the end, we couldn’t get two car kits to the race track, so with Kevin being in front in the championship we gave him the package to try. Unfortunately we had a few delays in the development stage, so we postponed it from the French Grand Prix to Hungary. Also, with the spares situation we had at the beginning of the season, up to race seven or eight, we fell a bit behind in production and therefore we don’t have enough parts for two cars. We struggle with spare parts for one car so hopefully we can get it done and bring it to Hungary. Everybody has worked really hard - the team and our suppliers - to make this happen so I’m still very happy that we bring it on one car to Hungary. We want to get some data before the summer break so we have something to work from when we get back, and if all goes well we’ll have it on both cars".
He also draws up a balance of the first part of the season and then talks about what he expects from the second part:
"I think the highlights were the start of the season - scoring sixth place in Bahrain and then after quite a few races where we didn’t get any points to come back strong in Silverstone and Austria. They’re my two highlights and hopefully we can keep it going once we come back, but first we have Hungary and we have to hope that we get something there. After the break I hope we can get into a groove and try to score points at every race".
Coming out of the Formula 1 sphere, the Haas’ Team Principal has a clear idea of how he will pass the summer break:
"I stay a little bit lower this year! I’m going to go and spend a few days in Tuscany with the family just to relax a little bit but otherwise I’ll do some hiking, but I won’t be going up that high this year. It’s good to have a few weeks off and it’s good for the whole team so we can get a bit of energy back to be strong for when we come back at the end of August".
And finally he makes a reflection on the remaining races that will be scheduled after the summer break, giving a broad overview of what he hopes for his team:
"I think there is no ideal solution to a calendar like this. I think coming back and doing three races, the fortunate thing is that all three are in Europe, so some of the team can go back home between the races. It is what it is with the calendar at the moment and I’m not against it. The good thing is, if you look forward, that we will end the season in November. At least the team has December and it’s not like the covid year of last season where we were working until the middle of December. The first three weeks will be tough but hopefully we are full of energy and we’ll get some points".
Regarding the expectations expressed by Guenther Steiner, the Danish driver Kevin Magnussen says:
"It’s going to be unbelievably hot by the looks of it and Hungary is a tough track, there’s not much time to relax with the short straights. It’s physically a tough race and with the heat that we’re having in Europe, it’s going to be extra tough. I think the car is going to be fine - I expect so any way - and it’s been good on a big variety of different tracks".
He also expresses sensations and feeling on this track:
"I like the track, and it does have a go-kart track feel because it’s always turning, it’s never long straights. It’s a fun track, it’s difficult to overtake on, so you’ll want to qualify well if you can. That’s definitely the most important element of the weekend".
With a passage regarding the first part of the Championship, the Danish driver takes stock of what he has brought to the team in his year of returning to Formula 1:
"The first half of the season has been a lot of fun. Of course, I had no expectations because I didn’t know I was going to be racing, but it’s been good. We’ve had a good car and there’s been times where we didn’t score the points that we could’ve when we had some bad luck in a string of races, but recently it’s seeming that we’ve been a bit more lucky, and we’ve had a bit more fortune. My best memory would be the first race I would say, not only because it was so surprising to come back but also because we got a great result. Worst? I don’t have any".
And finally he focuses on the summer break:
"I’m definitely going to go sailing in Denmark with my family and get on the water, relax and switch off from racing".
Mick Schumacher, the other Haas driver, says:
"I expect us to be actually pretty strong here. We were strong last year to an extent, and I feel comfortable going there, it’s always nice and warm, and I think it will be pretty good for our car".
Regarding the Hungaroring and the feeling with this track, Mick says:
"It’s pretty short, there’s a lot of laps and a lot of corners so there’s little opportunity to rest, which means concentration levels have to be pretty high. I always enjoy going there, I enjoyed it throughout F2 and F3, so I’m looking forward to going back and hopefully getting a strong result this year".
About the first part of the season, he makes an in-depth analysis of his performances:
"I think after the first race we were expecting to be a lot further up in the rankings than what we are at the moment but we’re slowly catching up and I think having a strong end to the season is just as valuable as having a strong start. Unfortunately, we missed out on the start but now we can redeem ourselves and have a good end to the season. My favorite moment so far would be Austria. Obviously, it was a lot of fun being so competitive and fighting with so many great drivers out there and sometimes coming out on top. I would say there’s no such thing as least favorite moment, most of them I would call learning moments instead, so you just go through the experience and all of them make you a better driver, so I value them".
And finally a look at what his relaxation will be during the summer break:
"I’m going to chill. Enjoy not having a schedule, see some friends and just recharge the batteries as much as I can".
At AlphaTauri, Pierre Gasly is not fully satisfied with the fact that he was unable to score points at the French Grand Prix, but he is confident that can have a good weekend in Hungary, a track that he likes:
"Looking at the positives from the Ricard weekend, I enjoyed the interaction with all my fans and the support from the French crowd. As for our on-track action, on Friday the new upgrades delivered a good performance, but we could not extract the maximum out of them on Saturday or Sunday, and we left France with no points in the end. We need a bit more time evaluating the new package but there’s obviously a limit to how much we can do in just a few days. However, I know our engineers will be looking at all the data, so that we can try some more things in Friday practice at the Hungaroring, which will be another hot weekend. I’ve generally done well in Hungary, it’s always been successful for me and I’ve finished sixth, sixth and fifth over the last three races we’ve had there and last year I also set the fastest race lap. I like the layout a lot, it’s very twisty and technical to drive with very few straights. It’s unique in its way and you can really get into a rhythm. In terms of the enjoyment you get from driving it, the Hungaroring is up there as one of my favourites. As always here, it will be very important to qualify well, as overtaking is traditionally very difficult. With the summer break coming up after this race, it would be good to go on holiday with a good result under my belt, not just for me, but for the whole team.You need plenty of downforce at this track, similar levels to Monaco and that is part of what the updates are meant to deliver. We will be pushing as much as possible to be where we think we should be in terms of performance.There’s a great atmosphere at the Hungaroring. It always has a very big crowd and when we get back to the city in the evening, the fans are waiting for us at our hotel and they are very excited about the Grand Prix. It will be interesting to see what sort of show we put on with these new cars on this tight track. I hope we can perform well".
Yuki Tsunoda for his part affirms:
"The French weekend was important for the team as we introduced a big update, mainly aimed at producing more downforce. There were definite signs of improvement in free practice on Friday and I was pleased with my Qualifying performance, getting into Q3 felt like progress. But my race was ruined when Ocon hit me and although I tried to continue, in the end the damage was too bad and I had to retire. It also meant that it was hard to assess the changes to the car over a race distance.It’s a big contrast going from a fast circuit like Ricard to the Hungaroring, which is so much slower and twisty, and this weekend we might get a better idea of what the updates bring, as we increase our knowledge of how they work. Last year at this race, I had a bit of good luck, because although I only qualified 16th after a difficult session, on the Sunday, with the accidents on the opening lap, I was eventually classified sixth. The Hungaroring is an enjoyable track to drive, as you get into a rhythm through all the corners with no time to relax as there are no real long straights, but it can be a bit frustrating in the race as if you get stuck behind another car, it has always been difficult to overtake. I will be keen to see if this year, that situation is improved with these new cars, as so far we have seen that it is generally easier to overtake than before. So, Qualifying as well as possible will still be really important. I want to do well, as it makes the summer break that comes next more enjoyable if you have scored points just before it".
At Williams, Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, says:
"The Hungaroring is a short and twisty circuit where overtaking is difficult and tyre management critical. In contrast to the last few races, most teams will run high downforce in Hungary, and we are unlikely to see the swings in rear wing choices that we saw at Silverstone, the Red Bull Ring and Paul Ricard.The weather forecast looks typical for Budapest at this time of year, with generally hot conditions prevailing but a chance of thunderstorms on Saturday and Sunday. Tyre compounds are the same as for the French GP, but the nature of the track will mean that we will need to deal with some different limitations this weekend, some of which will be dictated by the weather. The long corners will challenge both the tyres and the car balance and will provide a new test of the recent upgrades that we have brought to FW44".
Alex Albon continues:
"I’m looking forward to Hungary as it’s a nice, proper driver’s circuit with lots of twists. Because of this, qualifying is quite important compared to other circuits. I’m excited to see what we can extract from the new package, as it felt like we had a positive weekend in France so can hopefully build on that for Hungary. Some rain is predicted for across the weekend so this will play a part, however last year Williams played a good strategy and it paid off with some points so hopefully we can do something similar".
Nicholas Latifi is also particularly enthusiast about racing in Hungary and concludes:
"I’m excited to go back to Hungary! Last year we had some good memories there with a double points finish. It was a track that we seemed to go quite well on so hopefully we can carry over the same this year. This is the second time for me using the upgrade package and we’re looking to take the learnings from France to optimise it a little bit more. The weather looks unpredictable for Saturday which could present some opportunities that we can take advantage of and have a good weekend".
In Aston Martin, the Canadian driver Lance Stroll hopes to get a good result in Hungary after a difficult first part of the season:
"It would be fantastic to come away with a good result this weekend after a difficult first half of the season. The Hungaroring is a great track with some really fun corners and I generally enjoy driving here. It feels a lot like a kart track in a lot of ways; the corners are relentless and quickly flow from one to another. We have shown that we have improved race pace and we want to carry greater momentum into the summer break and the second half of this season".
On the same wavelength as his teammate, four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel, Stroll says:
"Hungary has become the traditional end-of-summer race before the break, which makes it important to get a strong result before the shutdown. It is a tricky little circuit - everyone thinks of it as a low-speed track, but it has some fast corners round the back that require plenty of attention. We had a good race there last year, and I think the venue should play to the strengths of our car so I am looking forward to a positive weekend".
In the Alfa Romeo Racing team, Team Principal Frédéric Vasseur takes stock of the first part of the season and hopes to get a good result here in Hungary:
"The first half of the season wraps up this weekend and we can draw a bit of a report card; it has been a thrilling year so far, with both highs and lows, and our main goal this weekend, as always, is to score a good result and bring home important points, which have been missing for a little spell of races now. We struggled more than expected in France, and given conditions are likely to be similar at the Hungaroring, it was crucial to analyse what didn’t work for us to come prepared for the weekend ahead. I am confident we can find our momentum back, and head into the summer break with a positive outcome for us and the team back at the factory".
Hand in hand with his Team Principal, the Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas is also hoping for a positive weekend:
"Having back-to-back races offers us the chance to bounce back right away from the tough weekend we had in France, where nothing seemed to be working in our favour. I enjoyed racing at the Hungaroring in the past, having also been on the podium here twice before, and I am looking forward to being back in action on track. The fans are always passionate and welcoming here, and it would be nice to put up a good show for them before the summer break. The team has been working really hard these past days to find a solution to our struggles last weekend, and together with some updates we can hopefully put up a good fight for points in the midfield".
And finally Zhou Guanyu concludes:
"The first half of my rookie season is coming to an end this weekend, and I for sure can say I learned a lot over the months since my debut in Bahrain. We had some good results, but I am hungry for more. The race at Paul Ricard was a tough one for us, and once again that prevented us from scoring any points. I am glad to be already back racing; I have raced in Hungary before, and I am looking forward to doing it again this weekend. Competition will be tough, as usual, but hopefully we can put together our efforts and bring out a good performance to put ourselves back where we belong".
Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff underlines the step forward taken in France and hopes to repeat the good result in Hungary as well:
"It was encouraging to score such a big haul of points in France and maximise the situation on Sunday but we know there is much work still to do. The gap to the leaders on a single lap persists and we struggle more at the start of stints.We need to keep unlocking more performance, and by maintaining the culture, mindset and spirit that has spurred on all the hard work at the factories, I'm confident we will. Our reliability was good once again, and both Lewis and George were on strong form, to deliver a double podium.Now we're switching focus to Hungary and a very different circuit; tight, twisty and bumpy, almost the opposite of where we just were. It's hard to predict how we will fare because our expectations this year haven't always matched up to reality, in terms of which tracks suit the W13.Nevertheless, we'll give it our all and we always look forward to being in Budapest and the warm welcome we receive from the fans. It also marks our 250th Grand Prix with our title partners, Petronas, which is a brilliant milestone".
At McLaren, the English driver Lando Norris is confident he can have a good weekend in Hungary:
"Hungary, let’s go. It’s the last race before the summer break so we’ll give it everything and leave it all on the track. It’s a challenging circuit with not tonnes of opportunity for overtaking but there is a nice opportunity to get some points. We maximized our result in France, and we’ve been looking at the data as a team to make sure we’re in the best place we can be moving forward with the upgrades. We still have a lot of work to do, particularly in the fight with Alpine, but we’re heading into the summer break with our heads held high and in a positive position to fight in part two of the season".
On the same wavelength as his teammate, Daniel Ricciardo is also hoping to have a good weekend in Hungary:
"I’m excited to go to Hungary! I’ve got some good history with the track having won there in the past so I’m looking forward to the challenges it poses and to hopefully go into the summer break on a positive. Whilst I wasn’t satisfied in France, we’ve learnt a lot in the last couple of days and there’s some good things to take into this weekend around the upgrades and optimising them for the car. Let’s get out there, have some fun on track and see if we can keep the double points streak going".
McLaren Team Principal Andreas Seidl analyzes aspects of the Hungaroring track and hopes for a battle with the Alpine team especially for the Constructors' Championship:
"The final race before the summer break poses some exciting challenges for the drivers. The Hungaroring is a technical track with its tight and twisty nature which means that overtaking may be a little more difficult. Ensuring we get a good set-up in place during practice so that we’re in the best possible position in qualifying will be very important. It will be another very hot weekend for the team. We need to ensure to stay focused and on top of reliability.The upgrades in France improved performance, resulting in double points. Whilst there is still a lot of work to do on optimisation, we’re in a good position to keep battling with Alpine for fourth in the constructors' championship. Thank you to the team for all their great work leading up to the summer break and into the second half of the doubleheader, one last big push".
In Alpine, Otmar Szafnauer, Team Principal, declares to be satisfied with the results obtained by the team and hopes to close the first part of the season with a good result in Hungary:
"We are reasonably satisfied with the first half of the 2022 season. Coming into the year, there was a sense of heading into the unknown with the change of regulations, different looking cars and the ambition of harder and closer racing on-track. I think there’s more to come in terms of achieving the ultimate objective of wheel-to-wheel racing, corner after corner, but, we’ve seen some excellent races at the majority of Grands Prix. In terms of our performance, we’re in a strong position to achieve our season aim of being fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship. Regularly, we are the fourth fastest car, even if we have not extracted or shown that potential as much as we’d have liked. That said, we are learning and developing the car at a fast rate, which is thanks to the hard work of everyone at the team across Enstone and Viry to ensure we’re making progress towards the front. I firmly believe we will achieve our goals by the end of the season. Right now, though, our focus is on this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix and backing up our good result in France last weekend. We want to enter the summer break feeling pleased but also motivated to turn the screw in the Championship come Belgium and beyond".
Esteban Ocon, recalling the victory obtained last season on this track, declares:
"I feel good, and it will be emotional to be back in Budapest for sure. I can already feel all the memories of last year coming back. But that was last year, and we need to be fully focused as a team to deliver another solid weekend. It will be important to go into the shutdown with a feeling of having really cemented that fourth spot in the Constructors’ Championship. We know it will be difficult, but we have the team and the tools to do just that. We will be giving it one last push before a well-earned break for the team who have worked incredibly hard all year. I do really enjoy the track and it’s one of my favourites, and not just because I won there! I like the second sector and how fast and flowing it is. It seems you don’t get a break from turn four to turn 11, and if your set-up is good that sequence of corners can feel really nice and make you feel like you’re extracting the maximum from the car. It’s a really fun track to drive".
Fernando Alonso concludes:
"It was a good Sunday for us after a challenging weekend. We found it quite tricky to find the right setup during Practice and we weren’t quite happy with the balance until just before Qualifying. However, we showed that when we can have a clean weekend, to aim for the top seven positions is a very realistic goal for us as we were pretty comfortable in the race. Obviously Budapest is where I took my first-ever win in Formula 1. We had a good car that year and we were building something very strong towards the next few years. But, we weren’t expecting a win that year. I think we found the circuit to really suit our package. Of course, there was last year too, which was Alpine’s first-ever win. The race also tends to be fall around my birthday, so it’s a good weekend for me with lots of memories and hard to choose one. It’s a fun track and a real challenge as a driver, with its tight and twisty nature".
A highly motivated Carlos Sainz looks forward to the weekend in Hungary:
"This year, we have been in the fight for the win at every race and I expect it will be the same here. Our rivals have quite a lead, but we have a lot of potential. That’s why, until it’s no longer mathematically possible, we will continue to fight for both titles".
Also the Monegasque driver Charles Leclerc hopes for a better weekend in Hungary to redeem the mistake of the last Grand Prix in France:
"The best way to react to what happened at Le Castellet is to get a win here in Hungary. I am driving the best car I’ve ever had in Formula 1 and I know the only way to stay in the fight for the title is to win races and always finish ahead of Max. Qualifying is very important here and so far, I’ve been quickest on Saturdays. I hope I can get the job done and go into the break with a smile on my face. On the subject of the holiday, both drivers are thinking along similar lines, having a bit of a rest and spending as much time as possible with family and friends".
On Friday, first day of free practice, Charles Leclerc seeks redemption after his third ‘DNF’ of the season while leading the race in France. The Monegasque will try his best not to let Max Verstappen win his second title easy, and starts the Hungarian weekend strongly, as he sets the fastest lap of FP2 (1'18"445) after placing third in FP1:
"With weather conditions likely to be variable this weekend, our main focus was on set-up work today. We did some race simulations too, as we may not have the chance to collect representative data in FP3 tomorrow. Though track evolution is always quite high here, it was lower than we expected today. It will be key to put the tyres in the right window tomorrow".
Again, Ferrari seems to be the quickest team able to find a good balance for their car, as Carlos Sainz sets the fastest lap in the first free practice session (1'18"750), before his teammate replicates the same performance some hours later. The F1-75 seems at ease around the tight and slow corners of the Hungaroring, which require a high-downforce set-up, and the Spaniard seems satisfied of the direction the ‘Men in Red’ have taken in terms of balance:
"It has been an interesting Friday. The car felt very good straight out of the garage in FP1 and we could put together some very good laps. For FP2 we tried a couple of changes in the set-up to evaluate which direction is best to take for tomorrow and the race. We lost the feeling a bit, but we are in a good place in terms of car balance and pace. It looks like tomorrow might be wet, so we’ll have to adapt to the conditions. Today was a positive day for the team and I look forward to the rest of the weekend".
The attention is then on Aston Martin, who has introduced a new controversial rear wing on their car for the Hungarian race: in fact, the new component is characterised by two whirls, two small arches at both ends to improve downforce and airflow management. Some teams question this solution as it could represent a violation of the new technical regulations, which require a cleaner design for F1 cars. Vettel starts his Friday in P11 but ends FP2 with a promising P7, both times placing in front of his teammate:
"On the face of it, our pace today looked quite good - our long runs were quite competitive, and I think we did a solid job as a team, but the car is still quite difficult to drive. We have recently struggled to qualify in dry conditions so I am optimistic that tomorrow’s expected heavy rain will provide us with an opportunity. I love driving this circuit and I really hope that the weather does not stop us putting on a show for the fans tomorrow".
Lance Stroll is right behind Vettel in FP1, while he places 14th in FP2 (+1.257s from Sainz), after hitting hard the outside kerb at turn 11:
"It is positive that we are still bringing updates to the car - we will look at the data tonight to see what impact they are having. Today was a good day - in the dry, we look to be right in the mix in the midfield. But it is very close there, with only a couple of tenths separating much of the pack. The forecast for the rest of the weekend is uncertain so it is difficult to predict where anyone will be in qualifying tomorrow or in Sunday’s race".
Max Verstappen keeps the pressure on Ferrari showing strong pace, as the defending World Champion splits the two Ferraris in FP1 then ends his Friday in P4. Is Red Bull hiding? Are they having some troubles finding the right balance? The ‘Flying Dutchman’ provides us with an answer:
"As expected, it was a bit tricky around here today, we were trying to find the right balance from high to low speed, sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t - there’s a bit of work to do. I think the Ferraris will be ahead of us this weekend and it will be hard to beat them. We’ll work hard overnight and try and close that gap as much as we can. The weather looks like it will have an impact on us tomorrow. In the dry we might struggle to compete, but it could be a different story in the rain; who knows, we will see tomorrow".
Sergio Pérez concludes a dull Friday (considering the potential of his car) in P9, but does not flinch, even though he recognizes the value of his rivals:
"We were trying various bits to get comfortable with the car today and I think we have got a good idea and understanding of things, so hopefully tomorrow we will be able to show what we have learned. That should transfer to both high and low fuel pace and I am fairly optimistic for the weekend, but the Ferraris certainly look very strong. They are very fast but rain tomorrow could mix things up a bit and we can be up there with them. We must put everything together tomorrow for qualifying and I am looking forward to it".
Despite a promising start, with a P5 and a P7 for Russell and Hamilton respectively, both within a second from Sainz, the Silver Arrows struggle a bit more in FP2, with Hamilton even 11th fastest with a gap of 1.1s from Leclerc. The seven-time world champion suffers especially from rear-lock and runs wide at turn 11 in both practice sessions, but also at turn number 4 in FP2, as the car proves unstable and quite difficult to get into corners:
"The car was a struggle today, it's crazy how it swings from track to track and tonight we'll be working on setup to try and get the car working. At the moment, it's a little loose and not doing what we want it to do. Not much has changed since last week, I'm still the same driver! But for some reason at this track, the car isn't working as well. In the glimpses where it was working, we were still down a second which was actually similar to last week. I didn't get much chance of a long run at the end because I sustained some damage to my floor and lost a lot of downforce. It's going to be a tough weekend, but we'll give it everything".
Similar issues for George Russell, as the young Briton struggles in the first part of the track, as he experiences bottoming down the main straight and an annoying lock-up at turn 1 which makes it hard for him to turn the car properly. Despite all this, however, Russell shows again great speed and manages to stay ahead of his renowned teammate:
"It definitely hasn't been our smoothest Friday this season, a bit of a strange one because we think it's going to be wet for qualifying tomorrow and then different again on Sunday. We tried quite a few things with the car and used today as a test session so while it's been a tough day, it's probably been a productive one. Today was about gathering lessons long-term rather than maximising our lap times, but we were further behind than we probably expected with a couple of issues here and there. Tomorrow is going to be a totally new day and Sunday, we'll be in a different place too".
Andrew Shovlin always gives a precious insight on Mercedes’ situation as their Hungarian Friday comes to an end:
"The morning session was reasonable but we'd made some changes going into the afternoon on both cars that look to have taken us in the wrong direction. That's easy enough to undo for tomorrow, and it looks like we are going to get some rain so hopefully we can recover the situation but other than finding out what not to do, the afternoon wasn't a lot of use. To further add to matters, Lewis picked up some damage on his low fuel run which we couldn't repair in time so by the end of the session, the car was very difficult and very inconsistent. The weather for the rest of the weekend looks like a wet day tomorrow followed by a dry race but in cooler conditions than we had today. Whilst we're disappointed with the pace in the afternoon, we've hopefully picked up some useful learning over the day. We've got a busy night ahead in the garage and the engineering office to make sure we can gather up the situation for tomorrow. Qualifying is more important here than at most tracks so that's our focus; we know the car works well when it's in the right window so that's what we'll be trying to achieve".
At Haas, Kevin Magnussen has finally the chance to try out the long-awaited updates on the car, which will be made available to his teammate by the weekend of the Belgian Grand Prix in Spa-Francorchamps:
"It felt quite smooth really. We had no issues with it and the feeling in the car was pretty good. It was basically more or less what we expected, so I’m happy with that. There’s going to be more work to do to extract more out of it and that’s going to come in time and so far, it’s been going well. We hope to move further up the grid tomorrow and it looks like it’s going to be wet, so that’s going to be a curveball".
Still driving the spec-A car, Mick Schumacher is right behind Magnussen, but apart from being very close to his teammate, the young German cannot be too happy about everything else, as the classification says P17 at the end of FP2, with a gap of 1.540s from the leading Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, as he even encountered some traffic in the central sector of Hungaroring caused by the Monegasque during FP1 and almost lost the car at the chicane in the following session:
"It was quite tricky. It’s just a matter of getting used to this track with these new cars - it’s a lot more mechanical, a lot bumpier. We’re figuring out where the bumps are at the moment, and also trying to adapt the car set-up to what we need here. We still need to work a bit on high and low-fuel but our main focus at the moment is high. Usually in the wet our car has been quite strong so let’s hope for the best tomorrow. If we have everything in the right spot, we should be decent".
Team Principal Guenther Steiner sums up the work done by his team during both practice sessions:
"It wasn’t a bad session for us today. We’re just trying to understand the upgrade package on Kevin’s car and there is work to be done - but at the moment, it looks promising. We need to work a little bit more on the balance, we haven’t really figured out where to go with it. Mick had an issue with his front wing in FP2 so it didn’t give the downforce it should’ve, so we need to look into that, but all in all it was not a bad session. Tomorrow obviously looks like it’s going to be completely different circumstances because of the rain, so we’ll go away as we have a lot of data to look at, but at the moment it looks ok".
Not an easy day at the office for Alpha Tauri, with Pierre Gasly 13th and 15th in the two FPs. The Frenchman is more than a second beyond the fastest time in both sessions and is one of the drivers to experience the difficulty of turn 4: a rapid up-hill blind left-hander which often causes the drivers to run wide, as they carry too much speed in it, or to run on the higher kerbs that are so dangerous for the cars’ floor. Gasly is not satisfied with the performance of the car, but is happy with his driving:
"I was pretty happy with my lap and managed to put a good one together in FP2. In terms of performance, we are not there yet. We are sliding too much, so we will have to see what we can change by tomorrow to be faster. There isn’t a massive issue with the balance, and I felt like I was really on the limit, putting a clean lap together, but the time does not seem to reflect that, so we will need to analyse it tonight. Based on the forecast it will be wet tomorrow for Qualifying, which are conditions I enjoy driving in. Hopefully we find some solutions to improve the car, but a bit of rain wouldn’t be a bad thing for us".
Yuki Tsunoda is more or less on the same page: the Japanese has even a huge lock-up at the first corner and, unfortunately for him, sits behind his teammate in the classification of both practice sessions:
"Today feels like quite a step-back since France, where the car was performing quite well. Here in Hungary, the balance of the car is not ideal, I’m really struggling with it a lot, so we need to go away with the engineers tonight and find out what the issue is, so we can improve for tomorrow. It’s looking like it’ll rain for Quali, I’m not quite sure how I feel about that yet, it really depends on what we’re able to learn overnight and how much more pace we can find in FP3".
Jonathan Eddolls, Chief Race Engineer, explains the difficulties encountered by his team in finding performance, despite a new aero package successfully tested and used in France, and sets up the program for improvement:
"We’ve arrived in Hungary already prepared, with a lot of learnings on how our new aero package performs on track from last week in France. So, we adapted the setup to suit this circuit and then had a number of tests to conduct across the two cars to improve the balance. In FP1 we ran the Hard and Soft tyres - the Hard had much less grip than expected and therefore the step-in grip to Softs was big, so we didn’t maximise the performance on the first push. The hard performance was also evident on the long run in FP1. The track was very hot and with the tyre energies at the Hungaroring the tyres were having a hard time, therefore the degradation was high. For FP2 the changes were aimed at fixing these issues. We were unable to find the expected increase in grip on the Soft tyre, so we need to understand why this was the case and update the setup for tomorrow to address it. The performance we have shown today is not in line with our expectations, so we have a lot of work to do tonight. Tomorrow there are some questions marks over the weather, which means this could be the last dry running before the race. In any case, we will keep pushing to understand the limitations and try to make improvements for the rest of the weekend".
The home of the Hungarian Grand Prix is a special place for both Alpine drivers. In 2003, Fernando Alonso took here his maiden win in spectacular fashion. A great achievement which was replicated almost twenty years later by his teammate, who enters the top ten only in FP1:
"It’s great to be back driving in Budapest as lots of great memories came back to me! In terms of our running, it was good to get two practice sessions under our belt. We are still unsure about the weather forecast for tomorrow and today could likely be the only dry running we have before Qualifying or even the Race. We’ve extracted a good understanding on a variety of things, which puts us in good shape for the rest of the weekend. As we know, rain here can make things interesting so let’s see how that pans out and see what we can achieve".
Fernando Alonso, now the fastest 41-year-old in the world, is a bit more consistent, and with a 10th and a promising 6th place shows good progress from one session to another:
"It was a productive Friday today and we tried a few different things in terms of the car set-up. The weather looks very changeable tomorrow and Sunday, so who knows what we will be facing, but we gathered some good data and ran a smooth programme in both practice sessions. The car felt quite good and enjoyable to drive, so let’s see what we can do tomorrow. I must say it was also very nice to drive around Budapest on my birthday".
Pat Fry, Alpine’s Chief Technical Officer shares the common concern about the chance of a radical change in weather on Saturday but also remains confident of the potential of his team, who, especially with Alonso, seems well prepared for the rest of the weekend:
"Today was particularly challenging as the grip on-track was very low, which made things difficult for the drivers. That was a problem which most other teams also struggled with, but the track will continue to clean and improve session by session. We will remain vigilant to the weather as conditions look set to change quite drastically. There’s a high chance of rain tomorrow - possibly for Qualifying - and, already this year, we’ve shown we can be competitive in the wet. Then, we have an eye on Sunday where conditions will be significantly cooler than today. As ever, we have plenty of analysis to conduct to be best prepared for both Qualifying and the Race, and I’d say we’re in pretty good shape as things stand".
A great start of the weekend for McLaren Racing, with Norris consistently sitting in the top spots. Fourth in FP1 and even second in FP2, the young Briton appears to be in great shape as well as his car, fast enough to keep up with the best teams even in dry conditions, despite the non-ideal grip level:
"Things are feeling good. The car is in a good place and seems to be suiting this track a little bit more. But we’re always a little quicker in FP2 than where we end up being on Saturday. Normally, we know everyone else, especially Ferrari, Red Bull, Mercedes usually step it up a lot more tomorrow. But we’re feeling good. I can be happy in saying the car is in a reasonable position. We’re probably a little bit ahead of where we were in Paul Ricard. I’m not expecting to be fighting for pole, but hopefully we can be a little bit ahead of where we were in France, especially for the race".
Daniel Ricciardo imitates the performance of his teammate and improves from P8 to P5 from one session to another. Has he found the right feeling with his McLaren? The Aussie says:
"I think it was a good day, it was solid. We had a pretty good showing in both sessions, which is positive. Obviously, we had updates last week and perhaps they’re working a little bit better around this track so that’s good. I think there’s still bits and pieces we can improve on, for sure, but it’s been a positive Friday and one of the better ones this year. I’m happy with that, but we will probably have to put some wet set-up in for tomorrow, but it’s nice to have a solid Friday and I think everyone’s in good spirits".
Andrea Stella is on the same page of his drivers:
"A productive Friday for us at the Hungaroring. Overall, the car seems to have decent potential. It ran without issue, which allowed us to get through a busy programme split between more work to fully understand the new aerodynamic package we introduced in France, and also running to understand tyre behaviour for this weekend. For the latter, we were able to test all three compounds - and have plenty of data to go through this evening. We’re shifting focus now to be in good shape for qualifying and the race. Looks like we may be in for some interesting weather tomorrow".
Valtteri Bottas steps out of his car to give Robert Kubica some space, as the Polish driver completes his program as the tester of the Italo-Swiss team:
"It is always good and interesting to be in the car, as there is always something to learn. For the second time in a row after France, track conditions were different, we ran a few tests and we discovered some new things. All in all, I think we did a good job. We had some updates on the car, so I made sure I took it easy to avoid any damage, but I still had a little bit of fun. I did one run on the hard compound and then switched them for softs, it’s never the most straightforward to switch from one compound to the other but all went well".
The Finnish driver reunites with his Alfa Romeo only in the afternoon:
"I had FP2 to get a bit of a feel for the car and the updates we are bringing for this race. I think we’ve made a step forward in terms of grip, we are moving in the right direction: the midfield is going to be as close as always, so every little improvement can give you an edge. I know there’s a lot more to come from my side, so I am satisfied with what we did today, it wasn’t a bad start. Tomorrow may be a very different day when it comes to the weather, but we did work to prepare for all conditions. Overall, the balance of the car is not bad so I think we’re in a good place for Sunday".
After closing his Friday in 12th position, for Zhou Guanyu there is room for improvement:
"Today went reasonably smooth, we took a step forward in the afternoon compared to FP1, although there is still plenty of stuff to look through overnight preparing for Saturday. Hopefully, we will be able to have a better performance tomorrow compared to the previous weekends, but I think it’s safe to say we aren’t looking too bad. In today’s hot conditions, we didn’t struggle much compared to Paul Ricard, so I think what needs to be done is some fine tuning to be all set for tomorrow. As usual, the midfield is set to be tight, so we need to put out our best performances and be able to get back to Q2 which should be our base goal from now on".
Nicholas Latifi opens up about his struggles around the Hungaroring (last and 18th are his final positions in the two free practice sessions), despite acknowledging the difficulties that everyone is facing with these particular track conditions; no time for excuses:
"Overall it’s been a tricky day with the track conditions and temperature which have probably been the same for everybody. We struggled to get the balance dialled in, so there’s still a bit of lap time to extract if we can bring the car a little bit more together. There are still a few things on my side to work on. Tomorrow could provide some opportunities with the mixed conditions so hopefully we can take advantage of that".
An unfortunate day for Alex Albon, who experiences a big rear lock-up at the end of the main straight that causes his car to spin out in the run-off area. As a result, the driver #23 wastes a complete set of new soft tyres and is relegated to the last position in FP2, as trying to improve would cost him another set that can be more rightfully used during qualifying and race:
"We didn’t really do a proper short run and we had to cut the race run short, so it was not a smooth session today, but anyway we will go into tomorrow fresh. It’s likely to be wet, so it’ll be a bit of a reset for everyone and I don’t think today will hurt us too much".
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance for Williams, describes the situation of his team here in Hungary:
"We got through a lot of work today and made some good progress with the tyres. With rain forecast for tomorrow, we opted to use 5 new sets of slicks today in order to maximise our preparation for the race. We had a solid FP1 with both drivers feeling comfortable with the car and making very similar balance comments. In FP2 Alex flat-spotted his main set of Soft tyres before he had a chance to set a laptime and so he finished at the bottom of the timesheet. However, although we were struggling for overall grip today, we know that there is a lot more to come from him. Alex also suffered a telemetry failure during his high fuel running and so his session finished early as a precaution. Nicholas had no serious car issues and made good progress on low fuel before successfully completing his high fuel run. The outcome of the rest of the weekend will likely be dictated as much by tomorrow’s weather as the car performance and we hope that a wet qualifying will present us with an opportunity at a circuit where overtaking is very difficult".
Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport Director, analyses the work done by the teams, focusing on their effort to maximise the chance given by a dry free practice on Friday to prepare the race as a complete change in weather seems destined to disrupt their programs for FP3 and enliven qualifying:
"With the expected degree of track evolution today, we’ve already seen some quick times that would perhaps have eventually beaten the qualifying simulation tomorrow. But with heavy rain forecast for Saturday, this will probably remain hypothetical. With cooler temperatures expected on Sunday, this could also be one of the reasons why we saw a lot of running on the soft tyre today, which might become a valid option for the race. The cooler the weather becomes, the more that the additional grip of the soft tyre comes into its own. However, this has to be offset against the mechanical demands on the tyre at this circuit, especially with the cars on full fuel at the start of the race. There was more wear than expected on the hard tyre today, due to some sliding, while the medium and soft performed well for these conditions. As a result of the changing weather, the teams face some complex strategic decisions over the next couple of days".
On Saturday, July 30, the sun disappears and it rains for about 20 minutes on Hungaroring before the start of FP3. Because of the weather, with an air temperature of 19 degrees, 22 for the track, and 93% of humidity, the slick tyres are not be the preferred choice for this practice session. Indeed, heavy rain is on the way and the risk of rain intensifying is very high. The last session of free practices starts and the drivers are getting ready to start without rushing. After 3 minutes since the start of FP3, the first to get on the track is Leclerc, followed by Sainz. Leclerc seems to struggle a bit to get the car on the track because the track is slippery, especially in the third sector. Meanwhile, Norris joins the Ferrari duo. Leclerc on wet tyres scores 35.884 in the first sector, then makes a little correction and goes wide in the chicane before Turn 9, to complete his first lap in 1'46"044, ahead of his teammate Sainz on wet tyres too (1'45"569). Norris, also on wet tyres, scores 1'46"749. Zhou gets on track and struggles a bit coming into the second sector but scores 2'10"159, while Leclerc tries again and scores 1'43"364 and Ricciardo gets 1'45"829 taking P3, followed by Norris in P4 (1'46"749), Schumacher (1'47"193), and Stroll (1'47"487). Among the drivers, Alonso is the only one who has intermediate tyres. Leclerc says to his team:
"I think the inters could be a good option. There’s not too much aquaplanning".
Alonso completes his lap in 1'49"192 in P7. At his back there is Bottas in P8 (1'47"929), followed by Albon (1'48"787), Tsunoda in P14 (1'49"892), followed by Vettel (1'51"960). Sainz tells to his team that aquaplanning is getting better and better.
"How about interns?"
They ask him.
"Not sure if it’s worth the risk".
Stroll tries again and takes P5 at +3.224 to Leclerc. Alonso climbs from P10 to P3 (+2.449) and Tsunoda to P7 (1'46"966).
"Heaving rain incoming now".
Says the alpine team to Ocon. Latifi scores +2.671 in the first sector, +5.847 in the second, struggles a bit in the last sector and completes in 1'50"893. Russell tries his first attempt on wet tyres takes P15 (+.339). At 15 Minutes since the start of FP3, the drivers who have not tried a quick lap are the two Red Bull drivers and Hamilton. Due to the track wet condition, Gasly, Albon, and Zhou go wide at Turn 4, the tricky point of the session as there the cars cannot slow down. Bottas climbs to P10 (+3.665), while Schumacher gets on track and scores +0.944 compared to Leclerc 35.096, completing the middle sector in +3.444, and maintaining P12 (+4.431).
"There is a lot of standing water".
Says Mick to his team. Finally, at 32 minutes to the end of FP3, the track is getting drier. Therefore, some drivers decide to try something new: Russells uses dry tyres, while Lewis still the wet ones. Gasly scores +0.906 in the first sector, +2.664 in the second, and completes the lap in P15. Hamilton tries his first quick lap, scores +1.230 in the first sector, +3.200 in the second, and completes in 1'48"063 in P17. Magnussen gets the fastest first sector so far (34.790) and goes fourth 1'44"655 (+1.291), followed by his teammate Mick at +1.792 seconds.
"No more rain expected".
Says the team to Latifi. Suddenly, the yellow flag starts to wave in the second sector, as Gasly spun in the chicane at Turn 7. However, the Frenchman manages to turn the car easily, so the track is immediately clear.
"No grip, struggling, struggling a lot".
Says Russell, while coming straight back to the garage. Norris on wet tyres tries again, scores +0.638 in the first sector, +1.012 in the second, and completes in 1'44"635, going fourth qucikest. Latifi climbs to P11 (+2.550), while Perez is finally getting on track and is ready to warm his tyres up. Therefore, the only one who has not yet gotten to the track is Verstappen. Zhou climbs to P7 (+2.327) and Alonso tries again on intermediates, scores +2.609 in the second sector, makes a little correction but manges to get the fastes third sector (29.625), and completes in 1'45"852 in P10. Finally, Verstappen gets on track and almost all the drivers switch to intermediates. Vettel is the first to try a new lap this time on intermediates. He scores +0.433, but raise his foot from the pedal and decides to try later.
There is no grip on this tyre, says Hamilton, while Norris is of the same mind:
"I have absolutely no grip at the moment".
Russell gets back to the track and starts to warm his intermediate tyres up, while Alonso climbs to P6 (+1.295) and Perez takes P19 at +5.29.
"My tyre’s cold or something?"
Asks Hamilton to his team.
"We are struggling to generate the temperature, rear left in particular".
Replies Mercedes team. Leclerc is back on track on intermediate. Exiting from Turn 4, he spins but manages to take the car on the track, so raises his foot and interrupts his quick lap. Even Schumacher complains about the tyres:
"For some reson my rear feels like on ice. My fronts, oh my god".
Russell is driving through the third sector but before approaching the cross line, raises his foot and gives up the quick lap. Verstappen tries again and from P20 scores +1.516 in the second sector, and completes his lap in 1'49"232 in P9. Alonso scores the first fastest sector (34.306), gets +0.184 in the second, and goes second, at +0.206 to Leclerc, the quickes at the moment. Again the fastest first sector is scored by Latifi, who drove in 34.320. Russell keeps complaing about the intermediate tyres:
"These tyres are just not working at all. They’re so cold, How i don’t know".
Again, the yellow flag appears in the second sector because Vettel lost the car and hitted the wall at Turn 10, at 9 minutes to the end of the FP3. Since the car has to be removed from the track, the yellow flag turns into a red one. After four minutes, the red flag is removed and the session is resumed at 1:56 p.m. Some drivers are on the pitlane, waiting for the green light to get back on track at 3 and 30 second to the end of FP3. I’m like driving on ice, says Zhou to his team. Russell tries again on intermediate tyres, scores +0.244 in the first sector, +1.831 in the second, and completes in 1'45"306 in P10. Verstappen scores -0.904 in the first sector, +0.067 in the second, and goes to the top of the rank with 1'43"205, overthrowing Leclerc. The Monegasque does not improve in the first sector, drives in -0.526 in the second, scoring also the fastest second sector (38.391), and takes again P1 in 1'42"141. Albon crosses the finish line in P3 at +0.901 to Leclerc. However, Latifi gets a purple in the first sector, scores -1.010 in the second, and goes to the top in 1'41"480, smashing Leclerc before the countdown stops. The FP3 session is over and Latifi on intermediate is the quickest (1'41"480), followed by Leclerc (+0.661), Albon (+0.901), Verstappen (+1-725), Russell (+1.954), Alonso (+2.099) and Sainz (+2.109). Norris is in P8 (+2.263), followed by Vettel on wet (+2.698), Magnussen (+3.352) on wet, Hamilton (+3.352) on intermediate, Schumacher (+3.676) on wet, and Ocon (+4.090) on intermediate. Ricciardo on intermediateis in P14 (+4.144), followed by Stroll (+4.158), Zhou (+4.211) on wet, Tsunoda (+4.370) on wet, Bottas (+4.450), Gasly (+4.611), and Perez (+6.760). It is time for qualifying and things are going to get serious. Clouds still surround the circuit but the rain is dissipating and the sun is back on the Hungaroring. Therefore, slick tyres are back as a preferred choice. In the Aston Martin’s box, mechanics are celebrating because they managed to get Vettel’s car ready after he crashed in the last minutes of FP3. The greenlight turns on and the cars are getting to the track through the pitlane. Magnussen opens the dance on soft red tyres, scores 28.800 in the first sector, 57.837 in the second, and completes his first lap in 1'20"388, taking the lead. Stroll overthrowns him a few instants later, while Tsunoda takes P3, followed by Schumacher, and Gasly.
Hamilton and Verstappen both on soft red tyres are driving through the second setor. Hamilton scores -0.257 compared to Stroll’s second sector (57.723), actives the DRS, and goes first in 1'19"732. Verstappen gets a purple in the first sector, -0.697 in the second, and goes quicker than Lewis went, in 1'19"020. Russell on soft tyres completes his first lap in P3 (1'19"817), making Bottas slip to P4. However, Perez on soft red tyres takes P4 in 1'19"939, making Bottas go behind one position more. Meanwhile, Schumacher goes fourteenth (+38.013). The two Ferrari are reaching the track at 13 minutes to the end of Q1 and are ready to warm the tyres up. Norris scores +0.278 in the first sector compared to Verstappen 28.604 first sector, +0.518 in the second, gets a purple in the third, and goes second quickest at (+0.514). Ocon scores +1.261 in the second sector, and takes P9 at 1'20"499. Alonso goes fifth at +0.803 to Verstappen, while Vettel scores 1'20"572 in P11 and Bottas is third (+0.606). Verstappen tries again and gets the fastest first sector (28.434) and the second sector (28.117), improving his best in 1'18"792. Latifi completes his lap in P11 (+1.399), followed by Stroll (+1.448), Ocon (+1.707), Vettel (+1.780), and Tsunoda (1'20"580). Russell goes second (+0.384) but it lasts a few because Perez scores 1'19"118, taking P2. Ricciardo goes eighth in 1'19"897. Sainz scores +0.664 in the second sector and completes his first lap in 1'19"317, in P4. His teammate scores 28.836 in the first sector, 28.605 in the second, and goes tenth in 1'19"979 (+1.187). At ten minutes to the end of Q1, the drivers at risk are Ocon, Vettel, Tsunoda, Gasly, and Schumacher. Tsunoda from P18 tries again and scores -0.016 in the first sector, compared to Stroll’s 28.780. As Alonso goes fifth in 1'19"196 and puts Stroll in the drop zone, the new reference time is that of Latifi. Then, Tsunoda gets -0.236 compared to Latifi’s 57.564 in the second sector and takes P11 in 1'19"904. His teammate Gasly scores -0.08 in the first sector, -0.509 in the second, and manages to put his car in P7 (+0.735). Hamilton tries again and from P10, he goes second, scoring a purple in the last sector (1'18"916), while Russell goes fourth in 1'19"044. Leclerc gets +0.167 in the second sector and crosses the finish line in P2 (1'19"806), meanwhile, Verstappen scores new time records in the second and third sectors, with 27.983 in the second, and 22.041 in the third.
Stroll scores -0.154 compared to Magnussen’s 28.815, the last driver to qualify for the Q2 currently, -0.376 compared to Magnussen’s 57.530, and goes from P18 to P9 in 1'19"371 putting Magnussen in the drop zone. Five minutes to the end of Q1. Magnussen tries again and scores -0.251, compared to Albon’s 28.761 in the first sector, -0.690 compared to Albon’s 57.482 in the second, and goes eighth (+0.646), putting Albon in the drop zone. Mick gets -0.171 in the first sector, -0.513 in the second, and completes his lap in 1'19"164 in P9, managing to save himself from the drop zone. Zhou goes fifth, while Latifi improves his time but and goes P14 (1.19.570). However, Vettel is about to complete his lap and takes P12 (+0.764), putting Latifi at risk in P15. Two minutes to the end of Q1. Hamilton scores the quickest first sector in 28.271 and goes quickest in 1'18"374. Sainz scores the quickest second sector in 27.838 and goes second in 1'18"434 but Russell takes P2 from Sainz (+0.033) a few instant later. Alonso from P11 scores +0.181 in the first sector, +0.192 in the second and goes fifth (1.18.716), followed by Ricciardo that scores 1'18"775 and takes P6. Stroll manages to exit the drop zone in P14 (1'19"205), putting Vettel at risk. Ocon goes eighth in 1'18"866, putting Stroll on the verge of the drop zone, making Vettel slip into the drop zone. Tsunoda goes 16th and is the first of the excluded drivers from Q2. Gasly takes P13 and manages to save himself again from the drop zone. From P20, Albon improves but not enough to exit the drop zone and he takes P18 (+0.092). Norris goes fifth (+ 0.401) and Latifi gets a purple in the first sector but remains in P20. In the meantime, Perez is riskiously slipped to P13 because Red Bull and Ferrari did not use the new tyres during this session. However, since the time runned out, there is not risk for him. Q1 is over and Hamilton is the quickest in 1'18"374, followed by Russell (+0.033), Sainz (+0.080), Verstappen (+0.135), Norris (+0.279), Alonso (+0.342), Ricciardo (+0.401), Leclerc (+0.432), Ocon (+0.492), and Bottas (+0.561). His temmates Zhou is in P11 (+0.599), Magnussen (+0.619), Perez (+0.744), Schumacher (+0.790), and Stroll the last driver to qualify (1'19"205). Tsunoda (+0.035), followed by Albon (+0.051), Vettel (+0.068), Gasly (+0.322), and Latifi (+0.365) are threfore excluded from Q2. Sorry, says Albon to his team. Vettel is behind Stroll this weekend.
"I am afraid we’re out mate. No, No man. I messed the last corner, sorry guys".
Says Latifi to his team. Also Yuki Tsunoda is disappointed with weekends’ results as they had a lot of grip issue that makes the car difficult to drive:
"It’s been a difficult weekend so far, we’re struggling for grip in general and especially today in sector one I’ve had absolutely none, so overall the car has been really hard to drive. We knew it wouldn’t be an easy day, but we didn’t expect it to be as much of a struggle as it has been. We thought maybe we’d be able to get through to Q2, but that was even harder than we imagined. We’ve still got one more day to go, so we’ve got to try and fight back, it’s not easy to overtake here but I’ll do my best to try and finish this first half of the season on a more positive note".
Pierre Gasly has mixed feelings. Even if they did not qualify for Q2, they made progresses compared to Friday:
"On one hand, it is extremely frustrating not to be part of Q2, but on the other hand we have made a small step forward since Friday. We managed to put a good lap together and were running in P13, set to get through to Q2, but unfortunately had our lap time deleted. It looked like we weren’t too far off the times of the cars in the top 10, so it’s all to play for during the race. There is definitely potential, it is up to us to make the right step forward to try and unlock the pace for tomorrow".
Says Jody Egginton, AlphaTauri’s Technical Director:
"A frustrating Qualifying today as both cars had the pace for Q2, but we did not manage to get either there. Pierre's best lap was good enough for 12th in Q1, but he was reported for a track limit infringement at Turn 5, meaning the lap was deleted and he missed the cut. Yuki also had a lap deleted and needed his final run to make the cut, but unfortunately missed this by 0.035sec reporting a lack of grip on his final set. So, as a team we cannot be satisfied and need to go through the data to see where we can improve. Looking ahead to the race, although we have not managed to secure the best possible grid positions here, our task for tomorrow remains unchanged and everyone will be focused on trying to get our cars moving forward into points scoring positions".
Then he explains that tomorrow they will be focused on trying to put both cars in the points area. Sebastian Vettel explains what he experienced today:
"The off this morning in FP3 was a shame - obviously, it was my mistake, but I wasn’t pushing too hard when it happened. The track improved quite a bit throughout Q1. I thought my first lap was good, but then I could only do one cool-lap, so the tyres were still a bit too hot for my final lap. It doesn’t leave us in a good place for tomorrow. Getting the car repaired for qualifying with just minutes to spare makes failing to get out of Q1 hurt that bit more. There is very little possibility to overtake around here, so we will need to see what we can do with the strategy in tomorrow’s race".
Alex Albon explains:
"I was really happy with my qualifying lap. It was tricky going from the wet FP3 to a dry qualifying, the wind changed and we were missing a little bit of downforce. We’re very fast down the straights, but that is not the most helpful round this track. But we’ll do a rain dance ahead of tomorrow and we’ll see what we can do strategy wise".
Nicholas Latifi is disappointed with qualifying’s results, especially after having led the rank in FP3:
"After a positive FP3 in the wet, we had to reset the expectations for Qualifying with it being dry. I was looking to be on the cusp of Q2, but I missed the last corner quite bad. It's frustrating to make a mistake in the final corner with snap of oversteer on entry after a big tailwind. I was surprised to hear I had a purple sector one. However, we’re still missing downforce from the package, so we know where we need to improve. It’s difficult to overtake here but we’ll be looking to capitalise on any opportunities that may come in the race tomorrow".
Dave Robson, Williams Head of Vehicle Performance, finds that
"Today was mixed in many senses. The wet conditions for FP3 were not unexpected and with the rain potentially lasting into Qualifying, we opted to run on both the full wet and the intermediate tyres in FP3. Both drivers were happy with their cars and were able to complete good, unhindered runs. We obviously showed good pace in the wet, which was encouraging and enjoyable. However, with Qualifying ultimately taking place in dry conditions, we knew that we would struggle more. Again, both drivers had good clean runs in qualifying and perfect laps from either would’ve seen them into Q2. However, with the wind picking up, getting that perfect lap was difficult. Both drivers came close to perfect, but both struggled in the final long corners. It was a shame to miss out having done so many good things today, but that is how tight it is at the moment. There could be further rain tomorrow and as we have seen here many times before, a lot can happen in the race; we’ll be ready to take any opportunity that we get".
The Q2 starts and Hamilton is the first with a new set of tyres. He gets 28.581 in the first sector, 56.896 in the second, and completes his lap in 1'19"063. His teammate Russell scores 28.586 in the first sector, improves of two tents in the second compared to Lewis 56.646, and goes first in 1'18"883. It is the turn of the Ferrari drivers. Leclerc scores a purple in the second sector (56.673) and completes his lap in 1'18"769, overthrowing temporarily Russell, while Sainz scores the fastest second sector and takes P2 in 1'18"849. Now, there are the two Ferraris in P1 and P2, followed by the two Mercedes in P3 and P4, and Magnussen and Mick’s Haas cars in P5 and P6. Norris gets a purple in the second and third sectors and goes quickest in 1'18"121, making Charles slip to P2. Both Red Bulls get on track on new tyres. Verstappen gets a purple in the first sector, scores- 0.374 in the second, and goes first in 1'17"703. Perez goes second in 1'18"516 but his time is deleted for track limits at Turn 5, so Norris maintains P2. Ten minutes to the end and Ocon is at risk, so tries again, scores +0.333 in the first sector, +0.715 in the second, and goes third in 1'18"741. His teammate Alonso on new tyres scores +0.088 in the first sector, +0.065 in the second, getting the fastest second sector (27.603), and puts its Alpine in the second place at +0.201 to Verstappen. Bottas scores 1.18.785 and goes second, making Alonso fall behin one position. His teammate Zhou goes fourth in 1.18.640, splitting Norris and Ocon. However, Ricciardo manages to put his car in P4 (+0.749). Five minutes to the end of Q2 and Russell is at risk in P10 (1'18"883). The drivers in the drop zone are Hamilton, Stroll, Magnussen, Schumacher, and Perez, the latter without a valid time. Hamilton tries again and scores -0.252 compared to Russell’s 28.366 first sector, -0.490 compared to Russell’s 56.646 in the second, and goes third (1'18"305).
Russell, slipped into the drop zone, scores +0.105 in the first sector, +0.328 in the second, and takes P5 in 1'18"154. Leclerc scores +0.078 in the first sector, +0.122, and takes P2 in 1'17"768, scoring the fastest third sector (21.755). Sainz scores -0.456 in the second and goes fourth (+0.243), behind Alonso. Some drops of rain on the back straight, communicates Perez to his team radio. Magnussen does not improve and remains in P13 (1'18"825), while his temmate remains P15 (+0.834). A new communication on Perez’ time arrives and his time is reinstated 1'18"516, so he is in P9. However, he tries again and scores +0.223 in the first sector, +0.667 in the second, and completes his lap in 1'18"624 maintaining P9 with a little improvement. Stroll tries to exit the drop zone at two minutes to the end. He gets -0.07 compared to Zhou’s first setor time (28.535), +0.483 compared to Zhou’ second sector time (56.409), and scores takes P14 (1'19"137), therefore he is excluded from Q3. Magnussen tries again and scores -0.72, compared to Zhou’s time in the second sector, +0.480 in the third, but like Stroll he does not improve and maintains P13, therefore eliminated. Bottas goes eighth, putting Zhou in the drop zone, while Ocon scores -0.114 in the second sector and completes his lap in 1'18"216 in P8, knocking Perez out and putting Ricciardo at risk. While Norris raises his foot and gives up his last attempt in Q2, Ricciardo scores +0.303 in the second sector and takes P8 in 1'18"198. Q2 is over and Verstappen is P1 (1'17"703), followed by Leclerc (+0.065), Alonso (+0.201), Sainz (+0.23), Hamilton (+0.332), Norris (+0.418), Russell (+4.51), Ocon (+0.513), and Bottas the last driver to qualify in 1.18. 445. The drivers who will not run in Q3 are Perez (+0.071), Zhou (+0.128), Magnussen (+0.380), Stroll (+0.692), and Schumacher (+0.757).
"Magnussen, yeah, was blocked there by Magnussen".
“Zhou we just missed Q3 by a tenth".
Says Alfa Romeo team to Zhou.
"Anyway, thank you guys. Finally, we were back. I am so happy".
Sergio Perez explains the difficulties he experienced during qualifying as he had to use a second set of tyres after his time was deleted for track limit and then he lost time when Magnussen got in his way to the lap:
"Qualification did not go as expected. I had to use a second set of tyres in Q2 because my first lap got deleted for track limits, then I got my time back but this already impacted our session. It was a bit of a strange situation. When I got going again Kevin (Magnussen) got in my way at turn 2, so I lost a few tenths as I had to go very big through the corner and couldn’t recover for the rest of the lap. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do much more. It wasn’t a great qualifying for me. I don’t have a great feeling in the car at the moment but tomorrow should be better, we should have better pace and hopefully we are able to recover to score some solid points".
Lance Stroll did not expect to take P14 as on Friday he felt more competitive. However, today’s tricky conditions made him struggle with the grip:
"To qualify 14th was not what we really wanted today. Yesterday we looked more competitive, but the conditions were very different today and we just generally struggled for grip. We will have to look at the data to analyse why things panned out the way they did today. We have been performing better on race day, but it is tricky to overtake here - so it will be tough to make progress in the race, but there might be some interesting weather tomorrow which can go in our favour".
On Stroll, Mike Krack, Aston Martin Team Principal, finds that made a good job by qualifying to Q2. Sebastian has some difficulties as he crashed into the barriers so the mechanics had to set up his car after the end of FP3 before the start of qualifying:
"Days like these show the grit and determination of the whole team. Lance did well this afternoon to progress into Q2, ultimately ending up in 14th position. But we did not have the pace to be in contention for Q3. Sebastian had a difficult day. After hitting the barriers at the end of FP3 and damaging his car, it was a race against time to have everything ready for qualifying. But, once again, our mechanics worked faultlessly to fix the damage. They got the car ready ahead of Q1, but Sebastian unfortunately finished up in 18th place. These positions leave us with a lot to do tomorrow, but, with changeable conditions still on the cards, anything could happen".
Zhou Guanyu is overall satisfied with his results especially given the tricky conditions:
"I am quite happy with how qualifying went today, especially taking into account the difficult conditions we faced this morning. We finally got back to Q2 with both cars, and it’s been very intense as once again it was so close in the midfield. I was quite impressed with our pace today, as we seemed to be back on our levels after a couple of difficult weekends. Q3 wasn’t too far from my reach, but I encountered some traffic on my out-lap and the tyres weren’t ready, nevertheless I pulled together a good lap in the end and I’m happy about it. It looks like tomorrow won’t be any hotter than today, so hopefully that puts us in a good position for the race, to try and fight for places and bring home some points".
Kevin Magnussen says that they seem to be less competitive this weekend:
"You always want to make Q3 and it wasn’t one of our best qualifying sessions but it seems this weekend we’ve been a little bit less competitive. There’s a lot of work going into it but it’s one of those things that will take time to extract the most out of it. From P13, I think you can fight for points. The pace looked alright on the long run, certainly the car felt good in FP2 with high-fuel, if anything a little bit better than low-fuel. We’ll take what we can tomorrow and go and have some fun".
Mick Schumacher finds today tougher than he expected:
"It was tougher than what I would’ve hoped for. It was quite a chaotic sequence of laps but on the other hand it’s qualifying, and you’ve got to try some stuff, and with the upgrade package the gap was a bit bigger than what we wanted it to be. Our car isn’t bad, we still have the opportunity to go forwards and how far forwards is the question. If there’s a race from start to finish with no safety cars, maybe it will be a bit difficult to overtake, but we’ll give it a shot".
Says Guenther Steiner, Haas’ Team Principal:
"It was a medium qualifying session today. In FP3 with the rain, it was neither here nor there, so no conclusion can be taken from there. In qualifying, it wasn’t perfect but still if we have good starts like we had in France, we can still go for points. We got out of Q1 pretty well, but we just didn’t have the speed to get into Q3. We’re focused now on tomorrow, we’ll hopefully get a good start as we normally do and try to put ourselves in the position to score points. We’re here to fight and tomorrow that’s what we’ll be doing".
Finally, Q3 starts. All the drivers do not rush on the track but wait and set all the things up a bit more before getting serious. Leclerc is on new tyres and starts his first lap: he has bit of oversteering but keeps the car and scores 28.330 in the first sector, 56.026 in the second, and crosses the finish line in 1'17"985, taking P1. Norris scores 28.581 in the first sector, 56.451 in the second, and completes his lap in 1'18"890. Sainz gets a purple in the first sector, being one-tenth quicker than Leclerc. He scores 55.658 and finally goes quicker than his teammate is and gets P1 (1'17"305). Bottas goes fifth in 1'18"963 and Alonso takes P3 (+0.798). However, Hamilton manages to put his car in P3 (+0.537) and his temmate Russell goes second quicker in 1'17"968, splitting the two Ferraris on the top. Verstappen is completing his lap, he makes a mistake and goes wide, scoring 1'18"823 and taking P7, followed by Ocon (+1.385) , Bottas (+1.458) and Ricciardo (+1.836). At five minutes to the end of Q3 everyone is back in the garage to get ready for the last flying lap. Drivers come back to the track at three and half minutes and it seems that Verstappen has some issues with his car. No power, nothing works, says Max to his team. Leclerc tries his last best and scores -0.045 in the first sector, +0.086 in the second, and completes in 1'17"567 taking P2. Sainz gets -0.224 in the first, -0.054 in the second, and improves a bit on the last sector (-0.08), temporarily taking pole position in 1'17"421. Norris goes third in 1'17"769. However, Russell is flying during this last lap. He scores -0.138 in the second sector, crosses the finish line, and goes to the top in 1'17"377, being quicker by less than one-tenth compared to Sainz. Verstappen has still difficulties with his car. He gets +2.716 in the second sector, so he decides to raise his foot from the pedal. Q3 is over and Russell in P1, followed by the two ferrari, sainz +0.004, leclerc +0.190, Norris (+0.392), Ocon (+0.541), Alonso (+0.701), Hamilton (+0.765), Bottas (+0.780), Ricciardo (+1.002) and Verstappen (+1.446).
"You made it".
Says the Mercedes team to George.
"Come on! you kidding you kidding! Amazing, we made it. Well done".
Everyone starts to celebrate in the Mercedes’ box. The mechanics start to hug each other and Toto Wolff smiles, while Verstappen reaches the box on foot, as his car seemed to have abandoned him. Russell turns the engine off, jumps on the front part of his car and exults with the public at the Hungaroring. Then, he goes to hug his team to celebrate his first pole position:
"I'm over the moon and absolutely buzzing. Yesterday was disastrous for us and probably the worst Friday of the season. The team was working so hard last night and we were able to make a big step forward. In Formula 1 there are so many fine margins and when you get in that perfect window, your car will just fly, which we managed to do in today's conditions. We didn't know what direction to go in but on the last lap I came across the line, looked at the screen and saw we went P1, which was such an incredible feeling. We need to look into our performance from today and understand where it came from. We have a few ideas, but don't fully understand it yet. Getting this result today is really huge for all of us. I'm so happy for the whole team and we will do our best to have a great day tomorrow and give it our all".
Lewis Hamilton explains that he had issues with the DRS so he was not able to fully fight for the front line:
"My DRS stopped working, which was frustrating after all the struggle we had to finally have the chance to fight for front row but then not being able to, because of the issues with the DRS. We did a lot of work overnight at track and back at the factory. The car didn't feel good in FP3, but was strong in Qualifying. We didn't know how strong our pace was and where it came from so it's a very positive day for us. I will do what I can tomorrow to support and contribute to us in winning from P7 and I will try and work my way up. I don't know where our race pace is going to be tomorrow, but hopefully we will be in a position to attack. Huge congratulations to George, it's an amazing feeling to get your first pole position and it's also huge for us as a team".
Then, he congrats with his teammate for his first pole position, which is important for the whole team. Toto Wolff is satisfied with team’s performance and finds that if Lewis has not had that DRS issue, he would have fought for the front row:
"From the start of Q3 we had the tyres in the right window, the car was balanced, and everything came together well, with both George and Lewis getting more confident lap after lap. We haven't been in the hunt for a win this season and we know how strong our competitors are so being on pole is a solid result for us and if we have the right pace in the race tomorrow, I wouldn't rule out that we can be part of the front again and have a chance of winning. For Lewis, it was so tough - his DRS failed just at the crucial moment, otherwise he would have been fighting up there with George for pole position, no doubt".
Andrew Shovlin is happy for Russell’s first pole position and finds that both drivers had a decent session:
"Well done to George on his first pole position and the team on their first pole with the W13. It was a strong session for both drivers. In the early stages it didn't look like we quite had the pace to fight for the top spot but as the session went on it seemed to be coming towards us and the times were just getting better and better. George put together an awesome lap at the end for pole position. Lewis on the other hand had a DRS issue at the worst possible time when he was starting his only new tyre lap, right now we don't know why we had the problem, but we'll investigate as soon as we get the car back. Prior to qualifying the weekend has been tough for us, we looked reasonable in first practice but struggled in second and third practice so the pace this afternoon was a bit of a surprise. We'll need to see how our single lap form translates into the race tomorrow. We've been getting closer but at recent races we've not quite had the pace over the stint to match RedBull or Ferrari. We're expecting it to be tough tomorrow but it's another encouraging sign that we are slowly but surely moving in the right direction and further motivation to the team to keep up the hard work".
Carlos Sainz is not satisfied with today’s result as he finds he could have done better in the end:
"I’m not very happy with the final result as I feel I could have done a better lap on the final attempt. However, I prefer to focus on the positives: we are in a good position for tomorrow, I’ve been comfortable in the car all weekend and we keep making steps in the right direction. I’m confident we can carry the good pace of Friday into the race, so we’ll definitely go for it. Congrats to George on his first pole. He did a very good lap today and I look forward to the battle tomorrow".
Charles Leclerc has a bitter feeling toward this session:
"It wasn't a great session. The tyres were very tricky in these conditions and I struggled to get them in the right window, especially in Q3. The pace is there and we know we have some work to do. I'm confident we can come back stronger tomorrow. Congratulations to George for his first pole position, it's a special one".
Laurent Mekies, Ferrari’s Sporting Director, finds that today’s changing conditions made the qualifying unusual:
"It was an unusual qualifying, because after this morning’s rain, we found ourselves with a track that was no longer rubbered-in and the temperatures were much lower than yesterday’s, so it was a case of starting over again. Carlos and Charles progressed well through the three phases and, as we expected, in the end it was a fight to the nearest thousandths of a second. We thought we’d be up against Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez, but in the end it was George Russell who took pole position, beating Carlos by a whisker".
According to him, both drivers have done a good job as expected:
"Congratulations to him and his team. Overall, we can be pleased with how we performed today, as we got a good team result, which puts us in a position from which we can aim to bring home the best possible result tomorrow. Here at the track and back in Maranello, we will now analyse all the data, as conditions for tomorrow’s Grand Prix should be similar and we’re not yet completely satisfied with where we are right now. I expect it will be a thrilling fight between three teams tomorrow and we want to be in the thick of it".
Lando Norris is satisfied with his P4:
"A very good position, I wouldn’t have said we expected to be P4 but I’ll take it! Very good job by the team, ahead of the guys we want to be ahead of. It was a good lap, so I’m happy with it. I don’t think it could have been much better, position-wise, so happy with today and we’ll try to keep it up for tomorrow".
Daniel Ricciardo finds that this weekend they have been quick, although he went slower in Q3:
"I think we’ve been pretty quick this weekend, and that was confirmed by getting both cars into Q3. I went slower in Q3 though, so I’m not happy about that. I honestly felt a bit better in Q1 than I did towards the end of the session. I just picked up a bit more understeer on that last run and it got away from us. I knew the lap wasn’t great, so I knew we weren’t going to be that high up in the top 10. We’ll look into it overnight and then focus on the race. Our pace on Friday looked encouraging so we’ll see what we can do and be pushing hard tomorrow".
Andreas Seidl, McLaren’s Team Principal, finds that the team had a good qualifying performance with both cars in the top ten. Indeed, Lando gained a spot in the second row:
"A well-executed qualifying performance for us here at the Hungaroring with two cars in the top 10. Lando put in a great lap at the end of Q3 to give us a spot on the second row. It was good to see that we could carry forward into qualifying the pace we saw on Friday. Thanks to the great work here at the track and back at the MTC, our understanding of the package we launched at Paul Ricard last weekend has been further optimised in the last few days, enabling us to extract even more performance from it. For tomorrow’s race, we saw encouraging signs in the long runs on Friday, which should put us in a good position to score well. We’ll be going for it".
Esteban Ocon is pleased with today’s solid result:
"I’m pleased with today’s Qualifying as it’s a very solid result, so thanks to the team for their hard work in making some really good improvements over the course of the weekend. We’ve equalled our best Qualifying result of the year, so we’re definitely satisfied with our performance. We still have Lando [Norris] ahead who seemed marginally quicker than us today and we’ll see how we fare against the McLarens tomorrow. It’s all to play for in the race, the day where points are scored, as anything can happen as we experienced last year! It’s a difficult track to overtake so if we can look after the tyres and manage our strategy well, we should be in a good position to head into the summer with more deserved points".
Fernando Alonso is satisfied as the team is in the top six:
"We have to be quite pleased with finishing inside the top six in Qualifying. I was competitive in the wet and dry conditions and I felt very strong in Q1 and Q2. Because of this, I was thinking I could have qualified a little higher, but a few others edged us on their final laps in Q3. We know it’s difficult to overtake here and we will be lining up on the dirty side of the grid which doesn’t help, but let’s see tomorrow! With both cars qualifying in the top six it’s a good result for the team. We will do our best to score as many points as we can tomorrow".
Alan Permane, Alpine Sporting Director, explains that the team has built up our weekend steadily:
"We’re happy with our Qualifying effort today with both cars inside the top six and in a great position to be competitive for tomorrow’s race. We’ve built up our weekend steadily and made the right improvements when we’ve needed to, and that’s reflected in today’s result. The aim for the race is to outscore our rivals and have both our cars inside the points. We will, of course, assess the options on strategy to maximise our potential in the race to ensure we bring home strong points".
On tomorrow, he says that they will try to outscore their direct rivals and gain points:
“We will, of course, assess the options on strategy to maximise our potential in the race to ensure we bring home strong points".
Valtteri Bottas is happy to be back in Q3:
"It is positive to be back in Q3, we finally got everything together and the results show for it. It has been a while since we have been there and it’s good to be where we feel we belong. We were closer to Alpine than we thought, which is a positive, and it seems we made a bit of progress since the last race. In terms of race pace, I believe there is not really a big difference between the teams at the top of the midfield, which should make for a good battle tomorrow. Still, this is a difficult track on which to overtake, so it is good to start from the Top 10 and be able to fight for the points right from the start".
He explains that this track makes difficult to overtake so starting in one of the spots in top 10 is a great asset to fight for the points right from the start:
“Tomorrow will be all about having a good start off the line and choosing the right strategy: I’m looking forward to it".
Frédéric Vasseur, Alfa Romeo’s Team Principal, finds that the whole team made a good job today:
"The team did a good job today and delivered a strong performance. Eighth place with Valtteri and Zhou missing on Q3 for the smallest margin, little more than 0.1s, is nearly as good a result as we would have hoped before the session and a good starting point for tomorrow. We showed good pace with both cars and we are confident we can do so tomorrow as well, when points are on offer. With one car in the top ten and one just outside, in P12, we are looking forward to the race. This is a circuit in which overtaking can be challenging: we are ready for a battle tomorrow and to give everything to bring home points".
Max Verstappen is disappointed for what happened, as the car had not power and the team could not fix it:
"I don’t know exactly what happened, I drove out of the pits and there was no release and no power in the car, we couldn’t fix it. We tried everything we could whilst out on the track, I‘ll have a chat with the Team and I hope that everything is fixable. It’s frustrating to start in P10 tomorrow after such a positive qualifying, we looked competitive and we had good pace. Although we have a slight point advantage, you always want to start at the front, it’s difficult to overtake here and get through the traffic so we’ll have to be patient. Tomorrow is definitely going to be an interesting one".
Christian Horner - Red Bull Racing Team Principal and CEO - is of the same mind:
"It was a disappointing qualification. Firstly losing Checo in Q2 after encountering some traffic and then unfortunately Max suffering technical issues. We felt Max had a chance at a pole, he seemed a lot happier than he was yesterday with the balance of the car, however a lock up on the first run of Q3 put him on the back foot and then a power related issue on the 2nd run prevented him from posting a representative lap time. Unfortunately we are out of position in 10th and 11th, we will push hard from there and look forward to the race tomorrow, but in the meantime, congratulations to George Russell on his first ever pole".
On Sunday, July 31, 2022, rain is expected at Hungaroring as the Hungarian Gran Prix is going to start. Mercedes’ George Russell will start from pole position for the first time in his career, trying to keep the Ferraris of Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz, respectively second and third on the grid, behind. Max Verstappen will start tenth, ahead of team mate Sergio Perez. AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly begins from the pit lane, due to a power unit change. Also Red Bull has chosen to fit for both drivers a new power unit, but, thanks to a special dispensation by the FIA, neither Perez nor Verstappen take grid penalties. Russell, Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo start on used softs, while the twi Red Bull drivers are on new softs. Further down the top 10, also Lance Stroll, Yuki Tsunoda, Alex Albon, Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly are on new softs, while the rest of the grid has new medium compounds. Lights out and Russell manages to keep the first position, even if Sainz tries to take the lead around the outside of Turn 1. Hamilton overtakes both the Alpines and goes fifth, while Fernando Alonso baulks Esteban Ocon who presses him at Turn 1. Verstappen moves up to eighth and Perez to ninth after the opening lap. The Virtual Safety Car is triggered for two collisions: one between Magnussen and Ricciardo, and the other between Vettel and Albon. On lap 3 the race restarts and Hamilton is closely following Lando Norris, while Verstappen si now behind the Alpines of Ocon and Alonso, in P6 and P7. On the radio, Alonso says to be much faster than his team mate but on lap 5 he runs wide at Turn 3 and Verstappen goes by for P7. On lap 7, the reigning World Champion takes the sixth position off Ocon and follows Hamilton for the fifth, while Perez with DRS passes Alonso on the outside of Turn 2. The Mexican driver then takes the seventh position off Ocon two laps later. Magnussen is forced to pit after his early scrap with Ricciardo, while both the Alfa Romeos had bad starts, with Bottas now 12th and Zhou Guanyu 16th. On lap 10, Russell has a detachment of more than 2 seconds from Sainz, while Hamilton and Verstappen tail Norris for the fourth-place.
The Briton takes P4 off Norris on the inside of Turn 1, while Verstappen goes around the outside of the McLaren just after that to leave him sixth ahead of Perez, who passes him with DRS on the following lap. Verstappen complains that his clutch is slipping, while Leclerc asks his team if Sainz can speed up. Indeed, by the start of lap 15 Sainz has cut the gap to 1.2 seconds, but he is called to box. He decides not to go and it is instead Russell to pit for mediums, and Verstappen too, and emerge sixth at the start of Lap 17. Alonso tries to fight with him, but Russell goes on. On lap 17, Sainz pits and emerges between the Alpines in P6, with Alonso and Verstappen behind him. The Ferrari drivers has to overtake Ocon in order to try to catch Russell, and he does it easily on lap 19. Perez pits and emerges 10th, while Leclerc is in the lead, 11.5 seconds ahead of Hamilton and another 7.5 seconds ahead of Russell. Hamilton pits on Lap 20, emerging in P7. Verstappen is in P5 and takes another place off Ocon on the following lap. Leclerc stops for mediums on lap 22 and emerges ahead of Sainz, so Russell is now back into the lead. Alonso pits for hards, and the same does Ocon two laps later: he emerges in battle with his team mate and Ricciardo takes the opportunity, passing them both and taking the 10th position, behind the Alfa Romeos. Stroll takes P12 off Alonso, and passes also Ocon, because the Alpines begin to struggle. Vettel passes Alonso two laps later and then Ocon on lap 39. On lap 27 Leclerc with DRS tries to pass Russell, but does not manage to do it into Turn 1. In the following lap, the Monegasque tries again, but Russell holds him off in a wheel-to-wheel skirmish on the downhill run to Turn 5. The battle continues, and Leclerc finally manages to pass Russell on lap 31, taking the lead around the outside of Turn 1. Russell now has Sainz and Verstappen following him, while numerous drivers begin to report drizzle on their visors at the halfway mark. On lap 35, Xavier Marcos, Leclerc’s track engineer, says to his driver on the radio the warm-up with the hards is worse than expected, looking at the Alpines’ performance. On the following lap, Marcos asks:
"Leclerc a tyres upgrade, when you can".
But the driver does not answer. He has a good pace on the fresh set of mediums, extending to a 4.8-second lead by lap 39; he says to the team to continue with the mediums: good tyre, stay on it. Verstappen pits for another set of mediums, while the Monegasque mounts a set of hards on lap 40 and Russell changes to mediums a few seconds later. The hards are bery difficult to use because of the cold temperature of the track, also hit by the rain in different points of the race. Verstappen emerges ahead of Russell and overtakes Leclerc down the inside of Turn 1 on lap 41. Sainz is the leader, ahead of Hamilton, when, at the penultimate corner there is a puff of smoke as Verstappen got on the throttle and spun, going again behind Leclerc and allowing Russell a chance to overtake. The British driver does not manage to do so and Verstappen passes Leclerc once more at Turn 2 on lap 45. The Monegasqua driver is angry and says on the radio:
"F*ck. Tyres are sh*t".
And Marcos answer that the race is still long. Sainz takes his second stop on lap 48 for softs, but the tyre change is slow and he emerges fifth ahead of Perez. For a short time, there is a Yellow flas, as Stroll and Ricciardo collided in the fight for P11 at Turn 2, with the Australian receiving a five-second time penalty. Hamilton is in the lead on lap 51, with Verstappen just 3.5 seconds behind. Leclerc is third but only half a second ahead of Russell as the medium tyres seems to be better than the hards. Hamilton pits for a set of softs and emerges fifth ahead of Perez. Russell closely follows Leclerc’s Ferrari and on lap 54 he makes the move with ease around the outside of Turn 1. Ferrari reats by pitting Leclerc for softs. On lap 60, Gianpiero Lambiase, Verstappen’s track engineer, says on the radio to the driver to manage the fuel consumption:
"Ok Max, can you put 1.52 as a target on the screen, for the fuel?"
On the following lap, he also says:
"Lift your foot a little more, but push in the corners".
On lap 62, the Red Bull drivers asks to his team if the fuel is now getting better and they answer A little more than necessary, but a lot better and then warn him of the possibility of rain in eight minutes. Hamilton passes Sainz at Turn 1 on lap 63, and engages an intra-team battle with Russell for P2: Hamilton manages to take the position.
"Hamilton is now P3. You are free to push, Max but pay attention to the fuel".
Says Giampiero Lambiase to Max Verstappen. On lap 65, Lambiase assures Verstappen that everything is ok with the fuel and warns him that the car behind him is Hamilton’s Mercedes. Bottas reported a loss of power on Lap 68 and the Virtual Safety Car was then deployed to slow the field, Verstappen leading ahead of Hamilton and Russell. The VSC was withdrawn in the middle of Lap 69, and Verstappen’s track engineer asks him Extreme cautin, please, for what concerns the fuel. From there, Max Verstappen comfortably leads to win the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix by nearly eight seconds. Perez was in the clutches of soft-shod Leclerc but the Ferrari driver couldn’t salvage P5 on the final lap, ending up three-tenths behind the Red Bull in P6. The Monegasque driver says on the radio to his team:
"Oh my God. Hards have been terrible, I wanted to stay on mediums as much as possible. Hards went very bad. It happened to everyone or just to us?"
They say that it was the same for everybody with the hards, so the driver asks:
"Why did we mount them then? There was a reason?"
He also says:
"We were the only ones to stop 3 times".
But his engineer answers that other teams, among those in the back, also did that. With Mercedes completing the podium in a mirror image of the top-three standings at Paul Ricard, Sainz finished fourth from second - one better than he had from P19 in France. Norris ended up seventh as the last driver on the lead lap, shrugging off a slow pit stop earlier on to overhaul both Alpines, Alonso having finished in eighth and well behind the McLaren, Alpine’s medium-to-hard one-stopper having failed to reap major reward. Stroll made it into the top 10 at Bottas’s expense on Lap 63 but the two Aston Martins then made contact - something they avoided on the last lap in France - with medium-shod Vettel soon passing his soft-shod team mate to take P10. Pierre Gasly managed to finish an anonymous P12 after his pit lane start, comfortably ahead of Zhou but well behind Stroll. Though Mick Schumacher was passed by Ricciardo early on, the German finished ahead of the Australian, thanks to his five-second time penalty for his earlier tangle with Stroll. Albon led Latifi, who said that his car was all over the place, a disaster, literally, with Yuki Tsunoda 19th and only ahead of the stationary Alfa Romeo of Bottas, thanks to a Lap 36 spin at the chicane. The rain stayed away but there was a cloud over Ferrari, who entered Hungary looking for a one-two finish yet were once again outscored by Mercedes, while Verstappen pulled off a highly unlikely win part in thanks to an ingenious Red Bull strategy. Max Verstappen fought his way back to victory: he managed also to pass Leclerc, helped by the medium tyres, before losing the place due to a spin. Soon he took back the place and the lead, gaining an incredible result from P10 on the grid:
"It feels crazy to have won the race today from P10, especially on a track like this where it’s very hard to pass. We made all the right calls today, there were some good undercuts and overall we did a great job today as a Team. This was definitely one of my best races, despite the little 360-degree spin! I’m very happy with the lead that we have, but of course we have to keep pushing and win more races".
Perez at the start followed his teammate, but then the fight with the two Ferraris brought him down to the fifth position:
"It is good to go into the summer break strongly. After qualifying it was looking like it could have been a poor weekend for us but we recovered some good points, and it was great fun to have the Mercedes and Ferraris racing up there with us. It was quite a tricky race, particularly towards the end, when the conditions changed and especially during the virtual safety car which meant everyone got cold tyres. Overall, we were a little unlucky with the VSC because we were potentially going to get Carlos and George and I felt we would have got a lot closer to them towards the end. I felt a lot stronger in the final stint and with a few more laps I think I could have been on the podium with Max. It was a great race though and very fun at times. It was a fantastic recovery for the Team today and it was great to see Max get the win".
Christian Horner, Red Bull’s Team Principal, is satisfied of the race:
"It was a fantastic race today. Everyone put in a top performance. Max was exceptional, even adding a little spin to his race as if coming back from 10th wasn’t hard enough. Equally, Checo had a brilliant race and I believe if it hadn’t been for the VSC he would have podiumed. Strategy played a big part in our victory. We were due to start on the hard tyre but switched things up as a result of the ambient conditions. This win gives us a healthy lead going into the break but there are still areas to improve on. Ferrari are still quick, Mercedes are coming back as you saw today. There is plenty more still to come".
As for Mercedes, George Russell started from pole and was the leader of the opening stages of the race. but at the end he did not have the pace to keep Verstappen behind:
"I had a really strong start, and it was a first good stint. We pitted quite early on both stints and tried to keep the tyres out until the end, as well as pushing as fast as possible at the same time. Towards the end on the mediums when the rain started to come down, I struggled and lost temperature. It was challenging to manage the tyres, so there's lots to look into and see where we could've done better. Amazing job by the team, pole position yesterday and double podium today. We're making progress and I'm proud of the work everybody has put into it. We will come back to the second half of the season with a reset, refocussed and will try to fight for some victories".
Lewis Hamilton made a great start: he moved up of two places on the first lap. Unfortunately, he then lost out to Verstappen; at at the end he had incredible pace and climbed back through the field:
"I was struggling at the beginning of the race and wasn't sure whether I'd be able to catch up so I'm happy I was able to recover from P7. I had a good start, which was crucial and, bit by bit, I felt more comfortable with the balance of the car. The cooler temperatures in qualifying and the race seemed to work well for us. We made a massive step from Friday and I'm very grateful for it. If the DRS had been working yesterday, we could have been in the run for the win. I want to acknowledge my team, who have continued to push and have never given up through this tough year that we've had so far. It's very special for us to have both cars on the podium today, although how the race unfolded was unlucky for George. It's an amazing way to go into the break, knowing we're clearly closing the gap and have more performance. Hopefully, we'll bring some more into the second part of the season and start fighting with the guys in the front".
Mercedes’ Team Principal Toto Wolff says that today the cars had a great pace, but it is important to stay focused for the future:
"George had a great qualifying session with pole and drove a solid race. He was in the fight utilising the tyres but ran out of them in the second stint. Lewis' fight today was unbelievable, Budapest continues to be a success story for him. He came out of nowhere and was quicker than everyone else. I think we lost the race with him yesterday with the DRS failing. Otherwise, we would have been able to fight at the front for the victory today. P2 and P3 twice in a row is great but we want to fight for the win. We have a result we can work with, given we had a really bad Friday. It's very frustrating and not easy to pick yourself up and stay motivated, so it's a learning process. Today, we had good pace, but we need to stay humble and look at race weekend after race weekend so we can try to gain more learnings and experiment to put us in a situation where we can actually fight for wins at the end of the season".
Trackside Engineering Director Andrew Shovlin express his happiness for the results achieved:
"Well done to the whole team! The team and drivers can be really proud of the way we'd turned the weekend around after Friday. George's first pole and the team's first with the W13 was a nice achievement and another double podium is a great way to head into the break. We still need a little more to get that first win of the season but every week it feels like it's getting closer and closer and the team is determined to make it to the top step soon. It's been the hardest start to a season that we've had for a long time, but it's been hugely satisfying to see the team and drivers work so hard to get the car back to where we need it to be. Everyone is looking forward to the shutdown for some time to rest and recharge, but we'll be wanting to continue where we left off in Spa and hoping for a strong finish to the year".
Charles Leclerc was ahead of Sainz in the first round of stops, but then the team reacted to Verstappen’s stop by bringing him in. He had ran two sets of medium yet, so the choice was among hards or softs, and the team choosed the first ones. But the hards were not good at that point of the race, so the Monegasque went backwards and had to pit again:
"It’s a shame we didn’t bring home a better result, because the car felt good and we had a strong pace on Medium tyres today. Unfortunately, the Hards just did not work in these conditions. We now need to see what we could have done better, recharge our batteries over the break and be ready to fight in the second part of the season".
Sainz mounted the softs, but did not have enough pace and missed out on the podium:
"Today was a tough day for the whole team. We expected to have a strong pace for the race, but it’s clear that with these lower temperatures and track conditions we were simply not fast enough to fight. There are some things to look at and learn from today. We will regroup, analyse and come back stronger after the summer break".
Mattia Binotto, Ferrari’s Team Principal & Managing Director expresses the need to analyse what was going on in the car:
"Today’s result is unsatisfactory. In general, we did not perform well, with the car unable to reproduce Friday’s pace and in terms of how we managed the strategy and pit stops. Analysing every aspect of this race is our top priority over the coming days, in order to prepare as well as possible for the remaining Grands Prix".
Lando Norris started fourth, but lost out to Hamilton and the Red Bulls, so ended up seventh:
"P7, happy with that. After yesterday, of course we’d all wished for a bit more, but we just didn’t have the pace today with the quicker cars behind. We just did an extremely good job yesterday. I'm happy with it, it's the maximum we could do today with the cars ahead. Tough in places but seventh was the best we could have done for the points today, and we were ahead of our rivals".
Ricciardo had a moment with Magnussen at the start which dropped him down the field but he recovered back to the top 10. But after his pit stop he battled with Stroll and tipped him into a spin, so a penalty was given to him and ended 15th:
"Unfortunately, there were more lows than highs. The launch felt good but then I dropped a bit after that and I was almost middle braking into Turn One. I felt like I was in a decent spot but I remember an Alpine coming up high on the exit of Turn One and I ran out of room, so I had to get out of that, otherwise I was going to lose a wing. I lost momentum through Two and got done around the outside of Turn Two as well. So, it was a bit of a mess on the first lap. Then the Soft really fell apart and I didn’t have anything on that tyre. The Medium, it was a little bit better. I was able to make a nice double-move on the Alpines, which was fun. I managed to hold off Stroll for a bit on the Medium and then, when we came out on the Hard, and he came out on a Soft, we simply had no grip. I tried to avoid contact but I couldn’t and unfortunately hit him, spun him around and got a penalty and then that was it. The Hard didn’t work for us, I could just never really get it working. I'm looking forward to the break, of course, and will try to come back with a little more speed in the second half of the year".
Team Principal Andreas Seidl says that the upgrades worked well and the seventh place was a good achievement:
"With all six cars from the top three teams finishing the race, P7 was the best we could achieve today - and we did it. The upgrade we introduced at Paul Ricard - and improved our understanding of here - put us into position to be the fourth fastest team, which is a great achievement. Lando executed a clean race today to take that seventh place but with the same strategy on Daniel’s side, we struggled to generate grip in the final stint on the Hard tyre and he fell out of the points. This is something we will have to study in the final week before the summer shutdown. Big thank you to everyone at the track, back at the factory and our colleagues at Mercedes HPP for the immense effort so far this year. Everyone should go away and enjoy the break, recharge our batteries and come back stronger for what should be a thrilling battle in the Constructors’ Championship. See you in Spa".
It was clear that Alpine have a better race pace than McLaren. The team mounted the hard tyre on both cars in order to make a one-stop strategy work. The tyre did not go as they expected, so both drivers went backwards as a result. Esteban Ocon is proud of the improvements in performance done by the team:
"We can be happy to score points with both cars today and that’s always a positive especially as we go into the season break. I don’t think we quite maximised our potential during the race and we’ll discuss as a team what we can do to improve. The one-stop was challenging today but we made it work to score points and I had to defend hard from Seb [Vettel] on the last lap. Overall, we’re still heading into the break in fourth in the Constructors’ Championship and we’ll be hungry to extend our lead in a few weeks’ time. I’m proud of the team for the improvements in performance over the last couple of months and we’ll aim to continue this upwards trajectory when the season returns after the well-deserved rest".
Fernando Alonso is proud of the fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship and hopes that the team will mantain it in the future:
"It was hard racing today and we are pleased to come away with a double points finish. We managed to avoid cars at a busy Turn 1 on lap one and we lost some positions. After that, we concentrated mostly on our race pace and we wanted to make the one-stop strategy work on the Hard tyres. We didn’t have two Medium compounds to choose from for the race and instead we maximised our tyre choice for Saturday’s Qualifying. Our pace yesterday made us feel quite optimistic for today and we were anticipating a better result. All in all, we are still ahead of McLaren heading into the summer break, so it’s a strong team result. We just need to keep scoring points like we did today and hopefully this consistency will be our strength in the battle for fourth position in the Constructors".
Otmar Szafnauer, Alpine’s Team Principal, is happy for the results:
"After scoring six points from today’s Hungarian Grand Prix, the team remains in fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship as we head into the summer break. That in itself is a great achievement and gives us a real focus to push on and attack the remainder of the year when we head to Belgium next month. It was a tricky race for us today with varying strategies in place across the field. We opted for a one-stop with both cars, which meant we had to be quite careful across both stints on the Medium and Hard tyres to ensure we could reach the chequered flag with sufficient pace in hand. We did a good job in the end to hold off some others behind on two-stops who were coming on strong with fresher tyres. As always, we’ll review our race to see what we can improve for next time. We’ll be ready to continue the enjoyable fight in the championship with our competitors when racing returns in late August. For now, after a busy season so far, the entire team deserves the break and we’ll certainly recharge our energy ready for the season resumption".
Vettel took the last point and the car looked much more competitive in race:
"We had to fight hard for a point today and we came close to a second point when I was chasing down Esteban [Ocon] in the final laps. The team switched cars because I had a better opportunity to catch Esteban, but obviously the Virtual Safety Car hurt us and we ran out of time. I was very close on the final lap, but I needed just one more corner to make a move. Overall, it was a fun race with lots of fights and overtakes. The middle stint was a bit difficult, but the balance was better for the third stint on the Mediums. The race pace was competitive, once again, so improving our Saturday performance needs to be a focus for the second half of the year".
Stroll came home outside the points, as he was tapped into a spin by Ricciardo:
"I think I drove a strong race today. Into the final stint, Sebastian was on the Medium and I was on the Soft - I did not have another Medium left, and he could make that tyre last a little bit longer. The Soft was the wrong tyre in the circumstances, sadly, but these things happen in racing. I had fun racing into the top 10. When I came up to pass Daniel [Ricciardo], I gave him room on the inside at Turn Two, but I think he was struggling for grip on the Hard tyre and went a bit too deep. That is how it goes sometimes. We seem to have better pace on Sundays than we do on Saturdays, so we need to look at that. But there are plenty of positives to take away from today".
Mike Krack, Aston Martin’s Team Principal, affirms that the team showed how hard they can fight, as the race pace was strong and the strategy allowed them to pick off the cars ahead:
"This afternoon was anything but straightforward: we managed our tyre life throughout the entire race, judged the strategy very well, and managed both drivers to obtain a good result for the team. Lance drove a strong race - he managed his tyres well, pulled off some great overtaking moves when it really mattered, and did a great job to close on [Valtteri] Bottas and move into the points. From 10th, we instructed him to chase down Ocon; with a handful of laps remaining, and with Sebastian showing greater overall pace on the Medium tyre, we switched cars. Our intention was to switch the cars back if Sebastian could not snatch ninth position, but, in the end, it was too close to safely make the change – Sebastian crossed the line just 0.143s behind Ocon. I know Lance will be disappointed, but it was worth the roll of the dice to try and increase today’s points tally. Taking home one world championship point is little reward for a job well done, but we showed today how hard we can fight - both drivers were relentless, our race pace was strong and our strategy allowed us to pick off the cars ahead of us. We will take those positives into the summer break and come back stronger for the second half of the season. For now, I want to wish our whole team a well-deserved break over the summer. Everyone has worked tirelessly and I am extremely proud of our entire organisation. We will come back with fresh focus and look forward to the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August".
Gasly started from the pit lane after taking on new PU components. He did some overtakes and finished P12:
"I must say I’m happy with today. Starting from the pitlane is never easy and we managed to recover to 12th position. There were some changes made to the set-up of the car for the pitlane start, which showed a bit more pace and allowed us to make some good moves. The most important thing is that we use the upcoming three weeks to extract more from our package and finish inside the points consistently. I know the team and what we are capable of achieving, and with these new cars being difficult, we need time to understand how to get the best out of it".
Tsunoda spun and limped home in last place:
"It’s been a really difficult day, it didn’t feel like I had much of a race. I struggled with the car throughout, as I had absolutely no grip at all out there. I was finding it so difficult to keep it on the track and made a small mistake which meant I spun. This weekend has not been an easy one, we need to go away and look at all the data to understand why the upgrades we have are not paying off in the way we thought they would. We’ll have a reset now over the summer break and then look to come back stronger for the second half of the season".
Jody Egginton, Technical Director, says that, after all, the race pace was god:
"We had mixed fortunes as a team today. Pierre drove a very strong race, from a pitlane start, making good use of the soft and medium compounds to come home 12th. Unfortunately, Yuki had a far more difficult race, struggling with grip and balance in every stint and generally not being happy with his car. Although no issue was evident from the telemetry, we need to conduct an investigation to get to the bottom of this. Looking at the bigger picture, although we have not achieved the target of getting back to scoring points again here in Hungary, the race pace shown today is positive and with a better starting position we could have potentially delivered points with Pierre, which is a good sign. Equally as important though is the amount we have learned about the upgrade here which, when combined with the next updates, will hopefully move us forward another step. We now have a week back at base focused on analysis from this event and preparations for the next Grand Prix before everyone heads off for a well-earned break, ahead of the second half of the season, which we are all looking forward to".
Alfa Romeos went for the one-stop strategy and both drivers climbed back through the field. Bottas retired after mechanical woes forced him to park up on the grass:
“It was tricky again today, a bit like in France, as the hard tires didn’t build up as fast as I was hoping. We tried it, we thought that was going to be the best chance for us, but ultimately it wasn’t. We committed to a one-stop strategy, and it was hard to back out of it. On top of that, a few laps before the end I had to stop the car because of a technical issue, which was a shame. I just lost power, we do not know the details yet: obviously it’s unfortunate and we will investigate it with the team, but I still think points seemed quite unlikely. I am looking forward to enjoying the summer break now, to recharge and come back full of energy for the second half of the season".
Zhou Guanyu was investigated after tussling with Schumacher while fighting for P13:
"Conditions today weren’t a threat per se, they were a bit mixed, especially a little more slippery on the last few laps, but overall okay. I think our plan today didn’t really pay off, we struggled on lap one and on the first few laps losing ground to other cars, and as going for one stop didn’t work out, we had to do an extra one which put me on the back of the field. It was quite frustrating, as it compromised my chances. Besides this, I think we had a strong pace today, and we deserved a little more, as in terms of performances we seemed to be back to where we were around Silverstone. I learned a lot so far this season, it’s been both tough and enjoyable, and there’s still much room for improvement. It feels good to have a little break now, and hopefully come back even stronger and push for better results".
Frédéric Vasseur, Alfa Romeo’s Team Principal, is disappointed about the race:
"A day that promised much at its beginning left us disappointed in the end. The start put us on the back foot, losing five places with both cars and setting up a tough afternoon to recover some points. Valtteri was able to break into the top ten and was there until the closing stages, but in the end a fuel system issue meant he had to retire with a couple of laps to go. Zhou’s afternoon was also compromised at the start, he was able to recover to 13th in the end but, as a team, we hoped for a lot more. It is a shame after the good performance we delivered in qualifying yesterday, but we now have a summer break to understand what went wrong and come back into the points for the final three European races of the season at the end of summer".
Magnussen had a contact with Ricciardo at the start and was forced to pit for a new front wing. The he did three pit stops and finished P16:
"Our race was compromised massively by having to pit for the black and orange flag. I had slight contact at the start with one of the McLaren’s – I couldn’t avoid it – and it wasn’t that bad, so I was surprised to get the flag. Then later we couldn’t really switch the hard tire on, so it was good to get off that and do some laps on the medium compound. It was positive from the perspective that we could put the car on track and immediately measure what we were hoping for. It’s just going to be a lot of work to get the lap time out of it and that’s going to come over the next few races - it’s new potential to be unlocked".
Mick Schumacher fought hard, but didn’t have the pace to make his way forward:
"It was again tougher than what we expected it to be. We hoped that the C2 compound would work and it didn’t, so in terms of strategy we maybe gambled on the wrong tire. We had a good start, that’s what we aim for, but unfortunately we couldn’t make it stick so it was P14 at the end. I think we have a lot to look back at, analyze and understand, so that for Spa we know how the new package works, what we need in terms of set-up and what we need to be quick. I expect this package to work pretty well in Spa and if that’s the case, we’ll know then for sure".
Guenther Steiner, Haas‘ Team Principal, defines this race as difficult:
"It was a difficult race today for us. Kevin with apparent front wing damage which actually in our opinion was a mistake by the FIA to call us out on. The front wing was clearly safe to continue so we lost half a lap and that means our race was over and then obviously to get the tires to work was difficult once we ended up in all the blue flags. It was the same for Mick, the C2 just wasn’t working, we didn’t get it to work, and we ended up where we ended up. Unfortunately, that was the race before the summer break but I’m sure we’ll regroup and come back in our old form not having issues like this".
Albon had contact on the first lap and was forced to pit with damage. He dropped down to the back of the field:
"The race was okay. We were a bit out of sequence with the early damage and there was a lot of tyre degradation and a lot of pitstops, which didn’t make it easy. It’s been a tricky weekend for us, but it has been a good learning weekend, continuing to understand the strengths and the weaknesses of the new package. Looking back at the season so far, personally I’m happy; it’s gone well and better than I expected, and I go into the summer break pretty happy. Obviously, we’re not where we want to be positioning on circuits, but we’ve got time to reset now and we’ll come back stronger after the break".
Latifi did three pit stops for two sets of softs, but in the end couldn’t make any progress and came home behind his team mate:
"Unfortunately, our race was compromised at the start through some front wing damage. It wasn't great as the damage set us back with much more tyre degradation than we were hoping for. The balance was very tricky with the wind, so we have to find a way to adjust that later in the season. Not the best way to go into the summer break, but we'll take the time to recharge and look to bounce back in Spa".
Dave Robson, Head of Vehicle Performance, declares that the team look at the future:
"Unfortunately, the rain was never enough to affect the race and with both cars suffering damage on the 1st lap, we were forced into a difficult race. Alex had to box for a new front wing on lap 2 and although Nicky was able to continue, the damage to his wing did cost him performance for the rest of the race. All the tyre compounds were difficult today with many drivers unhappy about at least one of their choices. We opted to avoid the Hard tyre, which offered poor pace, and this required a very disciplined race from both drivers. It has been a challenging weekend and we are now looking forward to a break from the track. When the 2nd half of the season starts in a few weeks’ time the races come quickly, starting in Belgium. Fortunately, Spa is a very different track to the Hungaroring and we are looking forward to being more competitive there".
Mario Isola, Pirelli Motorsport director, describes the strategies put into place by the teams:
"I’m very happy for the hundreds of thousands of spectators who came to the track and all the other fans around the world who saw three teams in a close fight for victory for the first time this season. This is a win for everyone in Formula 1, and it was also great to see around 10 different tyre strategies during the race - with every compound used - which all played their part in delivering an exciting and spectacular grand prix, just as we have seen all year so far. Budapest now marks the beginning of the summer break, but not straight away for us: on Tuesday and Wednesday we stay here at the Hungaroring to continue our 2023 testing programme. It’s the final push before the holidays, which we will tackle safe in the knowledge of all the work that has been carried out thanks to the efforts of everyone at Pirelli: both present on the track, and back at base in Milan".
During the press conference, after the race, Red Bull’s Team Principal Christian Horner talks about the team’s strategy:
“The soft tyre went further than we thought. At that point, we committed to a two-stop. We went on softs-mediums-mediums. The key moment for us was when we saw Leclerc go onto the hard tyre, we thought we've really got a chance now and Checo was fantastic. He was on another strategy but immediately allowed Max to put himself behind Charles. then Max spun and warmed more the tyres. We changed our strategy on the starting grid, both drivers were struggling to generate temperature in the soft tyre on the way to the grid. We were due to start on the hard tyres“.
At the Hungarian GP’s eve, few people could imagine Max Verstappen’s victory, also for what happened in Q3, where the Red Bull number one suddenly lost power. The team substituted his engine, without penalty, because it was the last unit available by rule. But if the problem would not have happened in Q3, it could have happened during the race. It was a matter of kilometres, as Horner points out:
“We changed the power unit because a part of it broke on Saturday - with hindsight, we are very happy that the part broke during qualifying, because otherwise the engine would have broken 12 km after, while Max was going to the grid. We changed the entire power unit instead of trying to fix it, and we did the same with Perez, to be safe”.
Verstappen also managed another problem which occurred during the race. The Dutch spun in the penultimate corner and retook completely the control of the car, saying that the clutch was the cause of the episode. A version subsequently confirmed by Horner himself:
“We had a problem but Max managed to control it. The temperatures were becoming too much high, and also for this we left him a bit of distance from Carlos after the first stop. But when we released him, after that the clutch problem was under control, he regained speed”.
Talking to the French TV Canal+, Charles Leclerc appears resigned:
“We cannot hope to win the championship if we do races like this. I don’t know about the strategy, my medium tires were good. I had a good feeling with them. I don’t understand”.
To make things even worse for Ferrari fans, there is also a short video, which has already gone viral, that portrays Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton and George Russell talking to each other in the cooldown room, the first place where the first three meet after the race, before they going on the podium. The topic of discussion, inevitably, was the Ferrari’s strategy. Hamilton looks at the images on the screen and asks the other two, bewildered, if Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari F1-75 car was actually on hard tires. With a half laugh both Max Verstappen and George Russell answer yes, tacitly underlining how incorrect the call of the Maranello pit wall was. A scene of a few seconds that, however, tells the difficult moment of the Ferrari pit wall better than a thousand words. This strategy contributed to complicating an uphill race, but Mattia Binotto, after the race, underlines the F1-75’s lack of performance. It was more competitive on Friday, but the change of track conditions caused a crisis for the single-seater, for still unknown reasons. He draws an analogy between the strategic decisions and the F1-75’s lack of pace:
“I think it’s important to say the pace of the car today was not as expected, [considering] the speed we had when we look back to Friday and the race simulations from Friday. Today was certainly different conditions. A lot cooler, but overall the speed today was not great enough, and whatever tyres we were using, I don’t think we were as good as we were looking for. Certainly it was even worse with hards. Our simulation was that it could have been a difficult couple of laps of warm-up, so it would have been slower than the medium for 10-11 laps, but then they would have come back, and they would have been faster by the end of the stint, and it was a 30-lap stint. We mounted the hards at that point because there were thirty laps missing, we wanted to defend the position on Max and it would be too long for the softs. With pur strategy we knew that it would be too difficult in the first stint, ma we could have come back at the end. Overall, the tyres didn’t work. I know they were not working as well [as expected] on other cars. Still, the analysis I made was based on all the data we had, and I think as I said before, the main reason is not to look into the strategy but why the car was not as good as we were hoping today. Carlos was on exactly the same strategy of Lewis [Hamilton]. He was starting ahead but finishing behind and Lewis finished 10 seconds [ahead]”.
Asked if the Ferrari pit wall had been keeping tabs on the progress of Alpine, as the Anglo-French team’s drivers also struggled on the hard after fitting them earlier in the race, Binotto says:
“Yes, we discussed it and it’s not all written in the stars; we are looking at what’s going on and what’s happening with the other tyres. We took all considerations, we discussed what was best and that was the choice we made. It certainly was not the right one today".
In the post-race interview, Charles Leclerc declared that his wish was to extend the stint on mediums and Mattia Binotto, in this regards, declares:
“We talked a lot with the drivers in Sunday morning’s meetings. We will meet again and talk about why Charles wanted to stay out more with mediums. But we win and lose all together. We stopped to protect the position on Max”.
Binotto also says:
"What we were lacking today was really speed and pace. I don’t think we could have won today. And the reason, I don’t know, because it was the first time in the first 13 races where we didn’t have the speed somehow to be there for the victory. It is a delusion, but we want to look, understand and correct soon".
He defends his team, assuring that the pit wall must not be changed:
"There is nothing to change in the pit wall. Other teams do mistakes, are the same for ten years, they mantain the same organisation and then win a Championship. I don’t understand why we have to change after every single mistake. My approach is not to change, but to add, always: understand what doesn’t work, correct it. The guys are showing mentality, determination and capacity. We have to grow still and we will do it".
This race has become for Ferrari an opportunity to grow, by analysing the things that undermined the F1-75’s competitiveness:
"That was surely something that didn’t work. If I look at the first 12 races of the season, it is the first time that we are not competitive to fight for the victory. On Friday the car was behaving well,so there was something that made life hard on the tires and now it is still not clear. I don’t think that it is just because of the temperature, because there have been other races in cold conditions and we went well. Surely the teperature have changed since Friday and the basic conditions were different. We will need to see if we adapted correctly. I don’t have answers now, because first we have to analyse data. However, today there was something in the car that was not correct. The car didn’t work and when it is not fast enough it is also more difficult to make tyres work. I think that everything was a consequence".
The car’s lack of pace was such as to bring the Team Principal to exclude the victory, net of the strategy:
"I don’t think that we could win today. We were out of speed".
Binotto concluded his comment clarifying why he walked away from the pit wall during the race: he just went to the toilet, so removes any speculation. In view of the reast of the season, Ferrari’s number one talks again about reliability:
"We are working on the realiability and we’re managing it, because it must be resolved definitively for the next season. Certain changes can’t be done in a week. This doesn’t mean that this thing will not be managed in this season".
The season will restart at the end of August in Spa and, despite the actual ranking, the Scuderia Ferrari’s attitude will not change:
"Our goals are always the same: to be competitive and fight for every race’s victory. We will come back after the summer break with the wish to win at every race and bring home many points as possible. The Championship is a consequence, it is the sum that is drawn only at the end. There are Championship that are matemathically still open: the Constructors’ muust not be forbidden and, for the potential highlighted in this beginning of the season, there’s no reason we can’t talk. Before of this i twill be important to understand what happened today, because only doing this we can come back competitive. Today was a false move, buti t is essential to grow and resolve the problem in a definitive way".
The Team Principal also talks about the regulatory issues, which include the anti-porpoising Technical Directive expected in Spa and the 2023 aerodynamic changes to contrast the aerodynamic bounce:
"The Technical Directive for Spa exists, it is known and will be implemented. It is something sure, famous and among which there are no doubts. About next years’ rules they’re really dragging it out. We cannot arrive at the last minute and do significative changes, when we have hours of limited galleries and a budget cap. the vehicle concepts are now done and the single-seaters are set. To change now is no sense in front of a non-exsisting problem, because today no one talked of bouncing. I expect that, at this point, nothing will change. If someone would change something, I think that it would be crazy".
At the end, Mattia Binotto makes a balance of the first part of a season that saw the Ferrari coming back fighting at the top of the grid:
"The balance can only be positive, because we failed one of thirty races. We didn’t win the others for various reasons, also frustrating and disappointing, and we deserved better results. Overall, if we think about the previous seasons and our past goals, i.e. just to manage to fight durin gevery single race, we did it for twelve races. The balance can only be positive. Today there is disappointment and the concern for what didn’t work, because it must be fixed soon".
Problems also for Carlos Sainz’s F1-75, who after the race, declares:
"When I went out of the car, I found a plastic bag on its side. I dont’ know if it was costing me aerodynamic load or not, because it was big".
Now, Red Bull enjoy a 97-point lead in the constructors' championship, while Max Verstappen has an 80-point lead in the drivers' standings. After the summer break, the action resumes with the Belgian Grand Prix on August 26-28.