Text: Alex Yoong / Photos: | posted July 26, 2012 14:12
Budapest has hosted the Hungarian GP in its current format since 1986 and is one of the slowest race tracks on the calendar. It's known for its tight and twisty nature with long slow speed corners making up most of it. Its almost always hot and this, coupled with the never ending corn geers make it one of the toughest races on the F1 calendar. It also follows right after the German GP, making it a challenge for teams tot the cars and themselves prepared properly in time for this weekend.
Alonso and Ferrari will head into this weekend wanting to keep up the momentum. They won brilliantly in Germany in what was again not the fastest car in the race. They were slightly slower than the Redbull of Vettel and Mclaren of Button, but Alonso paced his tires brilliantly so he could respond when they attacked him for the lead. Alonso was very fast in the last and first corners of the circuit which meant that lap after lap, neither Button or Vettel were quite close enough on the run down the back straight (after turn 2) to make a move on him. He could then nurse his tires through the rest of the lap where it was not possible to overtake. This meant he had quite a bit in hand over the others and backed this up with his fastest lap on the penultimate lap of the race.
Alonso now has quite a good lead in the championship, but he will know that they still need to keep pushing developments on to the car, because if any of the others make strides forward, they could easily be racing for 7th instead of 1st. We keep on saying how competitive the field is, but it really is. Mclaren had the quickest car in the dry in Germany, but in the UK only two weeks earlier, they were probably only the sixth quickest team.
So what about this weekend? Well looking at the form from Germany, you have to say that Mclaren will fancy their chances and of course Redbull and Ferrari will be there too. But I am very keen to see how Lotus go. The track and hot conditions expected, should really play to their strengths. Unfortunately their one weakness this year which has cost them at least two race wins has to be their qualifying. And in Hungary, even if they have the quickest car by a second a lap, they will not win from tenth on the grid. They must qualify in the top two rows, if they hope to finally take their first win this year.
Hungary is like Monaco in which overtaking is virtually impossible, which means the teams may get aggressive to try and get that one lap time to ensure a good grid position. Problem being that too aggressive will lead to high tire wear in the race and as we have seen several times this year, that will leave you very vulnerable in the closing laps.
So unless it rains, do not expect an explosive race with lots of overtaking. But we will see another very close race, being won by clever driving and good strategy by the teams.