On the outskirts of Budapest, the Hungaroring hosted the third part of the opening triple-header to the much-changed 2020 F1 season. The rain has rarely had an impact on proceedings at the circuit at this time of year; given only two of the previous 35 Hungarian Grand Prix have been run in wet conditions.
Despite the possibility of rain most of the weekend, there was minimal running in the wet FP2 and while qualifying was dry, the threat of rain remained constant throughout the race. In the event, other than a tricky opening few laps on Intermediate tyres [shown above; Image from Reuters, Kamar], the track eventually dried up and we saw some good racing. Track records fell in both qualifying and the race, Red Bull showed some decent race pace on a disappointing weekend, Ferrari were expected to be stronger and the intrigue in the driver market keeps on coming.read more
Spa Francorchamps is a true racers circuit loved by both fans and drivers with challenging turns such as Eau Rouge and Blanchimont but it also marks the beginning of the second half of the F1 season. Traditionally, the teams bring engine updates and all the manufacturers did in 2019 which resulted in several grid penalties. There were a few driver announcements as the 2020 grid behind to take shape (two of these I have already commented on) but there was also a tragedy.
The F2 feature race ended with a horrific incident on the second lap involving Guiliano Alesi, Anthoine Hubert and Juan Manuel Correa I did not watch the incident live but the clips I have seen of it; horrific does not do it justice. I will not be describing the incident though as I don’t feel it proper to describe it here. However, while Alesi was passed fit by the medical team, Correa is still in intensive care but tragically, Huber succumbed to his injuries at the age of 22.read more
After four weeks of no F1 racing, the action returns with the traditional starter for the second half of the campaign. Situated in the Ardennes Forest, it’s the true racers circuit; Spa-Francorchamps. With nine races to go between this weekend and the end of the season in Abu Dhabi, there is still a lot that can be decided but there are also interesting developments worth discussing. The first of those is the big development at Red Bull during the summer recess…
Gasly dropped, Albon promoted
The big news of the summer was Red Bull’s decision to demote Pierre Gasly to Toro Rosso with Alexander Albon being promoted the other way to the Red Bull team. Gasly has not had the best of seasons at Red Bull and his future has been the subject of speculation leading into the four-week break. The decision though came as a surprise considering what Christian Horner told Sky Sports F1 at the Hungarian Grand Prix.read more
After a fantastic British Grad Prix at Silverstone, it was the turn of Hockenheim to host the German Grand Prix; round 11 and officially the halfway stage go the 2019 F1 Championship. Following on from the action-packed races of Austria and Britain, the 16 turn, 4.574 km circuit in the forest had a tough act to follow but delivered and then some through the weekend with many dramatic twists and turns.
It wasn’t just the race ether. There was the double heartache for Ferrari in Qualifying who first saw Sebastian Vettel not even register a lap in Q1 due to a turbo issue. Twelve months on from his season-defining error while in the lead at the same circuit, it looked like things could not get much worse for the four-time world champion. The setback was not his fault and it would be a heartless individual indeed not to have felt sorry for him; especially in front of his home crowd. That was compounded in Q3 as a similar fate befell Charles Leclerc. Given the blistering superior pace Ferrari had shown, it was cruel for Ferrari. Yes, it added to the spectacle of the race having the two Ferrari’s starting out of position; 10th and 20th respectively as just how fare could they go? However, it is not the first time they have been the quickest coming into Qualifying and the race for it to slip from their fingers like in Bahrain and Canada. It just isn’t coming together for them over the course of a full weekend.read more
I am now on the countdown to 100 of these posts. I never expected to still be doing this long enough to reach 100 but I have enjoyed doing this regardless of what anyone thinks. Needless to say, I will be marking that with a special post.Oh and for the record this is number 96.
The promised review of this doubleheader and including my driver ratings for during F1’s first ever tripleheader will be the next F1 post. Then, there will be none until the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August as the team and drivers go for their summer break; hence no Grand Prix to comment on.
Away from the F1 posts and the next football post will be a review of the World Cup in Russia while there will be a preview of the upcoming Premier League season published before the opening weekend of the new season.
As for the sharing of my political opinions, there are a few in the pipeline so watch this space…
A week on from the rain impacting upon the race at Hockenheim, the rain impacted upon Qualifying at the Hungaroring. That meant there were surprises to be had in the Qualifying hour as whoever had the best tyre at the right time would do well. Daniel Ricciardo was one of those caught out by the conditions in Q2 as he failed to get into the top 10 while both Toro Rosso’s did with Pierre Gasly out-qualifying even Max Verstappen in Q3. However, it was Lewis Hamilton who mastered the tricky conditions to deliver pole position and lead a Mercedes one-two despite Ferrari being the pacesetters up to that point.
For the race, Ferrari split their strategies with Raikkonen starting on the ultra-soft tyre and Vettel on the soft tyre. That did not go to plan as Raikkonen did not pass ether Mercedes but instead found himself passed by his teammate around the outside of turn two. Elsewhere through the grid, Ricciardo did not have a great start and was down to 16th after contact with his front left tyre at turn 1 while Charles Leclerc’s race ended after contact of his own on the opening lap. Hamilton led away from Bottas.read more
It was the final part of Formula One’s first ever triple header and after all the energy put into travelling approximately 2,500km to drive these races, the action and adrenaline did not let off as the British Grand Prix did not disappoint.
Lewis Hamilton qualified on pole after a sensational effort in Q3 but that was undone at the start as wheelspin meant Sebastian Vettel and Hamilton’s teammate, Valtteri Bottas stole a march on him at turn 1. Vettel led away as Sergio Perez was forced wide and across the circuit in front of the Williams coming from the pitlane start. At turn three, the other Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen locked up into Hamilton, spinning his Mercedes. It was a chaotic but nightmare start for the Mercedes man.read more
Boom! The Championship battle is well and truly wide open after the events of Silverstone two weeks ago. Now, with only one point between Championship leader Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton, whoever gets the best result in Hungary will be Championship leader going into the 4-week summer break.
Silverstone’s future on the Formula One calendar may be in doubt but this year’s Grand Prix weekend produced some entertaining moments. First, was the misfortune of Daniel Ricciardo pulling up Q1 with a turbo failure before Fernando Alonso and McLaren made a brave move in switching to slick tyres at the end of Q1 to go fastest! Lewis Hamilton took pole for the 5th time at the British Grand Prix and set the fastest lap on the current Grand Prix layout with an incredible 1:26.600.read more
After a two-week break since the British Grand Prix at Silverstone; the Formula One season moves into the 11th round and the halfway point of the 2016 season (lap 35 of this 70 lap event); Hungary. The 4.381km Hungaroring circuit will play host to its 31st consecutive edition having made its debut in 1986. 70 laps and a race distance of 306.63km around this tight and twisty circuit in the past has certainly thrown up some surprises such as Jenson Button memorably winning his first Grand Prix in 2006! Compared to some of the other similarly established race circuits on the F1 calendar; 1986 is a rather late debut This is primarily due to Hungary’s geographical location and being a member of the Eastern bloc after the Second World War. Although the F1 decision makers wanted to go into Russia first, Andropov’s focus on the arms race with the US perhaps made them reconsider and opt for Hungary; a nation that had already embraced motorsport. Work began on the circuit in 1985 and opened in 1986 with the debut event attracting more than 200,000 spectators!
The Hungaroring has been fondly looked upon by many drivers throughout the years. The late Ayrton Senna won around this circuit three times while four drivers: Damon Hill (1993), Fernando Alonso (2003), Jenson Button (2006) and Heiki Kovalainen (2008) all won their maiden Grand Prix victories here! Button’s 2006 victory is still the record for the lowest starting position of the race winning having started that afternoon in 14th place and his victory in 2011 makes him of 5 drivers to win the event twice. The outright record for the number of race wins coming into the weekend was jointly held by Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton who had won four apiece. Victory for Hamilton would give him the record outright.read more