The A-Z Guide to the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix
A pivotal race before the summer break so who will seize the momentum in Budapest?
Welcome to your A-Z Guide to the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix! The historic Hungaroring will play host to the 11th round of the 2021 championship and the final race before the summer break. After a dramatic few weeks following the events in Silverstone, this Grand Prix will be an important race for the championship as teams look forward to a much needed couple of weeks of rest. To help you get set for this race weekend, we'll take you through the history of the Hungarian Grand Prix, the unique track characteristics, what the teams are saying, and all the bits in between that you won't find anywhere else. So let's dive straight into your A-Z Guide for the Hungarian Grand Prix!
Nicknamed "Monaco without the buildings',' the Hungaroring has been a staple on the F1 calendar since 1986 and has held 35 Formula 1 Grand Prix's since then. Located roughly 20 kilometers from Budapest, the Hungaroring's 4.3KM circuit offers up a narrow and twisty challenge to drivers which make it difficult for overtaking in dry conditions. The circuit has 14 corners overall, 6 to the left, and 8 to the right. Because of its low maximum speed and constant cornering, the downforce setup required in Hungary is high. Because of this, your lap time at full throttle is only 57%, which is amongst the lowest off all tracks this season. Pole position will be located on the left hand side of the grid with the distance to the first braking zone being 443 meters. The Hungaroring is one of the toughest tracks for brake cooling due to the typical hot summer temperatures and lack of straights. The average track temperatures at the Hungarian Grand Prix are 49 degrees Celsius and it doesn't seem like it will get any cooler for this weekend.
Grand Prix History
Their have been 17 different Hungarian Grand Prix winners since 1986 with seven current drivers having been on the podium at the Hungaroring. McLaren are the most successful constructor with 11 wins all time and 31% of the total victories. Williams and Ferrari are tied on seven wins each that make up 40% of the all time wins while Mercedes is the third most winningest team in Hungary with 5 victories. Of the current drivers, Lewis Hamilton owns this circuit with 8 wins in his career and a chance to break the record for most wins at a single circuit. Sebastian Vettel has won twice at this circuit, once with Red Bull and lastly with Ferrari. Daniel Ricciardo, Fernando Alonso, and Kimi Raikkonen are the only other drivers currently who have won at the Hungaroring. Since the nature of this circuit makes it difficult to overtake, we have only seen five safety car appearances in the history of the Hungarian Grand Prix so there's only a 14% chance we'll see one this Sunday. This is a track in which you'll want to start on the front row as 46% of wins at the Hungaroring have come from pole position while another 23% have come from second on the grid. Outside of the top three spots, only 5 drivers have won and interestingly, 4 of those 5 drivers who went on to win qualified in 4th place.
Grand Prix Schedule
After the Sprint format in Great Britain, we return to a normal Grand Prix weekend format. Here are the times for all three Free Practice sessions on Friday and Saturday.
The following are the start times for qualifying and the race in different parts of the world.
Let's start off by looking at the predicted forecast for the race weekend.
Weather - Friday and Saturday are expected to be clear and sunny but with very hot temperatures typical of a late July race. The question mark remains for race day Sunday as at the moment, their is a 40% chance of showers with a drop in temperatures so that could really shake up the race if it does indeed rain. With that in mind, let's move onto the tyre allocation.
Tyres - The Hungaroring doesn't put a lot of heavy demands on the tyres so the middle range of the C2, C3, and C4 tyres will be used. Because of the non-stop corners, the tyres are always being worked and makes it difficult to cool the tyres. The best strategy is not always obvious as we've seen in the past for example at the 2019 race with Hamilton winning on a two stop strategy.
Can we really go through this preview without talking about the fallout from Hamilton and Verstappen in Silverstone? Even two weeks after their clash, fans are still talking about 'that' incident as the intensity of this championship is coming to a head. The Hungarian Grand Prix will also offer Max Verstappen the first opportunity to speak publicly on the crash. We've only seen a short social media post from the Dutchman so it will be interesting to hear his side of things and where he is at mentally after a 51G impact. We can most likely say that Hamilton and Verstappen will line up on the front row of the grid on Sunday so the first lap will be a must watch. Will either driver change their approach to wheel to wheel combat? I highly doubt it and it's safe to say the gloves are off between the two for the rest of the year. Drama aside, the championship standings is of upmost importance to these two drivers and their teams. Verstappen's lead has been narrowed down to 8 points and keep in mind this stat, the leader of the championship after the Hungarian Grand Prix has gone on to win that year’s title in 25 of the 35 seasons in which the race has been held. Although Mercedes fought back to win the British Grand Prix, Red Bull have still won 5 out of the last 6 races so this is a key race as we go into the break. It will also be curious to see the form of the W12 after some upgrades brought to the British Grand Prix that we didn't get to see in comparison to the RB16B because of the crash. Red Bull hold a slim 4 point lead in the Constructor's standings so it's all to play for in Hungary which is making this race one of the more anticipated ones of the season.
Elsewhere on the grid, we could see some surprises from a team like Ferrari who have really enjoyed the high downforce circuits in 2021. Ferrari will hope that this circuit's similarities with Monaco will bring the same results as Leclerc secured a pole while Carlos Sainz scored his first Ferrari podium. It might be a long shot but if the last race taught us anything, it's that Ferrari could be there to pick up the pieces if drama happens at the front. The F1 calendar has been full steam ahead ever since the late start of 2020 so everyone is looking forward to a couple of weeks off. It makes the Hungarian Grand Prix a very important race as after we return in late August for Spa, we begin a stretch of 12 rounds in 15 weeks to finish off what has been a thrilling 2021 season so far.