Hungarian Grand Prix preview

It’s been three weeks since the last race at the British Grand Prix. Although it was not a planned break, it came about due to the German GP being cancelled earlier in the year, which was to take place one week prior to Hungary. 

While the teams would have appreciated the extra week at home with loved ones and to catch up on the washing, I don’t think we will see the expected fresher faces this weekend. Marussia driver Jules Bianchi passed away earlier in the week after a nine-month battle against the injuries sustained in Japan last year.

Everyone will be feeling this during the weekend and a moment of silence will be held in his honor. Even now as I write this can’t help but remember my chats with him when he did World Series by Renault on his way to Formula One. I agree with most that he was future world champion material and he will be missed.

The Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend is the second slowest race on the F1 calendar after Monaco. It’s tight, twisty and gets very dusty this time of the year. This means that teams bring cars that are not too far away from a Monaco setup.

However, what does make it different is that it’s still a proper road track with longer corners in it. More like a kart track from that point of view, where getting a balance and good rhythm will be key for a good lap.

The lack of any meaningful straights means it’s good news for teams like Red Bull and McLaren who are suffering with a lack of horsepower this year. We should see stronger results from both teams here.

Back at the front, Nico Rosberg is back in a familiar position – in that he needs to stop his team-mate, Lewis Hamilton, from taking another win. Momentum is back with the Englishman and Rosberg needs to produce a top-drawer performance to arrest this.

Like Monaco, it’s all going to be about qualifying and one where Rosberg will especially have to focus on Q3. It sounds obvious, but the track usually grips up quite a bit in qualifying and expect the car’s balance to move as it does. The driver that manages this best will be on pole. 

One team that can be expected to perhaps throw a spanner in the works here is Ferrari. Pirelli are set to bring the soft and medium tyre to this track – as it’s going to be stinking hot here. It usually is.

Just like the hot track in Malaysia this year, if we reach those sort of temperatures, perhaps it will be enough to bring Mercedes’s pace towards that of the Ferraris. As a neutral, I’m hoping for this to happen, because we would be in for a thrilling race.

Alex Yoong

Catch the F1 Hungarian GP LIVE on Sun, Jul 26, 7:30pm (HKT) on FOX Sports