Hungarian Grand Prix Preview

Preview round 11 of the 2016 Formula One season, the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Usually the race prior to the summer break, the Hungarian Grand Prix marks the half-season point. With Rosberg’s Championship lead now reduced to a single point over Hamilton, who comes to the Hungaroring on the back of two wins. But last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix went away from the Mercedes duo – with a flying Vettel witness the race end without a Silver Arrow on the podium.

Unlike previous years, the 2016 Hungarian Grand Prix comes with one race to follow before the teams shut down their factories for the summer. With the returning German Grand Prix marked on the calendar for next weekend.

This weekend, though, is the Hungarian Grand Prix. The first Grand Prix to be held behind the Iron Curtain.

Hamilton 2015 hungarian gp - Jeren Chen

Lewis Hamilton, during the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix. Photo credit: Jeren Chen

The race was first held at the circuit 19 kilometres outside Budapest back in 1986, after Formula One looked to bring the championship to Russia. While Hungarian sporting authority was enthusiastic about bringing motorsport back to their country.

Initially plans for a street circuit around Budapest were discussed, but a decision was made to build a purpose-built circuit for the Grand Prix. With construction on the, now, 4.3-kilometre circuit commencing in 1985.

Set in a valley in Mogyoród, 80% of the circuit can be seen from any point. Although the circuit’s tight and twisty design restricts overtaking opportunities throughout the lap. With the underused nature also leaving the circuit dusty at the start of the Grand Prix weekend.

Hungaroring Circuit Map. Copyright: FormulaOne.Com

Hungaroring Circuit Map. Copyright: FormulaOne.Com

Overtaking though is prominent at turn one. Where DRS boost down the 800 metre straight can propel the attacking driver into the desired position. DRS into turn two can then either help retain the position or continue to reduce the gap – with an outside line handing the driver the inside of turn three for the run up the hill. Where turn four requires a high-speed change of direction where overtaking and staying on the track is difficult.

Sector two then presents very few chances for an overtake once beyond the turn 6/7 chicane. With sector three presenting openings at turns 12, 13 and 14. Although a more desired line out of turn 14 will reward drivers down the pit straight.

Vettel 2015 Hungarian GP - Rob O'Connor

Sebastian Vettel, the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix winner. Photo credit: Rob O’Connor

Last year, Hamilton struggled off the line as Vettel stormed from the grid into the lead. Before Lewis darted across the gravel to avoid contact with Rosberg at the turn 6/7 chicane – losing him further places.

Then later into the race, Hamilton and Rosberg both made contact with Ricciardo – forcing the Silver Arrows to drive a recovery race. All the while Vettel bolted away in the lead to secure his second win of the season.

Hamilton, though, has won at the Hungaroring on four previous occasions. With one of which being his first win for Mercedes back in 2013. As for the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix, a safety car and Hamilton refusing to lift off to let Rosberg through cost the team a chance to win the race – with Daniel Ricciardo picking up the trophy.

Kvyat and Bottas, 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix. Photo Credit: EarthlingRick

Kvyat and Bottas, 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix. Photo Credit: EarthlingRick

This year’s Hungarian Grand Prix comes at a time Rosberg faces Hamilton breathing down his neck in the Driver’s Championship. With his once 43-point strong lead now reduced to the single point following a breach of the radio regulations during Hamilton’s British Grand Prix victory.

As for Red Bull, after a poor 2015, the team appears to be back challenging at the front. Maybe not for wins yet, but Red Bull do appear to have moved ahead of Ferrari as Mercedes’ closest rival. With Ferrari falling further back and questions being raised at the team’s Maranello base.

Williams also appear to be struggling for form. With the nine times Constructors Champions failing to perform well in recent races, as Force India eye fourth place in the standings.

Motor Racing - Formula One World Championship - Hungarian Grand Prix - Race Day - Budapest, Hungary

Formula One’s drivers observe the tribute to Jules Bianchi on the grid of the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix. Photo copyright: Force India F1 Team

The Hungarian Grand Prix also marks the first race since the anniversary of the death of Jules Bianchi. Jules passed away on Saturday 18th of July 2015, when his family confirmed that the 25-year-old succumbed to the injuries he sustained during the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix.

Formula One marked their respects to the young Frenchman with a moment of silence on the grid prior to the race. With Jules very much still in the thoughts of many.

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The 2016 Hungarian Grand Prix will be broadcasted in England live on Channel 4 and Sky Sports F1. With GP2 and GP3 supporting the event, while the World Endurance Championship heads to Germany – Formula One’s destination next week.

Wednesday, July 20
20:30 – The F1 Report – Hungarian GP preview

Thursday, July 21
14:00 – Drivers’ Press Conference – Live
21:00 – Preview (BBC Radio 5 Live)

Friday, July 22
08:45 – Hungarian GP Practice One – Live
08:55 – Hungarian GP Practice One (Channel 4)
11:00 – GP2 Practice
12:45 – Hungarian GP Practice Two – Live
12:55 – Hungarian GP Practice Two (Channel 4)
14:55 – GP2 Qualifying
15:30 – Team Principals’ Press Conference
16:00 – The F1 Show – Live

Saturday, July 23
08:45 – GP3 Qualifying
09:45 – Hungarian GP Practice Three – Live
09:55 – Hungarian GP Practice Three (Channel 4)
11:55 – Hungarian GP Qualifying – Build-up (Channel 4)
12:00 – Hungarian GP Qualifying – Build-up
13:00 – Hungarian GP Qualifying – Session – Live
14:35 – GP2 Feature Race
16:15 – GP3 Race 1
20:10 – Ted’s Qualifying Notebook

Sunday, July 24
08:10 – GP3 Race 2
09:20 – GP2 Sprint Race
11:30 – Hungarian GP – Track Parade – Live
12:00 – Hungarian GP – Pit lane – Live
12:00 – Hungarian GP – Build-up (Channel 4)
13:00 – Hungarian GP – Race – Live
13:00 – Hungarian GP – Race – Live (BBC Radio 5 Live)
15:30 – Hungarian GP – Paddock Live
18:00 – Hungarian GP – Highlights
19:00 – Ted’s Race Notebook
23:45 – Hungarian GP – Highlights (Channel 4)

Times above are for Sky Sports F1 unless stated.