Hungarian GP Preview | Hamilton within 1 point of Vettel

Preview the final round before the summer shutdown, the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The summer break is nearing and the Championship lead is down to a single point. But can Sebastian Vettel stretch his advantage into his holidays or will Lewis Hamilton continue his charge to snatch the top spot at the Hungaroring? A track that has been a happy hunting ground for the British racer, with five wins to his name.

No man has stood atop the podium in Budapest on more occasions than Lewis Hamilton. Having won on his Hungarian debut back in 2007, and later clinching his first victory for Mercedes there six years on.

Together with further wins for McLaren in 2009 and 2012, his victory for Mercedes in 2016 moved Hamilton ahead of the previous record holder, Michael Schumacher.

Vettel, in contrast, has just the one win to his name at the Hungaroring. Winning for Ferrari in 2015, after beating the Silver Arrows off the line to lead a Scuderia one-two into the opening corner.

2015 Hungarian GP start - Rosberg, Hamilton, Raikkonen, Vettel 4 wide -

Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen go four wide into the opening corner at the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix. Photo credit: Mercedes AMG F1 Team.

With one previous Schumacher record bettered in Hungary, this weekend offers Lewis another chance to match one of the seven-time champions records too. This time, poles.

Lewis has already clinched 67 poles in Formula One, moving ahead of Ayrton Senna’s 65 when he topped qualifying at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Then following that triumph, pole at home at the British Grand Prix moved Hamilton to within one of Schumacher – a record held since the 2006 French Grand Prix (despite Michael topping qualifying for the 2012 Monaco Grand Prix with Mercedes, where he carried a five-place grid penalty).

Out of Lewis’ 67 career poles, five have come at the Hungaroring with three of those converted to wins. While pole in 2008 was followed by a puncture in the race and opening lap contact in 2015 sent Hamilton down the field.

On the flip side, however, Lewis’ other two Hungarian Grand Prix wins came from P4 on the grid in 2009 and second place in 2016 after the would-be World Champion Nico Rosberg secured one of his 30 career pole positions.

Rosberg and Hamilton, Saturday Hungarian GP - Copyright Mercedes

Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton during the 2016 Hungarian Grand Prix. Photo credit: Mercedes AMG F1 Team

Rather interestingly, when Formula One ventured to Hungary a year ago, the championship lead between Rosberg and the chasing Hamilton was also just a single point. The same situation Lewis finds himself in this year as he chases Vettel.

Should the result of a year ago occur again this year, Lewis will be gleaming atop the podium with the championship lead once again in his pocket as he jets off on his latest holiday.

Although, any result that sees Hamilton finish ahead of Vettel and both score bar in P9 and P10 will see the championship lead change hands regardless of who ultimately takes the win.

Hamilton leads Vettel, Verstappen, Raikkonen British GP 2017 - -

Lewis Hamilton leads Vettel, Verstappen and Raikkonen on route to victory at the 2017 British GP. Photo credit: Mercedes AMG F1 Team.

The race set in a valley in Mogyoród was first held in 1986, after Formula One looked to bring their championship to Russia. Although issues brought those plans to an end, while the Hungarian sporting authority was enthusiastic about bringing motorsport back to their country.

This saw the Hungaroring circuit be built 19-kilometres outside of Budapest, despite the initial plans based on a street circuit set in the city.

Construction on the, now, 4.3-kilometre circuit commenced in 1985 with 80% of the circuit visible from any grandstand. Making the track a great venue for spotters who wish to see as much of the action as possible.

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.

Maximum downforce. The Hungaroring’s demands on a Formula One car. Photo credit: McLaren.

Thanks to the middle sectors twisty nature, overtaking is prominently completed at Turn 1. Where DRS boost down the 800 metre straight can propel the attacking driver into the desired position. While the inside line under braking allows for the door to be shut on exit.

DRS again into Turn 2 will either then help to retain the position or continue to reduce the gap – one of the main purposes of the drag reduction device and an aspect coming into its own in 2017 with the greater downforce levels.

Come Turn 2, the outside line will hand the driver the inside for Turn 3 and the run up the hill. Where Turn 4 requires a high-speed change of direction where staying on track, let alone overtaking, is a challenge.

Track guide-

A track guide to the Hungaroring, home to the Hungarian Grand Prix. Photo credit:

The mid-season curtain will fall exclusively live in the UK on Sky Sports F1, as Channel 4 head to Hungary with an eye on highlight packages for qualifying and the race. While elsewhere, Formcloses close out their season in Montreal with a double-header weekend and the title on the line for ex-Formula 1 drivers Sebastian Buemi and Lucas di Grassi.

Sky Sports F1
26/07 – 20:30 – F1 Report: Preview
27/07 – 14:00 – Driver Press Conference
27/07 – 20:00 – Paddock Uncut
28/07 – 08:45 – Practice 1 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
28/07 – 10:55 – Formula Two Practice
28/07 – 12:45 – Practice 2
28/07 – 14:55 – Formula Two Qualifying
28/07 – 15:30 – Team Press Conference
28/07 – 16:30 – The F1 Show
29/07 – 08:25 – GP3 Qualifying
29/07 – 09:45 – Practice 3 (also Sky Sports Main Event)
29/07 – 12:00 – Qualifying (also Sky Sports Main Event)
29/07 – 14:55 – Formula Two Feature Race
29/07 – 16:30 – GP3 Race 1
30/07 – 08:05 – GP3 Race 2
30/07 – 09:15 – Formula TwoSprint Race
30/07 – 10:30 – Porsche SupercupRace
30/07 – 11:30 – Race (also Sky Sports Main Event)
=> 11:30 – Track Parade
=> 12:00 – Pit Lane Live
=> 12:30 – Race
=> 15:30 – Paddock Live
02/08 – 20:30 – F1 Report: Review

Channel 4 F1
29/07 – 18:00 – Qualifying Highlights
30/07 – 17:15 – Race Highlights

BBC Radio F1
29/07 – 13:00 – Qualifying (BBC Radio 5 Live)
30/07 – 13:00 – Race (BBC Radio 5 Live)

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