This weekend sees the 29th edition of the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix. The race has always been held at the Hungaroring, on the outskirts of Budapest, and though the track has gone through various modifications it remains one of the slowest on the calendar (average speeds are about 120 mph). That doesn't lessen the challenge of the track, however, with extreme heat and a constant succession of corners making life difficult for the cars and drivers.
The 2.7-mile track was the first to hold an F1 Grand Prix behind the former Iron Curtain, with the inaugural Hungarian Grand Prix taking place back in 1986. Since then it’s been a fixture on the F1 calendar and that doesn’t look set to change anytime soon, despite the Mexican Grand Prix returning for 2015.
Surface conditions are very dusty and slippery at the start of the weekend, making it very easy for drivers to make a mistake during Friday practice. A racing line appears quickly, once the cars have completed a few laps, but conditions remain treacherous off-line and that makes overtaking difficult during the race.
There are two DRS zones this year, located on consecutive straights at the beginning of the lap. This should help overtaking, but a good grid position will remain crucial because the track is narrow and it’s relatively easy for a driver to defend his position for the reason mentioned above.
The current weather forecast is for hot and humid conditions, with the peak temperature expected to reach 82 degrees F (28 degrees C) and a late storm expected. Tire supplier Pirelli is bringing its P Zero White medium P Zero yellow soft sets. These should provide the right compromise between performance and resistance to the high ambient temperatures.
Last year’s winner at the Hungarian Grand Prix was Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton. Going into this year’s race, his teammate Nico Rosberg leads the 2014 Drivers’ Championship with 190 points, with Hamilton in second with 176 points and Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo third with 106 points. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes AMG has 366 points versus the 188 points of Red Bull Racing and 121 points of Williams.