The key strategic moment of the Hungarian Grand Prix was the decision by Scuderia Ferrari to pit Sebastian Vettel on Lap 15, which triggered the first round of pit stops. Kimi Räikkonen started on the soft compound tire from 14th with a lot of ground to make up. Ferrari’s data indicated how early they could stop Vettel and put him on a two-stop strategy with the soft tire. This stop allowed Vettel to undercut Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen who battled for much of the afternoon with Räikkonen, but eventually finished the race in 5th position.
James Allen on F1, UBS F1 Expert
Can Sauber break their duck?
What is the Sauber F1 Team's winning strategy for Hungary?
Sauber is going through one of the toughest periods in its history with no points on the board after 10 rounds and trailing Manor Racing in 11th place. Points are hard to come by this year as we are seeing just five constructors finishing in the points on a regular basis. Sauber has only advanced to Q2 once in the last 7 races, however they did score a point in Hungary last year. It should be a two stop race for most, but Sauber will be hoping that the Safety Car makes a rare appearance to mix things up.
Frustration for Sauber - How did they perform at the Hungaroring?
The Sauber F1 team were taken over by new owners prior to the weekend but failed to score any points after another difficult race. In a wet qualifying session, Marcus Ericsson crashed whilst his team mate Felipe Nasr qualified 16th. Nasr did a classic two-stop race but got held up by a slower car after his first stop and ended up 17th. Ericsson started from the pit lane and tried to run a reverse strategy with two stints on softs and a final stint of 25 laps on supersofts. The tires faded before the end and he had to pit for a third time, eventually finishing 20th.
Race Strategy Briefing
A technical track
There are 14 turns on this circuit and many of them are medium to low speed and technical. Average speed of 196km/h is the lowest of any permanent track on the F1 calendar.
The supersofts will be good qualifying tires, whilst the softs should be the default race tires as they were 1.5 seconds faster than the mediums last year and didn’t degrade too badly, lasting around 25 laps.
Not too bad on tires
Surprisingly for a track where the cars are frequently turning, it is not too hard on the tires. However, extremely high track temperatures can lead to blistering.
Tricky to overtake
Hungary is traditionally a difficult race for overtaking as it’s hard to follow another car closely. You need much fresher tires than your opponent to make a move stick.
All about the straight
The 900m straight is the place to overtake and the increased hybrid turbo engine power means that the top speed is now over 320km/h.
July 24 | 14:00 local time, 14:00 CET
Since hosting its first Grand Prix in 1986, the Hungaroring has changed very little and with the advent of DRS wings, now provides overtaking and exciting racing. The mixture of tricky slow corners is balanced out by two fast chicanes towards the end of the lap. The blind Turn Four, over the crest of a hill, is a distinctive corner. The circuit holds happy memories for two British World Champions, with Damon Hill taking his first victory here in 1993, and for Jenson Button who was able to break his duck in 2006 with an emotional win from 14th on the grid. Located in an amphitheatre setting, within half an hour of Budapest, the Hungarian Grand Prix is the last race before F1’s three-week summer break. Lewis Hamilton claimed his first victory for Mercedes here in 2013 his fourth win here. Before 2015 it was also the sole circuit that Sebastian Vettel had raced on but never won, but that changed thanks to his victory in last year’s nail biting race.
Circuit length 4.381 km
Race distance 306.63 km
2015 race winner Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Pirelli allocation Supersoft/Soft/Medium
The Hungaroring circuit is quite a challenge for the drivers and for the strategy team; it’s rarely used, the track is usually dirty at the start of the F1 race weekend and the grip improves as the weekend goes on. This means that it’s very easy to be misled by the tire performance on Friday. The Hungaroring is notoriously hard on the front tires, partly due to a number of long corners. If the weekend stays dry, qualifying and the start are always crucial to doing well at the Hungaroring, as the slow second and third corners tend to stretch the field out on the opening lap. The run down to Turn 1 is quite long; from pole position to the breaking point before the turn is 400m.
In collaboration with James Allen