Hungarian GP preview – Racing Point looking for further success in Budapest

Following hot on the heels of the opening two rounds of the delayed 2020 Formula One season, teams make the short hop from Austria to Hungary for the second venue of the campaign.

The challenging Hungaroring is a real favourite for fans and drivers alike, BWT Racing Point’s Lance Stroll likening it to ‘a mini-Monaco but without the barriers’.

Not only is the tight and twisty nature of the circuit a real challenge for engineers and drivers to find the perfect qualifying and race set-up, soaring track temperatures in Budapest at this time of the year puts a premium on tyre degradation, which is higher than usual, and puts an onus on race strategy.

“Budapest in the middle of summer is always a scorcher,” says Stroll. “There’s high track temperatures and big demands on the tyres – especially with so many low-speed traction zones. Inside the car you’re always busy. It’s not as intense as a street circuit, but it’s only really the pit straight where you get a moment to catch your breath. All the corners flow into the next one so it’s really hard to find your rhythm early in the weekend.”

Because of the nature of the circuit, like Monaco, overtaking at the Hungaroring is also difficult. Most of the opportunities will invariably come into Turn 1 as drivers close up under DRS and make the move stick into the corner.

“I like the layout of the lap – but I’ve never had much luck there,” adds teammate Sergio Perez. “It’s tight, twisty and usually makes for an interesting race, with the first sector giving us some overtaking opportunities. To throw it up the inside into Turn 1, you need to be really confident on the brakes. With a big run-off area, drivers are willing to take more risks there.

“We call it a technical track because it’s not easy to hook up a clean lap. It’s always dirty off-line and any mistakes in the low and medium speed corners are costly. Keeping your momentum is everything – more than at most other tracks.”

Following on from their impressive drives through the field to finish in sixth and seventh at the Styrian Grand Prix, both Racing Point drivers will be hopeful of even better results should a dry qualifying help them start further up the grid.

But the overwhelming favourite for race victory will again be the imperious Lewis Hamilton, who boasts an incredible seven victories at the Hungaroring.

Fraser Masefield

Sports news and features writer, web editor and author.