Reports

Hungarian F1 Grand Prix

2017 HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX – SET UP

The Hungarian Grand Prix has been a permanent fixture on the Formula 1 calendar since 1986; as a result, the Hungaroring is the 10th track in history to host more than 30 grands prix. The circuit was constructed in just nine months prior to its inaugural race and despite being F1’s slowest permanent venue, the drivers relish its challenges

NEED TO KNOW

Race title Formula 1 Pirelli Magyar Nagydij 2017
Circuit name Hungaroring
First race 1986

TRAVEL

City Budapest
Time zone BST +1
Population 2 million
Surprising fact More than 200,000 people watched the inaugural Hungarian Grand Prix in 1986. This is a good track for spectators because it’s built in a bowl, meaning it’s possible to see 50 per cent of the circuit from most vantage points
Local speciality Hungarians are passionate about stews, breads and pastries. However, the dish that symbolises Hungarian cuisine is goulash soup – a meat stew, usually beef, mixed with potatoes, onions, carrots and spices. A word of advice from local chefs: don’t use flour to thicken the soup if it’s too watery
Weather Temperatures in mid-summer are very warm in Budapest. Last weekend the ambient temperature peaked at 35 degrees Celsius and there doesn’t look like being much respite over the grand prix weekend

Track

Track length 4.381km / 2.722 miles
2016 pole position Nico Rosberg - 1:19.968s
2016 winner Lewis Hamilton, 70 laps - 1:40:30.115s
2016 fastest lap Kimi Räikkönen - 1:23.068s (lap 52)
Lap record 1:19.071s (Michael Schumacher, 2004)
Tyre choice Red Supersoft | Yellow Soft | White Medium
Distance to Turn One 610m / 0.379 miles
Longest straight 908m / 0.564 miles
Top speed 305kmh / 190mph (on the approach to Turn One)
Full throttle 55 percent
Brake wear Low. Turn One is a heavy braking point, but only 14 per cent of the lap is spent on the brakes
Fuel consumption 1.5kg per lap, which is low
ERS demands Medium. There are few heavy braking zones in which to harvest kinetic energy
Gear changes 48 per lap / 3360 per race

RACE

Laps 70 laps
Start time 14:00hrs local / 13:00hrs BST / 14:00 CET
Grid advantage Pole position is on the left side of the track, on the racing line. Given the dust and dirt off-line, this usually provides a significant advantage on the long run to Turn One
DRS There are two DRS zones, on the approaches to Turns One and Two
Don't put the kettle on... The top 10 finishers made two pitstops in 2016, although not everyone followed the same compound strategy. Kimi Raikkonen, who’d qualified 14th, started on the Soft tyre and then completed two stints on the Supersoft rubber; everyone else did the opposite – one stint on Supersofts and two on Softs. With overtaking so difficult, and this year’s tyre compounds that much more durable, will teams try for one pitstop, on about lap 30?
Pitlane length/Pitstops 360m/0.224 miles. Estimated time loss for a pitstop is 18s, which is short
Safety Car 10 per cent, which is very low. The low-speed nature of the track means accidents are usually low-speed, with little resultant debris
Watch out for... Turn Four, the most demanding corner on the lap. It’s taken in sixth gear at 225km/h/140mph and has a blind, uphill entry. Commitment from the driver and a strong front axle are pre-requisites to keeping your boot on the throttle

THE DRIVERS

FERNANDO ALONSO

“On paper, the Hungaroring presents one of the best opportunities for us this year. The short, twisty circuit means we are less reliant on outright power, and the drivers have to really depend on the capabilities of the chassis to get the best out of the lap. 

“I always like returning to Budapest – we get to stay in the centre with great views of the river, and you feel like you’re really part of the city all weekend. The temperatures are high and it’s a testing weekend for the teams and drivers – especially since the summer break is so close, but a good result can be a great boost for everyone going into the shutdown period. 

“The important thing for us, as always, is reliability. Even if our car could perform better in Hungary, we need to have a trouble-free weekend to take advantage of every opportunity for points. We made some big decisions in Silverstone in terms of taking grid penalties in preparation for this race, and hope that’s paid off so we can put ourselves in the best possible position for points this weekend.”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE

“I really like the Hungaroring circuit – although it’s not the fastest in term of outright pace, its technical layout means it feels quick and requires 100% commitment and concentration all the way around the lap. There are a lot of quick changes of direction, and the twisty configuration means you have to have your line spot-on every time to get the best out of a lap. 

“The layout combined with the high temperatures means it’s tough on the cars, and you need a strong and stable chassis to be able to get the nose in at the right time and allow you the best possible exit to get ready for the next corner. The straights are short, so it’s all about setting up the car with as much downforce as possible for the corners. 

“I’ve won in Hungary before, in GP2, and I enjoy driving on this track. Although we’ve been a bit unlucky, I feel that my performances have been consistent and improving race-by-race. I’ve been working hard with the engineers and I feel confident in the car – my weekends are coming together better now in the first part of the season and as a team we are progressing every weekend. We have to be patient, keep working hard, and I hope to see the reward for our efforts paying off soon.“

THE MANAGEMENT

ERIC BOULLIER

“We head to Hungary ready to tackle the final race weekend before the summer break. I salute and send a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to all of our McLaren-Honda colleagues, who have worked tirelessly throughout the winter and all season long, despite the difficult challenges we’ve faced together. Soon, there’ll be time for a well-deserved break with their families, but, before then, we’re fully focussed on the weekend ahead and determined to come away from Budapest with a positive result. 

“Our pace at Silverstone was marginally better than we initially expected on what is considered to be a power-hungry circuit, and therefore a track traditionally more difficult for our car to adapt to. Hungary is a completely different proposition, and one that theoretically gives us optimism that we can put the strengths of our car to the test and better take the fight to our rivals. 

“Together with Honda we’re working hard to improve our reliability, and avoiding incurring grid penalties – especially on this track, where our car has the potential to perform more favourably – will be key to increasing our points tally, which we’re all so determined to achieve. On the back of a successful tyre test with Pirelli, we hope to continue this momentum with a strong result in Budapest and follow it with useful mileage during the post-race in-season test, which we’ll as a platform for further development in the second half of the season.”

YUSUKE HASEGAWA

“Despite showing improved competitiveness during the last few races, we’re yet to translate this into on-track results. Having said that, we’re pleased with our current development and we now head to Hungary feeling more positive about the race weekend. 

“The Hungaroring is a unique twisty circuit that should give us one of our best opportunities this season. Though it is not a power-oriented track, it still requires precise energy management throughout every lap of the race. It is also a track where overtaking is extremely difficult, so qualifying will be enormously important for us. 

“We know we’re capable of a good result on this type of track, so our target is to reach Q3 and be in a good place to score points in the race. Fernando claimed his first Formula 1 victory at the Hungaroring, and Stoffel won there in GP2 in 2014, so our cars are in excellent hands. 

“This is the last race before the summer shutdown when everyone in the McLaren-Honda team will get a well-earned rest. Before then, I hope we can build a good momentum towards the second half of the season with solid results in Hungary.”

2017 HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX – FREE PRACTICE

"A PRETTY GOOD START TO OUR WEEKEND"

McLaren Honda ended second practice for the Hungarian Grand Prix in eighth (Fernando Alonso) and 10th (Stoffel Vandoorne) positions.

Despite each session being punctuated by several red-flag stoppages, the team evaluated a number of development parts during the day. We’ll now evaluate the car’s balance and set-up and make further improvements tonight ahead of qualifying tomorrow.

FERNANDO ALONSO

#FA14 MCL32-05
FP1 1:19.987s (+1.501s) 21 laps 7th
FP2 1:19.815s (+1.360s) 31 laps 8th
FP3 1:18.884s (+1.867s) 14 laps 9th

“It was a good day; even though it’s always difficult on a Friday to get a clear picture, we’re more or less where we thought we would be. We did some good testing and now we need to analyse the data and see where we’ve made progress.

“We’re a little bit more competitive here than we were in the last couple of races, and it feels better to be able to potentially fight for Q3 and for a top-10 finish. We are taking care of every single detail – the smallest things matter."

STOFFEL VANDOORNE

#SV2 MCL32-04
FP1 1:20.005s (+1.519s) 24 laps 8th
FP2 1:19.909s (+1.454s) 18 laps 10th
FP3 1:18.638s (+1.621s) 18 laps 6th

“With both cars in the top 10, today’s been a fairly positive day for us – everything went as we expected.

“As usual, the times in the midfield are very tight, so it’ll be very important to find those tiny steps for tomorrow to enable us to improve a little bit.

“At the end of the session, we had a problem with the MGU-H but it didn’t really matter because the PU I was using was already at the end of its mileage and we were going to fit another engine anyway, so luckily we’ll have no penalties.

“I feel comfortable in the car, even though it’s still not 100% there yet, and I’m confident we can take a step forward tomorrow."

THE MANAGEMENT

ERIC BOULLIER

“It’s pleasing to end the day with both cars having finished inside the top 10 in both sessions. Fernando and Stoffel showed excellent consistency to match each other lap after lap during two sessions where progress was difficult due to a frustrating number of red flags.   

“Nonetheless, Stoffel was particularly impressive today, and his performances underline the steady progress he has been quietly making over the past few races. It was just a pity that his afternoon session was cut short by an MGU-H problem – it was an older unit, nearing its mileage limit, and wasn’t due to be used for the remainder of the weekend anyway. It won’t have any impact on the remainder of his weekend.

“We’ve made a positive start to this grand prix, but we’re mindful that there’s still a lot of work left to do if we’re to extract the maximum out of our car’s package this weekend.”

YUSUKE HASEGAWA

“We came to the Hungaroring with expectations of acquiring some points here, and it has been a positive start for us today.

“Fernando was running with some new aero parts trying various settings in order to find the best balance of the car. Stoffel ran well, with lap-times close to his team-mate. We had to stop his car towards the end of FP2 due to an MGU-H issue, however the PU was nearing its life-span and the plan was to change it after FP2 so it will not affect the remainder of his weekend.

“In addition, we are not expecting to receive any penalties with this PU replacement which will take place tonight.

“We are expecting another tough session in hot conditions tomorrow; however, we think we have enough potential for both drivers to go through into Q3 here in Hungary.”

2017 HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX – QUALIFYING

"WE'RE LOOKING STRONG"

McLaren Honda earned its best qualifying positions of the season in Hungary this afternoon. Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne will line up seventh and eighth respectively for tomorrow’s 70-lap Hungarian Grand Prix.

Fernando celebrated his birthday today by equalling his best starting position of the year (he lined up seventh in Barcelona). In starting eighth, Stoffel also equals his previous best grid slot, achieved at the British Grand Prix earlier this month.

FERNANDO ALONSO

#FA14 MCL32-05
Q1 1:18.395s (8st) Option tyre
Q2 1:17.919s (8th) Option tyre
Q3 1:17.549s (8th - will start 7th due to Hulkenberg penalty) Option tyre

“It’s been a positive weekend so far for us as a team. We knew the top three teams would effectively be out of reach, so fighting for seventh and eighth was the maximum target we could aim for today. And, indeed, that’s where we’ll start tomorrow.

“There are no points to gain on Saturday, so hopefully we can convert those positions in the race and score some good points. They’re very much needed by the team at the moment.

“In terms of race pace we should be okay. This is a circuit where it’s difficult to overtake; the tyres are very stable and have low degradation so I think that, if we have a good start, we should have a good chance to maintain our positions – that’s the target for tomorrow.”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE

#SV2 MCL32-04
Q1 1:18.479s (9th) Option tyre
Q2 1:18.000s (9th) Option tyre
Q3 1:17.894s (9th - will start 8th due to Hulkenberg penalty) Option tyre

“We pretty much got everything out of the car today. We’d been looking strong all weekend, so it was good to get both cars in Q3 and to carry our pace through into qualifying.

“My car felt quite strong – it felt pretty good in the corners. I think we maximised the package we had today.

“But the race tomorrow is the most important thing: I hope we can get both cars into the points. Our pace has been inside the top 10 all the time so we’re looking strong.”

THE MANAGEMENT

ERIC BOULLIER

“We always knew that this was likely to be a strong track for us, so to line up seventh and eighth – effectively the ‘best of the rest’ underlines the inherent pace of our package.

“But I think what’s more satisfying is that we’ve shown such consistent pace throughout the whole weekend. That gives us the confidence to believe that we can convert these starting positions into equally strong points-scoring places tomorrow.

“Both drivers have been extremely closely matched in every session, and there’s a feeling that we’re really pulling together as a cohesive team now. It’s safe to say that we’re all looking forward to an intense, fun and productive grand prix tomorrow.”

YUSUKE HASEGAWA

“Today marked the best qualifying for McLaren Honda this season, with both cars into Q3, starting tomorrow’s race just behind the top three teams. Although we knew this circuit would suit our car, it’s still a positive step forward for us, and the team did a good job with our qualifying strategy.

“Fernando and Stoffel had a good impression of the car yesterday and the team utilised this morning’s practice session by further working on the set-up ahead of qualifying. They both then drove incredibly well this afternoon to close up to the front-runners.

“Today’s result is down to the drivers, improvements to our PU, and also the aero upgrades the team has brought here. Hopefully this will give everyone a boost before the summer break and before the second half of the season begins.

“We know there is still a performance gap, but we also think we’re quite competitive here. Hopefully we’ll have a chance to improve our positions in the race if we have a good start as overtaking is difficult here. We hope to get our best race of the season here in Hungary tomorrow.”

2017 HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX – RACE

“WE REMAIN A PASSIONATE RACE TEAM”

McLaren Honda recorded its most competitive outing of the season so far to score nine world championship points in this afternoon’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso drove a sensational race to finish sixth; it was a performance that included a committed overtaking move around the outside of Carlos Sainz at Turn Two, and a crackling second stint on the Prime tyre, which concluded with him setting the overall fastest lap of the race, on lap 69.

Stoffel Vandoorne earned his best finishing position of the year, in 10th spot. He was briefly held up by a first-lap melee behind Daniel Ricciardo, but recovered quickly to run inside the top 10. Towards the end of the race, he battled for ninth with Force India’s Esteban Ocon, crossing the line just 0.6s behind the Frenchman.

FERNANDO ALONSO

#FA14 MCL32-05
Started 7th
Finished 6th
Fastest lap 1:20.182s (lap 69) 1st
Pit stops One - lap 35 (3.50s) Option > Prime

“We were probably looking at seventh or eighth position today, but with Ricciardo out of the race, sixth place became possible, and we grabbed it. Still, we worked for that result all weekend – no mistakes, good practice sessions, strong qualifying, and then a perfectly executed race.

“There are three or four weekends in a season where we can be competitive, so we need to maximise those and fully capitalise on our potential – and that’s exactly what we did this weekend. Races like Spa and Monza are going to be more difficult for us, so let’s just enjoy this result and think about the difficult ones when they come.

“The battle with Carlos was a close-run thing. We were together at the start, at the restart after the Safety Car; we came into the pits together, we exited together and I knew I had two laps where I could really push and stress the new tyres a little bit.

“I tried to do that with some kamikaze moves at times because, after those initial two laps, I knew it was going to be impossible. It worked out fine.

“Also, the fastest lap at the end of the race was a surprise – a gift – but one we’ll take!

“It was definitely a good race, so let’s go into the summer break with smiles on our faces.”

STOFFEL VANDOORNE

#SV2 MCL32-04
Started 8th
Finished 10th
Fastest lap 1:21.960s (lap 44) +1.778s (12th)
Pit stops One - lap 42 (6.72s) Option > Prime

“It’s been quite a positive weekend for me – we came here expecting to be competitive and we were able to run inside the top 10 for the whole weekend.

“When an opportunity like this comes up, we have to grab it with both hands – and we did. Before my stop, we were looking at the gap behind and trying to over-cut people behind us, but I made a small mistake at the stop, locked up and stopped too long.

“Nonetheless, my pace in the race was encouraging – we were definitely quicker than the Force Indias here, but overtaking is very difficult. In the end, we got points so it’s a good weekend for the team.”

THE MANAGEMENT

ERIC BOULLIER

“Today was a timely reminder that, despite a difficult season so far, at our heart we remain a passionate racing team. To score nine points and set the fastest lap of the race shows that, as soon as an opportunity presents itself, we are ready to take advantage of it.

“What can you say about Fernando’s drive today, except that it was utterly sensational. He was absolutely charging out there – and, once he’d made his pit-stop and switched to the Prime tyre, he was really able to control his pace until the end.

“His pass around the outside of Carlos [Sainz] was brilliant – he knew he had to make a move stick while on fresh rubber, and he did just that. From there, he just drove away, and set a number of quick-laps before finally setting the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate lap. He showed today just what makes him so special.

“Stoffel also drove a very strong race. He didn’t get a break at the start, as Ricciardo slowed right in front of him, but he drove strongly all the way to the finish. He’ll be pleased to have scored a point just ahead of his home race; this is the reward for a lot of dedicated hard work and effort from both him and the team.

“As we prepare for the summer break, and the second half of the season, this result will send us away with added sense of purpose and determination.”

YUSUKE HASEGAWA

“Today was a good day at the office for the McLaren Honda team. A double-points finish is definitely a positive step forward for us.

“After yesterday's encouraging result in qualifying, we knew we had a package capable of scoring some points. Both Fernando and Stoffel drove brilliantly, keeping their concentration in hot and tough conditions, and pushed throughout to bring home nine precious points.  

“Today’s result is the sum of a lot of hard work and daily efforts made by the team members, and I want to thank them all for this.

“Although we are now able to head into the summer break with good momentum, we are not satisfied with the overall results of the first half of the season. We will continue to push our development for improvement, and hope to have a good start of the second half in Spa- Francorchamps.”