The Hungaroring circuit is 19 km from the centre of Budapest, alongside the M3 motorway at the border of the village, Mogyoród. The track is in a natural valley, surrounded by 50 hectares of rolling hillside. With this exceptional natural advantage, almost 80 percent of the racetrack is visible from any point. This is the reason why it is called "The Shallow Plate", it is because the spectators are watching races sitting by the side of an imaginary plate.Hungary is a much maligned circuit, due to its tight low speed nature and the difficulty of overtaking, but it has produced a surprising number of exciting races.
As well as being tough on tyres, the Hungaroring is very physically demanding on the drivers. They have often compared it to Singapore (renowned as the most physically demanding track of the year) due to the high number of corners, significant ambient temperatures, and comparatively little airflow though the car.
The Hungaroring is a circuit that is quite well balanced in terms of traction, braking and lateral energy demands. All the forces acting on the car are roughly equal in their extent, meaning that a neutral set-up is needed. The teams tend to run maximum downforce to generate the most aerodynamic grip.
Track length : 4.381km kilometres.
Race distance : 70 laps (306.630 kilometres).
Corners : 14 corners in total. Average speed of 190 km/h is the lowest of any permanent track on F1 calendar.
Aerodynamic setup : High downforce.
Top speed : 305 km/h (with Drag Reduction System active on rear wing) – 295km/h without.
Full throttle : 55% of the lap (low).
Time spent braking : 14% of lap.
Number of brake zones : 11.
Brake wear : High.
Total time needed for pit stop : 16 seconds.
Fuel effect (cost in lap time per 10kg of fuel carried) : 0.35 seconds (high).
Lap Record : 1:19.071 - M Schumacher (2004)
Hot temperatures greeted the teams as they arrived at the Hungaroring but the mercury will fall in time for Sunday’s race. The Hungaroring will see some changeable conditions over the next three days including substantial temperature fluctuations and a chance of rain.
Tomorrow’s practice sessions may well be held on a wet track as rain is expected in the morning with a chance of thunderstorms. Conditions will be warm, however, with maximum temperatures exceeding 30C. It will be even hotter on Saturday – potentially as high as 35C – and sunny conditions are expected when the drivers are qualifying.
However the picture may change drastically overnight. A band of rain is forecast to arrive, probably early in the morning, followed by substantially cooler and windier conditions for the Hungarian Grand Prix. Race day is likely to see temperatures peak well below 30C.
The P Zero White medium tyres and P Zero Yellow soft tyres will be in action for the Hungarian Grand Prix: an event steeped in history as it was the first race ever to be held behind the former Iron Curtain, on a distinctive circuit just outside Budapest that was described by one former world champion as like "a supersized go-kart track." This gives a clear impression of the track characteristics: it is tight and twisty with one corner leading straight into the next one - and its compact nature makes it very popular with spectators, who are able to see most of the circuit from any one vantage point.
There is only one significant straight on the Hungaroring, which means that the tyres do not get much opportunity to cool down. As a result, the medium tyre in particular (a low working range compound) will be constantly working at the upper end of its working range if it is hot. However, rain has been seen at the Hungaroring in the past too: notably last year.
There will be two DRS zones sharing a detection point 5m before Turn 14. The activation points are 130m after the apex of Turn 14 and 6m after the apex of Turn 1.
Safety cars are surprisingly rare at the Hungaroring. One possible explanation is that there are few gravel traps for cars to get stranded in, with tarmac preferred through most corners. The chances of a safety car are only 10% and there have been only two in the last seven years.
Last year Daniel Ricciardo won the 70-lap race for Red Bull, using three pit stops and a combative strategy to gain an advantage. Wet conditions meant that the drivers started on the intermediate tyre, which in turn signified that they were under no obligation to run both compounds. After completing his opening stint on the intermediate, Ricciardo ran the rest of the race on the soft tyre, with strategies also affected by two safety car periods. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton used tyre strategy to help him finish a remarkable third after starting from the pitlane.
Even in the DRS era, the difficulties of overtaking at the Hungaroring are such that last year was only the second time the race had been won by someone who did not start on the front row. With strategic options likely to be limited on Pirelli’s choice of the soft and medium tyre for this weekend, Saturday’s qualifying session will be one of the most important of the year. This year Lewis Hamilton is on a roll and with good hot weather there ain't nothing stopping him from adding yet another win to his Hungarian GP collection of wins.
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