Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2013

Fourth pole for Hamilton but win will be tall order

2013 Hungarian Grand Prix pre-race analysis

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Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2013Lewis Hamilton is on pole position for the fourth time this year in Hungary.

But he is yet to score a win so far this year and given Mercedes’ performance in practice that looks unlikely to change despite having the best starting position.

Mercedes’ tyre wear problems as well-known and in the punishing heat of Hungary are likely to be as severe as ever. When the race gets started it will surely be a matter of when, not is, Hamilton and Nico Rosberg find themselves under pressure.

The start

Hamilton enjoys the benefit of starting from the clean side of the grid at a track where the different between the two sides is significant.

But it’s a long 610m run to the first corner and the Mercedes hasn’t been the best car off the line this year. On average Hamilton tends to lose places at the start this year while Sebastian Vettel, who starts alongside him, gains them.

If the top four starters run true to form then it’s looking good for Vettel, as he’s the only one of them whose gained places on lap one on average so far this year.

Fernando Alonso, fifth on the grid, is also eyeing the chance to make gains: “It is hard to overtake in the race and so it?s even more important to try and make up ground immediately, particularly if we want to prevent Vettel from increasing his lead,” he said.


Two or three stops are expected to be the order of the day in Hungary. But Pirelli’s medium and soft tyres will take a pounding as track temperatures are again expected to be in the 50C region.

Mercedes are expected to struggle in the heat but Lotus should thrive in it. Romain Grosjean had strong pace at the Nurburgring and should put Vettel under pressure from third on the grid.

Alonso and the other Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen are not far behind. But whether they can get on terms with Vettel will depend on how quickly they all make their way past the Mercedes drivers. In Germany Raikkonen lost time behind the W04s and needed a Safety Car to bring him back into contention.

Pirelli believes that drivers who start on the medium tyres will not be disadvantaged over the race distance. Sergio Perez, ninth on the grid, is the first driver who will start on them. Mark Webber, tenth, has a free choice of tyre having not set a time in Q3.

Qualifying times in full


Q2 (vs Q1)

Q3 (vs Q2)
1Lewis HamiltonMercedes1’20.3631’19.862 (-0.501)1’19.388 (-0.474)
2Sebastian VettelRed Bull1’20.6461’19.992 (-0.654)1’19.426 (-0.566)
3Romain GrosjeanLotus1’20.4471’20.101 (-0.346)1’19.595 (-0.506)
4Nico RosbergMercedes1’20.3501’19.778 (-0.572)1’19.720 (-0.058)
5Fernando AlonsoFerrari1’20.6521’20.183 (-0.469)1’19.791 (-0.392)
6Kimi RaikkonenLotus1’20.8671’20.243 (-0.624)1’19.851 (-0.392)
7Felipe MassaFerrari1’21.0041’20.460 (-0.544)1’19.929 (-0.531)
8Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso1’21.1811’20.527 (-0.654)1’20.641 (+0.114)
9Sergio PerezMcLaren1’21.6121’20.545 (-1.067)1’22.398 (+1.853)
10Mark WebberRed Bull1’21.2641’20.503 (-0.761)
11Adrian SutilForce India1’21.4711’20.569 (-0.902)
12Nico HulkenbergSauber1’21.0281’20.580 (-0.448)
13Jenson ButtonMcLaren1’21.1311’20.777 (-0.354)
14Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso1’21.3451’21.029 (-0.316)
15Pastor MaldonadoWilliams1’20.8161’21.133 (+0.317)
16Valtteri BottasWilliams1’21.1351’21.219 (+0.084)
17Esteban GutierrezSauber1’21.724
18Paul di RestaForce India1’22.043
19Charles PicCaterham1’23.007
20Giedo van der GardeCaterham1’23.333
21Jules BianchiMarussia1’23.787
22Max ChiltonMarussia1’23.997

Sector times

DriverSector 1Sector 2Sector 3
Lewis Hamilton28.549 (1)28.600 (5)22.239 (2)
Sebastian Vettel28.833 (5)28.341 (2)22.146 (1)
Romain Grosjean28.841 (6)28.299 (1)22.330 (5)
Nico Rosberg28.614 (2)28.684 (8)22.242 (3)
Fernando Alonso28.763 (4)28.597 (4)22.431 (8)
Kimi Raikkonen28.944 (7)28.611 (6)22.296 (4)
Felipe Massa28.757 (3)28.677 (7)22.484 (10)
Daniel Ricciardo29.219 (14)28.759 (9)22.364 (6)
Sergio Perez28.991 (8)28.945 (11)22.609 (13)
Mark Webber29.528 (19)28.589 (3)22.386 (7)
Adrian Sutil29.029 (9)29.093 (14)22.447 (9)
Nico Hulkenberg29.074 (10)28.962 (12)22.544 (12)
Jenson Button29.173 (12)29.079 (13)22.525 (11)
Jean-Eric Vergne29.231 (15)29.144 (15)22.636 (15)
Pastor Maldonado29.164 (11)28.943 (10)22.640 (16)
Valtteri Bottas29.199 (13)29.214 (16)22.675 (17)
Esteban Gutierrez29.312 (16)29.483 (17)22.616 (14)
Paul di Resta29.383 (17)29.582 (18)23.078 (18)
Charles Pic29.460 (18)30.304 (21)23.218 (19)
Giedo van der Garde29.710 (20)30.139 (19)23.281 (20)
Jules Bianchi29.862 (21)30.184 (20)23.608 (22)
Max Chilton29.899 (22)30.418 (22)23.543 (21)

Speed trap

PosDriverCarSpeed (kph/mph)Gap
1Giedo van der GardeCaterham301.0 (187.0)
2Valtteri BottasWilliams299.0 (185.8)-2.0
3Nico RosbergMercedes299.0 (185.8)-2.0
4Lewis HamiltonMercedes299.0 (185.8)-2.0
5Adrian SutilForce India298.5 (185.5)-2.5
6Pastor MaldonadoWilliams298.5 (185.5)-2.5
7Charles PicCaterham298.1 (185.2)-2.9
8Fernando AlonsoFerrari297.6 (184.9)-3.4
9Felipe MassaFerrari297.4 (184.8)-3.6
10Sergio PerezMcLaren296.9 (184.5)-4.1
11Paul di RestaForce India296.3 (184.1)-4.7
12Jenson ButtonMcLaren295.8 (183.8)-5.2
13Nico HulkenbergSauber295.4 (183.6)-5.6
14Daniel RicciardoToro Rosso295.2 (183.4)-5.8
15Esteban GutierrezSauber295.0 (183.3)-6.0
16Max ChiltonMarussia294.9 (183.2)-6.1
17Kimi RaikkonenLotus294.8 (183.2)-6.2
18Romain GrosjeanLotus294.2 (182.8)-6.8
19Jules BianchiMarussia294.1 (182.7)-6.9
20Mark WebberRed Bull293.8 (182.6)-7.2
21Sebastian VettelRed Bull293.5 (182.4)-7.5
22Jean-Eric VergneToro Rosso292.9 (182.0)-8.1

Over to you

Who do you think will win in Hungary? Does Hamilton have a realistic chance? And will Lotus and Ferrari have the pace to challenge Red Bull?

Share your views on the Hungarian Grand Prix in the comments.

2013 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Image ?? Daimler/Hoch Zwei

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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44 comments on “Fourth pole for Hamilton but win will be tall order”

  1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
    27th July 2013, 20:02

    Vettel or grosjean, hoping ham has a good race.

  2. As a Hamilton fan I have to savour the moment, as tomorrow might not be so happy. Still, there is always hope. Last week at the Nurburgring Hamilton’s real troubles started when he switched to the medium compound. If he leads after the first corner, it might be possible for him to replicate the Monaco strategy to some extent: backing up the field to discourage the undercut, and to postpone the pit stops where he will be vulnerable. Still, with at least two, and probably three pit stops in tomorrow’s race, he will need some serious pace to keep the podium in sight.

    1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
      27th July 2013, 20:11

      Hope… Its a beautiful thing :-)

    2. Unfortunately I think the start/finish straight is too long for that strategy.

    3. And more importantly, with the new safety rules slowing the pit lane speed to 80kph, there is a larger penalty for each pit stop. That means teams will push even harder for 2 stop strategies rather than 3 and the way the Mercs chew up their tires….not a good outlook for Lewis.
      And I’m starting to think that the Mercs don’t have as much torque off the line as the Renault or Ferrari engines. I think the Merc engine has even MORE torque in the mid and high range…but they seem to bog down on starts.

      1. @daved I know the Renault is widely acknowledged to be more driveable than the Mercedes which could explain perhaps why the initial launch of the Red Bull is much cleaner. With the Ferrari I think that’s just a superior launch program though – they are electric off the line!

        1. Yeah, either the Ferrari’s either have the best launch program in history or Massa put his car on steroids! Geez, I’ve never seen anyone take off like he did and make up 11 spots in the first 500m!!!

    4. A not so big if, RG takes out SV at the 1st. corner. Race on!

      1. Yeah, I have to admit…I was thinking about how dangerous it was to have RG anywhere near the front and feeling froggy (pun intended). He is very likely to take out SV…and anyone else near on that first corner!

  3. A nice fact: 1993 Hungarian GP, Damon Hill’s first win – 2003 Hungarian GP, Fernando Alonso’s first win – 2013 Hungarian GP – Romain Grosjean’s first win???

    1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
      27th July 2013, 20:16

      And kovalinens first win in 2008

      1. @full-throttle-f1 I assume the stat is mainly about how apparently every ten years on the 4th year of the decade a driver takes his maiden win. It’s more of an interesting coincidence than anything else I think though: he has a chance but Vettel’s firmly in the hot seat I think.

    2. And Button first win 2006

    3. all with Renault engines, but different displacement :P

    4. Thoroughly impressed by RG’s resolve after being rubbished last year. Hope he does get his maiden win!

  4. Woah ! that was a MASSIVE effort from Mark to recover from being 19th fastest on sector 1 !

    Shows how good the Red Bull is in the 2nd and 3rd sectors, I suppose. I still better for Grosjean to get his first win here, but it’s looking too good for Vettel tbh…

    1. @fer-no65 also it makes it apparent the importance of KERS in terms of its contribution to lap time: sector one is where you really reap the benefits of it.

  5. VDG on the top for once!

  6. It’s going to be impossible to pass those mercs if they hold everyone up by looking at the speed trap.

    1. @swindle94 if they really lose rear grip someone might be able to get by between corners. In the wet there were a lot of passes into t2 for example.

    2. Also their acceleration out of T14 will be awful, setting up others for a DRS pass more easily.

    3. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      28th July 2013, 1:23

      The speed trap must be quite a bit before the braking zone for T1 because the Mercedes’s were topping out at 307, not 299.

      1. Speed trap Doesn’t necessarily equals Top Speed.

        1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
          28th July 2013, 4:55


          The speed trap must be quite a bit before the braking zone

          If they wanted top end speed the they’d put the speed trap just before the braking zone into T1. Clearly, based on these numbers, it’s not.

          1. @tophercheese21
            The Speed Trap was before the Exit of Pit lane. With High downforce on cars they wont reach Top speed at that place. I really Hope FOM also gives us the Info what was the Top speed of cars instead of/along with Speed Trap in the Future.

  7. Looking forward to seeing how the clean-siders get off the line, particularly Grosjean, and the two Ferraris which always seem to make good starts.

  8. It’ll be a very interesting race tomorrow. I believe the Sky presenters mentioned that Hungary 2012 saw fewer passes than Monaco 2012, so if that pattern continues, Mercedes have a chance to do what they did in Monaco by controlling the pace up front. If they can do that again, and not break away from the pack, expect the likes of Perez and Webber to come in to play big time. Perhaps Perez could finally do what he did so often last year by scoring massively on the alternative strategy.

    I still expect the race to come between Vettel and Grosjean. I certainly hope Grosjean wins it.

  9. Grosjean to return to his ‘incident-packed’ starts? Seems like Hamilton’s only chance for victory, sadly. Not that I’m hoping for this…just an observation. Can’t wait for Hamilton/Mercedes to work out why their rear tyres seems to be several thousand degrees hotter than everyone else’s!

    1. Hamilton’s only hope is for Grojean to take out Vettel? Extra funny if he took out Hamilton.

  10. Everyone is ruling out Hamilton. But let’s not forget that just 2 races ago at Silverstone, Merc were pretty comfortable in terms of race pace, seemingly able to beat Vettel in a straight fight. In Germany, Hamiltons first and last stints were pretty competitive, it was only really his second stint that caused him to fall a long way back.

    1. You probably didnt take notice of Vettels lap time before Hamiltons tyre blew up!

      1. He started to gain by a 10th or 2, but Hamilton stated that he had started to back off and just manage the gap while saving tyres. And Rosberg, who was slower than Hamilton that weekend wasn’t far off Vettel when his gearbox broke.

    2. That was before the playing field was reset in terms of tyres…

  11. LOL at Grosjean out-qualifying Alonso and Raikkonen.

    Ferrari and Santander definitely not getting their money’s worth…

    1. I don’t think the ferraris can be better than that at the moment. If you look at the stats, both performs the same way its more a matter of car. But Raikonnen should have been on the same row as Grosjean. Nice for him :)

  12. I’m a huge Lewis fan, but I don’t see it. He’s getting bad starts and spends more time trying to cut off Vettel than he does just trying to drive to the first bloody turn as fast as he can! Come on Lewis, you have the clean side and the best line…just get their first and they HAVE to give you room!!! Don’t let them get in your head.

    1. if does not try to cut off vettel , vettel would easily get there as he has the quicker starting car under him . So , whats the point just driving in a straight line for everyone to just pass you . The problem last race was that webber was under Lewis’ nose too . It would have been great had nico made P2 or better P3 (clean side) .Hopefully Grosjean can attack vettel .

  13. ‘ Sergio Perez, ninth on the grid, is the first driver who will start on them’
    isnt riccardo the first driver on mediums?
    or did he use options in q3?
    if so, strange his q3 lap was slower than his q2

    1. I’m pretty sure RIC was on options. Perhaps he thought he had no chance to fight with the cars ahead so didn’t push the tyres too hard so they’d have more life tomorrow.

  14. If Hamilton’s start is anything like his German one, then I reckon Grosjean will be in first or second by the first turn, as with Vettel. Alonso could possibly be third or fourth as well, given how fast the Ferraris are at the start.

    Really can’t wait for this one!

  15. By the way, Keith….thanks for all the stats including speed trap info. It’s surprising how hard it is to find that sometimes. :-)

    1. That’s for sure. I do not find such an extensive coverage of F1 in any blog/website. Hats off @keithcollantine

  16. I really want Grosjean to win, after all he’s been through, he’s now showing his potential in the elite class

    1. Yep, I’m up for a Hamilton or Grosjean win. They both deserve one, Hamilton possibly a bit more but as it would be Grosjean’s first win that’d go down great too.

      Alas, I think Vettel will walk it…

Comments are closed.