Few excited by Hungarian GP “chess match”

2016 Hungarian Grand Prix Rate the Race result

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Max Verstappen’s complaint that he was “driving like a grandma” struck home for those of you who found the Hungarian Grand Prix processional and dominated by strategy.

And while some seemed to genuinely enjoy the race and its general lack of slam-dunk DRS passes, its overall rating of 5.05 out of ten – the second-lowest so far this year – shows those were in the minority.

Here’s your verdict on the Hungarian Grand Prix:

It wasn’t great and there wasn’t much going on for most of the race, but there was potential later on with both Ferraris behind both Red Bulls. The cameras seemed focused on the Verstappen and Raikkonen battle so we didn’t really get to see how close the Ricciardo and Vettel battle was but I assume Vettel didn’t make any serious overtaking attempts as there would have shown them.

After Hamilton made the better start and took the lead, considering how difficult overtaking is at the Hungaroring he was only ever going to not win if he made a mistake or ran into other problems, however a few times during the race it looked as if Hamilton didn’t have the pace of Rosberg, but in the end it seemed as if he was just managing the race, protecting his engine and making sure his tyres lasted as whenever the gap did get below 1 second and in DRS range it quickly went up again.

When Ricciardo made his second stop I thought it seemed early but given the undercut and how important track position is I thought Mercedes would have to react, but they obviously have more information and were proved correct as after a few laps even though he was on fresher tyres Ricciardo was no longer closing the gap.

This race had close to nothing for me. No overtakes that mattered, no tension on the strategy front, no nothing. Just a battle for fifth, but that could not make up for the rest of the race.

I think it’s the dullest race I’ve seen this season.
Ronald (@Mosquito)

Verstappen’s “borderline” defending divided opinion
It may have been a race of little overtaking but some of you appreciated the fact DRS did not make for easy passing:

I loved it. There were battles for first, third and fifth and DRS did not spoil them, hard racing. This was a very traditional type race. Yet again Verstappen outstanding defence if a bit borderline but for me he is special like Senna or Schumacher for this. I loved the strategy aspect and Raikkonen was like 2005 version, if only he was not screwed by the ever improving track in qualifying. If Mercedes were not there the battle between Red Bull and Ferrari race after race would hold such prominence and make the races epic.

Not dreadful by 2016 standards, but it is a comedown from the past two thrillers at the Hungaroring.

I think this was a race that got people’s hopes up, the one where it felt possible that Red Bull could spook the Mercedes like they had in Monaco. It looked fairly competitive up the sharp end. Hamilton couldn’t build any sort of advantage, Ricciardo was quicker on the softs, and Vettel was clinging in there as well. Similar to Austria, the race had several prolonged battles, but this time many of them went unresolved. Vettel probably needed a lap or two more to nab Ricciardo and the same goes for Raikkonen on Verstappen.

You know when DRS barely gets a mention, that it’s worked. Without it I can’t imagine anybody would have gotten within a second of the car ahead this afternoon.
Black n Blue

‘Pace management’ may not scream great racing to everyone, but some genuinely appreciated what they saw:

An excellent strategic battle. Never quite sure if Mercedes were feigning their lack of usual dominance, with extra kudos to Hamilton for winning the race in the slowest time possible. That level of pace management, with your rival breathing down your neck was the stuff of champions. Always with an eye to up and coming races, car preservation whilst winning. Awesome.

This was a good, solid F1 race, typical of Hungary, with very few passing opportunities and some careful strategising to try and pressure Merc into some wrong moves.

Raikkonen impressed for a change, Verstappen borderline aggressive defence, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. Shame for Palmer, where that point would have seemed like a win. Not sure if he had a technical issue, but he’s not been that impressive to date.

But even the strategic aspects of the race fell short for others:

Chess match Formula One races are only interesting if someone loses their queen. I think a few pawns got nabbed and a bishop looked in trouble once. But that was it.

Was Hamilton seriously under threat from Rosberg?
Have to laugh when the gap between Hamilton and Rosberg closes. Commentators get excited over it as if something is going to happen (suppose they have to). We all know nothing is going to happen, Hamilton is in control.

Couldn’t get excited over the Raikkonen-Verstappen ‘battle’ either as Raikkonen was obviously never going to overtake him. Didn’t even come close really.

Some good racing between Raikkonen and Verstappen and, honestly, not a lot more.

I heard that there was a somewhat decent battle between Ricciardo and Vettel, but you’d never know based on the feed. To me this was probably the weakest race of an otherwise pretty good season. Qualifying was certainly entertaining though.
Michael Baumert (@Nothingreal)

I didn’t think we would see a race prove to be more boring than Baku the rest of this season, but I think Hungary just did it.

Very very dull. Felt like a waste of my Sunday afternoon when I could have been out with friends instead. Feels like the good races are getting rarer and rarer. Baffling penalty for Button.

Now watching the World Endurance Championship and the contrast could not be more stark.

2016 Rate the Race Results

RaceAverage score
2016 Spanish Grand Prix8.706
2016 Austrian Grand Prix8.097
2016 Chinese Grand Prix7.853
2016 Australian Grand Prix7.757
2016 Monaco Grand Prix7.747
2016 Bahrain Grand Prix7.382
2016 Canadian Grand Prix6.583
2016 British Grand Prix6.478
2016 Russian Grand Prix5.396
2016 Hungarian Grand Prix5.052
2016 European Grand Prix4.728

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2016 Hungarian Grand Prix

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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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28 comments on “Few excited by Hungarian GP “chess match””

    1. Cheers! Sneaked my way into the headline too

  1. This was the first race I turned off partway through. There have been worse races of course, but once Hamilton had the lead it was a snooze fest for me.

  2. I understand and agree with those who say that the lack of effect from the DRS created some entertaining moments, however, and this was clearly evident when Raikonen chased down Verstappen, it seems that to follow the car in front is very difficult in the more technical section of the circuit, that was the reason why Raikonen didn’t managed to have a proper run down trough the main straight (I know he broke is front wing, but this still happened before that).

    So the lack of DRS effect was probably due to large commented and vastly discussed problem that this generation of cars have following each other.

  3. I have said it before, but F1 fans are so hard to please. I honestly think everyone expects every race to be a classic. But then if it is too exciting and there are too many passes, it is artificial. If there are too few passes, it is dull and boring.

    The race wasn’t a classic but it was good and had a lot of interesting things to follow. The fact that most of the battles that could have happened didn’t is actually largely irrelevant.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      28th July 2016, 13:12

      agree @geemac,
      The rating is the rating; and that is how we collectively felt.
      But I still feel significantly more positive about Hungary than many others. No overbearing DRS impact; no exploding tyres; some close racing (in Hungary that will never by side by side); no runaway leader(s); no waiting for steward decisions after the race; etc.
      Even after my second review; this remains a very solid race.

    2. I don’t expect every race to be a classic, but, I wouldn’t even liken the race to a chess match… It had a handful of exciting bits before I turned off just after Jo Palmer span. Apart from a very distinct lack of action, the race felt slow to watch, and even after 20 minutes, I was struggling to watch any more and predicted the final result at lap 40…

  4. Max Verstappen vs Kimi Raikkonen, yet again. Martin Brundle termed Verstappen’s defence against Raikkonen as ‘junior formulae’ like. Then we wonder why watch Formula 1 if ‘junior formulae’ racing can be this much fun!

    1. You should really follow some feeder series. GP2 for example has been really entertaining so far with a six-way fight for the WDC. The GP2 Hungary weekend has been great!

      1. You’re right, @spoutnic, I don’t have the time available to watch all F1 feeder-series races,
        but at times ( when it rains or at a new track…like Baku ! ) GP2 and 3 can be really good fun
        to watch. And the competition is fierce all the way down the pack in both series.

        F1 is in danger of allowing the long-view strategists in every team to dominate every aspect
        of F1 racing ( yes….I do know that for most F1 teams money is very tight and a boring race
        by both drivers is often more productive of money in the long term than allowing average
        skill drivers to try to imitate Verstappen or Vettel ). But can you imagine a driver trying a
        ‘Mansell’ around the outside of a final turn these days ? For a start, the Tilkedromes are
        designed expressly to eliminate such exciting turns……’we can’t have excitement…excitement
        is dangerous ! ‘

        Sadly, F1 is in danger of allowing purely commercial considerations to dominate events on

  5. It’s still better than half marks (5.05/10) which is confusing. I just struggle to see what people got out of that race.

    When they are as poor as Russia ’14/Azerbaijan ’16/Hungary ’16 etc I always expect to see the community average score be down at 2/3/4 out of 10 but it never works like that.

    1. 1, 2 or 3 out of 10 is quite rare. It’s like a protest vote. The only type of race I’d put a 1, 2 or 3 would be one like the 2005 US Grand Prix.

    2. It’s actually worse than half marks. We are voting from 1 to 10 which make the median 5.5 not 5.0. If that would have been 0 to 10 then 5.0 would have been the median.

      I think just to watch the proper start, some battles and F1 cars in action make up those 1, 2 or 3 points. Like @spoutnik said, they are reserved for shambolic stuff like Austria 2002 or USA 2005.

      1. You mean it’s *exactly* half marks, then…

        1. Half marks are 5.5 not 5.0. Anything less is below average, anything more is above average. Hungarian GP got 5.052 which is almost 0.5 below average.

    3. There are a lot of Ham fans here and when he wins, they are happy and satisfied. They don’t care how boring a race was, they will rate it an 8 or higher (even this GB race got some 10!).
      When a race is not won by Hamilton, there must have been some some sensation in the race itself and then all the others will rate the race higher. So I guess there is no escape: a very poor race will never end up lower then that 5.

      1. @dutch-1

        Likewise for the opposite when any one else wins. I mean Spain was decent, but I think a lot of people rate the result rather than the race, good or bad.

  6. It wasn’t a fantastic race, but I’ve sat through much, much worse.

    I think the biggest problem is that there are too many races and most of the tracks are similar. When you have almost a race a week on identikit tilkedromes, of course it gets dull.

    Waiting 2/3/4 weeks between races builds the hype and adds fan excitement which overcomes some of the dullness. More percieved track variety would help too. More races in random locations around the earth on tracks built purely to a formula for Bernie’s pocket is not the way to please fans.

    Then, please god, let’s save the classic venues and stop over sanitising them. Leave them alone wherever it is safe to do so and great racing will follow – add the excitement of the natural hype of waiting, and Bobs your Uncle.

    1. I would say yes and no. If someone has a dominant car there are already less chances to see a fight at the front. And actually yes, in this case it is better to have less races because they are becoming very familiar. However in 2010 and 2012 we have had 19-20 GPs and no one complained about the length or the races being week-in week-out as they the outcomes were very different.

      Though a great point abut sanitising circuits. It is becoming increasingly sad watching gravel after gravel, grass after grass being replaced by asphalt.

  7. Another boring and disappointing “race” or should I say exhibition. F 1 has lost its glory and is falling lower with every exhibition. Mercedes has put a superior car on the track for 3 years and yet the powers that be have done nothing to create anything resembling parity. As it stands a Silver Arrow will get out into clean air and once ahead the contest is over-boring.
    Major sports have legislated parity by way of salary caps , luxury taxes ,drafts etc. giving the poor ,small-market or over wise disadvantaged entities a hand up and thus have created competition and an unknowable outcome ,thus fan interest. Not so in F1 ,Mercedes can out spend many teams and out engineer the others ( the split turbo simply made the Silver Arrows better ).
    Add to this the fact that a major player in F1 and one with the money to compete has serious internal issues making a challenge for the top impossible . I am speaking of Ferrari of course. I love them -really but, they can’t seem to get their act together and thus one of the few possible challengers is out of the game .
    Further,and for which there is NO excuse the F 1 stewards are eunuchs . In Hungary Verstappen said that in defending against an attempted pass by Raikkonen he ( Verstappen ) he ” dove to the inside ” to block the pass yet one can CLEARLY see a dart to the outside by Verstappen immediately before the inside move. That is a double move ( in the braking zone no less) and even though this double move damaged Raikkonen’s car the stewards did nothing . If that happened in a NASCAR race Verstappen would be eating through a straw right now – that would NOT be boring but it will never happen [in F1 so-boring .In F1 the rules change from event to event and more important change in reaction to who the players are,Verstappen is THE rising star so he can violate them- not boring but, still a put-off.
    For years I tried to encourage the governmental players in NY and NJ to finish their plans for a Hudson river Grand Prix . I will no longer do so because , 1st,F1 is getting so boring and ,2nd ,because it is a dishonest exhibition of auto construction and neither true race or true sport .
    F1 has great cars and great tracks but no character or heart and in a world that has more sport than a person can possibly watch cars and tracks are not enough .
    Indycars are looking VERY good and the other day I actually watched a NASCAR race,it was better than I thought it would be.

    1. Justin (@vivagilles27)
      28th July 2016, 17:26

      This is why us Americans get a bad name as Formula One fans. You clearly don’t have a good memory or you don’t know your history. Ferrari and Schumacher won five titles in a row. McLaren won 15 of 16 races in 1988. Neither killed the sport. Calling for legislated parity in the sport would destroy the DNA of the sport. NASCAR and INDYCAR are stock series (and the rich teams still do all of the winning). Formula One is an engineering competition as well as a driver’s championship. You are still required by the rules to produce your own, unique rolling chassis. Someone is always going to have the best car in F1. To me, the beauty of the sport is watching and waiting for everyone to catch up. I am a life-long Ferrari fan since I saw Gilles Villeneuve race as a small child. Believe me, there were some lean years untill Ross Brawn and Schumi brought glory back to Maranello. Salary caps, luxury taxes and drafts in team sports are designed to protect the interest of the fans and the cities that have invested in stadiums and infrastructure as well as the interest of the owners. If a F1 teams goes belly up, there are 200 – 500 jobs lost and a small, empty factory. If you find a better show in watching a NASCAR race then just know that half the goobers sitting next to you are there to see themselves a big ‘ol wreck and some flames. Finally, if you’ve never been, get to a F1 race in person, walk the track and get as close to the fence as you can. Then, pick your jaw up off the ground and realize that these cars and drivers are the best on the planet.

  8. Justin (@vivagilles27)
    28th July 2016, 16:38

    More than once I’ve heard Hungary described as “Monaco without the walls and buildings”. I think that’s pretty accurate, because without the celebrities, the stunning architecture, the million dollar yachts, the history, and the walls, all that you have left is a boring race in a field.

  9. Tony Mansell
    28th July 2016, 17:00

    Weird, we really enjoyed it but GPs are so different in the flesh plus we weree on holiday drinking a beer with the sun on our backs chatting to fellow petrolheads and weren’t overloaded with data telling us when a driver sneezed. Some sports are neutered by TV, some come alive. GP should be perfect but it lacks the goal/forehand passing shot that people now demand of their sports. As a TV sport its slowly dying. As a live event its very much alive, at least, in Hungary.

    1. Justin (@vivagilles27)
      28th July 2016, 17:38

      Very good point. F1 cars live are always amazing. I was at all eight USPG in Indianapolis and it looked horrible on TV (not to mention the drivers called it a glorified go kart track), but the fan access to the track was top notch. It was the best track I have been to for live viewing by far. Hopefully FOM get better at communicating the speed of the cars to the TV audience……

  10. Ratings are proof that an overwhelming majority simply wants to see competitive racing. Everything else is secondary blabber.
    Logically If people running F1, want it to continue to survive and bring in fan money, they better make that their top priority as well. If engineers and drivers and minority fans don’t like it, go fund your own series.
    Don’t do this and the new generation fans will surely look elsewhere that is value for money.

  11. Stuck between Russian GP and Baku… geez. I normally score races quite high, despite not many overtakes but this one just left me cold.

  12. As the 4 time champ Seb said, “we are driving at the pace of the tyre and not the pace of the car”. Even if they got rock hard tyres that will run all day like the Bridgestones, they would still be driving “at the pace of their allowable components per season”. In the pursuit to cost save the days of near the limit F1 are dead and gone. We do get it every now and then like Bahrain 2014 but it is now a management formula. I think Alonso likened it to being an airline pilot.

  13. ILuvSoundtracks (@)
    30th July 2016, 14:15

    This season is undoubtedly gonna be half-exciting and half-dull.

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