Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Hockenheimring, 2018

Red Bull’s chance to win again? Five Hungarian GP talking points

2018 Hungarian Grand Prix

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The Hungaroring is expected to suit Red Bull, but Daniel Ricciardo doesn’t think they’ll dominate the way they did in Monaco. Here are five talking points for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Ferrari’s emotional weekend

Sergio Marchionne, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2017
Marchionne watched Ferrari win in Hungary last year
It was clear last week when Ferrari announced Sergio Marchionne’s sudden replacement as chairman and CEO that his situation was grave. However today’s news of his passing remains a shock.

It will therefore be a sombre and difficult weekend for the team. The championship inevitably goes on, and Ferrari will continue its fight in Marchionne’s memory.

Last year he was at the Hungaroring to watch the team lock out the front row of the grid and finished one-two in the race. A repeat result would be the best possible tribute to the leader who helped restore the team to being F1 championship contenders.

Another twist in the title battle?

It has been a turbulent few weeks at the top of the drivers’ championship table. Sebastian Vettel has collided with Valtteri Bottas and crashed out of his home race. Lewis Hamilton has been hit by Kimi Raikkonen and suffered a breakdown in qualifying.

As a result the points lead has changed hands four times in the last five races. Hamilton and Mercedes are back on top, but they are wary of the pace Ferrari showed in Germany. “In the cold light of day, we also know and recognise that we did not bring the quickest car to Hockenheim,” said team principal Toto Wolff.

Advantage Red Bull?

But it may be neither of the championship-leading teams which sets the pace this weekend. The Hungaroring is all about handling, braking and traction rather than top speed. As in Monaco, that should bring Red Bull into contention.

“We should have a strong car in Budapest,” said Daniel Ricciardo. “I don’t think it will be to the extent of Monaco. Everyone expected us to dominate and we did. I don’t think it’ll be that strong in Budapest but we should have a good chance to be close to the win.”

There is also the small matter of Ricciardo’s future, which Red Bull has indicated it expects will be sorted before the summer break.

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The 2019 schedule

Start, Albert Park, Melbourne, 2018
The 2019 F1 season will begin in Melbourne
The announcement that the Miami Grand Prix is not going to take place next year followed the news that Germany won’t be back on the 2019 schedule either.

Next year’s calendar therefore is expected to feature a reduction to 19 races. Expect a draft schedule to appear soon – most likely in time for the summer break.

The summer break

The F1 teams have never needed the mandatory factory shutdown as badly as they do this year. After a mammoth five races in six weeks, they head into the summer break for some precious respite.

This time of year is when many teams turn their thoughts to their driver line-ups for the coming seasons. The likes of Brendon Hartley, Stoffel Vandoorne and Romain Grosjean could do with shorting up their points tallies before contracts come up for renewal.

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2018 so far

Are you going to the Hungarian Grand Prix?

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Who do you think will be the team to beat in the Hungarian Grand Prix? Have your say below.

And don’t forget to enter your predictions for this weekend’s race. You can edit your predictions until the start of qualifying:

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

2018 Hungarian Grand Prix

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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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38 comments on “Red Bull’s chance to win again? Five Hungarian GP talking points”

  1. Another twist in the title battle? – Possibly.
    Advantage Red Bull? – Yes. On paper at least.
    BTW, I expect next season to feature 20 races rather than 19 following the more or less already guaranteed drop of the German GP as well as the confirmation of the potential Miami race (if it were to happen) at least not taking place as early as next season yet. Yes, Suzuka is still subject to confirmation as it’s race-hosting contract is about to expire, but I assume that like Spa it’s also going to remain in F1 beyond this season.

  2. This will be an important race on a personal note, as this will be the last race I watch from Argentina before moving to Barcelona in August. It’ll be sad to think about it, but also exciting in a way. It’s also proper timing as they are thinking about replacing Barcelona as the winter testing host… that follows my luck from this year when finally I was able to attend the tests and it snowed and was hell freezing all week!

    1. @fer-no65 Good luck with the move! Also the shift in race starts to afternoon.

      1. @ju88sy yeah, that sucks too ! :P

    2. @fer-no65 I hope you’ll have a great time in Barcellona, good luck! And welcome to EU! Enjoy while it lasts!

  3. I think sainz also has to post a marker against Hulk. There was no dreadful race yet but he is slowly and surely slipping down compared to his team mate.

    1. exactly, i expect a tight fight between them this year but at the moment HUL is racing better and have collected more points

    2. Fully agree. It’s sort of slipped under the radar but Hulkenberg has handedly been beating him recently. I’d be quite surprised if Sainz is still at Renault next year either way.

  4. My ideal end result for this weekend would be SV first, KR second, Max third.

    1. @robbie For me, it’d be KR and VB either way in first and second, and then DR third although DR-KR/VB-VB/KR would be fine for me as well.

      1. No mister.. it’s SB for sure will be the pope setter. second would be our youngster MV.. DR is a good driver I agree , but not his car. LH can come in 2nd or 3rd.

    2. Hope Crashtell crashes again

      1. @Mark,
        You gotta love the sport for drivers wanting to fail, I rather see them fight an even battle

    3. Well, I count on red bull being able to win this with one of their drivers, ricciardo is usually strong in hungary and verstappen already threw away 2 chances, one thanks to SC and one on pure pace, to win this year, so he might as well not make mistakes and capitalize on this.

      The track is similar to monaco, ferrari was extremely strong last year on both of these, this year red bull was the strongest at monaco.

      So it’s all about them being able to overcome the qualifying mode disadvantage or not, obviously if they can’t make pole or at least first row, their chances of getting ahead are really slim except at start on this track.

  5. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
    25th July 2018, 19:10

    I might be outspoken on this but; I think Hartley still has a chance. He is solid filler and Gelael probably wouldn’t do a better job. Plus Ticktum and Fukuzumi probably aren’t ready either. I don’t buy into the Wehrlein and Norris stuff at all. The only people who have real chances are Kvyat and Buemi and I don’t see Marko welcoming either back with open arms.

    1. Bernie's Lizardman Grandpa
      25th July 2018, 19:57

      How about JEV? Or is he already signed up to another season of Formula E?

    2. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      26th July 2018, 9:54

      Gelael is awful.

      Realistically if Torro Rosso want some kind of credibility they need to swallow their pride and welcome back JEV, Kvyat or Buemi because none of the mooted drivers could do what they are capable of.

  6. SB it is.. pole poziton! Grazie ragazzie.. ForzaFerrari!

  7. Hamilton and Mercedes are back on top, but they are wary of the pace Ferrari showed in Germany. “In the cold light of day, we also know and recognise that we did not bring the quickest car to Hockenheim,” said team principal Toto Wolff.

    Why are they putting themselves in the underdog position? Hamilton was the fastest man in the race in Germany by a clear margin. Mercedes have been the team to beat since the French Grand Prix, even if the results didn’t always show it.

    1. @f1infigures That was more because of Hamilton’s skill when rain is involved.

      Mercedes look at the data from the GPS telemetry and see the Ferrari engine is more powerful, and they can also estimate downforce where Ferrari is not behind. So Ferrari can go faster on the straights and don’t lose a lot in the corners. Hamilton can make some difference, but it’s never going to be more than a few tenths in dry conditions.

      1. I think it’s something in the middle of what you 2 say: mercedes had the best car in france, although vettel wasn’t really in a place to try and keep up with them, then at silverstone the cars were pretty much equal, hamilton should’ve been able to defend had he not started so bad, and in germany I think ferrari had a very slight advantage, 2 tenths on bottas aren’t a lot, there couldn’t be much difference, assuming ferrari was actually fastest.

        1. Ah, forgot austria, as long as they were in the lead they looked stronger, then surprisingly, when on traffic, hamilton couldn’t really attack the cars ahead and in fact got overtaken by vettel, austria was an odd race, having even a part of the race where ferraris were slower than red bull, then faster.

  8. @keithcollantine Keith, a question about 2019 schedule please. You said there will probably be 19 races next season. Which circuit other than Hockenheim is not returning next year? There are 21 GP this year so minus 1 it should be 20, or am I missing something?

    1. Suzuka as mentioned above are yet to confirm fo 2019,

  9. @patrickl It seems Hamilton was faster in the dry as well. This is backed up by the fact that he managed to match Räikkönen’s lap times in the middle of the race, despite being on older tyres. Therefore I was surprised about Toto Wolff’s remark that Ferrari were faster.

    Mercedes and Ferrari are very closely matched, but in France, Austria and Great Britain Mercedes looked stronger, even though they were eating their tyres much faster in Austria. I don’t know if it’s just about engine power and downforce. The ability to make the tyres work also counts, as Mercedes seemed to benefit from the thinner tyre treads. Also, there may be differences in qualifying and race pace, because of differences in driving style, fuel consumption or tyre wear. GPS comparisons only make sense in qualifying, when everyone is pushing. In the race the comparisons are obscured as drivers may not be pushing all the time. Vettel, for example, is known for abusing the tyres a lot in the opening laps, whereas Hamilton usually has a more cautious approach, which causes them to be quick during different parts of the race. But overall, Hamilton seemed the faster of the two last weekend.

    1. @f1infigures Hamilton was faster than Bottas too. The Mercedes must be faster than the Mercedes then?

      Or perhaps you can’t compare laptimes of a car more or less cruising to the finish to one which is going as fast as possible to try and make it back onto the podium?

  10. Maybe RBR has a chance but most likely not for a win.
    If HAM wins this race and gets momentum, VET could be done.
    I think VET needs to win this race or at least score more points than HAM to put pressure on him.

    1. But also Vettel needs to not crash.

      So many variables here. Nothing is a done deal this year.

  11. @ju88sy Yes but the wording in the article is about it’s being nearly certain 19 races in 2019. I didn’t see anywhere that Suzuka is about to fall off the schedule, unconfirmed contract or not

    1. @montreal95 Hi, just to close out, if you didn’t find the info it was in the ‘2019 F1 Calendar’ link above.

      1. @ju88sy you misunderstand me still. This is the wording of the article: “Next year’s calendar therefore is expected to feature a reduction to 19 races”. If that’s true, then Keith has sources that confirm that there will be no more Japanese GP. I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere else. No Japanese GP is pretty seismic news, no? It’s completely different from a GP being “subject to confirmation”. Being subject to confirmation is completely normal and lots of times contractual issues with tracks are not sorted until well into the autumn. But again “unconfirmed”=/=”confirmed as cancelled”. So I ask again: does @keithcollantine know something that’s not been published anywhere else, or is it just a typo and should read “reduction to 20 races”?

  12. Michael Brown (@)
    26th July 2018, 5:22

    Ferrari has gone well in the past few years with two wins and Alonso got a podium in 2014.

    Mercedes had a strong aero package in Hockenheim, which proved to be the best for the race as it rained.

    This is a Monaco-like circuit, so Red Bull could have a chance to win. Also, they have won every third race, and this is the twelfth race.

  13. We keep forgetting that Ricciardo won in Monaco just because he couldn’t be overtaken. He was amazing at all but here he won’t last 2 laps. RBR was indeed able to win this year but I won’t take Monaco as a benchmark.

    1. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      26th July 2018, 9:58

      In practice and qualifying Red Bull were untouchable at Monaco though. The only reason they didn’t line up 1-2 on the grid is because Max stuffed it.

      Most of the key players expressed how it was as close to throwing away a guaranteed victory as can possibly be said.

      But of course the Hungaroring doesn’t have walls so… there is more scope to pass in the race for sure.

      1. Practice and Qualy does not hand out points, neither does binning it. I agree that it was nothing special

  14. My prediction for the 1. 2. 3. at the GP of Budapest 2018:

    1. POS

    2. SI

    3. BLE

    Anyone?

  15. Who knows, we might even get rain on race day to spice things up a bit.

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