Sergio Perez, Racing Point, Hungaroring, 2019

Williams not slowest team for the first time in 2019

Lap time watch: 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix

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McLaren’s strong run of improvements continued at the Hungaroring where for the fifth time in the last six races they made the biggest year-on-year improvement of any team.

Approaching the summer break, McLaren are the most-improved team of the year so far, averaging 1.3 seconds faster per lap at every track so far this year. Alfa Romeo and Toro Rosso are the only other teams to have gained more than a second on average.

The only team whose lap times have not improved on average compared to last year are Williams, who are a tenth of a second slower. However they have shown improvement since the start of the season, and today’s qualifying session gave the best evidence of that so far as George Russell claimed 16th on the grid on-merit.

That may be little to cheer about, but is a step in the right direction for the team. It’s the first time all year they haven’t been the slowest team in qualifying: Russell out-qualified both Racing Points.

For the third race in a row, Ferrari posted the smallest year-on-year lap time improvement of any team.

Rain fell during qualifying last year which meant we didn’t get to see the very best from the 2018 cars at the Hungaroring. The quickest lap time was set during final practice.

That’s partly why this year has seen the second-largest year-on-year improvement in the best lap time at the track. Max Verstappen lowered the track record by over one-and-a-half seconds to 1’14.572.

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The current configuration of the Hungaroring was first used in 2003. The cars are over seven seconds per lap faster now than they were then.

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2019 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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16 comments on “Williams not slowest team for the first time in 2019”

  1. Good to see some progress at that team.

  2. They must have brought some substantial upgrades this race. Claires grin was a mile wide when the cars where rolling out for Q1, she new it before it happened.

    1. They did @rethla…it was widely reported earlier in the weekend.

  3. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    3rd August 2019, 17:00

    Hungary used to be a terrible track for Williams. For them to have suddenly got this much closer (or better) than some of the others from where they were is pretty impressive. Some seemed to loose hope of this team getting back to being decent, but next year, I think that may well happen. If Russell feels the team is improving, he should stay another year and other teams will be able to look at his performance and then he may be at the stage a big team should approach him. But I think a move too soon may have the kvyat and Gasly effect. Drivers should have more than 1 season in F1 IMO before going to a top team. Given how messy Vettel has been this year, if Leclerc is that good, he should be on top of Vettel by now, but he’s made even more big mistakes. Moving drivers up so soon rarely works in their first season. Verstappen is about the only one in recent years that it turned out to be a very good decision.

    If Williams sort out their problems and Russell stays next year, I’d say he has a very good chance of impressive other teams.

    1. Oh wait come on, How was Max any different? Max made made mistakes. Max always had pace, but that’s not uncommon. I could argue Max and Kvyat suffered the same mistakes, in their rookie seasons, just Max is always given a slap on the wrist.

      George has been unique in that he hasn’t made race ending mistakes as yet. I’d argue George has been impression teams all season. He shares the same confidence as Max, in his abilities.

      1. I meant to say at Red Bull not rookie seasons* My mistake.

        1. @gufdamm Max isnt called “the torpedo” you know. Hes known by some to be overdriving and to agressive but he doesnt do sloppy mistakes and hes always superfast.

          1. You know that ‘the torpedo’ really was an at the time undeserved snide remark by Vettel who couldn’t deal with being out of the race, and which was taken up by the always hard to (the ‘not-the-chosen-one’) drivers in the Red Bull program so he could finally quiet the noise from the Verstappen camp by giving him a main team seat, right @rethla

            (Note, clearly Verstappen was more ready for it than Kvyat, but that was as much from being launched into it too soon as it was his own doing, looking at how he’s doing now).

  4. Russell was really quick in the middle sector compared to those around him. After the first two sectors he was only half a second off the fastest time but lost 7 tenths in the final sector. Good to see they’ve got onto the tail of the midfield, at least at this circuit. Points could be on offer with a good start and good strategy. They really do need an upgrade on Kubica though. Latifi isn’t that upgrade. Would quite like to see Sirotkin back…

    1. It looks like he took advantage of the run-off area on turn 7 while others didn’t.

  5. Good for Williams.

    The cars are over seven seconds per lap faster now than they were then [2003].

    For all that we moan about these cars being bigger and heavier, we can’t deny the combination of PU performance and aero that helps them achieve this.

    Interestingly, the 2014 vs. 2019 improvement is greater than the 2003 vs. 2019 improvement – a striking example (if one is ever needed) of how much of an improvement occurs within a set of regulations (or two regs, if one looks at aero).

    1. @phylyp
      The PU adds nothing to it, in fact early 2000s is when they started to gimp the engines.

    2. @phylyp 150kg but changes to the track resurfacing, bigger tyres, slick tyres, far bigger wings, bigger cars and bigger floors, DRS and tech in general.
      I don’t know about you but I still prefer watching old clips of f1, like alonso at suzuka 2001.

  6. The outright track record was lowered by a second actually as the previous one was the fastest post-race testing time by George Russell following last season’s GP, but a new outright record this time around nevertheless.

    1. @jerejj last years russel testing time was surely done on ultras.

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