Hungary win unlikely for Ferrari despite Silverstone near-miss

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Ferrari are unlikely to challenge Mercedes or Red Bull for victory at this weekend’s race in Hungary, according to its drivers.

Charles Leclerc, who came within a few laps of winning the last race at Silverstone, said although Ferrari’s form is encouraging he doesn’t believe the result will necessarily be repeatable at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

“It’s good to be optimistic, I think we all want to be optimists after such a good performance in the last three races,” said Leclerc. “On the other hand, we also need to be realistic.

“It’s good and we are in a good mood but I feel like going for the win in Budapest might be a bit optimistic.”

Leclerc said that beating McLaren to be the first team behind Red Bull and Mercedes is the key goal for Ferrari. “Realistically, I think I would be happy if we are just behind the two top teams.”

Carlos Sainz Jnr said the Hungaroring’s layout, typically regarded as the kind of low-speed track the team has thrived on this year, was unlikely to flatter Ferrari. “Budapest recently has become actually a medium to high speed track in these cars,” he explained.

“If you look at Monaco and Baku, there are second and third gear corners. Budapest nowadays with these crazily high downforce cars, you have a middle sector that you are in fourth, fifth gear all the time.

“So it’s not a pure low-speed track anymore like it used to be in the past. And I don’t think it’s going to be such a good track for us. I do think that is a great opportunity to be right behind the Red Bull and Mercedes.”

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2021 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Author information

Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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14 comments on “Hungary win unlikely for Ferrari despite Silverstone near-miss”

  1. Silverstone isn’t a slow speed corner circuit either.. it’s medium to fast corners and Ferrari fared pretty well there. I think they should be the 3rd quickest car at Hungary.. slightly ahead of Mclaren in race pace, and decently ahead on quali pace. If Sergio and Valtteri drop the ball this weekend (which they’re both entirely capable of doing), I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of the Ferrari drivers on the podium.

    1. @todfod
      Yes, Silverstone is more high speed, but there are still some slower corners there, i.e. T3+4, 6, 7, 16 & 17.
      And that’s exactly where Leclerc made up all his time on Hamilton in the first stint. Especially in T3 & 4 he made up 0.3-0.4 on overage in those two corners alone.
      While I also believe Ferrari should be strong at the Hungaroring as there are almost no straights and S2+S3 are all about corners, I’m still not sure how competitive they are going to be in the medium speed corners (>150 kph) in S2. We shall see this weekend.

      1. @srga91

        To be fair even Hungary does have it’s fair share of medium to slow corners. There’s T1, a chicane in S2 and the penultimate corner is really slow as well. I still don’t think they’ll have a form anywhere close to Monaco or Baku, but I think Leclerc and Sainz giving the #2 drivers of Red Bull and Mercedes should be on the cards.

        1. @todfod
          It definitely does and the corners’ radiuses are shorter than at Silverstone or Barcelona, which might help Ferrari.
          The crucial factor for them will be, not to lose too much time in S1. If they lose 0.2 or 0.3 there, they won’t be able to recover it on the rest of the lap.

          I wonder how Ferrari will set up their car. Will they focus more on a decent grid slot in qualifying or do what they did the last couple of races and go for a good race setup, which allows them to run deeper in the race on their starting tires. If Ferrari opt for the former, they might spoil RB’s and Mercedes’ strategies (at least for their #2 drivers).

  2. I guess it depends on how others behave as well

  3. Maybe not pure low-speed anymore, but still one of the outright slowest F1 circuits with the 4th-lowest average lap speed ahead of only Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, Marina Bay, and Monaco. 5th-lowest before Yas Marina’s configuration changes.

    1. @jerejj Mexico is that slow? I appreciate the stadium section is tediously slow, but I would have thought the 4,600km straight afterwards would have more than made up for it.

      1. 4,6 km straight? It’s not possible, I know mexico has a long straight, but probably 1\3 of that.

        1. @esploratore1 Sorry I was exaggerating for comedic reasons, I don’t know long the straight is other than it’s long. The circumference of the earth is 40km so, yeah 4,600km is about the width of Africa. Not the straight at Mexico.

          1. someone or something
            26th July 2021, 22:08

            I think the thin air (the very same thin air that makes the straight so blisteringly fast) is to blame for that. While the layout may not look that slow, the cars are really struggling to generate downforce, and consequentially forced to take the corners at much slower speeds than if they were at sea level.
            That’s also the reason why this race is usually one of the easiest one-stoppers on the calendar.

      2. @bernasaurus
        2019 fastest QLF times and avg speeds:
        Hungaroring: 1:14.572, 211.494 kph
        YMC: 1:34.779, 210.958 kph
        AHR: 1:14.758, 207.260 kph
        Singapore: 1:36.217, 189.434 kph
        Monaco: 1:10.166, 171.211 kph
        Yas Marina Circuit will, of course, surpass Hungaroring through the S1 and S3 changes.

        1. @bernasaurus I forgot: Mexico’s S/F straight is about 1.3 km long.

        2. someone or something
          26th July 2021, 22:16

          Only two tracks with sub-200kph qualifying laps? That’s insane. A lap at Hungaroring being over 210 kph fast (last year’s pole lap was actually just under 215 kph) is beyond insane.
          I feel the speed of the current generation of F1 is under-appreciated.

  4. Ferrari may be playing down their chances a little bit. Who wouldn’t do so in there position?! It would be foolish from them to blast out an aggressive statement and expect to challenge for the race win.
    On the one hand the circuit layout should suit their car very much, but on the other hand it remains to be seen how they will perform in the medium speed corners (especially S2). Ferrari still lost some time in the medium speed corners at Barcelona, about 0.3 on average (although they have longer radiuses than the ones at the Hungaroring). I’m curious to see how they will perform in S2 at the Hungaroring, as this will be key to their competitiveness this weekend.

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