F1 Power Rankings: Hungarian Grand Prix

It’s the second of back-to-back Grand Prix weekends followed by the annual summer break for the 2011 Formula One World Championship. There’s just one problem, though. This weekend’s race is the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring. Until the creation of the Valencia street circuit, this was unquestionably the most boring track to host a race at in Formula One. After last week’s lacklustre German Grand Prix, we could be in for a second straight snoozer of a race. Will championship leader Sebastian Vettel be able to stay awake for this race or will he finish outside the top two for the second straight Grand Prix?

#1 Sebastian Vettel (Last Race #1)
The 2011 World Drivers’ Champion on what makes Hungary so awful: “The Hungarian GP is one of the hardest for the drivers. It can get very hot in the cockpit due to the high-temperatures, which means we lose a lot of body fluid during the race. There are a lot of bumps on the track, which means you can get shaken up a bit and, because the track has hardly any straights, you have almost no chance to ‘rest’ – that’s what makes the Hungarian Grand Prix so exhausting.”

#2 Mark Webber (LR #2)
Mark is hoping to repeat last year’s success: “The track is pretty short and very technical, so it’s a busy lap for us. There are limited places for overtaking, so we’ll see how the DRS helps with that this year. The Hungaroring should suit our car well, we were very strong there last year and more of the same this year would be good. It’s another opportunity for us to get some good points – and it’s always nice to finish before the break with a strong result – so lets see how we go.”

#3 Fernando Alonso (LR #4)
Despite good performances in the cold, Fernando wants the race weekends to be warmer: “At the Hungaroring, the weather should be more in keeping with summer, which is no bad thing as I’ve had enough of the cold and damp we experienced in England and Germany. That goes not just for me, but also for our car: it would definitely work better in temperatures higher than the 13 degrees we had last Sunday.”

#4 Lewis Hamilton (LR #5)
Lewis can’t wait to race again: “After my win at the Nurburgring on Sunday, the Hungarian Grand Prix can’t come soon enough. The team performed brilliantly last weekend and I want to maintain that momentum at the Hungaroring… There wasn’t much between McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull in Germany. It’s going to be fascinating to see which team holds the advantage next weekend.”

#5 Felipe Massa (LR #6)
Massa is making his second emotional return to the scene of his near career-threatening accident in 2009: “Clearly, after what happened two years ago, Budapest and the Hungarian people are an important part of my personal history. Once again I plan to meet the people who helped me through that difficult time, both at the track and at the hospital. I spent some time in Budapest and made a full recovery, which was like a victory for me and the people here felt part of that victory.”

#6 Jenson Button (LR #3)
Jenson Button is getting old and took a long time to win his first race: “It’s always fun coming back to Hungary as this is the track at which I won my first grand prix, in 2006, and I’ll be celebrating another milestone on Sunday because this is my 200th grand prix. I can’t believe I’ve already knocked up a double-ton of F1 starts because I don’t feel a day older than when I made my debut back in 2000!”

#7 Nico Rosberg (LR #7)
This weekend is Nico’s 100th Grand Prix but he pretends he can’t be bothered: “Hungary will be my 100th Grand Prix which seems crazy when my father completed 114 races over his whole career. It’s a nice number but statistics aren’t that important to me. I’m looking forward to the weekend in Budapest as I like the Hungaroring very much, and I’m hoping for a better time than in 2010 when unfortunately I didn’t finish the race.”

#8 Michael Schumacher (LR #9)
Remember when Seven-Time was in a good car? He does: “We have had two home races in a row now, and Hungary too feels like it is linked with me in a way. I will obviously never forget that I won one of my world titles there, and I always enjoyed the support of a lot of fans travelling to Budapest. Ideally we can help them enjoy their weekend, and I am hopeful we can as we have seen some progress lately with our car.”

#9 Nick Heidfeld (LR #8)
Heidfeld actually likes this parade route: “Absolutely, it’s one of my favourite circuits. I enjoy driving there and seem to get on well each time I race there so I hope this weekend is no different. I’ve had two F1 podiums at the Hungaroring before, so I’ve got good memories from the place… I also know that a lot of Polish fans usually attend this race, so it will be a little extra motivation for me driving what was originally Robert’s car.”

#10 Kamui Kobayashi (LR #10)
Kobayashi Maru never found a circuit he couldn’t pass on: “I have good memories of Budapest from last year. I started from 23rd on the grid and was able to overtake quite a few competitors and end up ninth. It was really a brilliant race. It’s a very technical track with mainly medium speed and slow corners. The straight is quite short, therefore in the past it was very difficult to overtake, but this year we have the DRS which will help us to put on a more exciting race for the fans.”

#11 Vitaly Petrov (LR #11)
Petrov noticed some improvement in the last two years: “It was good that the exhaust situation that was causing a lot of discussion at Silverstone was resolved, but that alone is not enough to get us back where we should be. We need to be fighting with the teams in front because we are a top team. We brought some upgrades with us to Germany and there’s no doubt they helped, but we’re going to keep pushing forward to ensure we’re back where we should be.”

#12 Jaime Alguersuari (LR #12)

#13 Adrian Sutil (LR #13)
Wait, Sutil thinks the Hungaroring is a nice track? “The track is not used that much so it’s usually quite dusty when we arrive. It cleans up as we start running, but Friday practice is always quite hard work. By the start of qualifying it has usually improved and the grip just builds up and up. When the track is like that it’s really nice to drive.”

#14 Sergio Perez (LR #15)
Sergio’s keys to success for Hungary: “To me the Hungaroring is a very good, technical and slow circuit. Traction and braking stability are very important. It is physically pretty demanding, and it has a really nice atmosphere. I believe it should be a good track for us, and I definitely want to score points there before the summer break.”

#15 Sebastien Buemi (LR #14)

#16 Rubens Barrichello (LR #16)
Rubens likens this place to Monaco (but it’s without the passing or prestige): “Hungary is the type of track that is quite difficult to overtake on, but with DRS it should be a little bit easier. It is a race I have won in the past so I am looking forward to racing there again. Just like Monaco, it is a slow speed track which can throw up a few surprises, so I hope we can get a better result.”

#17 Paul di Resta (LR #17)
Paul is looking forward to some time off during his rookie year: “It’s the last race before the summer break so it would be good to come away with a strong result. At the half way point of the season I’m feeling good about things. Each race makes things a little bit easier, especially for getting comfortable with all the procedures of Formula One. I’m enjoying my first year as a Formula One driver and I just hope the rest of the season continues in the same way.”

#18 Pastor Maldonado (LR #18)
Add Pastor to the list of crazy drivers who like this place: “I really like the Hungaroring and I won the main race last year in GP2. The track is really slow speed so we might need to change our set-up quite a lot to adapt to that kind of circuit. There isn’t a single corner I like more than any other, I just like the track as a whole. I think it will be a hard weekend but I hope we can improve the car.”

#19 Heikki Kovalainen (LR #19)
Screw the race, Heikki’s looking forward to a month of partying: “Once the race is done I’ll head home and have a couple of weeks catching up with family and friends in Finland, and keeping up my fitness levels. It might be a holiday but I never stop training so I’ll do that without the distractions of any team or sponsor commitments and that’s as important for me as it is for anyone in the team, to recharge the batteries for the next phase of the season.”

#20 Timo Glock (LR #21)

#21 Jerome d’Ambrosio (LR #22)

#22 Jarno Trulli (LR Did Not Race)
Jarno’s happy to be back… At least, I think he’s back this week: “I’m obviously pleased to be back in the car and looking forward to getting on track in Hungary. The Hungarian Grand Prix is held on one of the typical modern Formula 1 circuits – it’s pretty stop / start and has a lot of low speed corners with nothing really quick. It’s very bumpy and hilly, and it’s always very hot, so it’s a big challenge for the cars and the drivers but I do enjoy the race there as it pushes the drivers physically, and getting a good lap requires concentration and focus.”

#23 Tonio Liuzzi (LR #23)
Tonio likes running on back-to-back weekends which means I like him more now: “It’ll be good to get back in the car straight away after a frustrating end to the German Grand Prix and it was obviously not the way we wanted the race to go, so hopefully Hungary will bring us better luck! I like the Hungaroring. Its layout resembles that of a go-kart track.”

#24 Daniel Ricciardo (LR #24)
Danny Boy doesn’t even want to talk about this weekend’s Grand Prix. He must hate the Hungaroring as much as the rest of us: “Last weekend was really good for my country with Mark Webber’s pole and a podium in F1 and Cadel Evans who took the yellow jersey the day before the arrival in Paris and has become the first Australian Tour de France winner. I don’t know Cadel Evans yet, but I want to meet him as soon as possible and try to invite him to a Grand Prix.”


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