F1 Power Rankings: Hungarian Grand Prix

We’ve come to the final race before the annual Formula One summer break. Well, this week, racing takes a break because we’re going to the Hungaroring which is a terrible excuse for a racing circuit. As a parade route, it’s alright. If you’re hoping for on-track passing, try something else this weekend. At least the lack of passing should help Mercedes.

#1 Sebastian Vettel (Last Race #1)
Seb looks into his history and reminds us of something I forgot. His first race with Toro Rosso was in Hungary: “Hungry has some interesting memories for me. It was my first F1 race with the Red Bull family; let’s hope I can add to my memories by winning there for the first time before I go on holiday.”

#2 Fernando Alonso (LR #2)
Fernando is only 33 points behind Vettel at the halfway point of the season but doesn’t it feel like he’s already out of the hunt. Just when you think that Red Bull are vulnerable. They come out swinging and win the next race. Scoring points and podiums won’t beat RBR but wins will. I guess I could say the same about Raikkonen too.

#3 Lewis Hamilton (LR #3)
We don’t have to go far for this week’s most generic PR quote. Old Louise Hamilton wins this week: “I love the layout of the circuit and Budapest is a really cool city which has a great atmosphere over the race weekend. It will be an important weekend for us and we need to get off to a good start on Friday when we have the chance to try the new tyres for the first time.”

#4 Mark Webber (LR #5)
The @AussieGrit retirement tour goes through Hungary where he won a sports car race: “My first ever race there was 1998 with the Mercedes sportscar, where we won the race. The Hungaroring has been a good circuit for me over the years and I have picked up a lot of points there, including my F1 win in 2010.”

f1-kimi-raikkonen-helmet-2013#5 Kimi Raikkonen (LR #6)
The Iceman knows that this is the only race that you can win on the first lap: “I have finished second in Hungary too many times, so I know how important it is to lead the race after the first corner. DRS or not, it’s never easy to overtake at the Hungaroring. To get the weekend right, you have to have good sessions in FP1, FP2 and FP3, then a strong qualifying session and finally a perfect start to the race.”

#6 Nico Rosberg (LR #4)
Nico thinks that the team’s qualifying strength will help them this weekend without knowing how the tyre changes will affect him: “Qualifying will be important this weekend which is good for us but we know that we have to deliver on Sunday as well. The forecast looks hot and it is likely to very demanding on the tyres. Physically it will be a tough race and the lack of straights means that you never get a moment to relax.”

#7 Felipe Massa (LR #7)
Pirelli Motorsport boss Paul Hembery talks about the new tyres coming to Hungary: “Hungary marks the first event for our latest specification P Zero tyres, which consist of the 2012 construction matched to the 2013 compounds. These tyres were tried out by the teams at Silverstone during the young driver test, who benefitted from the opportunity to adapt the set-up of their cars to best suit the new tyres. Now they get to use them in competition for the first time, and with qualifying particularly important at the Hungaroring, the work done in free practice will be very important.”

#8 Paul di Resta (LR #8)
Dario’s cousin knows what the big story of the weekend will be: “There’s no reason why we can’t be competitive. The big unknown is the new Pirelli tyres. It’s a big challenge for all the teams to try and get on top of them quickly. It’s hard to say if they will impact on the performance level of the teams, but we will go into the weekend with the same approach and then target Q3 on Saturday and points on Sunday.”

#9 Adrian Sutil (LR #9)
This weekend marks Sutil’s 100th Grand Prix. Don’t go to the club with him: “It’s hard to believe how quickly time goes by! It’s a big milestone, for sure, but in the end it doesn’t really change anything. My goals remain the same as when I started my first event and that’s to win races. I still love the sport and I hope I can continue to drive these amazing cars for a long time.”

f1-romain-grosjean-helmet-2013#10 Romain Grosjean (LR #14)
Grosjean talks about not being at the Silverstone Young Drivers/Tyre test. I’m guessing he should start looking for employment for 2014: “As a driver, you always want to be in the car getting as much experience as possible; especially when there’s something new like different tyres. The tyres we used at the Nurburgring suited us pretty well, so let’s hope the latest version will also suit us at the Hungaroring.”

f1-jenson-button-helmet-2013#11 Jenson Button (LR #11)
Jenson is insane. Completely mental: “Great circuit, great place. I have so many positive memories of racing at the Hungaroring – obviously, I won my first grand prix there back in 2006, which was incredibly emotional – and also feels such a long time ago now! – and I also won my 200th race there back in 2011.”

#12 Jean-Eric Vergne (LR #10)

#13 Daniel Ricciardo (LR #13)

f1-nico-hulkenberg-helmet-2013#14 Nico Hulkenberg (LR #15)
The Hulk might not like the track but he likes Budapest: “Budapest is a city with a great atmosphere and a lot of beautiful old buildings. The Danube runs right through the city and I like being there. The first time I went to the Hungaroring was in 2009. I won the GP2 race on the Saturday and I have always had good races there in the past.”

f1-sergio-perez-helmet-2013#15 Sergio Perez (LR #12)
Checo admits that this season pretty well sucks: ” I’m going to Hungary with realistic ambitions: after a positive weekend at the Nurburgring, we’re focused on further improving and understanding MP4-28. I think the race in Germany showed that, when things come together, we’re able to be a force in the race, even if we can’t quite set the pace at the front.”

f1-esteban-gutierrez-helmet-2013#16 Esteban Gutierrez (LR #18)
Steve dances around the big issue with the track: “The Hungaroring is one of those unique circuits in terms of the track layout, and I have good memories of it… The track has several medium speed corners and stability is particularly important there. It’s also very demanding on the tyres, especially in the long corners, and also because temperatures can be quite high, which you have to take into account, especially for the tyre management.”

#17 Pastor Maldonado (LR #17)
Can we all agree that he’s a pay driver again? Anyone who said he was the real deal needs to turn in their credentials: “I have driven at the Hungaroring for a few years now and it is a very demanding circuit for drivers as it is often very hot and there are limited overtaking opportunities… Qualifying is so important at this track because of the small number of overtaking opportunities, but I qualified well last year so I know what to expect and can hopefully deliver a strong performance that will give the team a boost as we head into the summer break.”

#18 Valtteri Bottas (LR #18)
Val is worried about the dust: “I always found this to be a very demanding track because there are very few places to overtake and the layout has a lot of corners in quick succession which gives you very few opportunities to rest. The track can be a bit dusty at the beginning of the week as it doesn’t get used much during the year, but the grip does increase a lot as the weekend progresses and you notice a big difference between FP1 and FP2.”

#19 Jules Bianchi (LR #20)
Jules is happy that we get a long break. Didn’t we just have one? ” The first part of the season has passed by so quickly and I think it is important that we have a stronger weekend in Budapest, so everyone stays focused on what we need to do during the second half. Everyone deserves a good long rest as a reward for the all the hard work, but then we have to continue pushing hard to ensure we achieve our objectives for the season.”

#20 Charles Pic (LR #19)
Chuckie is just looking forward to his summer vacation: “It’ll be another busy week for the team, coming straight from Silverstone to Hungary, but after that they have a very well deserved rest and a chance to recharge the batteries.”

f1-max-chilton-helmet-2013#21 Max Chilton (LR #21)
Chilton likes this track which is evidence that high G-forces cause gradual brain damage: “Hungary holds many special memories for me as the track where I achieved my first race win in GP2 last season, so I’m really excited to be heading back there. I love everything about Budapest – the track, the weather, the people and the city. It is always hot and sunny at the Hungaroring and it’s just a circuit I really enjoy which seems to suit me.”

#22 Geido van der Garde (LR #22)
Gary is optimistic for this weekend: “We obviously had our best quali result of the year so far in Monaco and while I doubt the weather will play its part in Hungary as it did on Saturday in Monaco, the track layout and characteristics are still kind of similar and the length of the lap and the reduced reliance on pure aero performance may help us edge closer to the cars ahead.”


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