F1 Power Rankings: Hungarian Grand Prix

If ever there was a time for Lewis Hamilton to turn around his qualifying form, it would be this weekend. That’s because the Formula One World Championship is going to the Hungaroring where the passing is non-existent. I think that I’m well on record as hating this track and race. They must spend a lot on sanctioning fees because there are so many better places for F1 to go.

Anyway, in motorsports, the winner is the first past the post after the designated race distance. Barring an error or mechanical failure, the winner of the Hungarian Grand Prix will be the first car on the starting grid. This weekend’s race is on Saturday.

#1 Nico Rosberg (Last Race #2)
If you want to party with F1 drivers and teams, Keke’s kid says that you should hang out in Budapest on Sunday night: “Budapest is a really cool city, with a lot of nice things to do in the evening with all the restaurants on the river. I often have friends come to this race as they really enjoy the place – although, of course, while they’re out partying on the Saturday night, I’ll focusing and preparing for the race! We’ve had some great after-race parties on the Sunday night in Hungary before, as it’s the last one before the summer break.”

#2 Lewis Hamilton (LR #1)
Old Louise Hamilton refers to this as an attacking driver’s track but it’s certainly not a passing driver’s track: “The Hungarian Grand Prix is always a special one for me, with four pole positions and four wins from my seven races there so far – including my first victory for Mercedes last season. I don’t really have any secrets there – I’ve just been very fortunate over the years and it’s a circuit I really enjoy. It’s one where you can really attack, which works for an attacking driver like myself, so perhaps it suits my driving style a little bit more than some others.”

#3 Valtteri Bottas (LR #4)
Only one more step for #BO77AS but he doesn’t think that this is the weekend: “We are aiming for a good result there so we head into the holidays with a good feeling. We know it’s not the best circuit for our car but we are working on getting more grip in the corners and we have some upgrades that should help as well. Qualifying is very important as it’s not an easy track to overtake at; normally the race is hot as well so tyre degradation will be high.”

#4 Daniel Ricciardo (LR #3)

#5 Fernando Alonso (LR #5)

#6 Sebastian Vettel (LR #6)

#7 Nico Hulkenberg (LR #7)
The Hulk reflects on his fairly successful first half of the season: “So far it’s been a great season – my best year in Formula One and the best year for the team too. The car has worked well on every kind of track so if we keep working as we are I think we can have a strong second half of the year as well. There are still some developments to come, mainly on the aero side, so that will help us stay competitive.”

#8 Felipe Massa (LR #10)
Old Phil points out the power unit isn’t very important this weekend. Not a smart thing to note when you have the best power unit on the grid: “Hungary is a track where a good power unit is a little less important. Aerodynamics play a higher part and getting good downforce for the corners is vital. We have worked hard to get the car ready for this type of circuit and if that has all worked we should still be competitive.”

#9 Kevin Magnussen (LR #8)
Jan’s boy thinks that slow tracks favour the slow McLaren. Okay, he didn’t quite put it that way but it’s implied: “I think we’ve shown recently that our car performs slightly better on tracks with a combination of low- and mid-speed corners, so I think this weekend will hopefully offer us another opportunity to score some useful world championship points. After a couple of frustrating races, I’m hoping for a weekend where everything comes together.”

#10 Kimi Raikkonen (LR #12)

#11 Jenson Button (LR #11)
JB takes on a trip down memory lane: “As you know, this has been a special place for me for some time. I won my first grand prix here back in 2006 – it was one of those day when everything seemed to go my way – and I won my 200th grand prix here. That was an emotional day – and it was back in 2011 – I can’t believe it was nearly 60 races ago.”

#12 Sergio Perez (LR #9)
Checo vaguely talks about the challenges of running in Hungary: “It’s a really interesting circuit and you have to think very carefully about the way you set your car up. It’s a very technical lap and you have to consider the weaknesses of your car and set it up around them. It’s also very demanding on the tyres because you are always in a corner. The hot weather will make that even more challenging.”

#13 Jean-Eric Vergne (LR #13)

#14 Daniil Kvyat (LR #14)

#15 Romain Grosjean (LR #15)
Romain actually likes the Hungaroring. WTF? ” I like the circuit with its style of up and downs and twisty corners. I like the feeling you get when driving on the track and the grip you get from it. I’ve been very quick in qualifying every time there. I did one of my best overtakes in my career in Formula 1 last year and I got penalised for a few small centimetres which was tough at the time… Nevertheless, it is hard to overtake at the Hungaroring making qualifying very, very important, as is the race strategy.”

#16 Adrian Sutil (LR #16)
When Sutil was sentenced for the stabbing incident, did they sentence him to give up his personality too: “The Hungarian Grand Prix is a great event with many fans who are passionate about racing. The track itself is quite short, but very challenging with many corners, and it is not easy to put a perfect lap together. You need a lot of grip as there are several slow corners. The Hungaroring is interesting, and it is definitely good to have it on the calendar.”

#17 Pastor Maldonado (LR #18)
Pastor talks about buying his way to another season at Lotus. God help Lotus and god help Formula One: “I joined Lotus F1 Team on a multi-year deal, but there is always talk and gossip in Formula 1 about drivers and teams. We both know we haven’t had the first season either of us wanted in terms of results so this was a clear statement that we’re both committed to working together and getting results in the future. From my perspective, I’m fully behind Lotus F1 Team and I know we’ll achieve great things together.”

#18 Esteban Gutierrez (LR #17)
Even the pre-race quotes about Hungary are boring: “The Hungarian Grand Prix is a great event with many fans who are passionate about racing. The track itself is quite short, but very challenging with many corners, and it is not easy to put a perfect lap together. You need a lot of grip as there are several slow corners. The Hungaroring is interesting, and it is definitely good to have it on the calendar.”

#19 Jules Bianchi (LR #19)
I think I’m going to fall asleep writing this post: ” It is an interesting track because there are big braking events, long corners and some quite bumpy parts and also there is little time to draw breath around the lap. It will be a busy week for sure, and probably a very hot one, so I hope we can have a nice reward and end the first part of the season in a strong position versus the cars around us.”

#20 Kamui Kobayashi (LR #20)
Kobayashi Maru makes the Hungaroring sound so exciting: “On track the Hungaroring isn’t one of the most challenging circuits we race on, but one of the keys to a good time is to find a rhythm, especially in sector two. You need to let the corners flow, one after the other, and with the high temperatures we usually have there and the tyre choice being soft and mediums, tyre management will be even more important than normal.”

#21 Max Chilton (LR #21)
Max is worried about falling behind the Caterhams. Given the state of that team right now, I don’t think they have much to worry about: ” The track is quite arduous as the lap is so relentless and the temperatures can be tough for the cars and the Team. It is all corners, so driving technique and car set-up are very important. In development terms we need a strong and reliable weekend, hopefully benefiting from what we learned in Germany last week. The progress continues but we need to ensure we can realise more of it during the course of a race, so we’re not finding ourselves out of position with the Caterhams.”

#22 Marcus Ericsson (LR #22)
We’ve heard that Hungary is a Finnish home race but apparently it’s also a Swedish home race too: “I’ve always had great support in Hungary. It’s one of the races a lot of Swedish fans come to and after seeing so many Swedish flags in Germany I’m looking forward to the same at the Hungaroring. This time I want to give them something to cheer for all weekend, especially on Sunday, so it’s important we have good reliability across the whole package, giving us the chance to fight in quali and race properly on Sunday.”


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