F1 Power Rankings: Hungarian Grand Prix

While the death of Jules Bianchi weighs heavily on the grid, the drivers and teams of the Formula One World Championship are back in action this week as they go to Budapest for the Hungarian Grand Prix. While the Hungaroring is a dreadfully dull circuit that seldom provides action, there have been exceptions. At the very least, it gets us ready for Formula One’s summer break that will see four weeks between Hungary and Belgium.

#1 Lewis Hamilton
Lewis used most of his pre-race quotage to talk about safety in Formula One: “Now our sport embarks on a tough road ahead. We have been shown once more the dangers of our sport, that these should be respected and that we drivers commit ourselves to the chance that those dangers are there when we step into the car. We have made great progress for safety thus far and I know that the FIA will continue to make steps forward to improve even further.”

#2 Nico Rosberg
Keke’s kid calls the Hungaroring a “proper circuit.” Don’t those allow for proper racing: ” It’s a tough track on the driver – narrow, very twisty and usually very hot. It’s one of those circuits where you can really show your skill and that makes it a good challenge. The race here last year wasn’t ideal for me in the end – but it’s a proper circuit, in a beautiful city, with big crowds always filling the grandstands, so I’m looking forward to it and hoping bring home a stronger result this time around.”

#3 Sebastian Vettel

#4 Felipe Massa
Old Phil both does and doesn’t rate his chances with the car very well at the Hungaroring. So he has no idea how he’ll do: “This circuit wouldn’t normally suit our car because it’s quite low speed, but we have improved the car so much in recent races with the upgrades we have introduced so we should have another competitive weekend.”

#5 Valtteri Bottas
#BO77AS is looking forward to his home Grand Prix in another country. It makes perfect sense when he explains it: “Budapest is a great city and hosts a great race. There are a lot of Finnish fans living in Hungary, but also many who make the trip for this race weekend so I always have a lot of support – it’s almost a Finnish Grand Prix.”

#6 Kimi Raikkonen
Here’s a fun fact about the Hungarian GP. Yes, Lewis Hamilton has won the race four times but do you know who finished second in each of those Hamilton victories? If you guessed Kimi Raikkonen, you have passable observational skills. Sadly, a 2nd in 2003 and a win in 2005 with McLaren ruins any numerology I can do with the Iceman and Hungary.

#7 Nico Hulkenberg
It’s disappointing to hear The Hulk talk about engineers. I’m not certain that I couldn’t give F1 a go at this rate: “The engineers have spent the last couple of weeks digging deep into the data because we can’t afford to stand still. We need to keep pushing in this direction and getting more performance from the car. There’s a good feeling in the team and I think we can be competitive again this weekend. The low and medium-speed corners should suit us and the tyre choices are a bit softer than Silverstone, which should help us.”

#8 Daniil Kvyat

#9 Daniel Ricciardo

#10 Sergio Perez
Checo thinks this is a two-day weekend. He’s focused on Friday and Saturday: “The track itself is very technical: you need good traction to exit the low-speed corners and you have to be very accurate and precise. Because it’s so twisty, it feels like you are always in a corner and it’s not easy to follow other cars or overtake, so a good qualifying result becomes even more important.”

#11 Romain Grosjean
For a second, I was wondering what Grosjean was on about but then I remembered they aren’t saddled with that Renault anchor this year: “We’ve gone well there in the past and it’s a track I like. The E23 works well and we seem to be able to extract pretty good performance from it at most tracks we visit. The Hungaroring is not a high speed circuit so it won’t play to the strength of our car through the speed traps, but we’ve worked pretty well in the low speed stuff.”

#12 Max Verstappen

#13 Pastor Maldonado
Pastor likes this race which is interesting considering he’s score one point in four previous Hungarian GPs: “The Hungarian Grand Prix is one of the best of the season. We are very close to the city of Budapest which is a place that I like very much. There is a big community of fans at the race weekend and the people are very friendly. On track it can be very challenging. The weather is usually very hot there meaning that it is very demanding from a physical point of view.”

#14 Carlos Sainz

#15 Felipe Nasr
New Phil talks about mechanical grip at the Hungaroring: “The track is very demanding for the tyres. We need to have a lot of braking stability, as well as good traction. As a driver, on this track you feel as if you are busy all the time. You always have to be concentrating for the next corner. There is only a brief break on the main straight. The grip on the track improves from day to day. We must, therefore, rely on our experience in order to anticipate grip level changes from day to day and adjust accordingly.”

#16 Marcus Ericsson
I know that this is a Finnish home race but apparently it goes for the Swedes too: ” As far as I know a lot of Swedish fans are coming to the race, including more than a dozen friends of mine. So it will be nice seeing a lot of Swedish people around the track, and hopefully they can help to push me even more.”

#17 Fernando Alonso
Fernando only has nice things to say about the Hungaroring. Probably because speed won’t win the day which will help Macca: “I really like this place; it’s a track that you really have to attack to get a good laptime, and, although it’s often thought of as a slow circuit, the sweeps around the back of the circuit are all really satisfying, and require a lot of commitment. The left-hander at Turn Six, in particular, is a really great corner – approached blind over a crest, and really hard to nail perfectly.”

#18 Jenson Button
Jenson almost sounds like he’s a broken man at this point of the year: “There’s been absolutely no let-up on the technical side – having personally seen the effort that’s been going on at MTC, and heard about the work that’s being done at Sakura, I know we’re slowly but surely getting there. Of course, that’s difficult to substantiate without decent results, but let’s hope we can go into the summer break feeling confident about the second half of the season.”

#19 Roberto Merhi

#20 Will Stevens

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