Round 11 of the 2017 Formula One World Championship, the last before the sport’s summer break, sees tea ms travel to the Hungaroring, home of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
And after two races that accented raw power, in Britain and Austria, this weekend’s grand prix presents teams and drivers with an altogether different kind of challenge — a tight and twisting 4.381km circuit that has much in common with a street circuit rather than a permanent facility.
The Hungaroring’s swift changes of direction and sequences of medium and slow-speed corners offer little respite and while it is the slowest purpose-built track on the F1 calendar it provides a real physical test for the drivers, especially given that this time of year is frequently punishingly hot in the region.
The changes of direction mean that aerodynamic stability is a key consideration and teams will bring high downforce packages to the Hungaroring. Mechanical grip is equally highly prized, especially as the circuit is infrequently used and takes some time to ’rubber in’ across the weekend. However, the extreme temperatures allied to significant lateral movement put tyres under heavy strain and thus Pirelli shies away from the very softest tyres in its range and this weekend offers its medium, soft and supersoft compounds.
Ahead the weekend the title battles tell two different tales. While a one-two for Mercedes in Britain handed the Silver Arrows a relatively comfortable 55—point lead over Ferrari at the top of the order, the Driver’s title is far more ﬁnely balanced.
Championship leader Sebastian Vettel’s seventh-place at Silverstone following a late-race puncture leaves the Ferrari driver a single point ahead of British GP winner and chief title rival Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes. Meanwhile, Hamilton’s team- mate Valtteri Bottas continues to close in, his second place at Silverstone putting him 23 points behind Vettel. The virtual reset of the standings sets up a tantalising weekend as the title pacesetters battle it out to see who will head into the summer break with what could be a key psychological advantage.