Hungarian Grand Prix Preview

Date published: July 28 2011

Grab your wheel nuts, the Hungarian GP could be decided by guys with guns in the pitlane. Yes, that’s Budapest not Brazil…

Valencia may have been a disappointment, but the other circuit in F1’s theatre of hate, the Hungaroring, is unlikely to be.

A pretty rash prediction, but let me tell you why I’ve made it (apart from consuming the prescription medication). For a start the FIA has scheduled that the main straight is a DRS zone and even without it last year Rubens was able to get past Michael.

Admittedly Barrichello’s Life Assurance agent had a heart attack in the process, but his client managed to make it through with all of his car intact. Even if Michael’s reputation was a little bit dented. Secondly there is the addition of KERS, and Red Bull’s will probably stop working by Lap 43. Thirdly, the tarmac at the Hungaroring – unless they’ve resurfaced it – is usually gnarly and tyre-wearing, so the Pirellis may not last that long and/or teams will adopt different strategies.

Everyone will be thankful for a bit of ‘Budapest heat’ or even ‘Budapest mildly warm’. Whatever happens it cannot be as cold as last weekend which will be good news for Ferrari who were very close to winning in conditions that really didn’t suit them. As we all saw, Lewis Hamilton beat the odds to record his best win in the last three years.

Lewis says the next race can’t come soon enough. Maybe he hasn’t looked at the calendar. For Sebastian Vettel the summer break can’t come soon enough. What he really needs is a positive nerve-steadying result at the Hungaroring. Because the last thing you would want on your mind for the four weeks of August is the prospect of McLaren and Ferrari using their mighty R&D departments to out-develop your car over the summer. It might be like Jenson’s 2009 Brawn season all over again.

Button had another disappointing race in Germany and has said that his title race is over. If he really means that then he’s going to start moving over whenever Lewis is behind him…and I can’t see that happening quite yet. Especially at the circuit where he scored his maiden win for Honda and his 200th race.

What was most impressive about last weekend was the calm displayed by Fernando’s engineer Andrea Stella, who radioed to his man in the most casual way on Lap 14, “Tell me about tyres…when you can.” He sounded like he was wearing loafers and a polo shirt, waiting for a caf