Thursday, July 25, 2013

Predictions for the F1 Hungarian Grand Prix

We go back racing at the Hungaroring after another long break and in the middle of a heatwave in Europe. Pirelli are bringing new and improved compounds after a three day test at Silverstone to give their PR team a rest and to ensure we do not have any more exploding tyres. Pirelli have nominated their new Soft and Medium compounds for this tight and twisty circuit where mechanical grip out of the slow corners is as important as the aero grip around the fast corners.

The circuit here is a lot like Monaco in many ways, only with run off areas. It is the second slowest circuit on the calendar which starts off 'green' and evolves through the weekend to get quicker come race day. The slippery no grip surface requires the soft compounds with high downforce setups, but with the heatwave it seems like the momentum could swing in favour of the Lotus'. Raikkonen and Grosjean gave Vettel a run for his money last time out in Germany, so it will be interesting to see if they can run longer on the softer tyres and take the fight to the world champions around Hungary.

With overtaking at a premium, qualifying is as important as it is in Monaco. Back to back DRS zones with a single detection point should make for some close racing.

The teams that had the advantage on the old tyres should still be able to make their tyres last longer and have the edge. The only team that seemed to have lost its way on the interim tyres at Germany were Force India. While they will be hoping their dip in competitiveness was just a blip, the 2012 structure with the 2013 compounds could swing the tide in McLaren's and Sauber's favour for the last of the points scoring positions.

Mercedes have employed a new infrared camera on their front nose to keep an eye on their tyre temperatures and to aid them in strategic calls. Red Bull should still be heading the field with their strong Newey aero packages but the heat wave could spring some surprises.

Ferrari have taken a step back in their development phase to try and understand where they have lost all their pace. They will be hoping they can extract more out of the new tyres and get their championship bid back on track. 

Two stops are usually the norm at the Hungaroring and with the pit lane speeds having been reduced to a max of 80 kmph, the loss of time per pit stop has increased by about 3 seconds. Teams will try and minimise the number of stops but the high ambient and track temperatures might just require the third stop for some teams.

Our predictions for 2013 Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix Qualifying* -
1. Ham 2. Vet 3. Ros

Our predictions for the 2013 Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix Race* -
1. Vet 2. Rai 3. Alo 4. Ham 5. Ros 6. Gro 7. Web 8. Mas 9. Hul 10. But

Our prediction for the driver with the fastest lap of the race -
Vet

Our prediction for the driver with most positions gained at the end of the race -
Hul

* - Predictions are based on current form and will be revised based on practice results, before we go into qualifying.

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