Budapest is one of the world’s great destinations, the Hungarian capital a historic, cultural and gastronomic centre uniting twin cities divided by the Danube… Europe’s second-longest river.
…one that in past years has played host to the breathtaking Red Bull Air Race World Championship, as a teaser to the Hungarian Grand Prix. The race a mainstay on the calendar since 1986.
The inaugural event held behind the Iron Curtain, Williams’ driver Nelson Piquet winning in front of 200,000 people, as Eastern Europe woke up to the power of Formula 1.
Lewis Hamilton has since become the most successful in Budapest with six victories. Two more than Michael Schumacher, three up on Senna. Six drivers, including Sebastian Vettel, have two.
And while the German is no longer a realistic chance for the crown, Vettel 84 points behind Hamilton, a win in Hungary could be on - with his confidence boosted from a storming fightback drive in Germany…
SOUNDBITE (English) NICO ROSBERG,
2016 F1 WORLD CHAMPION:
"In F1 you are only as good as your last race. So all it takes for [Sebastian] Vettel is one good race and then he can turn things around and gain momentum and put in a string of great races. That's what I wish for him, for one good weekend."
Located just 20 minutes from downtown Budapest, the 4.381-kilometre track features 14 turns (seven left, and seven right) and a top speed of 315 kilometres an hour. Schumi’s 2004 lap record remains. While there are two DRS activation zones: one along the pit straight, and another following on to Turn 2. There is just a single DRS detection point at the entrance to Turn 14.
Given it’s difficult to pass there, qualifying is fundamental for a good result in Budapest, with 15 of the last 33 race winners coming from pole position. And the lap a technical challenge for the drivers…
AUDIO QUOTE (English) NICO HÜLKENBERG.
F1 DRIVER, RENAULT:
“It’s quite a tricky lap. It’s a lot of corner combinations and all the corners are somehow hooked up and connected to each other so you need to find a good rhythm and get a good flow to produce good lap times here. Good confidence and a good balance is usually key.”
One of the great traditional races, it’s time to work up an appetite, for the Hungarian Grand Prix, the last before F1’s summer break.