It’s the last chance to impress before F1’s summer shutdown. Budapest plays host to Round 13, where Lewis Hamilton will be hoping to end his win-less streak on one of his career-best circuits.
Here’s who to look out for at the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix!
Hamilton to finally end win-less streak?
If you believe in omens, this is the weekend to back Lewis Hamilton for victory. The Mercedes driver is currently on the longest win-less streak of his career, having not picked up a win since last November’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
The Hungaroring has been a fruitful track for the seven-time champion in his illustrious career. He has taken no fewer than eight wins at the venue and has finished outside of the top five on only five of his 15 appearances. Even in Hamilton’s worst two seasons in Formula 1 – 2009 and 2013 – he took victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Hamilton heads to Hungary on a run of four consecutive podium finishes. He recorded his best result of the 2022 season to date last weekend in France, with second place. Could he go one step further in Hungary?
Are Leclerc’s title hopes still alive?
It makes depressing reading for Ferrari fans to know that Max Verstappen’s title lead is now so large that not even victory for Charles Leclerc in every remaining race of the season would guarantee him the title.
For the third time in the last seven Grands Prix, Leclerc retired while leading last weekend in France, meaning Verstappen is now 63 points ahead in the title race. Unlike the other two retirements, Leclerc’s non-finish in France was down to personal error rather than mechanical failure.
The good news for Ferrari is that the Italian team has much more previous winning experience in Hungary than Red Bull. Ferrari have won here seven times previously, including twice in the past seven seasons, while Red Bull have won only twice – in 2010 and 2014.
If Verstappen extends his championship lead this weekend, expect the mood at Maranello to be downbeat heading into the summer break.
A surprise result in store?
The Hungaroring was once described as “Monaco without the walls”. It’s a pretty accurate description. The slow speed track is somewhat of an anomaly and overtaking can be difficult. Being an uncharacteristic circuit, it can throw up a surprise result – last year is a prime example.
Rain has also become a frequent factor at the Hungarian Grand Prix in recent years and the wet stuff is on the radar once again in 2022. Strangely, from joining the calendar in 1986, there were no rain affected races at the Hungaroring until 2006. The 2006 race is famous for delivering Jenson Button’s unexpected maiden win with Honda. Rain also allowed Daniel Ricciardo to take victory in a year of Mercedes dominance in 2014, while Esteban Ocon scored his maiden win with Alpine here last year.
If rain is in the air on Sunday, keep an eye on midfield drivers who may be able to capitalise on the
Alonso: serial scorer in Hungary
Fernando Alonso is one such midfield driver to look out for. After all, his Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon won the race last year. Alonso is a consistent points scorer at the Hungarian Grand Prix. He finished in the top eight on all of his last ten visits to the Hungaroring and brought home a fourth place finish last year.
Alonso is also on a consecutive run of points which stretches back for all of the last seven races. That’s an active consecutive scoring streak which is only bettered by Max Verstappen (9) and Lewis Hamilton (8).
The Hungaroring is the circuit at which Alonso scored his first Grand Prix victory almost 20 year ago. Alonso heads into this weekend having just broken the record as the driver to have completed the most racing laps in F1 history. Another top ten result seems likely.
A big upgrade for Haas
In 2020, Racing Point were accused of creating a “Pink Mercedes”. Earlier this year, Aston Martin made headlines with their so-called “Green Red Bull”. This weekend, it will be time to behold the “White Ferrari”, as Haas bring an upgrade package which will give their car a similar look to that of the Scuderia’s.
Only Kevin Magnussen will take the upgrade package this weekend, which could put Haas back into the points after a disappointing French Grand Prix weekend. Before last Sunday, the team was on a two race streak of having both cars finish in the points but Magnussen retired at Circuit Paul
Ricard, while Mick Schumacher could manage only 15th.
The team last scored in Hungary in 2020, when Magnussen capitalised on a drying track to pick up a solitary point. Haas have finished with both cars in the points at the Hungaroring only once previously, in 2018.