Today’s Hungarian GP will be an intriguing contest. On the face of it a fight between the two Red Bull drivers for victory, but with potential for Lewis Hamilton and McLaren to cause an upset, particularly at the start.
The KERS in Hamilton’s car will give him about 18 metres advantage on the run down to Turn 1. It’s more of a help here than it was in Germany and we saw what devastation the KERS cars inflicted there on the championship contenders. Starting 6th and 7th Heikki Kovalainen and Kimi Raikkonen also have the potential to get involved in the action at the front.
Jenson Button’s race depends a lot on the outcome of that first corner, if there is an incident he may be well placed to benefit, starting from 8th place. He also has 22 laps of fuel in the car, far more than his rivals and his car will manage the tyres better than them over a stint in the high temperatures expected today. A podium is the target, anything else a bonus, particularly if Hamilton takes any points from the Red Bulls. The pace of the Brawns is the subject of a lot of doubt here. Rival teams think that they are not that fast here, but the team say that their race pace is strong, especially in the heat.
I’m fascinated by the battle for victory between Webber and Vettel. The advantage swings between them from race to race. In Silverstone it was Vettel, in Germany Webber, here it seemed to be Webber until Q3, when Webber made a mistake and Vettel did a great lap. Today is a battle for supremacy, with the possible complication of Hamilton at the start thrown in. Hamilton is stopping on lap 16, only a lap earlier than Webber and two before Vettel. That’s where they need to jump him, if he gets ahead at the start.
Tyres are key today; no-one is very happy about the soft tyre and it’s hard to get the supersoft to last over a stint. The track temperature is high, 41 degrees two hours before the race. That’s one of the reasons why Alonso has gone for three stops. Brawn feel they can manage the tyres, hence Barrichello going to lap 32.
Fuel KG First Pit Stop
1. Alonso Renault 637.5 L13
2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 655.0 20
3. Webber Red Bull-Renault 652.0 19
4. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 650.5 18
5. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 654.0 20
6. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 655.5 19/20
7. Raikkonen Ferrari 651.5 18/19
8. Button Brawn-Mercedes 664.5 25
9. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 658.0 22/23
10. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 671.5 26/27
11. Trulli Toyota 671.3 26/27
12. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 689.0 33
13. Glock Toyota 679.2 29
14. Piquet Renault 667.7 25/26
15. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 658.0 22/23
16. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 680.5 30/31
17. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 683.5 31/32
18. Kubica BMW-Sauber 666.0 24
19. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 675.5 28
* Based on average figure for fuel consumption. Original draft based on Williams’ official figure which is now considered too high.