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How the Hungarian GP will unfold
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How the Hungarian GP will unfold
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Jul 2009   |  11:12 am GMT  |  8 comments

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.

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8 Comments
  1. Nick Thornton says:

    I really hope lewis and heikki do well here. i believe they can really push from the start. better than raikkonnen but we’ll see. after all hes been through lewis deserves at least a podium. not much hope for kubica though…!

  2. C West says:

    How do you think the Red Bulls will cope with the heat today? The Brawn’s should benefit from it, but how much effect will it have on the Red Bulls advantage they had in qualifying? And then of course, there’s McLaren. If Red Bull suffer, they could surely challenge for the win.

  3. jw1980 says:

    With Fernando Alonso on pole we should be rejoicing at someone different taking the coveted position. However, when fuel is considered it’s hardly a pole position that people will remember for a long time.
    I am assuming that with no refuelling next year that qualifying will return to its previous rules with an all out attack for fastest time with everyone on similar fuels. The man on pole is genuinely the fastest. The current system is good (i.e. knockout and will be even more exciting next year with 26 cars) but Alonso on pole throws up quite an anomoly. Will this be another China?
    One point to consider James regarding Red Bull, will Webber take Vettel at the start with better side of grid? How will Rosberg fare for Williams? They are making excellent progress at present.
    The news regarding Massa seems positive at the moment. Now is not the time to speculate about his future in great detail but you do wonder if we will ever see him in F1 again, certainly as a strong competitor (look at the Wendlinger situation). Lets hope that he makes a speedy recovery.

    1. Rich C says:

      Interesting point about the effect of no refueling upon qualifying.

      Will they be allowed to run light and refuel for the race?

      I forsee a lot of fuel conservation type races if so.

  4. Ron Morgans says:

    Brilliant piece of journalism last night, James. You were first and accurate with the facts. If there is a yearly award for your sector you surely deserve it.

    Let’s hope Felipe recovers well and continues his great career unhampered.

  5. LMW says:

    It may be me, but I thought Buemi did a good job to get 10th (Massa corrected). This doesn’t seem to have got a mention with everything else going on.

    Should be a great 1st lap.

  6. Simon Haynes says:

    Webber does seem to look after his tyres better than Vettel in hot conditions, although I can only base that on evidence from one or two races earlier this season. However, if Vettel ruins his tyres like he did in Monaco he’ll get swamped in the pit stops.

  7. Nik says:

    I don’t think the Red Bulls will be punished too much if Hamilton gets ahead. Likewise, Lewis will be okay even if he gets to second – Alonso should have the pace to build a small lead before his early stop. Button might think Hamilton can slow the Red Bulls, which he probably will before his stop, but he also has to watch for Alonso coming out from his second stop. Depending on what Renault do with Fernando’s strategy, Button could lose a little or a lot of time if he slots out ahead of Jenson. Button also needs to be careful of being stuck behind a Kovalainen/Raikkonen train. If he’s to do well today, those extra 3 laps he has on board have to be belters.

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