Analysis: Why clear air was the only way to go in Hungarian F1 GP
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Strategy Report
Posted By: James Allen  |  31 Jul 2018   |  7:24 am GMT  |  140 comments

There’s nothing quite like a wet qualifying session to make things interesting for a Grand Prix and in Budapest we had just such a scenario.

It means everyone has a free choice of tyres at the start; it opens up the strategic possibilities from the start, rather than only the cars starting outside the Top 10 having some fun with tyre choices.

In Hungary the rain caught out title contender Sebastian Vettel, as it had the week earlier in Germany and swung it towards his rival Lewis Hamilton. The Mercedes driver started on pole thanks to the rain in qualifying with Vettel down in fourth.

And what we saw in the hot and dry race on Sunday was dictated by clear air strategy – with these Pirelli tyres, those high temperatures and the specifics of the track layout – the imperative was to run in clear air and not in traffic. (Look at the Race History Chart below for a graphic illustration of it.)

This is the dominant factor in Budapest and it is why Hamilton, Pierre Gasly and Kevin Magnussen all had great races and why Sainz lost places to the McLaren cars by being overcut.

It’s also why Vettel struggled through to second place as a best case outcome. He just couldn’t make it happen for himself to get a run in clear air.

He almost managed it, but an overlong first stint and a slow pit stop brought him out behind Valtteri Bottas.

Without that he would have certainly been able to use the clear air to catch Hamilton in the second stint. Whether he would have been able to pass him is highly debatable given the struggle he had passing Bottas who was on much older tyres. But it would have made for an exciting duel.


What was the effect of Ferrari’s split strategy?

As mentioned above the start of the race was fascinating as both Vettel and Sainz were outliers, they chose to start on the more durable soft tyre rather than the ultrasoft tyre that the others were running.

For Vettel it was a reasonable decision; the team put the better placed car of Raikkonen on the ultrasoft tyres with a mission to mix it with the front row Mercedes on the long run down to Turn 1. With Gasly and Sainz on row three of the grid behind him, Vettel could afford the small risk of less grip off the line from starting on softs, but would do his best to get any benefit from Raikkonen disrupting the Mercedes cars.

If all else failed and he was third in the opening stint – he would then be able to extend the first stint and use the clear air running later to catch and attack Hamilton at the end. A Safety Car could intervene, as has happened quite a bit recently.

The main risk with this strategy is the amount of time it takes to cut through lapped traffic, if the drivers in question don’t observe the blue flags. That certainly cost Vettel precious time here and his stint was probably a couple of laps too long.

This all increased the pressure on the pit crew for his stop; it had to be perfect somewhere close to two seconds, in order to come out ahead of Bottas, who had been pulled into making an early stop by Raikkonen committing to a two stop strategy early. Interestingly Ferrari have tried this with Raikkonen on Bottas a few times this year, including Germany where the Mercedes team didn’t bite. Here they did and it opened the road up for Vettel.

But now with everything hanging on the pitstop, the execution wasn’t perfect and he lost 2.5 seconds, enough to come out behind Bottas. Ferrari’s first stop of the day with Raikkonen had been slow too, costing Raikkonen around three seconds and a position to Magnussen.

Bottas did a wonderful job of blocking Vettel from start to almost finish, something team boss Toto Wolff described as a perfect ‘wing man’ role for team leader Hamilton. That description could certainly be applied to Raikkonen, who has performed the role for Vettel and Alonso before him since his return to Ferrari. But it’s not how Bottas sees himself.

Either way the execution by Bottas was almost perfect – aside from an overly dogged defence when the cause was already lost, tapping Vettel’s rear wheel but without puncturing it, fortunately for the German. It broke Bottas’ front wing, however and led to a more costly collision with Ricciardo at the end.

Raikkonen scored a fifth consecutive podium, despite a compromised strategy, a sign of how fast the Ferrari is. When he was running in clear air on softs and Vettel was stuck behind Bottas on ultras, Raikkonen’s relative pace showed that this was a winnable race for Ferrari.

But track position, plus Mercedes’ tactics, as much as any race strategy, won the day.

Getting it right in midfield

In Sainz’ case starting on soft tyres from fifth on the grid was a mistake as he lost two places on the opening lap and effectively undid the good he’d done with his exceptional fifth place qualifying performance in the wet.

Contrast that with Gasly, who started sixth on ultra soft and as the quick cars ahead drove away, he ran his race in clear air, while the cars behind all lost a second or more per lap relative to their potential pace, in traffic.

The pair’s skills in the wet qualifying had put them alongside each other on the third row of the grid, ahead of even wet weather specialist Max Verstappen.

The Dutchman cleared them both at the start, but retired soon after with engine problems. Gasly was able to clear Sainz and run at his pace, while Sainz also fell behind Magnussen.

He pitted on Lap 25 but found himself being overcut by Alonso and Vandoorne, who went 15 laps further on their soft tyres in the opening stint. He finished ninth from fifth on the grid.

The UBS Race Strategy Report is written by James Allen with input and data from several F1 team strategists and from Pirelli.

Race History Chart

Kindly provided by Williams Martini Racing, click to enlarge

The number of laps is on the horizontal axis; the gap behind the leader is on the vertical axis.

A positive sign is an upward curve as the fuel load burns off. A negative sign is the slope declining as the tyre degradation kicks in.

Look at how much more pace the cars running in clear air have compared to those in traffic. Hamilton, Gasly and Magnussen have clean races, for example.

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1

Its very hard to pass on this track. Hamilton could have possibly run faster if he had too but we will never know.

Kimi is getting a bad deal because he is 3rd in the championship. The drivers are taking it on the chin when many mistakes come from behind the pit wall IMO.

2

Updated winning percentages when starting off the front row:

HAM 8/95 = 8.42%

ALO 14/266 = 5.26%

RIC 6/133 = 4.51%

VER 3/69 = 4.35%

VET 5/119 = 4.20%

RAI 10/243 = 4.12%

BOT 1/95 = 1.05%

3

Forget that. It don’t seem to apply this year. Pole doesn’t mean everything this year.

4

I dont quite understand your percentages there KRB…..has HAM only won 8 races after starting 95 races on the front row? Has VET only won 5 from the front row?

Can you please explain?

5

You almost had it. It’s wins from OFF the front row. So yes, Hamilton has won 8 races from 95 starts from P3 or lower.

I had another one that was off the first two rows. I haven’t updated that one in awhile.

Winning from off the front row used to be more prevalent in the earlier years of F1 … a combination of race pace to quali pace disparity, and increased retirements in those years, would be my guess as to why. I would bet that the gradual decrease in retirements in F1 coincided with the advent of the All Scores Count scoring system change of 1991. When I have some free time perhaps I’ll take a look, unless anyone else would like to run with it.

6

Alonso won from 15th in Singapore.

7

Pole does give the best chance unless there are large areas to get tows or the other team doesn’t understand their tires for that race.

8

It’s wins when they weren’t on the front row I.e. third or lower.

9

Thanks for clearing that up….RIC’s stats look really impressive considering the RB has advantages at certain tracks.

10

Hamilton is very impressive so far this year alone.

11

I posted a comment here, but looks like it went to the void. Phil, why would that ratio be better? What would it signify? If someone had 20 starts evenly split between P1 and P3, and won just 1 of those races when starting P3, how would that be better than someone who won 1 race from P3, and say 1-3 when starting from P1? Your ratio would give 100% to the first case, and only 50%, 33.3% or 25% to the latter cases.

That makes NO sense at all.

Of course it makes Kimi look good (at 50%) … that wouldn’t be the inspiration behind this at all, would it? 😉

12

Why would that be better Phil? I only looked at starts off the front row, because “someone” on here was going on about how Lewis couldn’t win from deep, etc. So if he’s started less races from “deep”, obviously he’d have less opportunity to win from deep. That’s only logical. It’s also logical not to demand wins from deep when you’re not starting from deep. Hamilton’s a terrific driver, but even he hasn’t yet cracked the code to winning a race from P3 or lower, when he’s starting on pole. Give him time though … 😉

What is your rationale for why W(>P2)/W would be better? Other than the obvious one that you’re a Kimi fan and that ratio would look really good for Kimi. All it would serve to do is to have any win from P1 or P2 hurt someone’s ratio … not sure how that would be in any way better than how I’ve done it.

13

To get a better picture, look at the percentage of wins off the front row out of total wins, instead of out of total race starts, which was selected to give a flattering picture of Ham….

14

It’s even more impressive if we look at win percentages off the first two rows. I think he’s 2nd on that, and only because Hamilton’s latest win in Germany moved him ahead.

15

vettel enjoyed clear air for several laps after hamilton pitted yet still finished 2nd…

16

True but I think his soft tyres were overheated and not optimal has he had been running close behind BOT and HAM for 25 laps (65% of his soft stint). He had 14 laps of “clear air” before he pitted , 2-3 of which was in traffic.

Up against HAM on new softs who encountered 3 lapped cars early on but each one lap apart, it was always a tall order for VET to execute the overcut on lap 39.

I personally felt Ferrari should have gambled and pitted VET on lap 34 to try the overcut and get track position as they could have seen the traffic he was going to encounter in the subsequent laps.

IMO the only person who could have challenged HAM for the win on this track was BOT with the undercut.

17

great points raised there axx1 but i suspect tyre temperatures are indicated in each cockpit to help drivers manage their tyres. did vettel forget to use the tyre temperature readings like he forgot to use drs for a couple of laps while chasing down bottas?

18

Those soft tires have been terrible.

19

James you didn’t post my last comment after the race so here it is again for the record: Kimi has 8 podiums in 10 races and 5 in a row while driving fast and consistent with always the worst team strategy calls Time for some respect

20

Yep and now he’s going on when he is ahead of everyone but Hamilton and Vettel. Don’t get that.

21
Tornillo Amarillo

Does anybody know why Lewis looks like 10 years older in just 2 races?

Did he change his diet again?

Did he lose weight recently?

Is he doing something different? Catechism lessons?

Is he spending more and more time with the hair stylist now?

Something is going on… 🙂

22

If I could write like Goethe – perhaps time to write a new Faust? One about a F1-Driver who promised his soul to the weather-devil. 😉

23

I like it, especially if you’re going to work in one hell of a payback.

24

Congratulations to rain for getting pole and winning the race!

Some seem to think all Hamilton had to do was turn the wheel.

25

LOL !!!

26

I rarely if ever ‘disagree’ with the strategy report but it’s a bit harsh on Bottas when being passed by Vettel. At the time it really felt like Vettel cut back too soon, and there was no room left.

I’m quite sad to see Mercedes strategy here with Bottas. Its normal for Ferrari to sacrifice Raikkonen (although no less galling), but it looks like they just threw him to the wolves. Pit early for a two stopper but then leave him out as a road block. I don’t think Hamilton needed the help.

27

@ NickH

Oh yes, Vettel had steering problems at Hungary 2017 which in turn slowed down Kimi and Lewis

28

James, are you sure it wasn’t the “blood moon”?

Things perfectly lined up for Hamilton this weekend.

The rain in quali.

Bottas protecting the lead Merc driver at the start.

Kimi’s pitstop.

Sainz ignoring blue flags.

Vettel’s pitstop.

Bottas protecting the lead Merc driver at the midway point.

I concede that Hamilton did drive maturely, sensibly and masterfully but I think Lady Luck was in his corner this weekend. Nothing wrong with that. Part of the sport.

P.S – is it inconceivable to think that Spa, Monza, Singapore, Japan, USA and Brazil will all be wet races this year? There has been an increase in rain globally year after year. 70% in some parts of the US alone. Could this play into both Lewis and Vettel’s title bid?

29

The rain in quali.

you seem to insinuate that rain favours Lewis, therefore he got lucky. Don’t you think Lewis skills of driving in the rain has something to do with why he got the pole?

30

HAM abilities in the wet are indisputable. But I wonder why BOT received no adulation for qualifying on P2 in such tricky conditions. This was a superlative effort considering the other “rain masters” in VER and ALL didn’t really do anything special.

31

@Kaygee

When one of the best wet weather drivers ever had no chance in the dry against the newly minted best car of 2018, which is the Ferrari, wakes up to a drizzle on Saturday morning, well yes, Hamilton was lucky that it rained because his superior driving skills in the wet automatically gave him the advantage. Why do you think he was praying for rain?

For Lewis it was probably divine intervention but for me he was lucky that it rained.

32

What happened to the rule that the overtaking car keeps clear?

SV had another red mist tantrum after frustration of following VB for so long and completely unnecessarily chopped across VB, as in “I’ll show you not to hold me up” .

Shame he didn’t get a left rear puncture.

SF 3 Mercedes-Benz 0 in the thumping another car!

33

An interesting look at things.

Maybe you should start reading the article again, especially the part about Bottas….

34

Looking at it from the other angle, Bottas was near completely behind, and only the fact that he outbraked himself, on the dirtiest patch of the track made him have a contact with SV. Had SV given up the race line, Bottas still would’ve missed the corner, and probably still lost the position.

The question is: Why did Bottas try to defend an already lost position?

35

Because Kimi was right behind, and would’ve had him if he scrubbed off too much speed. I’m sure he was mighty surprised at the cut in from Vettel, as he had never taken that tight line in the race prior to that.

36

Krb, compare Seb’s first lap pass on Kimi with yhe move on Valterri, very interesting….

37

Would he not need to be on the opposite side of the track to defend from Kimi though? A tight inside inside line like he was on and Kimi would have gone out to in and swept underneath him, no?

38

NickH, why was he on the tight inside line to start with? Because he was defending from Vettel, making him go the long way ’round. He couldn’t move to the right until Vettel cleared him, and then Vettel closed the door, so there was never any chance of doing what he wanted to.

39

Nico hit me

40

@Jon, i remember!

…seems like no one else does…

41

Hi took corner as usual, Botas couldn’t brake, lost downforce like Vettel in Baku

42

I object to: Mclaren did OK & Stoffel been as usefull …

Alo ran 3 seconds in front of Stoffel when the gearbox said goodbye, and was over 25s behind Gasly with the GP2 engine.

Stoffel always gets the less performing parts, updates at least one race later than Alo, Strategy wise at least at two tracks this year Stoffel was offered up to fend of backmarkers by extending the first stint. During qualifications twice took one for the team by giving Alo a tow. And if Alo ends up behind Stoffel in the race, you can bet there will be a DNF. I would say, being in a McLaren, made to suit Alo, next to Alo is as usefull to a career as a bout of Ebola, for any non British driver. Only a British driver will get an honest chance.

43

It’s the Alonso way though. Ensure that your ‘team mate’ has absolutely zero chance of competing on equal terms with you. Then tell the media how brilliant you are every week, cynically pointing to the other driver’s performance as though it was a level benchmark. The one time Alonso wasn’t allowed to play that way, we know what happened – 2007 – burning his chance of driving a decent car for the remainder of his career.

44

I could watch smoke coming from the Ferraris… Oil type smoke.. James can you tell us if FIA was able to police this burning oil to get HP… seems to me Ferrari cars are fast with little hello.

45

Rain decided the grid which pretty much decided the race.

46

Hamilton consistently drives well in wet conditions……he is that kind of driver he is always quickest out of the box. i.e. new circuits, first runs on green track etc.

IMHO he is gifted with a natural talent for finding grip where others struggle his team mates benefit from having him as a benchmark. Thats not to say he is good at everything he sometimes comes over a bit like Forest Gump…..when interviewed he doesn’t seem to know what happened in the race…..you just point him in the right direction and he goes…..extraordinarily fast.

47
Martin Wingate

I’ve seen no evidence posted this suggested either before the race or afterwards, that the Mercedes was better in the rain. In fact, most would have assumed differently.

Maybe, just maybe Hamilton and Bottas did a better job than the rest?

48

Don’t you just hate it when F1 cars drive themselves in the rain?

49

Well I remember Bottas and Massa being fairly equal in the rain at Williams unless I am totgaly forgetting a stand out wet weather performance from Bottas. And Massa has never been regarded good in the wet, Kimi was even better than him.

True though Merc did a good job in the rain, Ferrari messed up sending their drivers out at the wrong time.

50

Canada ’13 was a great wet-weather qualifying from Bottas. He was 1.3 and 1.5 seconds quicker than Maldonado in a Q1 and Q2 that were both wet and changeable (rain intensity). Massa was 1.6 secs off Alonso in Q2.

Bottas then qualified his Williams higher than Rosberg, Webber, and Alonso in Q3.

Bottas drove better than Massa in Brazil ’16 obviously, with Massa binning it.

Are you sure Kimi was better than Massa in the wet? Right off the top, I’m thinking of Spa ’08 where Kimi binned it, while Massa kept it on the road. Then again there’s Silverstone ’08, where Massa was quite hopeless.

Kimi likely would’ve beaten Hamilton to pole in Budapest if he didn’t encounter traffic. This Ferrari is not bad in the wet … it’s a lot better than it was last year.

51

IIRC Kimi was pushing hard against Hamilton in those conditions as it was win or bust for his championship. Massa was all by himself in 3rd, granted he kept it on the road.

In ‘07 Kimi beat Massa in most of the wet races, well definitely China and Fuji.

52

Bottas will almost certainly play a supporting role from now on, but the best way he can play a supporting role is to qualify as far forward and race as far forward as possible; Mercedes won’t be able to pull this trick all that often at tracks where it’s easier to overtake.

It’s notable that they were responding to Ferrari’s undercut with Kimi when they probably didn’t need to; I remember at the time thinking “surely that frees Vettel up to run in clear air now?”

Also, the race history graph is borked again 😕

53

I felt the same about BOT pitting so early – he had track position over VET and yet they chose to cover RAI. If he had maintained his P2 longer on the first stint he could have undercut VET and have enough in his soft tyres to defend at the end.

54

I thought the same – I don’t understand why they pitted Bottas when they did. Especially when Ferrari messed up Raikkonen’s stop, leaving him further behind running the slower tyre in traffic. At the very least they could have left him out a lap or two and still got him out in front.

But they should have just focused on Vettel. He was clearly never going to stop that early so no risk of him undercutting Bottas.

55

Thank you for another great race report James.

Hamilton made his luck by qualifying on pole in the wet; following that it was all damage control from Ferrari. Ferrari did the right thing by starting Vettel on the harder compound, but I feel lost it a bit by not pitting him earlier (or later) so he could extend the gap sufficiently to Bottas. When Vettel pitted, he had barely 20 seconds, and with a perfect pit stop it would still have been touch and go. As you point out, even without the errors or traffic, Vettel would have found it very hard to pass Hamilton, even if he did catch him.

Couple of other observations about the race, and inconsistent stewarding

1) Bottas should have been penalized for the contact with Vettel – if only for the sake of consistency. He was behind, braked late, had no grip and made contact. No different than the Vettel or Kimi incidents in the past races.

2) No penalty for Sainz for ignoring blue flags. He ignored 9 flags (when a driver has to give way after 3), and ended up costing Vettel a lot of time. If the FIA is not going to enforce blue flag rules, then they should just abolish them, and let lapped cars fight the lapping car.

In concluding, the first half of the season has ended with Ferrari having a slightly faster car, but with Hamilton and Merc leading both championships (handily for WDC). As a Vettel fan, I find it hard to admit this – but I am wondering if Ferrari would be better off with another WDC contender in the other seat – someone like an Alonso, or even Ricciardo. No disrespect to Kimi, but he’s a no.2 in the team, and in any case does not have the consistent pace over a season to beat Vettel. Maybe Ferrari need to let bygones be bygones and sign Alonso for 2019.

56

Re. 2), the number of blue flags passed isn’t relevant. Once shown a blue flag a driver “must allow the following car to pass at the earliest opportunity”, which at the Hungaroring may be after several corners.

57

Yes, was already obvious in Germany: Non-Mercedes loose more time by people ignoring blue flags. A Non-Mercedes looses even more time passing a driver who has blue flags than a Mercedes who is overtaking same driver when he would be allowed to defend!

Take a timer and watch the race frame by frame.

Hamilton started from 14 and 10 overtakes were no overtakes at all. The problem is: The not top 6 drivers look more in the mirror to make room for a Mercedes than to the side or at the cockpit to see blue flags for Non-Mercedes.

58

Wow… are people still wallowing about Lewis victory in Germany? I’m impressed with the amount of worthless dedication of energy and time.

59

Stewarding is a joke. You can get away with anything depending on who you are. Last race HAM exited the pit lane by driving over grass just because it was “confusing part of the race” and the FIA did nothing.

60

At, did he?! I had no idea, it was barely mentioned at the time……

61

Did He? I think everyone on this site missed that because there were no comments about it all. Ahem.

62
Tornillo Amarillo

I liked Ricciardo in his own from the back to P4, simple 1 stop strategy (long-stint on Soft, then Ultras), no favoritism, no wingman to protect him, no crashing into others, not using love… just driving fast, overtaking and getting points for the team.

63

“not using love…”

That literally made me laugh out loud 😀

64

With Spa and Monza next on the list, Vet might be wise to emulate Ricciardo. It’s difficult to properly nail down but that magic front axel can evidently be setup for either steering or brakes alas not so much both it seems. Makes sense of Red Bull grid positions at least! Wet qualifying undidum, set for brakes see.

65

“In Sainz’ case starting on soft tyres from fifth on the grid was a mistake”. Possibly yes, because braking and accelerating in the first turns is harder because of lower grip. However, Sainz’ start was excellent actually. Instead of being threatened by Gasly and Verstappen he drove up next to Vettel. But instead of pulling the move through on the outside, he lifted very early and moved towards Vettel. This compromised his good position and led to his losing two places. Of course, quite possible he would have lost out after the turn anyway.

66

Daniel

I was pretty impressed by the Dutch fans who loudly cheered Dan’s passing of Bottas in the last lap of the race. Fair play to them considering that their guy didn’t get a chance to entertain them.

67

Adrian,

Yes! Maybe you’ve read my comment in the race report: “It was nice to see the no doubt dejected Dutch fans cheer the Australian for that, wasn’t it?” Dan is quite well loved.

68

@ Adrian…yes, i too was very surprised by the Dutchies support. Then again there are many many Dutch people living in Australia and have been for a very long time. As a teenager i hung out with a group of Dutchies who were amongst my best friends. They still are.

69

“That description could certainly be applied to Raikkonen, who has performed the role for Vettel and Alonso before him since his return to Ferrari”

– If that was the case, Ferrari would not have hesitated in asking Raikkonen to move out of Vettel’s way in Germany that too with both of them running different strategies.

James Allen- Sorry to call you a liar, but that is what you are. Over and out.

70

@forza

For that idiotic post, I hope Ferrari get roasted “again” by Merc😉

71

James k, don’t blame Ferrari for that dopes comment

72

Forza

Well, despite your disrespectful attitude I don’t think James will lose any sleap.

73

Your harsh words to James are both disrespectful and inaccurate Have you even watched the last 21 races? Ferrari have consistently degraded, impaired, or otherwise damaged Kimi’s race strategies to favour Seb What happened in Germany was a totally transparent and not very effective move to counter the reality the team orders favouring Seb rule at Ferrari!

74

So you’re argument against Ferrari favouring Vettel over Kimi is that they didn’t move him out of the way fast enough?!?

75

Are you for real.

Liar???

You don’t have to agree with him, but that’s a bit strong. We are all F1 fns first, I thought.

76

A great race with lots of drama and clearly shows how the different strategies at play resulted in differing fortunes for the teams. Vettel compromised his race by pitting too late resulting in being compromised by back markers. If he had pitted earlier he had time to play with and still come out in 2nd place. It just shows though how difficult the teams make it for themselves by overthinking the “what ifs”. Lewis had a great result and clearly benefited from the qualy weather and then Ferrari’s strategy call pitting him too l;ate. Still think it will be nip and tuck to end of season.

77

Thank you for a refreshing race report telling it as it is!

Not so much what each individual race driver of that name did or didn’t do versus another race driver of that name did or didn’t do.

Of course the starting grid was of outmost importance as it is most usually in Hungary. But having free air or not in front of you dictates how well your tires hold up and what chances you have of advancing forward or not. A few drivers not respecting blue flags and then a couple of slow pit stops made the difference. A few of such episodes dictates if you are on a winner or not. Hungary is known for being difficult if not all impossible to overtake on for equal powered cars and the race this year was unfortunately fine evidence of just that. Essentially a boring race except for the wingman antics. Let’s hope Vettel wins the next couple of races so we can get some much needed life back into the WDC battle. Still think Hamilton will win it again this year but just hope the season will not be over till later.

78

Look how Kimi drops Ricciardo after their final pit stops. Red Bull have really dropped back.

79

we kept hearing throughout the race about drivers being compromised by lack of “clean” air. can you please explain how Danny Ric was able to pass cars at will. yes, he’s a great driver and he has a great aero package. The red cars were faster and yet were bottled up by VB.

80

Because in terms of pace around Hungary it was Ferrari > Mercedes > Red Bull >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>the field.

81

True, but not the full story. The ability to brake extremely late and still make a corner is a special skill, even at the top level and is the big difference in being able to pass or not at a circuit such as the

Hungaroring, particularly in an underpowered car.

82

It is, and obviously not all drivers are created equal, but given the competitive picture at the moment I think any of the top 6 could have started where Ricciardo was and finished fifth (which obviously became fourth with the damage to Bottas’ front wing). Even Christian Horner said fifth was their target.

83

I heard that from Horner as well (basically all English speakers now can only see the Sky broadcast) and think that you are correct about the others in the top six, but for a few, only in their own cars.

In the Bulls car, only HAM and probably VER would also have been able to get back up there for mine, and particularly after losing more places following the first corner whack from ERI. I just don’t see the necessary skills in the other front running drivers to overtake at that circuit.

84

No it was directed at Ricciardo, he said it in the Sky commentary when they went live to the pit wall, Verstappen had already retired.

85

@ Andrew m…Yes, he did say that but surely it was directed to Verstappen…not Ricciardo. Given their pace it was more likely to be the car that started 7th not one down in 12/16th! That is the only explanation that makes any sense.

86

The gap between the top 3 teams and the rest of the field is about 2-3 seconds a lap on certain tracks. With that kind of advantage it is no issue to blast through traffic – until you get to drivers in equal equipment. On track like this you need some form of advantage to pass – fresher tires, stronger engine, etc. That’s why none of the “recovery” drives from Ferrari, Mercedes or Red Bull drivers this year are particularly impressive. RIC finished exactly where he should have. He was lucky that BOT tires were shot and was able to get past him.

87

Question noted.
Original comment deleted.
-Editor

88

Oooh look. An article about why I often doze off watching F1.

Ban aerodynamics, bring back fag packet designs and 1 engine, from Cosworth, for all.

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