What to expect at the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix?

Formula one returns to Hungaroring for the 13th round of the 2022 season. With Red Bull leading both championships, here is the insight into the upcoming weekend and what to expect. After an enthralling French GP, F1 is headed to Budapest for the 13th round of the season. The Hungarian GP is going to be the final race before the summer break. This race is going to be the last chance for the teams before they lock their cars and put the tools down. 

Here is a synopsis of what to expect in the coming weekend.

Circuit Overview

Hungaroring is one of the trickiest and slowest circuits on the calendar. Famously known as “Monaco without barriers”, the circuit is 4.381km long with 14 turns. 

The circuit has been a part of the Formula one calendar since 1986. It’s going to be a 70-laps-long battle as the lights go out at 15:00 local time.

Image Credits: F1.com

The lap record is held by Lewis Hamilton (1:16.627). The Briton is an eight-time winner of the Hungarian GP.

Weather Report

After a sweltering weekend in France, the rain is set to return at the Hungarian GP. Just like last year’s race, this weekend is also expected to be of mixed conditions. On Friday, as the drivers hit the track for the first time, the conditions are going to be similar to what we saw in France, with temperatures reaching a high of 32 degrees Celsius and a 0% rain probability the whole day.

On Saturday, however, things are expected to get exciting, at least for the fans. Drivers and teams, however, will probably have to face the wet conditions with 80% chances of rain throughout the day. Temperatures will drop to around 25 degrees Celsius.

Image Credits: F1.com

On Sunday, as lights go out, the chances of rain loom around 14%. The temperatures are expected to peak at around 26 degrees Celsius. But, winds can be a matter, with 18 mph gusts making things hard for the drivers. A wet qualification and a probable dry race mean a time for the strategists. Let’s see how the teams cope with the conditions. Hungary is infamous for its weather.

Ferrari’s problem

As if Ferrari’s reliability issues and strategic blunders weren’t enough, a rookie mistake by Charles Leclerc at French GP has put Ferrari far behind the Championship leader Red Bull. Scuderia enters Budapest 82 points behind Red Bull. Charles Leclerc is now 63 points behind Max Verstappen. But, these are a fraction of Ferrari’s bigger troubles.

Hungary GP will be the last race before Formula one goes on the summer break. Coming to the final race of the first half, Ferrari has still not officially recognized any of the two drivers as their no.1 driver.

Image Credits: motorsports.com

With Championship slipping away from Ferrari, they really need to decide who to give priority in winning the races. Leclerc should be the obvious choice. Nevertheless, Ferrari still needs to sort out things before going ahead, or they will lose out to Red Bull. After years, Ferrari was able to again produce a competitive car and got back to winning ways. But, the on-track decisions and strategies are hindering Ferrari. 

Here is what former world Champion Damon Hill has to say on this matter:

“I think they (Ferrari) had been a little bit out of it last year,” Hill told Sky Sports News. “They weren’t terribly competitive, and they kind of maybe got a bit lackadaisical in their race team mindset.

Image Credits: scuderria.com

The 1996 World Champion believes Ferrari needs to “take a look at themselves” before they can aim to win this Championship.

Nevertheless, the Scarlet Ferrari is expected to have the upper hand because of the high downforce nature of the track. Ferrari has been incredibly good at slow corners and should definitely have a pace advantage over Red bull on this track.

Red Bull’s Challenge at Budapest?

Budapest is not going to be an easy weekend for the bulls. The tight and twisty corners of the track will definitely give Ferrari an upper hand.  Looking back at France, the advantage Ferrari carried in curvy sections of the track, especially in sector three, was vast. 

Championship Leader Verstappen has already addressed his concerns, fearing a very tough fight from Ferrari at Budapest. Verstappen said:

“In Budapest they will be all over us.”

Image Credits: Racing Wheels

Verstappen has a lead of 63 points which he believes to be “bigger than it should’ve been”. The Dutch said:

“Of course the lead we have is great, but it’s probably a bit bigger than what it should have been, when you look at the car performances between the two cars.”

The difference between the two cars seems to go in favour of Ferrari at the moment. However, it’s sure that Red Bull give fight to the finish line. Accompanied by Ferrari’s reliability issues, Red Bull seems to have a chance.  Even if they don’t get a win, what matters is they get the maximum points.

“It’s still very important to always score points, even on a bad day, which we did in Austria,” said Verstappen.

Sergio Perez lost a hard-fought P3 in France. The Red Bull’ Monaco struggled the whole weekend at Paul Ricard.

With his claims that the car is developing away from his driving style, it would be intriguing to see how the Mexican performs at Hungaroring.

Is Mercedes back to winning ways?

The start of the Mercedes season was not what the eight-time world champions would’ve expected. They struggled with the porpoising issue for most of the first half. However, Mercedes seems to be back on its track. The Silver Arrows showed a strong pace at Paul Ricard and secured the team’s first double podium of the season.

Mercedes didn’t seem close to the pace of the front leaders. Nevertheless, by the end of the race, both Hamilton and Russell were showing times faster than Perez. 

Image Credits: motorsports.com

Hamilton, for most of the race, was faster than the second Red Bull and slightly off-pace compared to Max Verstappen. The biggest deficit the Mercedes seems to have is in straight line speed, with the team still struggling to find the maximum speed.

Given the tight corners of the Hungaroring, which doesn’t really provide that many overtaking opportunities, the track can play in favour of Mercedes and especially Hamilton. This is the reason this track has given many surprise results as it plays like a wild card race. 2021 Esteban Ocon’s win is the latest example.

As the front two fight in a kneecap situation, Hamilton can get a chance to join the action. 

Moreover, statistically speaking, Hungary is the best track for Hamilton, having won here eight times since 2007. The 7-time world champion has a big hope of podium or even the first win of the season.

Also, we can’t forget Mr Consistent, who is having an incredible season and is just 1 point off P4 in driver’s standings.

Final Preview

The qualifying session is most likely to be affected by rain. We know the Red Bull car has a better performance in the rain, and Max Verstappen really pushes it to the max in the rain. Red Bull and Verstappen would be favourites in a rain-affected qualification.

But let’s not forget the pole-machine of this season, Charles Leclerc, who has produced some fine quali-laps.

The main race is expected to be dry, so the twisty track will favour Ferraris. However, overtaking won’t be an easy job for anyone. If Verstappen really wins pole, then it would be up to Charles to chase him down, which he surely can due to the faster Ferrari.

All things considered, we are headed to another exciting weekend. Stay Tuned with The Sportsway for more updates.

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