Hungarian GP preview – Track walk

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2017 will see Budapest host the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix for an impressive 32nd time. It will once again be held on the Hungaroring which is located in a valley offering a unique look on the circuit.

The most famous race track of the small East-European country lies just outside the gorgeous capital, Budapest. It is located in a beautiful scenery with enormous green fields and forests. Ayrton Senna claimed the first pole position in his Lotus while Nelson Piquet crossed the finish line first in his Williams on the historic track behind the old-time Iron Curtain.

The circuit built in 1985 is 4381m long after its latest reconstruction in 2003. The relatively short track means fans see their heroes 70 times rushing around during the Grand Prix. Due to its layout, overtaking is rather difficult on the circuit, the start offers one of the main opportunities for a manoeuvre as drivers have to cover 610m up to the first, slow, cambered corner.

Drivers fly around the circuit clockwise. The twisty track consists 14 corners, seven of them are right-hand ones, the other seven corners are left-hand ones.

The track is often compared to the mesmerizing Monaco street circuit due to its slow-speed nature. There are three turns taken under 100kph while there is no corner which would be taken at a speed above 250kph. There are only two significant straights: one is the start-finish straight while the other one is between turn 11 and turn 12. It absolutely plays down the importance of the power units and puts emphasis on the aerodynamic balance and the mechanical grip of the racing machineries.

The average speed of the fastest race lap set by Kimi Räikkönen during the 2016 Formula One Hungarian GP was 189.822kph. The highest top speed is around 295kph. Drivers apply full throttle for around 56 per cent of the lap.

There are 11 braking zones, five of them are heavy braking actions. The longest flat-out section is approximately 910m on the main straight.

Fuel consumption is not a decisive factor around the Hungaroring. Cars use 1.38kg of fuel per lap which means around 96.6kg of total fuel consumption during the full race distance. The time penalty per lap of fuel is 0,042s which means a time loss of 0,3 tenth of a second for 10l of fuel.

The fastest lap record was set by the sensational seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher back in 2004 when the German clocked a 1:19.071 during the Grand Prix. The fastest ever lap was completed by the Brazilian Rubens Barrichello in his Ferrari during the qualifying session of the 2004 Hungarian GP.

As for the strategy, the usual strategy choice is the two-stop strategy. Drivers have to travel at the pit limiter speed for 341m. The twisty corners favour the fresh tyres, but the traffic and the toughness of overtaking force strategists to work out the way how to achieve the least number of stops. The 31 Hungarian GP races were won 13 times starting from the pole position.