Hungarian Grand Prix notebook – Saturday

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Saturday was all about securing the best starting position for the 34th Hungarian Grand Prix, a race where overtaking is usually rather difficult. F1Technical.net’s Balázs Szabó reports from the scene.

Rain was forecast for today, but it only skimmed the Hungaroring and now the risk of having a wet race tomorrow is gradually diminishing. As drivers were deprived of meaningful running on a clean track on Friday, they were all glad to make the best use of the final practice session to find the best setup for the tricky and difficult layout of the Hungarian Grand Prix circuit.

Hamilton not the best driver? – In Hungary, Max Verstappen was asked who he thinks is the best driver of the current field. The Dutchman could not answer the question and he indicated that there are other drivers who could have achieved the same run of success as the five-time world champion Lewis Hamilton had they get a better car. "Hamilton is undoubtedly one of the best who has ever done it. But really, to say that he’s the best of his generation ? I don’t know. Maybe it’s Fernando Alonso. He could have won seven, eight world titles, if he had been at the right team."

Finally found the rhythm – Even if his opening day was curtailed, first due to engine issues and then following a rain shower in the second session, Valtteri Bottas finished second in today’s qualifying, just 18 thousandths of a second slower than pole-sitter Max Verstappen, equivalent to a distance of just over one metre. The Finn added that the third practice session was important to find his rhythm which “was just getting better and better through Qualifying.”

One stop – Speaking to Pirelli after the qualifying session, the sport’s sole tyre supplier predicted a one-stop race for tomorrow. The top five on the grid start on the Medium tyres, while Gasly was unable to make the cut to Q3 without resorting to Softs, after a run on the harder compound saw him risk getting knocked out. The pit stop window comes between laps 30 and 35 for those starting on Mediums and between 24 and 30 for those on Softs.

Improving SF90 – Ferrari only finished in the fourth and fifth position in today’s qualifying session, but team principal Mattia Binotto was delighted with the way how the SF90 improved over the last weeks. The Swiss-Italian admitted he was not surprised that his drivers could not end the session higher up given the tight and twisty nature of the Hungaroring. In fact, he was buoyed by the performance gains achieved through the team’s recent upgrades. “The gap is closer than we might have expected and to a certain extent, that’s encouraging. We therefore had further proof today that we are on the right path in terms of our development of the SF90,” he said.

The valuable reverse pole – Nikolas Latifi delivered a brilliant performance in today’s Formula One feature race to secure his fourth victory of the season. With series leader Nyck de Vries finishing in the second position, the Canadian driver could gain a few points on the Dutchman to decrease the gap to 28 points. Mick Schumacher will start on reverse pole for the first time since Bahrain in the Sprint Race and aim for a maiden win in F2 when the action kicks off again tomorrow at 11.25am local time.

Danish success - Renault Academy driver Christian Lundgaard who topped the timesheet to snatch a maiden F3 pole could convert his starting position into his first victory of the season. Behind the Dane, the British pair of Max Fewtrell and Jake Hughes completed the podium. Championship leader Robert Shwartzman only finished fifth, but his lead in the Standings hardly got smaller as his main rival Jüri Vips also failed to secure a podium finish by only clinching the fourth place in the opening race of the weekend.