Venue of this weekend’s 34th edition of the Hungarian Grand Prix is the 4.381-kilometre (2.722-mile), 14-turn Hungaroring – a tight and twisty circuit that many drivers liken to a full-size karting track.
It is the slowest permanent venue in Formula One, a change from the recent run of power circuits. Slow, however, doesn’t mean easy. Despite an average speed of 200 kph (124 mph), which is notably slower than the average speed drivers normally experience in Formula One, the Hungaroring requires precision and preservation.
It is a physical track, demanding a lot from the drivers who, in turn, demand a lot from their car throughout the 70-lap race.
Tire management is a crucial part of that strategy. The track is a seemingly never-ending succession of corners, where typically hot weather combined with a high amount of traction, braking and lateral energy demands work the tires and the driver hard.
As such, an extreme level of fitness is required for the drivers, who are seemingly always turning the wheel amid high temperatures with scant amounts of air flowing through the car. (Source: Haas F1 Media)
Hungarian Grand Prix FAQs
When was the track built?
Work began on the Hungaroring in 1985, and the track was race-ready just nine months later. The Hungarian government had originally considered reviving the old Nepliget park circuit in Budapest in a bid to host Formula 1 in the country, but in the end decided to create a purpose-built facility instead.
When was its first Grand Prix?
The year was 1986. Nelson Piquet won the first F1 race around the Hungaroring, famously slithering his Williams around the outside of Ayrton Senna’s Lotus to take the lead.
What’s the circuit like?
The lack of straights at the Hungaroring often sees it compared to a karting circuit – and it’s true, the resemblance is uncanny. With several series of corners to string together, teams opt for Monaco levels of downforce, with a well-sorted chassis tending to be rewarded over horsepower given the short straights on offer. It’s a challenge many of the drivers relish, however, with finding a good rhythm key to setting fast lap times.
Hungary in July is usually hot hot hot. The good news if you’re at the track, though, is that there’s a water park close by – the Mogyorodi Aquarena vizi szorakoztatopark – which should be a good place to cool off. Away from aqueous activities, the circuit is only 20km from Budapest, putting you close to one of Europe’s most fascinating, storied and lively city centres.
Where is the best place to watch?
The track is built in a natural bowl, a bit like the UK’s Brands Hatch. That means that any of the grandstands located on or around the main straight should provide a view of other parts of the track too, giving you more F1 bang for your, er, forint. (Source F1.com)
Reuters Facts & Stats
Stats and facts for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring, the 12th race of the 21-round season:
- Lap distance: 4.381km. Total distance: 306.630km (70 laps)
- 2018 pole: Lewis Hamilton (Britain) Mercedes one minute 35.658 seconds.
- 2018 winner: Hamilton
- Race lap record: One minute 19.071 seconds, Michael Schumacher (Germany) Ferrari, 2004.
- Start time: 1310 GMT (1510 local)
Hungarian Grand Prix
- Lewis Hamilton has won a record six times in Hungary (2007, 2009 and 2012 with McLaren. 2013, 2016 and 2018 with Mercedes). He has also been on pole six times and can equal Schumacher’s record seven at the circuit.
- Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo have also won in Hungary.
- Alfa Romeo’s Raikkonen has made more podium appearances (nine) in Hungary than any driver. He has also had four fastest laps there.
- The lowest winning start in Hungary was Jenson Button’s victory from 14th on the grid in 2006.
- Hungary’s debut in 1986 made it the first F1 race in eastern Europe behind what was then the ‘Iron Curtain’. This weekend’s race is the 34th Hungarian GP.
- Fifteen of the 33 races to date have been won from pole.
- Hamilton has 80 victories from 240 races and is closing the gap to Schumacher’s record 91. He has also won 58 of the 111 races in the V6 turbo hybrid era that started in 2014.
- Vettel, third on the all-time list, has 52.
- Ferrari have won 235 races since 1950, McLaren 182, Williams 114, Mercedes 96 and Red Bull 61. Former champions McLaren and Williams have not won since 2012.
- Hamilton has won seven out of 11 races so far this season and has a 41-point lead in the championship over team mate Valtteri Bottas, who has won twice. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen has also won twice.
- Hamilton has a record 87 career poles, Vettel 56.
- Only three of the 11 races so far this season have been won from pole — Bottas in Azerbaijan and Hamilton in Monaco and France.
- Hamilton has 143 career podiums. Vettel has 116.
- Hamilton has finished the last 23 races in the points. He holds the record of 33 scoring finishes in a row.
- Daniil Kvyat’s third place in Germany for Toro Rosso was only the third time since 2017 that a driver from outside the top three teams has appeared on the podium.
- It was also the first time since 1988 that two different Honda-powered teams had drivers on the podium.
- This year marks 25 years since Verstappen’s father Jos finished third at the Hungaroring for Benetton, his first podium in Formula One.
- Williams’ Robert Kubica made his F1 debut in Hungary in 2006.