Formula One

Five things F1 learned: Hungary

Force India in Hungary
Esteban Ocon leading Renault’s Jolyon Palmer through turns 6-7 during 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix. http://www.forceindiaf1.com/node/451

Formula One has now commenced its summer break after an entertaining Hungarian Grand Prix.

 

For one final time before the month long sabbatical, just what were the biggest lessons to come out of this weekend?

 

Future is orange

McLaren can go into the summer break in a brighter mood than most teams, given their strong performances all weekend.

Just like 2016, the Hungaroring has been their haven with both cars again qualifying in the top ten here. 2015 saw the cars qualify 15th & 16th but Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button were able to drive the cars that day into a double points finish.

With upcoming races being power centric, McLaren certainly made sure that this opportunity counted results wise with a double points finish.

This result will too have far reaching consequences in the constructors’ battle as the team move above Sauber and off the bottom.

 

Palmer feeling the heat

Hungary might be hot but the heat definitely got to Palmer on Friday.

Firstly, he brought out a red flag at end of FP1 when he broke his front wing by running over the kerbs at turn four. The afternoon session didn’t get better when a spin put him in the barrier.

Saturday brought a much stronger performance with 10th on grid following Nico Hulkenberg’s penalty.

His race was pretty much compromised by being on the wrong tyre strategy. Renault should also respect him for playing the team game by letting Hulkenberg through when struggled against Esteban Ocon.

All in all, a huge confidence boosting weekend irrespective of Friday’s troubles for Palmer.

 

Can Williams get a break?

Williams will surely be heading into the summer break with mixed feelings.

A torrid July has seen them struggle throughout each weekend and to top it off, Felipe Massa was ruled out of Hungary after FP3 with an reported inner ear issue.

Qualifying then saw both drivers dumped out in the first session. I have to give a shout out to Massa’s replacement, Paul di Resta who had to learn the car in that first session whilst trying to qualify as strongly as he could.

That would normally be a tough ask for any rookie let alone a driver, who’s last F1 weekend was the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix in a much easier car.

Race day brought a nightmare performance with both cars failing to repeat their starts of Spielberg and Silverstone and nil points for the team.

Given that di Resta is only driving in this race, he will be disappointed to not maximise this opportunity to impress Williams with a late retirement.

As for Lance Stroll, Williams better hope that he is the F1 version of F2’s Artem Markelov and improves the longer that he stays in the series like the latter did in GP2 and now F2.

If not, they should look at potential replacements after the summer break because they can’t rely on Felipe Massa to bring the bacon home every race and especially next year.

 

Hollow victory or masterstroke?

Hungary 2004, a German takes pole and the win in the famous red Ferrari and his name was Michael Schumacher. That year was the last time that the Hungarian GP winner went on to win the drivers’ championship in same season because nobody has achieved that feat since then.

Fast forward 13 years, a German takes pole and victory in a red Ferrari and this time, his name is Sebastian Vettel. Could history be about to repeat itself and end Hungary’s stake for title of the poisoned chalice race?

Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will both be hoping that its the latter and this victory proves to be Vettel’s undoing in the championship battle to leave an inter team Mercedes fight for the title.

Come season’s end, we will know if this race was a hollow victory or a masterstroke for Vettel and Ferrari as far as their title hopes go.

 

Resilient Force India

Force India struggled as usual around the Hungaroring all weekend.

Friday and Saturday were surely disappointing but Sunday’s race brought surprisingly good results.

Even though Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon only finished eighth and ninth, for the team it must feel more like a 1-2 place finish given their appalling track record here.

 

Hopefully the coming races will provide an opportunity for Force India to rediscover their raw speed and quality that was on show in June.

 

 

For those of you who have enjoyed the post race ‘Five things F1 learned;’ round up series, I hope that you all enjoy the summer break come rain or shine. Hopefully you will all be back when the post race round ups resume in Spa Francorchamps on 27th August.

Now I am going to leave you with links to previous round ups, in case you missed any of the series so far.

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