Summary before F1 traditional summer break


The final grand prix before F1 heads off on its traditional summer break takes us to the twisting, turning, amphitheatre that is the Hungaroring.
The bowl-shaped 4.4km circuit is normally a steaming cauldron, too, and it’s not solely due to the sweltering temperatures the race weekend usually brings our way. A sizeable chunk of the boiling-point atmosphere is down to the thousands of Finns who for the past three decades have almost made their race their own. Just why the hordes of Helsinki and beyond have chosen the Hungaroring as their unofficial racing home is anyone’s guess, but in a bid to get closer to the truth we asked Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen for his thoughts on the matter. He was, as usual, succinct.
Elsewhere, we take a look a slightly off-kilter look back at last year’s race and we bring you all the stats you need to know ahead of the race, including details of a weekend birthday celebration and the digits behind the true heroes of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
I think you’ll find…
Everyone loves a good race stat, an obscure trivia bomb with which to stun even the most numerically obsessed F1 colleague. No problem, from Abecassis to Zunino and the A1 Ring to Zolder we’ve got you covered. This time we head for the Hungaroring, home of the Hungarian Grand Prix and a venue where two drivers appear to feel particularly at home – Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Räikkönen. 5 wins for Lewis Hamilton in Hungary, making him the most successful driver at this circuit. The Briton set the standard with a 2016 win that took him one clear of previous record holder Michael Schumacher. Lewis’ Budapest victories came in 2007, 2009 and 2012 with McLaren and in 2013 and last year with Mercedes. The Hungaroring is one of three F1 venues at which Hamilton has five wins or more. The others are Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (6) and China’s Shanghai International Circuit (5). He has the won the US Grand Prix five times, but the first came at Indianapolis Motor Speedway 7 Podium appearances for Kimi Räikkönen at the Hungaroring, tying him for the podium record alongside Ayrton Senna. The Finn first stood on the Budapest podium in 2003 with McLaren (P2). He won for the Woking outfit in 2005, claimed P2 in 2007, P3 in 2008 and P2 in 2009 with Ferrari and then took back-to-back second places with Lotus in 2012 and 2013.
1 Career pole position for Thierry Boutsen, scored in Hungary in 1990. The Belgian had 164 goes at qualifying but only once did he bother the front row, when driving for Williams. He made it count, too, leading for the entire race and taking the last of three career wins, just 0.288s ahead of Aytron Senna. Boutsen’s most frequently visited grid spot? That would be sixth, which he claimed on 14 occasions. 33 Races in the points and counting for Ferrari, the most of any manufacturer currently. The Scuderia’s run extends all the way back to the 2015 Brazilian Grand Prix (pictured, Sebastian Vettel). Despite some reliability woes this season Red Bull Racing are next on the list and if either Max Verstappen of Daniel Ricciardo finish in the top 10 this weekend the Milton Keynes squad will reach a total of 28 races in the points. Mercedes are currently at 26.
36 This coming Saturday Fernando Alonso will celebrate his 36th birthday. What else was happening on 29 July 1981? In the UK, Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer, with the ceremony being watched by a worldwide TV audience of 700 million. If you were listening to the radio ‘Jesse’s Girl’ by Rick Springfield was about to hit No 1 in the US, in the UK The Specials were on top with ‘Ghost Town’ but in Spain the airwaves were mostly likely filled with ‘Ay Amor’ by Victor Manuel. ‘Arthur’ starring Dudley Moore was the most popular movie at the cinema. Fernando will celebrate his birthday by qualifying ahead of what should be his 281st grand prix start.
Budapest’s Finnish Lines

There might be around 1,500km between Helsinki and Budapest as the crow flies but Hungary’s race has long been known as the unofficial Finnish Grand Prix. So who better to ask why than a man who’s raced there 14 times already – Kimi Räikkönen, who answered with… err, his trademark brevity.

Explain why it is that Finns have adopted Hungary as their home race? Is it cheap beer or is there more to it than that?

I think it has nothing to do with drinking! But, you know, the Hungarian language is a bit similar to Finnish, so maybe that is one reason so many Finns come down here…

The grandstands generally have a lot of Finnish flags flying but what’s it like when that support is multiplied many times over or do you not notice since this will be your 15th start there?

It is always nice to see lot of fans… and yes, of course I do notice that there are an exceptional amount of Finnish flags.
You’ve had a remarkable seven podium finishes in Hungary and this weekend you match your biggest single venue podium tally of eight, scored in Bahrain. What it is about the Hungaroring that suits your driving style?

You can count the Hungaroring as one of the so called ‘old fashioned’ race tracks. All of them are very enjoyable to drive, but Budapest track has some nice, smooth corners.

You last tasted the champagne in Budapest with Ferrari in 2009. Is it possible again this year with the car you’ve got under you at the moment?

Of course it is possible, our car has got a lot of potential.

Your countrymen clearly love this race, but what do you do to have fun in Budapest?

I’m sure the city offers many opportunities, but unfortunately my weekend is so busy with race-related matters, that I really don’t have time to visit any of the nice places Budapest has.
Simply the (Buda)pest

Last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix was characterised by track limit transgression, torrents of rain in qualifying and a Lewis Hamilton victory in the race. However, none of that is reflected in our look back at 2016’s gallery of shame…


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here