Formula One: 2016 Hungarian Grand Prix – Preview.
Lewis Hamilton: “It’s a wonderful feeling, winning in front of your home crowd. I’m still buzzing from it now and looking forward to carrying those positive vibes into the next race weekend. Ever since the low of Barcelona I’ve been able to cultivate this really strong mental attitude and I’m really feeling that fire inside me right now. Of course, I have good days and bad days like everyone else. But whatever the case, I’m able to turn negatives into positives when it counts. I’m feeling fresh, feeling powerful and feeling confident heading to Hungary. It’s a track that for some reason has always suited my style and I have incredible support there, so I can’t wait to get to out on track.
The past couple of years I haven’t had the smoothest weekends in Budapest, of course. But I know I’ve got the pace, so I’m gunning to turn that around this time.”
The battle is on.
Nico Rosberg: “Silverstone was a good weekend except for the loss of position following the Stewards’ decision after the race. It was disappointing to lose a hard-fought and deserved second position in such a way – but we have accepted the decision and now I have to look forward with positivity. I am leading the World Championship coming up to the halfway point of the season and there’s still a long way to go. The battle is on with Lewis and I’m feeling great in myself and great in the car, so bring it on! I can’t wait for the next battle between us in Budapest. It’s a tough circuit that really tests you as a driver and a challenge I really enjoy, so I’m looking forward to an exciting and hopefully successful weekend!”
Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport: “It was a special day, bringing home a 1-2 finish in front of our friends and colleagues from Brackley and Brixworth. Now, we face a very different challenge in Budapest. This circuit has not been kind to us over the past two years and it plays to the strengths of our rivals. The Red Bull, for example, is a car that functions well where high drag isn’t penalised as much as at other types of circuit. So, in wet conditions and at low-speed circuits such as the Hungaroring, they are a major threat. We will need to be flawless to come out on top at this track. We are also now entering a time where things are complicated even more by some big decisions to be made. Every week we must analyse how much resource we move across to the 2017 project – but that’s a tricky balance.
Some teams will have stopped 2016 development very early – as early as February maybe, once the current cars hit the circuit. That does give them an advantage, as the learning curve is very steep at the beginning. If you are a few weeks behind you can find yourselves much further back in the end. We may be halfway through the battle for this year – but the hard work is only just beginning.”
Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical): “Since the Formula One summer shutdown was introduced in 2009, Hungary has traditionally been the last race before the break. With Germany now filling that slot, it feels strange to be going to Budapest without preparing for a well-earned rest afterwards! It’s the only race we haven’t won in the V6 Hybrid Formula One era and the Hungaroring is a tough venue to crack, with only 13 of the 30 Grands Prix to be held at this circuit having been won by the pole sitter – despite it being one of the toughest tracks on the calendar for overtaking. It’s tough on both cars and drivers, with ambient temperatures often reaching well into the 30s Celsius. The layout is low-speed, so we will run as much downforce as possible – similar to Monaco. With the SuperSoft compound available – a tyre one step softer than the softest compound allocated last year – we expect to see some very quick qualifying times. Budapest itself is one of the most beautiful cities we go to with a fantastic racetrack to boot. It’s great for the spectators, as it has a natural amphitheatre layout allowing good views over large sections of the circuit from the stands. We have enthusiastic fans coming from across Europe for this race, so it’s one we always enjoy. We’ll do our best to put on a good show – hopefully without the chaos of last year, however!”