2020 Hungarian Grand Prix Blog
Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes, they were by far and away the best team this weekend and deserved winners of the Hungarian GP. What was surprising is how far the other teams were behind their rivals. It speaks volumes that the second fastest team in Qualifying was Racing Point, a team whose car has been dubbed the ‘Pink Mercedes’ due to its striking resemblance to the Silver Arrows 2019 contender.
So what is going wrong for the other teams? Many had expected Red Bull to be right up there and pushing Mercedes all the way at this high downforce circuit but in reality they qualified P7 (Verstappen) and P13 (Albon). Big credit to Max for grinding out a second-place finish in a race where nothing seemed to go right for them. Verstappen crashed pre-race and it was touch and go as to whether he would even start. An investigation by the stewards that Red Bull were drying the track for Alex Albon ahead of the race eventually came to nothing but certainly did not help matters. Team radio messages also suggested that the car was not an easy drive with Albon at one stage shouting: “Give me more power” as he attempted to get past Charles Leclerc.
Christian Horner was open about their problems post-race, saying: “Max drove the wheels off the car and Alex drove a great race too… strategically we are sharp but we have updates that aren’t behaving as expected, compared with pre-season testing, so we need to go through all the data we’ve collected and understand it before Silverstone.”
Ferrari had a slightly better Qualifying than past weeks and started in P5 and P6. The race didn’t play out as they expected though and the car looked twitchy and at times plain slow. Mid-race Leclerc found himself as the bottleneck holding up a Racing Point, a Renault and a McLaren. Middle order is how you would describe these teams and this is not a category Ferrari are used to finding themselves in. Mattia Binotto commented afterwards: “An extremely disappointing Sunday and the result is very hard to swallow. In qualifying, we had got the most out of the car as it is at the moment, but in the race that was not the case. To be lapped is very painful for us and our fans.”
With two of the big three having difficulties this is a perfect opportunity for the smaller teams to capitalise, and Racing Point are doing exactly that. Sergio Perez may be slightly disappointed after a poor start but he still finished a respectable seventh place. As for Lance Stroll, he had one of the best races of his career with a fourth places finish. The young Canadian said afterwards: “I’m really happy with P4: it’s a good result and I have to thank the team for such a great job today and all weekend. It was fun to fight Max at the start of the race and run in P2 in the changeable conditions.”
Haas also deserve a mention for their bold decision to pit Magnussen and Grosjean for slick tyres before the start of the race due to a rapidly drying track. The move ultimately resulted in the stewards’ handing both drivers a 10 second-time penalty but without doing this surely Magnussen wouldn’t have been able to achieve a tenth place finish and earn a valuable point for the team. He said afterwards: “I’m so happy. The team made an amazing call before the beginning of the race – on the formation lap, to call for the slicks. It was really strong for them to give me that trust, to put me out on dry tyres and in conditions that weren’t easy. It was pretty risky, but it worked out.”
Silverstone is next on the agenda and, with or without fans, this is always blue-ribbon event. There is a one week break in between and you can be sure the teams will be doing everything they can to put on a good show.