PREVIEW: 2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship – Hungaroring

by Aaron Gillard
Latifi - F2 - DAMS - Hungary 2018

Round eight of the 2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship takes us to Budapest for the Hungaroring, home to Hungarian Motorsport. The round in Hungary will mark the final round before the teams and drivers can enjoy a two week shutdown in the summer break, before returning for the final four rounds of the 2019 FIA Formula 2 Season. Silverstone provided great action throughout the field and Budapest is expecting to deliver much of the same. Here is what to expect from this weekend in Hungary.

WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME OUT IN GREAT BRITAIN

Early into the Feature race, both UNI-Virtuosi Racing and DAMS‘ drivers fought with each other at the start of the race, with Luca Ghiotto inheriting the race lead away from his team-mate and pole sitter Guanyu Zhou. Behind the two were Nicholas Latifi and Sérgio Sette Câmara, fighting against each other for third place. The Italian stayed ahead until the pit stop window, when Zhou stopped first alongside Latifi. The Chinese driver lost the position in the pits, allowing Latifi to battle for the win against Ghiotto. Latifi initially won when Ghiotto pitted, but the Italian fought back with rapid pace to take back the lead of the race. Ghiotto remained untouched since to take his first Feature race win in Formula 2. Latifi settled for second whilst Zhou rounded off the podium.

The Sprint race saw Carlin‘s Louis Delétraz claim the lead of the race away from reverse grid pole sitter Callum Ilott. Delétraz led majority of the race whilst ART Grand Prix‘s Nyck de Vries held second ahead of Jack Aitken. But Aitken soon made his way up to second by passing the Dutch driver at Brooklands. With a handful of laps to go, Aitken in the Campos began to eat away into Delétraz’s lead and with three laps left, made a daring move on the Carlin driver on the inside at Brooklands for the lead. He was successful and went on to take victory on home soil, his second win of the 2019 Season. Delétraz took second place with de Vries holding onto third after a late attack by Ilott.

You can catch up on Silverstone’s race reports here: Feature | Sprint

Credit: JEP/LAT Images/FIA Formula 2

WHAT HAPPENED AT LAST YEAR’S ROUND IN HUNGARY?

The Feature race saw the race go from wet-to-dry, creating an action packed race around Budapest. The Carlin pair of Sergio Sette Câmara and Lando Norris led away from the field, before the two duelled for the lead as the track began to dry. Norris came out on top and as the track became more suitable for slicks, Norris looked to have the race win sealed. But Prema Racing‘s Nyck de Vries soon caught up with the British driver at a rapid rate and with laps to spare, passed him for the race win. The Dutch driver claimed his first Feature race win of 2018 ahead of Norris, whilst Sette Câmara and Antonio Fuoco fought for the final podium spot on the last lap. The Brazilian crashed into the Fuoco, spinning him around. Sette Câmara was handed a penalty as a result, which handed third place to the wounded Fuoco in his Charouz.

The summer heat came out for the Sprint race, and the race certainly heated up as Luca Ghiotto had a lightning start to the race to take the lead on the opening lap. The Italian led throughout the race whilst behind Alexander Albon and Sette Câmara sat behind him. With five laps to go, Albon began to pounce on Ghiotto for the win, successfully stealing the win with a move around the outside of Turn 1 to take the win for his DAMS team. Ghiotto in the Campos had to settle for second whilst Sette Câmara in the Carlin claimed third.

You can read last year’s reports here: Feature | Sprint

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR THIS WEEKEND?

Championship leader Nyck de Vries arrives into Budapest with 170 points to his name. The Dutch driver suffered a difficult weekend at Silverstone, being off the pace compare to his title contenders. But de Vries was able to bring home silverware with third place in the Sprint race, limiting the damage to his championship lead. Hungary marks a special round for de Vries, having won the Feature race last year in mixed conditions. The ART driver will be hoping to repeat his efforts again on a track that he is a fan of and in front of a crowd in the past has given him much support. This is a chance for de Vries to extend his championship advantage going into the summer break.

After winning on home soil, Jack Aitken arrives into Budapest in strong form and hopes to keep the momentum going with a circuit he has a decent history at. In last year’s Qualifying session, Aitken was close to clinching pole position for the Feature race, only to be beaten by Carlin’s Sergio Sette Câmara. He has however won around the Hungaroring, taking his only victory in the 2017 GP3 Series Season in the Feature race. Aitken currently sits fifth overall in the drivers’ table with 113 points, only nine points away from third place Luca Ghiotto and eight from Sette Câmara himself, so a repeat of good collection of points from Aitken this weekend could see him jump into the top three going into the summer break.

Jack Aitken enjoyed his home round with a win. Now the Anglo-Korean is nine points short from a top 3 position in the drivers’ table. Credit: Joe Portlock/LAT Images/FIA Formula 2

Only two drivers on the F2 grid have won around the Hungaroring in the series in the past: de Vries and Nobuharu Matsushita. The Carlin driver in fact is the only driver to have won a race around the track twice in a series, taking the win in 2017 and in 2015, where he clinched his first win in the series once known as the GP2 Series. Matsushita clinched a double points finish at the last round in Silverstone, although the Japanese driver collected only four points that weekend. Carlin have recently improved their overall pace and performances at the halfway point of the season with Matsushita claiming the Feature race in Austria whilst team-mate Louis Delétraz has been competing for wins and podiums. A third win at Hungary could be on the cards for the Honda-affiliated driver if he can deliver the pace this weekend.

Hungary will see one driver change this weekend as Ralph Boschung returns to the series having missed the last two rounds in Austria and Great Britain. The Swiss driver started the season racing with Trident, but pulled out after losing a sponsor and struggled with finances in order to go racing. He pulled out of the series in Austria, stating that he will not return for the season. However, Boschung will be back in the car for Budapest with his old team, partnering alongside Giuliano Alesi. Campos will keep Arjun Maini on for one more race before the summer break, having originally signed with the team to compete for two rounds, whilst Sean Gelael returns to the series having withdrew from Silverstone after being handed a late grid penalty for an incident during Friday practice.

BWT Arden endured a challenging weekend at their home race in Silverstone. Anthoine Hubert‘s weekend took a hit when he stalled his car before the Feature race, followed by a brake fire erupting from his car. Team-mate Tatiana Calderón tried to salvage what she can for her team, but only managed fourteenth and sixteenth over the weekend. Hungary however, should be a weekend the British team can look forward to with both of their drivers performing well around Budapest in the past. Hubert made two trips to the podium last year in the GP3 Series with two third places, whilst Calderon finished in the points in race two, earning her first points of the season. If the two can deliver similar results this year, it would create a boost for Arden and Calderón in particular, who currently sits in the standings with zero points to her name.

BWT Arden are hoping Hungary will be a change of fortune after a challenging Silverstone round for both Hubert and Calderon. Credit: Colin McMaster/LAT Images/FIA Formula 2

WHAT IS THE SCHEDULE THIS WEEKEND?

FRIDAY 2ND AUGUST

Practice: 12:00PM (UK Time)/1:00PM (Hungary Time)
Qualifying : 3:55PM (UK Time)/4:55PM (Hungary Time)

SATURDAY 3RD AUGUST

Feature Race: 9:10AM (UK Time)/10:10AM (Hungary Time)

SUNDAY 4TH AUGUST

Sprint Race: 10:25AM (UK Time)/11:25AM (Hungary Time)

WHERE CAN I WATCH FIA FORMULA 2 THIS WEEKEND?

You can watch the session lives from the FIA Formula 2 championship on Sky Sports F1 throughout the weekend in the UK and Ireland. Re-runs of the races will be shown over the week.

HOW CAN I KEEP UP WITH ALL OF THE NEWS OVER THE WEEKEND?

The Checkered Flag will provide the latest news and updates from 2019 FIA Formula 2 Championship this weekend and throughout the season.

Who will be victorious in the last round before the summer break? Credit: Zak Mauger/FIA Formula 2

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