After his superb comeback drive in Germany, Sebastian Vettel heads to the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix still in search of his first victory of the year.
Vettel was one of many drivers who starred last time out at the German Grand Prix, coming from twentieth on the grid to finish in second at his home race. It was a rare highlight in what has been a frustrating year for the four-time world champion who is yet to better second place in 2019.
The same can be said for his team Scuderia Ferrari who have seen potential victories taken away in Bahrain, Austria and controversially, Canada.
Now though, they head to the Hungaroring, scene of seven victories for the Scuderia, two of which coming at the hands of Vettel, victorious in 2015 and 2017. The German knows his way around the tight Hungarian track with three other podium finishes to add to his two wins there at a circuit he says can “punish you hard.”
“Hungaroring is a pretty physical track in a current Formula 1 car, because there aren`t any long straights and it’s a very stop-start circuit, which means you are always working away at the wheel,” says Vettel. “And given the time of year, it’s usually boiling hot, which definitely doesn’t help.
“Also if it is dry, the circuit gets very dusty, particularly at the start of the weekend and it’s not a given that it will improve over the weekend, as wind and off track excursions brings back the sand that the cars running clear off the track. That means it will punish you hard if you get offline, or if you make a mistake, because you lose time and other drivers will be waiting to take advantage.”
The Hungaroring has come under criticism from fans and drivers in the past owing to its tight and twisty layout failing to be conducive to good racing. Vettel offers advice on where overtaking is possible, but admits “there are no guarantees.”
“The key corners are 1 and 14. Turn 1 you can think about a passing move but it’s a bit risky, as the straight before is too short really. There’s also potential, if you’ve had a god run on the exit of 14, but there are no guarantees”.
Vettel heads to Hungary fourth in the drivers’ standings, eighty-four points adrift of championship leader Lewis Hamilton. Ferrari meanwhile, are coming under threat in the constructors’ title race, as Red Bull Racing have closed to within forty-four points of their second place, with Mercedes-AMG Motorsport a mammoth 148-points clear in the lead.