Pirelli expecting “unpredictable grand prix” following record-breaking qualifying

by Craig Venn

Pirelli’s head of Formula 1 Mario Isola says the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix is “set to be unpredictable” following a tight qualifying in which Max Verstappen claimed his maiden pole-position.

The narrow Hungaroring saw tight margins between the lap-times of all the cars throughout the field, with pole position settled by just 0.018-seconds.

Verstappen’s lap-time of 1:14.572 is a new track record but Isola suggests that it doesn’t mean it’ll be an easy ride to victory for the young Dutchman as pit-stop strategy and weather conditions will play a critical part in the race’s outcome.

“We’ve already seen some remarkable speeds this year at the Hungaroring, with the fastest-ever lap already being beaten in FP3,” said Isola. “This benchmark was lowered further in qualifying, both on the medium and on the soft tyre.

“The optimal tyre, in terms of flexibility, to start the race on is the medium, which is why the top three teams have all chosen it. However, every indication so far has shown that the frontrunners are extremely closely matched in terms of pace, so it’s set to be an unpredictable grand prix, where the start and the pit stop strategy will be particularly important, given the difficulty of overtaking.”

With free practice two taking place in wet conditions just days after a thrilling, wet German Grand Prix, hopes were high for another damp and exciting race. While Isola and his Pirelli team will be keeping an eye on the weather in Hungary, it’s likely to be higher temperatures that affect the teams’ performance, rather than rain.

“The weather is another question mark, which could affect strategy if temperatures are much higher than they have been up to now.

“Congratulations to Max Verstappen on a brilliant first Formula 1 pole.”

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