After the double retirement due to a clash between team-mates during last Sunday’s Styrian Grand Prix, the Scuderia Ferrari drivers are eager to put behind them the pain of the event at the Red Bull Ring this weekend when they take to the track for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Charles Leclerc was the instigator of the clash with Sebastian Vettel at turn three on the opening lap last week, but the Monegasque racer is looking forward to being back in the car this coming weekend to attempt to learn more about the updates brought to the Red Bull Ring.
Leclerc pinpoints Qualifying as the most important part of the weekend as track position is key at the Hungaroring. Ferrari has struggled on Saturdays so far in 2020, with Vettel being eliminated in Q2 in the opening round of the season, with Leclerc falling likewise last weekend.
“I’m really looking forward to being back in the car,” said Leclerc. “I like the Hungaroring, which is a very technical circuit, featuring several tricky areas where you pay for the slightest mistake with lap time. That’s why, especially in qualifying, you have to put together the perfect lap.
“Budapest is one of my favourite stops on the calendar, because the city is so beautiful and we usually meet lots of enthusiastic fans there. It will be a bit different this time and we will do our best to put on a good show for them.”
“It’s good that I can get straight back on track” – Sebastian Vettel
Team-mate Vettel was forced out of the Styrian Grand Prix at the end of the first lap last weekend following the clash with Leclerc, but the German is eager to get back out on track and turn around his season that has seen him score only one point in the opening two events.
Like Leclerc, Vettel says the Hungarian Grand Prix will be a demanding one on both car and driver, although it will be a different kind of event to normal at the circuit with the thousands of fans that usually flock to the event barred from attending due to the continued presence of the coronavirus around the globe.
“After the poor showing last weekend in Spielberg it’s good that I can get straight back on track,” said Vettel. “The Hungaroring is quite a physically demanding circuit for the driver, because with hardly any straights. In fact there are so many corners and usually, the Grand Prix is held at a very hot time of year.
“It’s also a track that attracts a lot of Ferrari fans and supporters from Germany too, so it will be very strange racing without seeing them cheering in the grandstands.”
“We know that the performance level of our car has not matched our expectations” – Mattia Binotto
Mattia Binotto, the Team Principal at Ferrari, continues to admit that the Maranello-based squad has failed to deliver the kind of pace expected of them in the opening two events, but they are working overtime to improve the car and bring both Leclerc and Vettel back into contention at the front.
Binotto, who is under pressure due to the poor form of the team in the opening two races, says tyre management and Qualifying will be important this weekend at the Hungaroring, particularly with overtaking so difficult on one of the tightest circuits on the calendar.
“Hungary brings the curtain down on the first triple-header in this very compressed season,” Binotto said. “The Hungaroring is a very different track to Spielberg in Austria, which hosted the first two races.
“It will be interesting therefore to see how the cars behave on a track that requires maximum aerodynamic downforce. Given that overtaking in Hungary, unlike Austria, is usually a rare occurrence, it means that tyre management over a single lap and being well prepared for qualifying will be of vital importance.
“We know that the performance level of our car has not matched our expectations, nor that of our fans, but we are working flat out on every area to improve as quickly as possible.
“Our aim this weekend is simple and straightforward: to score as many points as possible. To do that, we must work perfectly in every area, from the drivers, to car preparation to how we operate on track, to reliability.”