The pre-race rain and high levels of tyre degradation made for an interesting and intriguing Hungarian Grand Prix, according to Pirelli Motorsport’s Mario Isola.
Isola, the Head of F1 and Car Racing at Pirelli, says the track drying quickly following the overnight and early morning rain, and the green nature of the track made for high levels of degradation, which made for differing strategies, with two and three stops being used by the drivers.
Lewis Hamilton won the race with three stops, although his final stop was to give the Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver a shout at setting the fastest lap and earning an additional point towards the championship.
Max Verstappen, who crashed on the way to the grid but was able to take the start after a quick repair job by his Aston Martin Red Bull Racing mechanics, pitted only twice on his way to second.
Both Haas F1 Team drivers pitted on the formation to switch to slicks so only made one in-race pit stop each, but generally throughout the field, two stops was the norm, with Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Lance Stroll, Antonio Giovinazzi and George Russell all stopping three times. The only anomoly was Nicholas Latifi, who pitted five times as the Williams Racing driver endured a tough day.
“The overnight rain that persisted into this morning washed away any rubber that had been laid down, so we had a green and slippery track for the start of the race, which was run in quite cool conditions,” said Isola. “However, the surface dried quickly, which was pivotal to the strategy.
“Uncertainty over the weather remained though, which led some drivers to extend their stints, just in case they needed to switch to intermediates again. In the end, it stayed dry for the whole race and so we saw a certain degree of degradation on the front tyres in particular, which is to be expected in these unusual conditions.
“Most drivers stopped twice but some chose to stop three times, looking for extra performance to pass a rival or claim the championship point for fastest lap.”