Red Bull ready to run and hide in race (Hungarian Grand Prix pre-race analysis)

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2010

Red Bull have locked out the front row of the grid yet again at the Hungaroring.

We all know how bad they’ve been at converting that advantage into one-two finishes on race day.

But with the performance advantage the RB6 boasts this weekend, surely no-one can stop from running away with the Hungarian Grand Prix?

Red Bull’s speed

At some races this year we’ve seen Red Bull’s performance advantage in qualifying turn into a deficit on race day.

Even at the Circuit de Catalunya and Silverstone, where they locked out the front row of the grid with an eight-tenths advantage, they weren’t able to get away from the chasing pack at anything like that rate during the Grand Prix.

But Sunday’s race could well be a different story. For one thing, the size of their advantage here is the greatest it’s been all year – over a second per lap.

On top of that, at all stages in practice they have been much quicker than their rivals – whether they’ve been on the medium or super-soft tyres.

On the face of it, they seem more likely to be hobbled by their persistent reliability problems – which struck Mark Webber again last weekend – than face a serious threat from the cars behind them.

Then there’s the question of how their drivers will conduct themselves should they end up disputing the same piece of track. Sebastian Vettel was usually quicker when the pair ran the super-softs in practice but the pair were very closely matched on the medium tyre.

If Webber finds himself within close range of Vettel the heavy traffic we’ve already seen at the Hungaroring could provide an opportunity for him to pass.

The start

Red Bull will undoubtedly be at their most vulnerable at the start of the race. We’ve seen them make some poor getaways at recent events, particularly Vettel.

Vettel will have the benefit of starting from the clean side of the grid while Webber’s grid slot is on the dusty side of the track. The difference between the two isn’t as bad as it used to be (at the end of lap one in 2003 the drivers in first, second, third and fourth had started first, third, fifth and seventh) but it still has an effect.

It’s also a long run to the first corner, which could help Fernando Alonso in his bid to split the two Red Bulls. A dream scenario for him would be if he could pick them both off – just like Felipe Massa did to the two McLarens here two years ago.

Likewise Lewis Hamilton will be teed up for a crack at Massa, though they would be advised to tread carefully – both have made contact with other cars on the first lap in recent races.

The start

Once again, everyone in the top ten is starting on super-soft tyres.

In practice the super-soft tyre did not degrade very quickly. That could change if the temperature increases significantly tomorrow.

The medium tyre, though durable, is quite a bit slower than the super-soft tyre. So drivers who’ve qualified badly, like Jenson Button, are more likely to try to make up places by starting on the super-soft tyre and delaying their first pit stop. We saw several drivers do this at Hockenheim, including Button.

It also raises the possibility that some drivers might try making a second pit stop to switch back to the faster super-soft tyre. They’re only likely to do this if they’re stuck behind another car and have a big enough gap behind them to come out of the pits without losing a place.

They should be able to do that once they have an advantage of around 21 seconds (losing about 17-18 seconds making the pit stop and three to four for the tyre change).

Join us tomorrow to see how the Hungarian Grand Prix unfolds in the live blog which starts around one hour before the race.

Until then, share your thoughts on what you think will happen during the race below.

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60 comments on Red Bull ready to run and hide in race (Hungarian Grand Prix pre-race analysis)

  1. Brian Baum said on 31st July 2010, 18:28

    Watch Hamilton’s front wing and Massa’s rear tyre. First victims in the start of the race tomorrow.

    • F1iLike said on 31st July 2010, 20:07

      Second that! Hamilton rarely misses an exposed rear tyre.

    • BBQ2 said on 31st July 2010, 20:31

      I don’t think LH will be all that concerned about Massa as he is on the dirty side of track and remember he is the only driver with the F-Duct in the top 5 ;-)

      I think he will be more concerned with Alonso and Webber as, if Alonso passes Webberr, Webber will not like to allow LH a free gateway too. So the potential danger of a collision between the two is more apparent that a collision with Massa.

      • mateuss said on 31st July 2010, 20:53

        The F-duct is not as affective off the line as KERS was, but it should be more of an advantage on the run to turn two.

        • F1iLike said on 31st July 2010, 21:15

          I’d say it’s rather the Mercedes engine that’s the big advantage, if even that would make any difference.

          • mateuss said on 31st July 2010, 21:33

            Not on this track, Renault is said to be more drivable on track like this and Monaco.

          • F1iLike said on 31st July 2010, 23:11

            mateuss: I was talking about the run towards turn one

          • mateuss said on 31st July 2010, 23:26

            But then its no bigger advantage than the F-duct because they will not be reaching top speed, so the ultimate factor as always will be the getaway, because both F-duct and engine power superiority comes in handy only(relatively) when there is big drag, in other words the faster you go the bigger the advantage.
            Whereas KERS was a bigger advantage in slower speeds, as soon as you where no longer traction limited, giving you a bigger overall advantage over the whole straight.
            That’s what I meant ;)

      • sumedh said on 31st July 2010, 22:25

        mm, you are confusing F-duct with KERS.

        F-duct will be useful later on in the race, not on lap 1

  2. BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st July 2010, 18:33

    I would really love to see some of them try stopping twice as you suggest Keith. It would be a welcome change. What if Alonso gets past the RBR guys or at leat one of them, in that case they would find themselves running with Massa about a 0.5-1 second faster than Hamilton behind so it might be viable.

    • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 31st July 2010, 19:12

      Alonso could jump one RBR if not too on the start. Especially with Seb’s poor start.

      Red Bull don’t have the same race pace as they do in Qualy so if Alonso gets ahead I think he’ll have a good chance at winning.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 31st July 2010, 19:25

        Lets hope so, I would hope Massa or Hamilton will get past 1 of them as well to make a trio battling for 3-5 places.

      • F1iLike said on 31st July 2010, 20:13

        It’s only the last two starts that have been really poor by Vettel. Missjudged cluth settings.. Almost every start except them have been exceptional.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 31st July 2010, 23:29

      I don’t expect anyone to commit to it – by which I mean I don’t think anyone will start on super-softs and change to another set of them at the first stop. But if they’ve got space behind, they might.

  3. Cyclops said on 31st July 2010, 18:37

    I see some in-team knock-out fest tomorrow. RBR vs RBR, Renault vs Renault…

  4. Kbdavies said on 31st July 2010, 18:38

    Its so funny, when Whitmarsh was asked if Lewis outdrove the car to put it 5th on the grid, Whitmarsh said no.
    He reckons they still had a couple of tenths in the car and Lewis could have picked off Massa in Q3.
    I find this a very surprising comment – given that McLaren have consistently trailed the RedBulls, Ferrari’s and Renault in all the practice session and in Q1 and Q2.They even trailed both Williams in Q1.

    Macca have definitely taken a wrong turn with their implementation of the EBD. As i predicted, they have focused all resources on the EBD to the detriment of developing the car as a whole – just as Ferrari did with the F -Duct before they found their way back.
    At this stage of the season, this is a dangerous position to be in. If RBR and Ferrari start eating into their lead and overtaking them in the points table, they will not have enough time to reclaim them back.

    Martin should look at Button to understand what a phenomenal job Lewis did today. He should be under no illusions – McLaren are going backwards.

    • Bernard (@bernard) said on 31st July 2010, 18:50

      Martins comments were in respect of the radio message Lewis made in Q3:

      Hamilton: That was a good lap but I lost a bit of time in turn four

      Source: McLaren

      • Xusen said on 31st July 2010, 19:21

        Kbdavies
        I totally agree with you re Whitmarsh, his comments about lewis were ridiculous , he is not a racer so how does he think Lewis should have gotten another couple of tenths? Lewis said he was on the edge with his driving and there wasn’t much he could do, he thought Massa might be possible but in the end he couldn’t.

        On the other hand Button in the same car is languishing 11th.

        Anyway I hope we see a good race tomorrow but I am not holding my breath, RB this weekend seem unstoppable but then again that has been the case all season.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 31st July 2010, 19:25

          “he is not a racer so how does he think Lewis should have gotten another couple of tenths?”

          So you’ve replied to Bernard’s explanation without even reading any of it? Hamilton admitted to losing time early on in the lap!

          • Xusen said on 31st July 2010, 20:09

            You replied to mine without reading it as well, if you look at the first line ..it says KBdavies, for some reason it appeared after Bernard’s. When I posted Bernard’s wasn’t there :?

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 31st July 2010, 20:35

            I was referring to the positioning of the post, to the botom right of Bernard’s, not the first line, which agreed with kbdavies. Fair enough if the other post was roughly at the same time, it was probably a glitch or something that it looked like a reply to someone else’s.

            Nevertheless, it’s apparent that Hamilton did ALMOST as well as he could have done, and Button is just horrendously slow.

          • Xusen said on 31st July 2010, 22:31

            No problem mate, The post is positioned there due to some glitch as I clicked reply under Kbdavies.

  5. DaveW said on 31st July 2010, 19:12

    Who thinks that Domenicali, Alonso, and Massa are going to have a talk tonight about turn 1, and making sure Alonso is not impeded if he gets a good run on the RBs?

    Anyway, even with the massive raw speed edge I don’t see RBR running away at the lights on heavy fuel. Also, traffic will play a big role and with 5-8 seconds on the backmarkers, we could see them caught by lap 10-12. This track is very narrow and twisty and a backmarker could cost you seconds. And with the hard tires able to run very long, RBR could be in danger of getting leapfrogged if their pusuers are able to pit at the moment where RBR hit traffic. If RBR pit early they risk getting stuck behind a Sauber or whatever running 1 more seconds per lap off the lead pace. It will be very dicey to time the pit stops tomorrow. Thus I think we may well see a real race here tomorrow.

  6. Harry said on 31st July 2010, 19:25

    I heard the drag from the lights down to turn 1 in Hungary is one of the longest on the calendar.

    Does anyone else think Hamilton might have a shot of getting into 3rd by the first corner? Whether he could stay there is another question, but something like that needs to happen to give us some entertainment following the first lap. Alonso getting into first would also spice things up.

  7. Gentleman Alonso lol said on 31st July 2010, 19:25

    Vettel to fluf start. Webber storms ahead, but crashes into backmarker. Alonso behind Massa until he whinges on the radio.. Hamilton to win then, Button 2nd. Red Bull cock it up again. All quite predictable really.

    • Allie500 said on 1st August 2010, 0:01

      This is the exact race I’m hoping for! =P

      • Floda Reltih said on 1st August 2010, 6:16

        No no no, you don’t want that. You want Vettel first, Alonso second and Webber third with the Hamilton DNFing….LOL….silly people :-)

        • bosyber said on 1st August 2010, 9:26

          No, not if the McLaren is clearly slower at the moment, I don’t want that – much better if the WDC stays a 3+ horse race. So best if Alonso is ahead of Vettel, who is behind Webber (or RBR will go with Vettel as no. 1), than Button, followed by Hamilton.

  8. Harry said on 31st July 2010, 19:32

    I heard the drag from the lights down to turn 1 in Hungary is one of the longest on the calendar.

    Does anyone else think Hamilton might have a chance of getting into 3rd by the first corner? Whether he could stay there is another question, but something like that needs to happen to give us some entertainment following the first lap. Alonso getting into first would also spice things up.

  9. Butler258 said on 31st July 2010, 19:46

    Why doesnt button just start on the hards and drive through to about 10 laps till the end, then stop for the softs? Its the soft tyres he is struggling on, we all know he can care for his tyres, and being 11ths he has a choice of any strategy.

    • bosyber said on 1st August 2010, 9:27

      Because the hards are so clearly at least half a second slower, and possibly a whole second.

  10. Derek said on 31st July 2010, 19:57

    It’s the third longest run down to first corner of the season. Hamilton’s car is the fastest in a strait line, and he is on the clean side of the track so it is possible he could make up one or two places. Once round the first corner he should be able to keep this position.

  11. rfs said on 31st July 2010, 20:02

    I hope it rains tomorrow. Its been too long since the last time we had a wet race.

  12. rabbit (@rabbit) said on 31st July 2010, 20:13

    Rampantae, i needed some help in choosing an Italian university . Just drop me a mail at virtuso13 at ymail.com if you are willing to help : )

  13. sid said on 31st July 2010, 20:14

    What I ll like best would be to see Alonso, massa, hamilton take up the first 3 places after turn 1…followed by the 2 red bulls – that will make for an interesting race.

  14. Krosh said on 31st July 2010, 20:41

    The race tomorrow will be a little bit more boring than Monaco’s race. Imagine a gap that increases one second every lap; all the cars, excepting RBR’s car, will be lapped. Ferrari or McLaren in no way will be able to fight for position against the RBR’s car. I just hope that there’ll be no dirty game again.

  15. Maciek said on 31st July 2010, 21:43

    What was Renault’s logic in thinking leaving themselves only two laps et very end of Q3? Disappointed that Kubica messed up his lap, but happy that Petrov seems to be hitting his stride. It’ll be interesting to see how the two of them will react if Kubica catches up to Petrov and tries to pass… Petrov has shown he can fence with anyone given the opportunity, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s, ahem, “informed” that Kubica is faster.

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