Fourth pole for Hamilton but win will be tall order

2013 Hungarian Grand Prix pre-race analysis

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2013Lewis Hamilton is on pole position for the fourth time this year in Hungary.

But he is yet to score a win so far this year and given Mercedes’ performance in practice that looks unlikely to change despite having the best starting position.

Mercedes’ tyre wear problems as well-known and in the punishing heat of Hungary are likely to be as severe as ever. When the race gets started it will surely be a matter of when, not is, Hamilton and Nico Rosberg find themselves under pressure.

The start

Hamilton enjoys the benefit of starting from the clean side of the grid at a track where the different between the two sides is significant.

But it’s a long 610m run to the first corner and the Mercedes hasn’t been the best car off the line this year. On average Hamilton tends to lose places at the start this year while Sebastian Vettel, who starts alongside him, gains them.

If the top four starters run true to form then it’s looking good for Vettel, as he’s the only one of them whose gained places on lap one on average so far this year.

Fernando Alonso, fifth on the grid, is also eyeing the chance to make gains: “It is hard to overtake in the race and so it?s even more important to try and make up ground immediately, particularly if we want to prevent Vettel from increasing his lead,” he said.

Strategy

Two or three stops are expected to be the order of the day in Hungary. But Pirelli’s medium and soft tyres will take a pounding as track temperatures are again expected to be in the 50C region.

Mercedes are expected to struggle in the heat but Lotus should thrive in it. Romain Grosjean had strong pace at the Nurburgring and should put Vettel under pressure from third on the grid.

Alonso and the other Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen are not far behind. But whether they can get on terms with Vettel will depend on how quickly they all make their way past the Mercedes drivers. In Germany Raikkonen lost time behind the W04s and needed a Safety Car to bring him back into contention.

Pirelli believes that drivers who start on the medium tyres will not be disadvantaged over the race distance. Sergio Perez, ninth on the grid, is the first driver who will start on them. Mark Webber, tenth, has a free choice of tyre having not set a time in Q3.

Qualifying times in full

Driver Car Q1 Q2 (vs Q1) Q3 (vs Q2)
1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1’20.363 1’19.862 (-0.501) 1’19.388 (-0.474)
2 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1’20.646 1’19.992 (-0.654) 1’19.426 (-0.566)
3 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1’20.447 1’20.101 (-0.346) 1’19.595 (-0.506)
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1’20.350 1’19.778 (-0.572) 1’19.720 (-0.058)
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1’20.652 1’20.183 (-0.469) 1’19.791 (-0.392)
6 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 1’20.867 1’20.243 (-0.624) 1’19.851 (-0.392)
7 Felipe Massa Ferrari 1’21.004 1’20.460 (-0.544) 1’19.929 (-0.531)
8 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 1’21.181 1’20.527 (-0.654) 1’20.641 (+0.114)
9 Sergio Perez McLaren 1’21.612 1’20.545 (-1.067) 1’22.398 (+1.853)
10 Mark Webber Red Bull 1’21.264 1’20.503 (-0.761)
11 Adrian Sutil Force India 1’21.471 1’20.569 (-0.902)
12 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 1’21.028 1’20.580 (-0.448)
13 Jenson Button McLaren 1’21.131 1’20.777 (-0.354)
14 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1’21.345 1’21.029 (-0.316)
15 Pastor Maldonado Williams 1’20.816 1’21.133 (+0.317)
16 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1’21.135 1’21.219 (+0.084)
17 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1’21.724
18 Paul di Resta Force India 1’22.043
19 Charles Pic Caterham 1’23.007
20 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 1’23.333
21 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1’23.787
22 Max Chilton Marussia 1’23.997

Sector times

Driver Sector 1 Sector 2 Sector 3
Lewis Hamilton 28.549 (1) 28.600 (5) 22.239 (2)
Sebastian Vettel 28.833 (5) 28.341 (2) 22.146 (1)
Romain Grosjean 28.841 (6) 28.299 (1) 22.330 (5)
Nico Rosberg 28.614 (2) 28.684 (8) 22.242 (3)
Fernando Alonso 28.763 (4) 28.597 (4) 22.431 (8)
Kimi Raikkonen 28.944 (7) 28.611 (6) 22.296 (4)
Felipe Massa 28.757 (3) 28.677 (7) 22.484 (10)
Daniel Ricciardo 29.219 (14) 28.759 (9) 22.364 (6)
Sergio Perez 28.991 (8) 28.945 (11) 22.609 (13)
Mark Webber 29.528 (19) 28.589 (3) 22.386 (7)
Adrian Sutil 29.029 (9) 29.093 (14) 22.447 (9)
Nico Hulkenberg 29.074 (10) 28.962 (12) 22.544 (12)
Jenson Button 29.173 (12) 29.079 (13) 22.525 (11)
Jean-Eric Vergne 29.231 (15) 29.144 (15) 22.636 (15)
Pastor Maldonado 29.164 (11) 28.943 (10) 22.640 (16)
Valtteri Bottas 29.199 (13) 29.214 (16) 22.675 (17)
Esteban Gutierrez 29.312 (16) 29.483 (17) 22.616 (14)
Paul di Resta 29.383 (17) 29.582 (18) 23.078 (18)
Charles Pic 29.460 (18) 30.304 (21) 23.218 (19)
Giedo van der Garde 29.710 (20) 30.139 (19) 23.281 (20)
Jules Bianchi 29.862 (21) 30.184 (20) 23.608 (22)
Max Chilton 29.899 (22) 30.418 (22) 23.543 (21)

Speed trap

Pos Driver Car Speed (kph/mph) Gap
1 Giedo van der Garde Caterham 301.0 (187.0)
2 Valtteri Bottas Williams 299.0 (185.8) -2.0
3 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 299.0 (185.8) -2.0
4 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 299.0 (185.8) -2.0
5 Adrian Sutil Force India 298.5 (185.5) -2.5
6 Pastor Maldonado Williams 298.5 (185.5) -2.5
7 Charles Pic Caterham 298.1 (185.2) -2.9
8 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 297.6 (184.9) -3.4
9 Felipe Massa Ferrari 297.4 (184.8) -3.6
10 Sergio Perez McLaren 296.9 (184.5) -4.1
11 Paul di Resta Force India 296.3 (184.1) -4.7
12 Jenson Button McLaren 295.8 (183.8) -5.2
13 Nico Hulkenberg Sauber 295.4 (183.6) -5.6
14 Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso 295.2 (183.4) -5.8
15 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 295.0 (183.3) -6.0
16 Max Chilton Marussia 294.9 (183.2) -6.1
17 Kimi Raikkonen Lotus 294.8 (183.2) -6.2
18 Romain Grosjean Lotus 294.2 (182.8) -6.8
19 Jules Bianchi Marussia 294.1 (182.7) -6.9
20 Mark Webber Red Bull 293.8 (182.6) -7.2
21 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 293.5 (182.4) -7.5
22 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 292.9 (182.0) -8.1

Over to you

Who do you think will win in Hungary? Does Hamilton have a realistic chance? And will Lotus and Ferrari have the pace to challenge Red Bull?

Share your views on the Hungarian Grand Prix in the comments.

2013 Hungarian Grand Prix

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44 comments on Fourth pole for Hamilton but win will be tall order

  1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 27th July 2013, 20:02

    Vettel or grosjean, hoping ham has a good race.

  2. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 27th July 2013, 20:08

    As a Hamilton fan I have to savour the moment, as tomorrow might not be so happy. Still, there is always hope. Last week at the Nurburgring Hamilton’s real troubles started when he switched to the medium compound. If he leads after the first corner, it might be possible for him to replicate the Monaco strategy to some extent: backing up the field to discourage the undercut, and to postpone the pit stops where he will be vulnerable. Still, with at least two, and probably three pit stops in tomorrow’s race, he will need some serious pace to keep the podium in sight.

    • Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 27th July 2013, 20:11

      Hope… Its a beautiful thing :-)

    • jacobf90 (@jacobf90) said on 27th July 2013, 20:21

      Unfortunately I think the start/finish straight is too long for that strategy.

    • DaveD (@daved) said on 27th July 2013, 22:42

      And more importantly, with the new safety rules slowing the pit lane speed to 80kph, there is a larger penalty for each pit stop. That means teams will push even harder for 2 stop strategies rather than 3 and the way the Mercs chew up their tires….not a good outlook for Lewis.
      And I’m starting to think that the Mercs don’t have as much torque off the line as the Renault or Ferrari engines. I think the Merc engine has even MORE torque in the mid and high range…but they seem to bog down on starts.

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 27th July 2013, 22:57

        @daved I know the Renault is widely acknowledged to be more driveable than the Mercedes which could explain perhaps why the initial launch of the Red Bull is much cleaner. With the Ferrari I think that’s just a superior launch program though – they are electric off the line!

        • DaveD (@daved) said on 27th July 2013, 23:06

          Yeah, either the Ferrari’s either have the best launch program in history or Massa put his car on steroids! Geez, I’ve never seen anyone take off like he did and make up 11 spots in the first 500m!!!

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 27th July 2013, 23:34

      A not so big if, RG takes out SV at the 1st. corner. Race on!

      • DaveD (@daved) said on 28th July 2013, 0:38

        Yeah, I have to admit…I was thinking about how dangerous it was to have RG anywhere near the front and feeling froggy (pun intended). He is very likely to take out SV…and anyone else near on that first corner!

  3. the_sigman (@sigman1998) said on 27th July 2013, 20:12

    A nice fact: 1993 Hungarian GP, Damon Hill’s first win – 2003 Hungarian GP, Fernando Alonso’s first win – 2013 Hungarian GP – Romain Grosjean’s first win???

  4. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 27th July 2013, 20:15

    Woah ! that was a MASSIVE effort from Mark to recover from being 19th fastest on sector 1 !

    Shows how good the Red Bull is in the 2nd and 3rd sectors, I suppose. I still better for Grosjean to get his first win here, but it’s looking too good for Vettel tbh…

  5. Mike Dee (@mike-dee) said on 27th July 2013, 20:29

    VDG on the top for once!

  6. Swindle94 (@swindle94) said on 27th July 2013, 20:57

    It’s going to be impossible to pass those mercs if they hold everyone up by looking at the speed trap.

  7. Tomsk (@tomsk) said on 27th July 2013, 21:01

    Looking forward to seeing how the clean-siders get off the line, particularly Grosjean, and the two Ferraris which always seem to make good starts.

  8. JackySteeg (@jackysteeg) said on 27th July 2013, 21:23

    It’ll be a very interesting race tomorrow. I believe the Sky presenters mentioned that Hungary 2012 saw fewer passes than Monaco 2012, so if that pattern continues, Mercedes have a chance to do what they did in Monaco by controlling the pace up front. If they can do that again, and not break away from the pack, expect the likes of Perez and Webber to come in to play big time. Perhaps Perez could finally do what he did so often last year by scoring massively on the alternative strategy.

    I still expect the race to come between Vettel and Grosjean. I certainly hope Grosjean wins it.

  9. GeordiePorker (@geordieporker) said on 27th July 2013, 21:46

    Grosjean to return to his ‘incident-packed’ starts? Seems like Hamilton’s only chance for victory, sadly. Not that I’m hoping for this…just an observation. Can’t wait for Hamilton/Mercedes to work out why their rear tyres seems to be several thousand degrees hotter than everyone else’s!

  10. Jake (@jleigh) said on 27th July 2013, 22:11

    Everyone is ruling out Hamilton. But let’s not forget that just 2 races ago at Silverstone, Merc were pretty comfortable in terms of race pace, seemingly able to beat Vettel in a straight fight. In Germany, Hamiltons first and last stints were pretty competitive, it was only really his second stint that caused him to fall a long way back.

    • Rockie said on 27th July 2013, 22:34

      You probably didnt take notice of Vettels lap time before Hamiltons tyre blew up!

      • Jake (@jleigh) said on 27th July 2013, 22:44

        He started to gain by a 10th or 2, but Hamilton stated that he had started to back off and just manage the gap while saving tyres. And Rosberg, who was slower than Hamilton that weekend wasn’t far off Vettel when his gearbox broke.

    • Tom (@newdecade) said on 28th July 2013, 3:20

      That was before the playing field was reset in terms of tyres…

  11. anon said on 27th July 2013, 22:22

    LOL at Grosjean out-qualifying Alonso and Raikkonen.

    Ferrari and Santander definitely not getting their money’s worth…

    • spoutnik (@spoutnik) said on 27th July 2013, 23:26

      I don’t think the ferraris can be better than that at the moment. If you look at the stats, both performs the same way its more a matter of car. But Raikonnen should have been on the same row as Grosjean. Nice for him :)

  12. DaveD (@daved) said on 27th July 2013, 22:46

    I’m a huge Lewis fan, but I don’t see it. He’s getting bad starts and spends more time trying to cut off Vettel than he does just trying to drive to the first bloody turn as fast as he can! Come on Lewis, you have the clean side and the best line…just get their first and they HAVE to give you room!!! Don’t let them get in your head.

    • Akshay (@hamilfan) said on 28th July 2013, 4:51

      if does not try to cut off vettel , vettel would easily get there as he has the quicker starting car under him . So , whats the point just driving in a straight line for everyone to just pass you . The problem last race was that webber was under Lewis’ nose too . It would have been great had nico made P2 or better P3 (clean side) .Hopefully Grosjean can attack vettel .

  13. sato113 (@sato113) said on 27th July 2013, 22:46

    ‘ Sergio Perez, ninth on the grid, is the first driver who will start on them’
    isnt riccardo the first driver on mediums?
    or did he use options in q3?
    if so, strange his q3 lap was slower than his q2

    • JackySteeg (@jackysteeg) said on 27th July 2013, 23:59

      I’m pretty sure RIC was on options. Perhaps he thought he had no chance to fight with the cars ahead so didn’t push the tyres too hard so they’d have more life tomorrow.

  14. JamieFranklinF1 (@jamiefranklinf1) said on 27th July 2013, 23:25

    If Hamilton’s start is anything like his German one, then I reckon Grosjean will be in first or second by the first turn, as with Vettel. Alonso could possibly be third or fourth as well, given how fast the Ferraris are at the start.

    Really can’t wait for this one!

  15. DaveD (@daved) said on 28th July 2013, 1:37

    By the way, Keith….thanks for all the stats including speed trap info. It’s surprising how hard it is to find that sometimes. :-)

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