Last year in Hungary Lewis Hamilton broke one of Michael Schumacher’s records by becoming the first driver to win the race five times.
This weekend he could equal one of Schumacher’s greatest career milestones by reaching his all-time pole positions record. Schumacher stands on 68, one more than Hamilton’s 67.
Hamilton has excellent form at the Hungaroring and has taken pole position five times at this track. The first of those was somewhat controversial as it came after his team mate Fernando Alonso was penalised for impeding Hamilton in the pits.
Schumacher, however, holds the record for most pole positions at the Hungaroring with seven – a mark Hamilton cannot reach this weekend.
The Hungaroring’s unbroken streak of holding a race every year since it came onto the calendar in 1986 is one few other circuits can match. Only Monza and Monaco have also appeared on the calendar every year since then (Silverstone did not host the 1986 British Grand Prix).
The Hungaroring has a habit of defying expectations. The track has a justifiable reputation for being difficult to overtake on and therefore taking pole position is extremely important. However none of the past three winners started from pole position and only two of the last nine pole sitters won the race.
Similarly, Red Bull’s reputation for excelling on this type of high-downforce track is not borne out by their performance over the years. They only won once during their championship-winning seasons, and Daniel Ricciardo added another success for the team in 2014.
This is one of only two tracks on the calendar where three different teams have won in the three previous seasons, the other being Sepang. In both cases Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull were the winners.
The form book
With just one point in it between Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, the fight for the championship lead is closer than it has been since the Chinese Grand Prix. The two protagonists have scored at every race so far; indeed they’ve scored in all 15 races since last year’s Malaysian Grand Prix, where both retired.
If Hamilton takes the championship lead this weekend he will have mirrored the first half of last season, where Nico Rosberg led the points from the opening round until Hamilton moved ahead in Hungary.
As Vettel remarked at Silverstone, Mercedes have raised their game over the last four races. During this time they’ve taken 151 points from a possible 172.
Nico Hulkenberg is just three races away from equalling Adrian Sutil’s record for most starts without a podium finish. However Renault enjoyed their most competitive weekend of the year last time out at Silverstone. The RS17 doesn’t look capable of contending for podium finishes on merit yet, so Hulkenberg needs a few of the front-runners to have a bad weekend in one of the three remaining European rounds to avoid claiming this unwelcome distinction.
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The last major revision to the Hungaroring was in 2003. However last year the track was resurfaced and the kerbs eased in places, helping F1 record sub-80 second laps for the first time since the end of the V8 engine era.
The Hungaroring has a reputation for being one of the toughest circuits to overtake on, though that has changed in the DRS era.
Here’s how F1 Fanatic readers have rated the Hungarian Grand Prix in recent years.
Join in Rate the Race when the chequered flag falls at the end of this year’s race. You will need a (free) F1 Fanatic account to participate:
2017 Hungarian Grand Prix
- Vettel: No need for team orders at Ferrari yet
- 2017 Hungarian Grand Prix team radio transcript
- Alonso is eighth different Driver of the Weekend winner so far
- Dull Hungarian GP still gets better rating than last year
- Hamilton ‘paid it forward’ to his team mate but could Vettel do the same?