F1 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix: Hamilton bids for back-to-back Budapest victories

PUBLISHED: 22:11 24 July 2013 | UPDATED: 14:57 28 July 2013

Lewis Hamilton racing in the 2013 German Grand Prix [Mercedes-Benz]

Lewis Hamilton racing in the 2013 German Grand Prix [Mercedes-Benz]

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FORMULA 1 star Lewis Hamilton bids for his first victory of the 2013 season in the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend.

The 2013 Grand Prix of Hungary – Round 10 of this year’s FIA F1 World Championship – is the final race before Formula One’s summer break.

And Mercedes AMG Petronas driver Hamilton will be looking to make it back-to-back victories at the Hungaroring, after winning the race from pole position for McLaren last season.

The Hertfordshire-born racer, 28, said: “I have always enjoyed the Hungaroring and it’s a track that I have been lucky enough to win at three times so far.

“I love the layout of the circuit and Budapest is a really cool city which has a great atmosphere over the race weekend.”

F1 Hungarian Grand Prix

* Race distance: 70 laps (306.630km/190.531 miles)

* Start time: 14:00 (local)/12:00 (GMT)

* Circuit length: 4.381km/2.722 miles

* 2012 winner: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren MP4-27) 69 laps in 1hr41m05.503s (179.391km/h)

* 2012 pole: Lewis Hamilton (McLaren MP4-27) 1m20.953s (194.824km/h)

* Lap record: Michael Schumacher (Ferrari F2004) 1m19.071s (199.461km/h)

Situated on the outskirts of Budapest, the Hungaroring is the slowest permanent circuit on the 2013 Formula 1 calendar, and it’s also one of the most demanding.

The tortuous 4.381km layout is an uncompromising succession of corners that tests cars and drivers to the limit, and the reliance on slow-corner traction makes it a solid test of a car’s mechanical grip.

The circuit isn’t used regularly by other motorsport categories, which results in the asphalt being dusty and slippery during the early practice sessions.

When the racing line has cleaned up, however, there still remains a lot of dirt off-line, which, when combined with the twisty layout, makes passing difficult.

"I have always enjoyed the Hungaroring and it’s a track that I have been lucky enough to win at three times so far."

Mercedes F1 driver Lewis Hamilton

Pirelli are taking their new-specification tyres to Hungary, in which 2013 rubber compounds will be matched to a 2012 construction.

The tyres were successfully evaluated at Silverstone’s Young Driver Test earlier this week – a test Mercedes didn’t attend – and the team will now work hard to get the maximum from the Medium and Soft compounds that are being supplied at the Hungaroring.

Hamilton said: “It will be an important weekend for us and we need to get off to a good start on Friday when we have the chance to try the new tyres for the first time.

“I’ve spent some time at the factory since we returned from Germany and I know that everyone there is working really hard to improve our overall performance and to address the issues that we experienced at the last race.

2013 Team Standings

After 2013 German Grand Prix

1 Red Bull 250pts

2 Mercedes 183

3 Ferrari 180

4 Lotus 157

5 Force India 59

6 McLaren 49

“It would be great to reward all of that effort with a strong weekend in Budapest and I’ll certainly be pushing to make that happen.”

The 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix featured fewer overtakes (19) than last year’s race in Monte Carlo (23). At 610 metres, the run from the start to the first corner is the fourth longest of the entire season.

Two DRS zones this year, one on the start-finish straight and a second on the approach to Turn Two, will help overtaking, but pole position is coveted almost as much as at Monaco.

Surprisingly, however, the race has been won from pole position only twice in the last eight years, both times by Hamilton for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

FIA 2013 F1 World Drivers’ Championship

After German Grand Prix:

1 Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) 157pts

2 Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) 123

3 Kimi Raikkonen (Lotus) 116

4 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 99

5 Mark Webber (Red Bull) 93

6 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) 84

7 Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 57

8 Romain Grosjean (Lotus) 41

9 Paul Di Resta (Force India) 36

10 Jenson Button (McLaren) 33

Hamilton’s Mercedes colleague Nico Rosberg said: “The Hungaroring is always a track that I enjoy driving and it has quite a challenging layout for the drivers.

“With all the twists and turns, it feels very much like Monaco but takes place on a normal circuit.”

The German feels Saturday’s sessions will prove pivotal for the team.

“Qualifying will be important this weekend, which is good for us but we know that we have to deliver on Sunday as well,” said Rosberg.

"We’ve clearly got a good car but for some reason, it doesn’t work in these hot conditions."

Lewis Hamilton after the German Grand Prix

“The forecast looks hot and it is likely to very demanding on the tyres. Physically it will be a tough race and the lack of straights means that you never get a moment to relax.

“It would be great for us to come away from Hungary with another strong result to take into the summer break.”

Mercedes F1 principal Ross Brawn said: “The final race before the summer break is always a milestone for the team and an opportunity to review our performance before our staff enjoy a well-deserved break during the summer shutdown.

“Our team are currently in second place in the Constructors’ Championship with two race wins to date. However the season has not been without its challenges and we have had some very tough races.

Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg racing in the 2013 German Grand Prix [Mercedes-Benz]Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg racing in the 2013 German Grand Prix [Mercedes-Benz]

“This happens over the course of a season and you have to take the highs and lows and find your path to making improvements.”

He added: “Both Nico and Lewis have visited the factory in the two weeks since we returned from Germany and everyone has been working very hard to investigate our tyre sensitivities ahead of the elevated temperatures that we will undoubtedly experience this weekend in Budapest.

“The Hungaroring is a very slow circuit with mainly low and medium-speed corners, which present an interesting technical challenge.

“Friday will also be our first opportunity to work with the new tyres on our car, so we have a great deal to learn in a short space of time. We want to finish the first half of the season on a high but the challenge facing us is clear.”

Lewis Hamilton in action during the 2013 German Grand Prix [Mercedes-Benz]Lewis Hamilton in action during the 2013 German Grand Prix [Mercedes-Benz]

Taking up that line, director Toto Wolff added: “Hungary will mark the end of the first half of the season and it has been a generally positive one for our team.

“We go into the race weekend with two victories and six pole positions under our belt. Those results show how much hard work we have put into our year so far and the successful way the team is coming together.

“But we are under no illusions for the second half of the year and this weekend in Hungary we have a number of challenges to overcome.

“First, we will need to do extra homework on Friday to understand how the new tyres work with our car. Then we will have to get to grips with the high temperatures, a demanding circuit and the soft and medium compound Pirelli tyres.

“During the race at the Nürburgring, we were overheating the tyres and we want to minimise the chance of suffering a repeat problem in Hungary, where the track temperatures will also be high.

“The team has worked thoroughly since Germany to improve the situation and we will find out how the new tyres will affect that situation, too.

“Our motivation is high to score a good result that we can take into the summer break but we know there is plenty of good work needed to achieve that.”

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