Grand Prix of Hungary – Qualifying

Hungary is the last race before the mid-season break. Following his victory in Germany HAM is 17 points ahead of VET, and Mercedes 8 ahead of Ferrari.

RIC’s Red Bull took on a lot of engine changes for that race (and started at the back of the grid as a result) in hopes of setting him up for a good performance here, but he retired from the German GP with an engine problem; BBC reports that the failed part would be “replaced with one of our quota”, which means a used part that still has life in it, thus avoiding the need for a new part and an additional penalty.

Force India are facing financial problems; “will compete in the remainder of the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend after being placed into administration on Friday.” [BBC]

The largest external creditor is Mercedes, with about £10m worth of engine bills unpaid. Perez’s action is about unpaid salary. The Mexican’s sponsors contribute several millions in sponsorship to the team, out of which the driver is paid.
Mallya’s note added that title sponsor BWT, an Austrian water company, had “jumped in and claimed that their sponsorship amounts were loans, which is ridiculous as our entire car is pink with BWT branding”.

Apparently PER “is seeking payment of over $4 million (£3 million)”. [racefans]

Tyre compound choices are the same as for Germany: medium, soft and ultrasoft.

Free Practice:

  1. FP1: RIC (1:17.613), VET, VER, RAI, HAM
    GRO complained of a “very strange feeling on this car – the rears aren’t great”
    HUL parked his Renault on the grass; looked like a power failure
    ERI spent the last part of FP1 watching his mechanics work on the Sauber
  2. FP2: VET (1:16.834), VER, RIC, RAI, HAM
  3. FP3: VET (1:16.170), BOT, RAI, HAM, RIC
    RIC was held up momentarily by MAG but at least this isn’t Qualifying
    Radio from VET – “Something flew into my cockpit – no clue what it is”(!)
    HAM had a spin at the chicane, as did BOT a few laps later but BOT touched the barrier “a little bit” he admits on the radio

Just ahead of the start of Quali, it’s started to rain but it’s quite humid so the track should dry quickly once the rain stops falling
Air temperature 25°C; track 31°C

Qualifying session 1 (Q1)
Cars are heading out on intermediate tyres
Radio for BOT warning that there’s more rain coming
VER the last out of the pits, just as others start their flying laps
BOT 1:27.245
HAM 1:26.847
RAI 1:25.988
Radio from VET – “get another set of inters ready in case we need them”
Radio from HAM – “the tyres are falling apart” (because there’s not enough water)
Radio from VET asking about dry tyres; told rain coming soon; “what is soon?”; “2 minutes”
SAI on ultrasoft (dry) tyres, as are HAR and MAG
There’s thunder and lightning over the circuit
VET 1:25.176
SAI is taking it quite gently on dry tyres, but still goes P1 – 1:22.679
MAG 1:22.476
Everyone switching to dry tyres despite the thunder
HUL 1:21.729
Radio from RAI – “it’s starting to rain”
GRO 1:21.431
RAI 1:19.828 (he was P14)
The (usual) front runners are putting in their quick laps, getting themselves out of relegation danger
SAI 1:19.642
RAI 1:18.474
5mins left of Q1; bottom 5 are LEC, PER, SIR, OCO, RIC
RIC only goes P17! He’s on softs but everyone else is on ultrasofts
OCO P10, MAG to P16
PER P10, GAS to P16
HAR P5, STR P16
RIC P12, OCO P16
GAS P6, ERI P16
VET 1:17.670
RAI 1:17.526
ERI P8, RIC P16
90secs left; bottom 5 are RIC, PER, OCO, STR, SIR
RIC P14
PER P15, HAR P16
HAR P15, PER P15
Chequered flag; HAR, PER, SIR, MAG, OCO
VET 1:16.666
HAR P10
RIC P11
MAG P10
Back of the grid: VAN, LEC, OCO, PER, SIR
RIC was lucky to go through to Q2!

Qualifying session 2
The first cars out of the pit lane are on ultrasofts, except VET is on inters
VET 1:28.636
Rest have pitted for wet weather tyres – VET was the only one on the right tyres
Pit lane is soaking wet – full wets might be appropriate
MAG on inters but still he aquaplanes off
STR spins, tags the barrier and loses his front wing
It’s getting worse – the rain is hammering down
RAI spins
MAG now on full wets, as is ERI – wets are slower but at least they keep you on the track
5mins left of Q2; bottom 5 are ALO, HUL, RIC, ERI, STR
ERI fighting for grip as he accelerates out of the corners
Can RIC on wets go faster than GRO in P10?
Radio for ALO asking if he wants wets or inters; he says it doesn’t matter because he won’t be able to improve on his time, so what’s the point in doing more laps? “Even if we put on a rocket ship we will still be 11th” 🙂
Radio for GRO – it’s going to keep raining (through Q2)
RIC is 4.5sec slower than the time he needs to beat
Chequered flag
Middle of the grid: ALO, RIC, HUL, ERI, STR

Qualifying session 3
Top 10 shootout is between VET, SAI, VER, HAM, GAS, BOT, HAR, RAI, MAG and GRO
VER 1:38.923
HAR P2
BOT 1:37.651
HAM 1:37.564
VET P4
SAI P4
GAS P7
MAG P7
GRO P8
RAI P3
Order after 1st run: HAM, BOT, RAI, VER, SAI, VET, HAR, MAG, GRO, GAS
HAM 1:36.648
VET P3
GAS P5
RAI P2
BOT P2
5mins left; order is HAM, BOT, RAI, VET, GAS, VER, SAI, HAR, MAG, GRO
SAI P5
RAI 1:36.186
Everyone on fresh wets
SAI P3
VET P4
Chequered flag; RAI, HAM, SAI, VET, BOT, GAS, VER, HAR, MAG, GRO
VET P2
BOT 1:35.918
HAM 1:35.658
GAS P6
Front of the grid: HAM, BOT, RAI, VET, SAI, GAS, VER, HAR, MAG, GRO

Provisional grid: HAM, BOT, RAI, VET, SAI, GAS, VER, HAR, MAG, GRO, ALO, RIC, HUL, ERI, STR, VAN, LEC, OCO, PER, SIR
No penalties to apply, as far as I know .. well, none that affect the grid:

  • “Renault has been given a suspended fine of €10,000 after accidentally fitting two front left tyres to Nico Hulkenberg’s car in first practice.” [racefans]
  • “Sauber has been fined €5,000 for releasing Marcus Ericsson’s car in an unsafe condition during second practice.” [racefans]

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