2023 Hungary Thoughts
THE BIG PICTURE: Not every new thing F1 tries works. We're still pondering whether the Alternative Tire Allocation was a good thing. However, we are glad F1 is always willing to try new things. Some stick, and that improves the sport.
EVENT: Even in its very first year, 1986, when it was behind the Iron Curtain, they got a great crowd. Now they get a huge crowd. And Budapest is one of the most beautiful cities to visit.
TRACK: Tough on the drivers. And sometimes the fans.
QUALIFYING: Last year's front row doesn't make it to Q3. Hamilton is the Mercedes driver to take the Hungary pole this year. Perez is still off. Norris, Piastri, and McLaren are indeed fast everywhere. Zhou surprises. Aston Martin isn't quite back on this track. Sainz needed a thousandth. Ricciardo passes his first test. Russell is full of frustration.
RACE: Except for the tail end of the race when it came alive (behind Verstappen, of course), this was a typical Hungaroring affair.
START: Piasti is an absolute stud immediately jumping into second, then Norris disposes Hamilton who did not get off the line strongly while Verstappen does and squeezes into the lead. Zhou "forgot" to start, and the Alpines end in the most miserable way.
VERSTAPPEN: Remember when some thought this race was the chance to beat Max? It was his largest margin of victory this year, in case you were one of those folks...
PEREZ: Finally, a solid race. But first he crashed three minutes into the weekend and qualified a disappointing ninth.
RED BULL: A record 12 wins in a row. A record tying 11 wins in a row with the same car. A record seven driver wins in a row. And to really rub it in, they produced a 1.9 second pit stop during the race!
NORRIS: Lando is really having fun driving these days. And smashing rival's trophies.
PIASTRI: An odd decision for the team not to pit Oscar first when he was ahead of his teammate.
MCLAREN: Mika Hakkinen is getting the last laugh after being mocked when he said the MCL60 was designed as an overall package for all tracks. And, it's delivering now.
HAMILTON: He did break the record for most poles at a single track at nine. There is that even if the race didn't pan out.
MERCEDES: The Silver Arrows was extremely fast with a light load -- in qualifying and the tail end of the race. Otherwise, still a lot of development work is necessary.
FERRARI: There really isn't anything worth saying.
ASTON MARTIN: This should have been their track based on prior performances. This shows Aston Martin has indeed fallen behind the development curve.
WILLIAMS: It was all setup for their home race in England to celebrate their 800th F1 race. Then Imola got cancelled, and it became Hungary. Though Silverstone would have been a better result to celebrate with (and they still wore their special livery), congrats nonetheless to a stalwart of F1.
RICCIARDO: The Smile is back. Outqualifed his teammate. And after being bounced around at the start, delivered a solid race.
HAAS: At least their engines lasted till the checkered flag...
ZHOU: This is a classic example of how a chain of events starts way earlier than the actual banging of cars. Guanyu's botched start put him in a position where a further mistake rammed him into the back of Ricciardo who whacked into one Alpine who subsequently whacked into the other.
ALPINE: When it rains, it pours. In Alpine's case, it hails.
DE VRIES: And just like that, Nyck's F1 dream ends. F1 is a tough, tough business.
F2: Australian Jack Doohan ended his slump with a dominating feature win while Dane Frederik Vesti extended his points lead ever so slightly to 11 over Frenchman Theo Pourchaire.
F3: Despite winning his fourth of the season by taking the feature race from the pole, Brit Zak O'Sullivan still trails title leader, Brazilian Gabriel Bortoleto, by 43 points.
WORD OF THE WEEKEND: Smashed.
STAT OF THE WEEKEND: 12 -- And counting...
HISTORICAL STAT OF THE WEEKEND: Not to take anything away from Red Bull's amazing feat, but part of this historic streak is due to the amazing reliability race cars now have across all disciplines. And Max even acknowledges that. No matter how dominate a team was back in the day, even with six-race (not including the Indy 500) schedules, it was just impossible to amass any sort of streak. In fact, the first year, 1950, Juan Manual Fangio lost the title despite three victories because he DNF in the other three. While Giuseppe Farina also won three times, but also got a fourth and only retired once.
TWEET OF THE WEEKEND: Simon Dau's tweet: Time for more "fun" facts: Red Bull have led 96% of laps in '23 so far (650/680).
There's only one team that has this stat higher over the season, and that is 1988's McLaren. The same McLaren that had the record of 11 consecutive wins which was broken by RB last weekend. #F1
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND: Lando Norris on whether anyone can beat Max Verstappen, "When he retires." We think he meant retires from a race as opposed to retire from the sport. At least we sure as hell hope that's what he meant.
QUOTE OF THE WEEKEND RUNNERUP: After embarrassingly crashing on his first full lap in FP1, Sergio Perez said over the radio, "Nope, cannot believe this." Neither can any of us, Sergio. Neither can any of us.
SCHEDULE: Ah, Spa. And the Orange Army's second home race.
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