Hungarian GP: Preview

Published on 22 July 2023 at 14:58

Nathan Hartley


Formula 1 heads to round 12 of the 2023 World Championship in Budapest, Hungary at the Hungaroring. The Hungaroring is known as 'Monaco without walls' with its tight and tricky corners.


Daniel Ricciardo is making his Formula 1 comeback at the Hungaroring (Image Credit: Bryn Lennon - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)


Ricciardo returns to Formula 1


The Australian driver was left without a seat for the 2023 season after losing his seat at McLaren due to a tough two years with the Woking team. However, the 34-year-old would return to Formula 1 mid-season, replacing Nyck de Vries at AlphaTauri. De Vries was dropped after 10 races - not showing enough pace for Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko's liking.


Ricciardo returns to Faenza after being with the team in the 2012 and 2013 seasons when the team was called Toro Rosso. The Australian has one aim of getting the Red Bull seat back.


The eight-time race winner says he felt like he 'never left' Formula 1 after the first two practice sessions. He did not set a laptime in FP1 due to a rain hampered session. However, the Australian found himself under half a second behind teammate Yuki Tsunoda in FP2.


Red Bull struggling?


The Austrian team brought new sidepods to this race, believing that it would give them two tenths extra pace. However, the team has had a tricky weekend thus far. Sergio Perez found himself in a wall after dipping a tyre on the grass, causing the Mexican to spin into the barrier at the start of FP1.


Max Verstappen has not had it easy either, not setting a laptime in FP1 and ended FP2 in 11th - over five tenths off Charles Leclerc's time at the top of the timesheets.


FP3 would see Lewis Hamilton finish at the top, as Verstappen finished over two tenths off the seven-time world champion. Will the reigning world champions' pole position streak end today?


Close battle for pole?


Qualifying will be slightly different today. Q1 will only have hard tyres available to the drivers, whilst Q2 will only have mediums and Q3 will only have soft tyres.


This could benefit teams and maybe not. An example is Mercedes, with the Brackley team struggling to fire up their tyres up to temperature. Therefore - despite Hamilton topping FP3 - could Mercedes struggle in Q1 to fire up the temperature in the hard tyre?


I still think Mercedes will have no issues in Q1 and can see Hamilton taking pole today as the seven-time world champion loves this track, winning it eight times.


Who do you think will take pole position today? Can Max Verstappen's streak of pole positions end today?

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