Pole is key to Hungarian GP success

Michael Schumacher knows that the only sure-fire way to end his three-race pointless streak will be to start his Ferrari from the pole at this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix

Pole is key to Hungarian GP success

Schumacher leads the McLaren duo of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard by just two points, and after crashing out of the last two Grands Prix, he needs to re-establish his title challenge. But the twisty nature of the Hungaroring, plus the slipperiness of the track off the racing line, means it is one of the most difficult circuits on which to overtake on the whole calendar.

"It's a track which can be great fun to drive when you are at the front of the pack," says Schumacher, "but really frustrating when you are trying to overtake another car with similar performance.

"This race is a tricky one. The tricky surface itself does not have a great deal of grip, which means that a well-balanced car for the race is essential. Also, the grip improves dramatically on the racing line as the rubber goes down through the weekend. It's a situation which adds to the problems of overtaking because any manoeuvre off the line means there is very little grip and it is very easy to spin or slide off the road."

Schumacher missed last season's Hungarian Grand Prix after breaking his leg at Silverstone, but has taken pole on three of his visits to the track and won the race twice. With overtaking so difficult, the start is critical - as is staying out of trouble at the first corner.

"My number one priority in Hungary will be to get through the first lap without a problem and finish the race in the points," says Schuey. "I'm confident that we will have a competitive car in Hungary, I just need some better luck to go with it."

Over at McLaren, Hakkinen and Coulthard are confident that the momentum they have built in recent races will continue into the Hungarian GP. But with McLaren steering clear of team orders - unlike Ferrari (see separate story) - both know they must beat their team mate on the track, as well as Schumacher, to move into the championship driving seat. Again, a strong qualifying position and a clean start are essential.

"There are not a lot of overtaking opportunities," says Coulthard. "The best, and some say the only, is at the end of the straight, so it's important to qualify well. With six races to go, there are still a lot of points to go for in the championship and I have never been closer to Schumacher than I am now."

Hakkinen took pole and won the race last year, but Coulthard's best results have been three second places - two from second on the grid.




shares
comments
Alesi Declared Fit to Race in Hungary

Previous article

Alesi Declared Fit to Race in Hungary

Next article

Barrichello ordered to play second fiddle

Barrichello ordered to play second fiddle
Load comments
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Plus

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says MARK GALLAGHER, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021
The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat Plus

The unexpected benefit of F1’s sprint race repeat

OPINION: Formula 1's sprint race trial at Silverstone drew mixed feedback on Saturday, but there remained the true test of how it would impact Sunday's Grand Prix. While fans were busy marvelling at Fernando Alonso's progress, a key lesson was being learned that would directly contribute to the dramatic lap one clash at Copse the following day

Formula 1
Jul 22, 2021
The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt Plus

The off-track considerations that led to F1’s Hamilton/Verstappen Silverstone shunt

OPINION: Formula 1’s 2021 title fight turned ugly last weekend when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton collided at the start of the British Grand Prix. Verstappen thankfully walked away unharmed, but this had been a clash long-since coming

Formula 1
Jul 21, 2021
Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model? Plus

Will 2022's all-new cars look like F1's concept model?

Formula 1 provided its clearest example yet of what the 2022 cars are set to look like when it presented a full-scale concept to the world during the build-up to last weekend’s British Grand Prix. Underneath the special shiny livery was a design that hinted at the future, but teams will be digging into key areas that may reap differing results

Formula 1
Jul 20, 2021