BUDAPEST – The Hungaroring is the most beautiful circuit in the world, listen to those who race there. Guy Alonsowho here - at the wheel of a Renault - won his first race of an infinite F1 career: next month it will be exactly 20 years, the Spaniard remembers that afternoon as "a magical moment that changed my whole life". Verstappen with Red Bull he triumphed last year, after his first pole Russell (on the Mercedes). The previous season was Or with (Alpine): it was also the first time for him. Hamilton boasts 8 Magyar successes, between McLaren and Mercedes. Then, there is Ricciardo, who is smiling back on the grid after a long sabbatical: first in 2014 with the RB10. Even Ferrari has good memories and 4 victories, the last with Vettel in 2017. In short: after the high speeds of Silverstone, everyone likes the relative slowness of the Hungarian track. Among other things, the impossible Red Bulls (in the constructors' standings they have more than double the points on Mercedes, second; in the drivers' standing, Max is +99 on his teammate 'Checo' Perez) announce themselves as less arrogant than usual. Perhaps because qualifying takes place on Saturday with the allocation of tyres: a very green novelty that could reshuffle the cards a bit in an otherwise predictable match.
Silverstone, McLaren speaks Italian who surprised Formula 1
by our correspondent Paolo Rossi
Verstappen: "We can improve further"
"We have a little more hope, on similar tracks - I mean, without important straights and fast corners - we went well: let's hope it happens here too". Infinity Alonso. In 9 days he will turn 42. And 20 years after his first great joy in F1 (“But since then, goodbye forever to privacy”), he swears he wants to try again with Aston Martin. One who does not need to make announcements is Max Verstappen, and it is almost paradoxical that during the press conference he is the one who is asked the least questions: anyway, everyone already knows how it will end. He won 8 out of 10 GPs (the other 2 by Perez's other RB: in case of yet another triumph, the Austrian company will beat McLaren's record), it's his sixth consecutive success: "I'm not interested in records, I just want to have another good weekend". Incredible to say, but he claims that Red Bull can improve: "We can do more in the corners, we're working on it". Russel smiles, jokes: “What envy. We should all unite against him. Sooner or later we will find a solution”. Yes, but now?
Leclerc: "We have to score as many points as possible"
“This weekend we have to aim to score as many points as possible. Getting the most out of our current potential”: the Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc promises concreteness, indirectly aware of the gap with Red Bull. After the English disappointment, the team principal Frederic Vasseur he is convinced that the "updated" SF-23s can once again show progress as well as in Canada and Austria: "We believe that here there are the right conditions to give our pilots a high-performance machine". He is aiming for at least one podium. “It would be nice to finish in the top 3 for the first time this season,” he admits Carlos Sainz. “I like the track, the circuit suits this Ferrari. But our car is very sensitive to weather and track conditions: if they're favourable, we'll be able to do well". After the 10th place at Silverstone, a Spanish journalist tries to tease him about his near future (his contract with Maranello expires in 2024). The Spaniard replies serenely: “We have two close races, today Ferrari's priorities are different. We need to be competitive again. During the winter break I will start thinking about what to do in 2025”.
The "little green revolution" of qualifications
"Alternative tire allocation": in essence, Pirelli here in Hungary will make 11 sets of tires available (instead of 13) for each driver. It's 160 tires less, with a nice discount from the point of view of logistics and disposal. And a small "revolution" in qualifying on Saturday, during which the drivers will have to use all three compounds: the "hard" whites in Q1, the "medium" yellows in Q2, the "soft" reds in Q3. It's a first test that had already been scheduled for the (canceled) Imola appointment: the intention is to continue with this format in the future and perhaps throughout next season, keeping in mind the "zero emissions" goal that F1 would like to achieve in 2030.