Formula One 2017 Track Guide: Hungary

Tight and twisty, regarded as the 'rural Monaco', the Hungaroring is the last venue before Formula One's summer break.

Situated in Budapest, Hungary became the first communist country to host a Grand Prix in 1986, and has been on the calendar in every year since.

There's usually a strong Finnish, German and Ferrari support - good news for Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel in particular - with greats like Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher enjoying healthy success here in the past too. In more recent years, the place has belonged to Lewis Hamilton, his five wins in just 10 attempts is superior to the rest of the field.

Unusual for a more aged track, overtaking is notoriously difficult, but not impossible - as Jenson Button showed in 2006, taking his first F1 win from a lowly fourteenth on the grid. The track is highly aero dependant, with numerous long corners testing the stability of the cars.

Nelson Piquet (6) christened the track with an incredible pass on Ayrton Senna (12) in 1986. | Photo: Getty Images/Rainer W.Schegelmilch
Nelson Piquet (6) christened the track with an incredible pass on Ayrton Senna (12) in 1986. | Photo: Getty Images/Rainer W.Schegelmilch

The track is also one of Hungary's most visited tourist destinations, giving you an idea of how popular a fixture it is on the calendar.

At the start of the weekend, the track can be rather dusty, due to the lack of action it sees over the course of a year, and takes a couple of sessions to rubber in. The DTM and the World Touring Car Championship are the only events to be held here outside of F1. 

Track layout

Not one for the engines to shine at, the straights are relatively short. The pit straight is still a DRS zone though, and you'll be able to reach eighth gear by the time you have to brake for Turn 1. Just before the 100 metre board, find third gear and flick the car in. Take a relatively wide entry into the corner, meeting the inside kerb at the halfway point before drifting out wide in order to take the path of least resistance and best traction.

Open the DRS for a couple of seconds, move to the right and brake at 75 metres for the long Turn 2. Stay tight if you can throughout the left hander, so you can sweep through the next, shallow right with minimal lock and maximum speed. Climb up the hill to the tricky, fast Turn 4.

Elevation changes are not uncommon here. | Photo: Getty Images/Mark Thompson
Elevation changes are not uncommon here. | Photo: Getty Images/Mark Thompson

Once you reach the crest, down to fifth gear, throw the car left and watch you don't run wide on exit. Back over to the left for another long right, feel in the power as the car squirms and kicks away from you.

Next up is a series of technical corners, full of harsh direction changes. The first chicane is ultra slow and clumsy. Brake at 50 metres, hop over the kerbs, blip the throttle before lifting off for the next left. Carry the speed through the proceeding right, drift back to the outside in order to properly commit to a fast left and right complex, similar to Turns 10 and 11 in Australia.

Into the last sector now, brake at the 100 metre board, moving down to third gear. Wait for the front end to bite at this right, short burst of throttle before squeezing the brakes gently and hanging on through another long corner, this time to the left. Sharply dart across the track to the extreme left in order to open up the final corner - another long right.

A real driver's track. | Photo: Wikipedia
A real driver's track. | Photo: Wikipedia

If the car is set up properly, the driver shouldn't have to fight too hard and lose time. Get on the power early, open the DRS and do it all over again. Get some practice, the race is 70 laps long.

Statistics

Most wins for a driver: Lewis Hamilton - 5

Most wins for a constructor: McLaren - 11

Lap Record: 1:19.071 - Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 2004

Did you know?

In 2003, Zsolt Baumgartner made his Formula 1 debut hare, deputising for the injured Ralph Firman at Jordan; in doing so, he became the first Hungarian to take part in a Grand Prix.

VAVEL Logo