SUNSHINE AND RAIN AT A TIGHTLY-FOUGHT HUNGARORING
– Both the slick and the wet tyres were seen in Formula 2 at the Hungaroring, while in GP3 the two races were both run on slicks. On a weekend characterised by variable weather, high temperatures, and plenty of action, the two feeder series to Formula 1 once again provided several opportunities for drivers to fine-tune their tyre management skills.
Feature Race, the winner: Following the downpour that also affected Formula 1 qualifying, all the drivers started on wet tyres before moving onto slicks (with medium and supersoft nominated) as the track dried out. The timing of this move was critical to the final race outcome. McLaren junior driver Lando Norris was initially quickest in the wet conditions for Carlin – sometimes more than three seconds per lap faster than his rivals – while fellow McLaren junior Nyck de Vries (Prema) was quickest on slick tyres to take the win.
Nyck de Vries: “We expected the track to dry up towards the end, so we didn’t put everything on too much of a wet set-up. We knew things would be tough at the start and I was really struggling to hold on. But then the track started to dry out, and that was the moment we needed to go and change our tyres. So the timing was good, and the others had anticipated wetter conditions than us, which worked to our advantage.”
Feature Race, alternative strategy: With all the drivers starting on wet tyres then moving on to the medium compound, there was no particular alternative strategy. However, Charouz driver and Ferrari junior Antonio Fuoco stopped later than his direct rivals in a bid to maintain track position: a tactic that ultimately resulted in his fifth podium of the season.
Sprint Race, the winner: Campos driver Luca Ghiotto made a brilliant start from the second row to take the lead on lap one, with all the drivers using the medium tyres from start to finish of the 28-lap race. However, he was overhauled by DAMS driver Alexander Albon with four laps to go, who had kept his tyres in optimal condition to make a move at the end.
Feature Race, the winner: The track had dried up enough for slicks in Saturday’s 22-lap GP3 race, with all the drivers using the nominated soft tyre from start to finish. Force India junior Nikita Mazepin took the lead for ART Grand Prix from second on the grid and won by more than 10 seconds, despite having to control some tyre degradation.
Sprint Race, the winner: MP Motorsport driver Dorian Boccolacci won the sprint race from reverse pole in high temperatures. After setting a strong pace in the early stages of the race, he controlled his rhythm to manage his tyres to the end of the race, claiming victory by just over two seconds.
Pirelli’s head of car racing Mario Isola: “In the Formula 2 feature race, judging the crossover point between wets and slicks was absolutely critical, with the drivers facing the challenge of a drying track. For the first time we brought the supersoft to Hungary in Formula 2, and although the weather circumstances meant it wasn’t used in the races, it contributed to a very close and exciting qualifying session on Saturday. In GP3, there was some degree of tyre degradation that the drivers had to manage, but for those who got it right, the rewards were big.”