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Hungarian Grand Prix - driver preview quotes 01 Aug 2007

Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari after the race with Rafaela Bassi (BRA) and Mr Moko (SEN) Chrome Hearts Jewelry.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, European Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 22 July 2007 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2007 Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, European Grand Prix, Preparations, Nurburgring, Germany, Thursday, 19 July 2007 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Honda Racing F1 Team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Saturday, 21 July 2007 Race winner Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, European Grand Prix, Race, Nurburgring, Germany, Sunday, 22 July 2007

After the wet and wild European Grand Prix, this weekend’s Hungarian event is set to be a scorcher. As Budapest beckons, the men behind the wheel explain why they can’t wait to get out on track at the Hungaroring…

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber
2006 Qualifying - 11th, 2006 Race - 3rd

“Last year I came third in Budapest - it was the first podium place for our team. It was a chaotic race. Normally Budapest in August means very hot weather, but last year it was raining. The circuit was wet at the start of the race, and it remained cool throughout the weekend.

“I have a lot of fond memories of the Hungaroring. It was there that I also secured an early title win in Formula 3000 back in 1999 - and celebrated in style. The city is beautiful. I love the old buildings, the bridges across the Danube and the whole atmosphere. In summer there's always a lot going on; it's a great place for going out at night.

“The circuit itself is short, twisty and usually very dirty at the start of the weekend. The races there are often pretty exhausting as there are no long straights where you can catch your breath. But I enjoy driving there and hope we will be as strong again as in 2006.”

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber
2006 Qualifying - NA, 2006 Race - DSQ

“It is good to be back in Hungary because I made my F1 debut there last year. I feel my first full season in Formula One will be completed. I am really looking forward to it, especially because it is close to my home country, so probably a lot of people will come. Last year I finished in the points, but we were disqualified.

“Honestly, I like the track. It is special because nearly all the time you have some steering angle, so you never have a break and the straights are very short. I think it is a difficult track, but we performed very well in Monaco so I hope our performance in Hungary will be at least as good or even better.

“If it is hot probably it will have been a good preparation for this at the Jerez test as I was driving there on all the days, so I will be well prepared and am not really worried. Of course it will make life harder and specially for tyre usage and degradation, but let's see. Last year we were testing for very hot conditions and it was under 20 degrees and raining, so anything can happen.”

Fernando Alonso, McLaren
2006 Qualifying - 15th, 2006 Race - DNF

“It was great to take the win in Germany and I hope to achieve the same result in Hungary. I have some good memories from this track, as I took my first Formula One victory in Hungary; however last year was not so good! It was a challenging race, with the time penalty that meant I started in 15th, making it up to take the lead and then dropping out. Despite this the track will always be special to me. I usually enjoy the race so am looking forward to racing there this year with McLaren.

“It is a very slow track but also tough physically because of the conditions, which are usually very hot. Also, because of all the corners, it is constant fighting with the steering wheel and you have to have great traction for the exit phase of the corners, which is where we can find the speed. A stable front end is also very important so the car feels completely under control in the slow, long corners and you can really push the car despite the slower speeds. The MP4-22 has performed well at this type of track so far this season, so I am feeling positive for the race.”

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren
2006 Qualifying - NA, 2006 Race - NA

“We had a productive test in Jerez. I was there for a day and spent the time focusing on set-up and development work for Hungary, in the hot and dusty conditions. Following a mistake on my out lap in qualifying, I started at the back of the grid in GP2 here last year. It was not a great start to the weekend, but I managed to work my way back up through the field, which was a good learning experience of the track, how to drive it and where it is possible to pass, which is notoriously difficult. I quite like the circuit; it is quite quick considering how tight it is.

“It is a real classic as well. You have gradient changes, some high and low speed corners and a good chicane up the back. There is one bump right at the back, which is so easy to catch you out, that is what happened to me in qualifying last year. We have as good a chance as anyone at the race. We have a great car and it is important that I go with a clear mind and the same approach as normal, but there is no reason why we can’t go there and win.”

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault
2006 Qualifying - 8th, 2006 Race - DNF

“I have always enjoyed this race, I like the track and I have been competitive here in the past. I crashed out of the race last year after making a mistake, but the conditions were very difficult indeed. We are expecting much hotter temperatures this year, which will be a very different challenge! It is always a fun race. We get a big crowd, probably because the race is held during the summer holidays. There is a relaxed atmosphere and lots of spectators in the stands.

“Hungary is quite a selective circuit, and the very high temperatures often make things a bit more complicated, especially for the drivers and also the powertrain. To be quick here, you need an effective high downforce set-up, good grip and good traction out of the slow corners. We will be working on those areas as soon as we start running on Friday morning.”

Heikki Kovalainen, Renault
2006 Qualifying - NA, 2006 Race - NA

“It's a fun track to drive. I found out in GP2 how difficult it is to overtake here, and it means that like in Monaco, it is absolutely essential to qualify well for this race. If we can do that, then we will be in a position to run an aggressive race and try to score more points.

“It is a very demanding track physically for the drivers, because it can be very hot and there are no straights on which you can recover. The corners follow quickly one after the other, the track surface is quite bumpy and you have to maintain concentration over 70 laps. We all enjoy tackling challenges like that, feeling the car on the limit and trying to push a little bit more to go even faster… I think it's a circuit where the drivers can make a real difference, and that probably explains why we all enjoy it!”

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
2006 Qualifying - 1st, 2006 Race - DNF

“It is always a great pleasure to come to Hungary. Maybe the track is not one of the most fascinating ones, but it is really challenging. And then it's good to know that after this race we'll have a short holiday break. Whatever someone does, it's always nice to have a break. I have already won this race once. It's very hot here and the race is physically demanding.

“I still believe that it's possible for me to win the title: just look at the last race and you can see that everything can happen. A bad race for my competitors is enough to immediately reduce the gap. Very often the race here in Hungary has been nicknamed the Finnish Grand Prix. Many of my fellow Finns fill the grandstands here at the Hungaroring and it is really nice to see so many white flags with the blue cross in the wind: and this time we will see them together with the red flags of Ferrari.”

Ralf Schumacher, Toyota
2006 Qualifying - 7th, 2006 Race - 6th

“The Hungarian Grand Prix weekend is always enjoyable because there are so many enthusiastic fans at the Hungaroring and the city of Budapest itself is beautiful. Visiting Budapest in August means we are almost certain to face some very hot temperatures, even if last year was unusually cool. The heat can make it difficult to concentrate but I have done my personal training and I am well prepared so it will be no problem. The nature of the Hungaroring also makes overtaking really difficult so it is more important than normal that we continue our strong recent form in qualifying. Unfortunately we have not translated that into race results and that is our challenge this weekend. I believe we are capable of scoring points so we will just try to do a good job all weekend.”

Jarno Trulli, Toyota
2006 Qualifying -9th, 2006 Race - 12th

“The Hungaroring is a track I like quite a lot. It is tight and twisty, and it is also quite a bumpy circuit, which makes it very challenging for the drivers. It is important to have a good car balance, as well as grip and traction. We can expect very hot conditions as usual in Budapest so preparation will be very important and I will be very well prepared because I am cycling a lot at the moment to get ready for the hot conditions. I have always performed very well there but I don’t think I got the results I deserved in Hungary so I am really looking forward to a strong race there this weekend. Clearly, the result at the Nurburgring was very disappointing, especially because we had a good chance to score points after we looked competitive earlier in the weekend. That was a disappointing race but we will work hard to achieve a better result in the Hungarian Grand Prix.”

Nico Rosberg, Williams
2006 Qualifying - 18th, 2006 Race - DNF

“I'm looking forward to the race in Hungary. I quite like the track; it suits my driving style well. Although we use a similar set-up to Monaco there, the two tracks feel completely different; the Hungaroring is more physical because of the higher speeds and temperatures. It's also one of the better tracks for our car, so we have a good chance of doing well there. Hungary holds good memories for me. I was pretty strong there last year, and I was on pole when I raced there in GP2. I really hope it will be a good weekend.”

Alexander Wurz, Williams
2006 Qualifying - NA, 2006 Race - NA

“The Hungarian Grand Prix is almost a home race for me because lots of Austrian fans travel to the Hungaroring every year. I’m looking forward to Budapest for various reasons. The circuit is very nice and I enjoy the flow, but it’s also a difficult track, not only in terms of finding a good set-up, but also because it’s very physically demanding for the drivers. It’s a long race, with very hot temperatures, and there are no straights to relax on so we’re constantly under pressure. I expect the layout to suit our car and I hope that we will pick up a few points. I will certainly be pushing like crazy!”

Rubens Barrichello, Honda
2006 Qualifying - 3rd, 2006 Race - 4th

“Next weekend is going to be a hot one! Possibly one of the hottest Hungarian Grands Prix. Our test in Jerez this week was a good opportunity to acclimatise to those conditions, both personally and for the car. We have some new developments - aero and mechanical - which worked well at the test and we seem to have found a little more performance, so we will see how they translate to the Hungaroring. I have had some good races there, winning once in 2002 and then a couple more podium finishes as well. I'm looking forward to it as it's a track I quite enjoy. I hope we can fight for a good result.”

Jenson Button, Honda
2006 Qualifying - 4th, 2006 Race - 1st

“The Hungaroring is a track with good rhythm and a good mix of slow-speed and high-speed turns. It was never really one of my favourite races before, but for obvious reasons that all changed last year. It will always be a special place as the scene of my first win. Obviously it will be quite a different race for us this year but hopefully we can keep up the steady progress we have been making and take another step forward.”

Sakon Yamamoto, Spyker
2006 Qualifying - 21st, 2006 Race - DNF

“It was a surprise to get the call from Spyker, but at the same time I was, and still am, really glad to come back to Formula One. Obviously I haven't had a normal testing programme this year, but I drove an F1 car in February, and I do not think this will be a problem. I am excited to be back in a race seat.”

More to follow.