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Hungary preview quotes - Mercedes, Toro Rosso, Williams, McLaren & more

22 Jul 2015

Fresh from a three-week breather after Silverstone, the teams and drivers head to Budapest and Hungary for the final race before Formula One racing's summer break, the Formula 1 Pirelli Magyar Nagydij 2015. Those involved look ahead to what is always a special race on the calendar…

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton

"Saying goodbye to Jules was incredibly hard for everyone. For myself, I wished I had known him better. But from what I knew of him, he was a kind heart with a great spirit and a bright future.  Now our sport embarks on a tough road ahead. We have been shown once more the dangers of our sport, that these should be respected and that we drivers commit ourselves to the chance that those dangers are there when we step into the car. We have made great progress for safety thus far and I know that the FIA will continue to make steps forward to improve even further. Hungary is a beautiful place, one of my favourites. I will be carrying Jules with me in my prayers and thoughts, not only this race but for the rest of my driving days. I know he'd want us to race hard as he did, and so I will."

Nico Rosberg

"It has been a very emotional week. The drivers paid our final respects to Jules and said farewell. He was a very talented driver and a good guy. My thoughts in these days are with his family and close friends. Everyone will be sharing the same feelings in the paddock this week – but we must race on and race hard for Jules as he would have wanted to be doing himself. It’s the final race before the team gets a well-earned break and I’ll be pushing as always to give everyone something positive to take into their holidays. It’s a tough track on the driver – narrow, very twisty and usually very hot. It’s one of those circuits where you can really show your skill and that makes it a good challenge. The race here last year wasn’t ideal for me in the end – but it’s a proper circuit, in a beautiful city, with big crowds always filling the grandstands, so I’m looking forward to it and hoping bring home a stronger result this time around."

Toto Wolff, Head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport

"It has been a difficult week for the motorsport family. My first thoughts go to the family and friends of Jules – the loss of a child is something for which there are no words, and on behalf of the team I send them strength for the days and weeks ahead. I personally remember the first time I heard of an incredibly talented young French guy with an Italian name back in 2007 – how he performed in his F3 rookie season in 2008, then dominated the following year to become Champion. That is how we will remember Jules: as an extraordinary Champion. And we will honour his memory by continuing to improve the safety of the drivers, team members, circuit workers and spectators under the leadership of the FIA. Now we look forward to Hungary and the final race before the mid-season break. A strong result will give us positive momentum to carry through the summer."

Paddy Lowe, Executive Director (Technical)

"We approach Hungary determined to get a good result and to head into the summer break on a positive note. The Hungaroring is an interesting circuit – predominantly low and medium speed with a short straight, plenty of challenging corners and a lot of elevation changes. It can be tricky to find the right compromise on suspension and it’s also tough on brakes. Mostly though, it’s about cornering ability, with teams running maximum downforce. Overtaking is tough but not impossible, so when passing manoeuvres do occur they’re usually pretty special – there have been some bold, race-defining moves at the Hungaroring across the years. Through the weekend, we will also have Jules Bianchi and his family uppermost in our thoughts. Important lessons have been learned from his tragic accident last year and changes implemented to prevent that kind of accident recurring. Motorsport can never be free of risk – but these moments remind us all of the responsibility we bear to continuously improve safety in motorsport for all of its participants."

Toro Rosso

Carlos Sainz

“I enjoy racing at the Hungaroring. It’s a circuit that I know pretty well as I’ve raced there many times in the junior categories, finishing on the podium a few times. It’s definitely one of the historic European tracks that everyone loves going to! I think it could also be a circuit that suits the Toro Rosso car well, so I’m looking forward to the weekend. The very high air and track temperatures also mean it could be a challenge physically, so I’ve been training hard in warm conditions. It’s a very enjoyable layout to drive and its narrow and twisty nature means there’s little time to relax on a lap because there are no real straights. I’ve spent a bit of time in the centre of Budapest and I can say it is a really beautiful city, especially the parts close to the river Danube. It’s truly special.”

Max Verstappen

“I’ve raced at the Hungaroring in Formula 3 and it’s a bit of a Mickey Mouse track. I’m looking forward to racing there with an F1 car; I think the circuit will suit our car and I’m optimistic we can fight for a good result. This could be one of our best races of the season. Qualifying will be a key part of the weekend as in Hungary it is very difficult to overtake during the race, but, as always, I will do my best and try to overtake every time the opportunity arises. I have seen the city a bit and it’s one of the nicest we visit. After this race, we have our summer break, but I’m not really looking forward to it: I’d prefer to have another three races in the three weeks off!”

Williams

Valtteri Bottas

“Budapest is a great city and hosts a great race. There are a lot of Finnish fans living in Hungary, but also many who make the trip for this race weekend so I always have a lot of support - it’s almost a Finnish Grand Prix. The circuit is very different from the last few because it’s much tighter with more medium and slow speed corners, but our development has been focused on tracks like this and generating higher downforce. We should be looking to have a strong weekend and to build on the good momentum we have built.”

Felipe Massa


“Hungary is a special place for me. I have a lot of fans there after my accident in 2009 and since then the people have really got behind me which is great. Being so close to a city which has such fantastic culture really adds to the race weekend. This circuit wouldn’t normally suit our car because it’s quite low speed, but we have improved the car so much in recent races with the upgrades we have introduced so we should have another competitive weekend.”

Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering


“Hungary is tight and twisty, and is a low efficiency circuit in terms of aerodynamics but also has some high speed corners. The balance of the car is important as the long loaded corners tend to highly stress the front tyres and lead to graining, but you then go into the traction phase with hot rear tyres, so it’s not easy to get a good lap in. The temperature always plays its part with hot ambient temperatures and this has an effect on the power unit and aerodynamic set-up. We enjoy staying in Budapest, a culture rich city with passionate race fans from all over the East of Europe.”

McLaren

Fernando Alonso

"It's funny to think that both Jenson and I won our first grand prix in Hungary. That, of course, makes it a special place for me, and a venue that'll always hold good memories for me. I really like this place; it's a track that you really have to attack to get a good laptime, and, although it's often thought of as a slow circuit, the sweeps around the back of the circuit are all really satisfying, and require a lot of commitment. The left-hander at Turn Six, in particular, is a really great corner - approached blind over a crest, and really hard to nail perfectly. 

"I think the team is looking forward to this race: the track will offer us a reasonable opportunity to showcase our steady progress, and I'd like to think that, if everything runs smoothly, we could have a less difficult weekend."

Jenson Button

"It's going to be a nice feeling to return to the Hungaroring with Honda power behind me, having last won a race for Honda at this very track back in 2006. Obviously, I have a place in my heart for this place i any driver's first grand prix victory is a special event - but, that aside, it's a place I've always enjoyed. 

"Although my race at Silverstone was extremely disappointing, Fernando's points finish was well deserved. There's been absolutely no let-up on the technical side - having personally seen the effort that's been going on at MTC, and heard about the work that's being done at Sakura, I know we're slowly but surely getting there.

"Of course, that's difficult to substantiate without decent results, but let's hope we can go into the summer break feeling confident about the second half of the season."

Eric Boullier, McLaren-Honda Racing director

"Last weekend's sad news about Jules Bianchi means that the grand prix circus heads to Budapest with heavy hearts. We'll all remember his life in our own personal way, but Formula 1 will come together on Sunday to silently and respectfully mark his passing.

"The weekend's news has firmly put things into perspective, but we head to Hungary keen to shake off the poor luck we've encountered in recent races.

"It's been a source of great frustration to see new components and upgrades destroyed before they've had the chance to be race-proven, through a series of first-lap accidents. However, the unshakeable belief and optimism of Fernando and Jenson has set the example for the whole team: they are remarkable assets, and their commitment during these times is incredibly valuable.

"Honda, too, has shown a commitment that remains admirably undiminished. Together, we are showing the fighting spirit and resilience that will see us continue to improve our performance and reliability as we move back to the front. I hope that our performance in Hungary will scratch the surface on the performance and potential that lies within our organisation - it would be great to go into the break feeling re-energised about the races ahead."

Yasuhisa Arai, Honda R&D senior managing officer - chief officer of motorsport

"The Hungaroring is a twisty track that's mostly made up of continuous slow- to mid-speed corners and various elevation changes that makes it very difficult to overtake. Each corner is technical and tight, but there is a certain flow to it that makes it different from a stop-and-go circuit.

"Due to its lack of long straights and full-throttle sectors, this track is less strenuous for the power unit compared to most circuits. However, the frequent undulation requires more precise energy management and deployment at lower gears and corner exits. Getting our energy management settings right will be crucial throughout the weekend.

"Our goal is to end the first half of the season with precise energy management and full use of the ERS to enable the drivers' skills to shine through at this circuit."

Sauber

Marcus Ericsson

"The Hungaroring is a difficult circuit - a small track, quite narrow, also bumpy, with a lot of corners. Budapest and its surroundings usually have extremely hot temperatures at the end of July, therefore, we require good tyre management and need to make sure they are working in the right way. That will be one of the big challenges. We have to see in practice how competitive we are on this type of track with the car. As far as I know a lot of Swedish fans are coming to the race, including more than a dozen friends of mine. So it will be nice seeing a lot of Swedish people around the track, and hopefully they can help to push me even more."

Felipe Nasr

"The Grand Prix in Budapest is always very challenging. This circuit has many combinations of corners and only short straights. The track is very demanding for the tyres. We need to have a lot of braking stability, as well as good traction. As a driver, on this track you feel as if you are busy all the time. You always have to be concentrating for the next corner. There is only a brief break on the main straight. The grip on the track improves from day to day. We must, therefore, rely on our experience  in order to anticipate grip level changes from day to day and adjust accordingly. Normally Budapest is a hot place during the whole grand prix weekend, and that can be really tricky for the tyre strategy. Overall I like racing there."

Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering

"The Hungaroring is another circuit where the cars are set up to carry all available downforce. It features a sequence of flowing low to medium-speed corners, which make it technical for the drivers, with the final bit of lap time needing to be found in the details, as the limited track width does not offer many ideal lines. Overtaking is difficult and this puts an emphasis on the importance of a good grid position. The tyre compounds allocated for the weekend are the medium and the soft, and that should fit well with the expected hot conditions."

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg

“I've always had good memories of racing in Hungary, ever since I first raced there in 2009 in GP2. It’s an unusual track with a tight and twisty layout. You have to find your rhythm because all the corners flow into each other and it’s easy to lose your momentum with just a small mistake. Away from the track it’s always a popular race with everyone in the paddock. The weather is usually hot and sunny, and the city is beautiful with lots of cool places to explore.

“The last race at Silverstone was a lot of fun. I’m very pleased with the b-spec update and happy with our performance across the whole weekend. After the first couple of laps in the new car I knew we had made a step in the right direction and I had a smile on my face. We obviously need to keep exploring our package, but it was satisfying to get a good result at the team’s home race.

“The engineers have spent the last couple of weeks digging deep into the data because we can’t afford to stand still. We need to keep pushing in this direction and getting more performance from the car. There’s a good feeling in the team and I think we can be competitive again this weekend. The low and medium-speed corners should suit us and the tyre choices are a bit softer than Silverstone, which should help us.”

Sergio Perez

“The Hungarian Grand Prix is always a cool event. The fans are very enthusiastic and they show lots of support for all the drivers. It's definitely an enjoyable weekend in a very historic city.

“The track itself is very technical: you need good traction to exit the low-speed corners and you have to be very accurate and precise. Because it's so twisty, it feels like you are always in a corner and it’s not easy to follow other cars or overtake, so a good qualifying result becomes even more important. It's also quite demanding on the tyres, so it's important to look after them when you can.

“It's the last race before the summer holidays and getting a strong result in Hungary is always a nice boost. I'm feeling optimistic that we can go there and race for some good points, especially with the performance step we made at Silverstone. We are still learning about the new car, but I feel there is great potential to get some special results before the end of the year.”

Dr Vijay Mallya, Team Principal

“We head to Budapest in a sombre mood after the events of the weekend. The thoughts of everyone at Sahara Force India are with the friends and family of Jules Bianchi. We had the pleasure of working with Jules during 2012 and he left a strong impression on everyone in the team. We came to know an outstanding young man and a tremendous talent who was destined for great things in Formula One. The world has lost a true racer and we have all lost a friend.

“It will be hard to get back to business, but we go to Hungary looking to build on our competitive showing at Silverstone. The debut of the b-spec car met our expectations and has delivered the performance step we anticipated. It’s a boost for everyone in the team and we are moving in a good direction for the second half of the season. Over the next few races we will work hard to extract even more performance and build on this momentum.

“The double points finish at Silverstone has consolidated our fifth place in the championship. We’ve picked up 28 points from the last four races and there is a good opportunity to score more points in Budapest. At the start of the year we said we would target fifth place in the standings and that’s certainly an achievable goal. We are now looking at the teams ahead of us and will try and close the gap further.”

Pirelli

Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director

“We go from Silverstone – one of the fastest and most flowing circuits on the F1 calendar - to the Hungaroring, which is among the slower circuits with a seemingly non-stop series of technical corners. It’s a real challenge for the driver, car, and tyres as they are always working hard: apart from the pit straight, there is no real point on the circuit where there is any respite. One of the biggest challenges is the weather: it can be extremely hot in Budapest in July, and obviously this has a significant effect on thermal degradation. In order to find the right balance between performance and durability, we’ve selected the medium and soft tyres, which is the same nomination as last year. This selection is soft enough to provide the mechanical grip needed to negotiate all the corners, yet hard enough to withstand the punishing weather conditions and track layout of the Hungaroring. This is not always the easiest circuit to overtake on, so tyre strategy can make a real difference.”

Red Bull

Daniel Ricciardo

"The Hungarian Grand Prix has a lot going for it. Personally, I love these races in the European summer when you have the high temperatures and - usually - the great weather, plus it’s the final race before the summer break and that tends to put everyone in a good mood. There’s usually a really good party on Sunday night and, because of the break everyone tends to stay and have fun. Budapest is a cool city, really good restaurants and bars, really nice, really loyal fans and basically a great place to have a Grand Prix. That’s the short version.

"It’s a great, great track for a qualifying lap, one of the best of the year. It’s tight, twisty and bumpy, and you have to use a lot of kerb - so getting in a low fuel, new tyre lap right on the limit it’s lots and lots of fun. But, for the same reasons the race tends to be quite tight with not a lot of overtaking. Last year was a great race for me! Of the three wins last year, it was the one where I was definitely most excited during the race. It’s tough for me to judge but probably it was the best performance of the three, purely because of the people I passed to finish in the lead. I had tyres in better condition - excellent strategy from our guys - but Fernando and Lewis don’t let you have the places for free - I had to really work for it! 

"Winning the race was awesome but the fact I had half a dozen mates over for the race made it even better. What I said about Hungary being the final race before the break? We had a really good Sunday night."

Daniil Kvyat

"I really used to enjoy it in Formula Renault 2.0 but it’s probably a little bit too narrow for modern Formula One cars. But still, in qualifying it really makes you push to the limit. You’re right on the edge and you never get a rest during the lap. I think that’s the biggest characteristic of the circuit. I was on pole and won there in Formula Renault 2.0 in 2012 and was on the podium in GP3 in the feature race, so I’ve got pretty good memories of racing here.

"It is pretty challenging. You need to hit every apex right, don’t make any mistakes in your line selection, it’s quite a difficult one to get right but I do find it to be a lot of fun. [Speaking of fun] it’s one of the best cities we go to during the whole championship. Budapest is very cool. We don’t go crazy, obviously, but there are a few really nice restaurants along the river - particularly one Italian where I go quite often when I have time. I really like it along the river, it’s cool."

Lotus

Romain Grosjean

“It’s a great track and one that’s suited us in the past. It was great to be on the podium there in 2012. I can remember feeling frustrated that year as we did have a chance to be fighting for the win, but that didn’t work out because of traffic. I like the circuit and its style of up and downs and twisty corners. I like the feeling you get when driving on the track and the grip you get from it. I’ve been very quick in qualifying pretty much every time there. It’s also the venue of one of my best overtaking ever in my Formula One career in 2013, even though I was penalised for being a few small centimetres over the line, which was tough at the time… Nevertheless, it is hard to overtake at the Hungaroring making qualifying very, very important and equally so the race strategy. We showed in 2012 that being on the front row certainly helps and 2013’s P3 wasn’t too bad either.

“In terms of driving, it’s not the most physically challenging in terms of high speed corners, but the heat you experience in the cockpit can be quite an issue. It can also be a difficult circuit early in the weekend as the track is not used very much, meaning it’s quite slippery when you first go out. The Hungaroring is not a high-speed circuit so it won’t play to the strength of our car through the speed traps, but we’ve worked pretty well in the low-speed stuff. The tyre allocation of the soft and medium compound Pirelli is certainly quite a conservative one, but we should be able to go quite well. I think if we start the weekend well we could have quite a strong race and bag some more juicy points ahead of the summer break.”

Pastor Maldonado

“The Hungarian Grand Prix is one of the best of the season. We are very close to the city of Budapest which is a place that I like very much. There is a big community of fans at the race weekend and the people are very friendly. On track it can be very challenging. The weather is usually very hot there meaning that it is very demanding from a physical point of view. It is one of the races that I enjoy best because of these demands and I really like the challenge that it presents.

“It is a very demanding circuit for drivers as it is often very hot and there are limited overtaking opportunities. It has quite a slow speed layout and we’ve looked quite good with the E23 in low-speed corners so it will be interesting to see how quick we are here. Qualifying is so important at this track because of the small number of overtaking opportunities, but I’ve qualified well there in the past so hopefully I can deliver a strong performance. I have won in Budapest in other categories so the track has good memories for me. The fans create a good atmosphere and it’s always nice to race at a track where there is a good feeling like this. I am looking forward to the weekend.”

Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal

“It’s a great race in a great place. The circuit offers drivers its own distinct challenge with the twisty Hungaroring and the races that result are usually some of the better ones during the course of any given season. We’ve seen drivers like Ayrton Senna, Thierry Boutsen, Michael Schumacher, Nigel Mansell, Damon Hill and Fernando Alonso thrill and excite the emotions of the thousands of spectators over the years, bringing real magic to Budapest and to Formula One. The fans are all very enthusiastic and the city itself is wonderful with many treasures.”

Nick Chester, Technical Director

"It’s an interesting circuit with predominantly low and medium speed corners meaning we need a good front-end from the car with strong turn-in. Traction is another area we look to maximise from the set-up. Talking of set-up, it is another venue which can present a challenge. You need high downforce and we’re using the medium and soft tyres at what is likely to a hot track which means our engineers will be kept busy getting the car fine-tuned to exploit its performance potential."

More to follow.