Lewis Hamilton, who secured a third-place finish at the British Grand Prix two weeks ago, expressed his dissatisfaction with his Mercedes car during Friday practice at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Hamilton’s frustration was exacerbated by a new approach to tyre allocation being tested at this race, limiting the number of sets available to drivers.
World champion Max Verstappen also voiced complaints about the changes. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc dominated the day, setting the pace, but it was difficult to gauge the true competitive picture due to the so-called ‘alternative tyre allocation.’
This new allocation reduces the number of tyre sets available over a weekend from 13 to 11, alters the distribution of the three available compounds, and mandates the use of hard tyres in first qualifying, mediums in the second, and softs in the top-10 shootout. The aim of this change is to promote sustainability by reducing tyre usage.
Consequently, teams ran fewer sets of tyres during Friday practice, with the Mercedes drivers using only one set of medium-compound tyres throughout the day. Hamilton criticized the format, highlighting that it limited their running time and suggested the focus should be on addressing the wastage of wet tyres rather than restricting track time.
Verstappen, who only used two sets of soft tyres in the second session, shared a similar sentiment, acknowledging that the limited tyre availability hindered proper preparation for the race. The reduced track time meant they were effectively saving tyres, which he deemed inappropriate.
Regarding the overall performance of the cars, Verstappen had a significant upgrade on his Red Bull, but the limited running made it challenging to provide a comprehensive assessment. On the race-simulation runs, Verstappen appeared faster than the Ferraris, but McLaren, Mercedes, and Aston Martin used the mediums for their long runs, with Lando Norris of McLaren topping the charts, ahead of Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso and the Mercedes duo of George Russell and Hamilton. Meanwhile, the Alpines of Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon secured third and fifth positions, respectively, with Yuki Tsunoda’s Alpha Tauri in between.
The return of Daniel Ricciardo to Formula 1 with Alpha Tauri was the highlight of the day. He finished 14th, 0.451 seconds behind his teammate. Ricciardo described the day as a learning experience with his new car and remained optimistic about improving his performance for the upcoming sessions.
On the other hand, Sergio Perez of Red Bull had a difficult day, crashing into the wall during first practice. His early-season ambitions of challenging Verstappen for the championship have faded due to a series of errors. Ricciardo’s return doesn’t seem to impact Perez’s future with Red Bull, as he maintains that his fate remains in his hands.
The Hungarian Grand Prix provided little clarity regarding true performance due to the limited running, leaving fans curious about the actual competitive landscape.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Grand Prix
Q: What was Lewis Hamilton’s reaction to his Mercedes performance at the Hungarian Grand Prix?
A: Lewis Hamilton expressed his displeasure with his Mercedes car during Friday practice, stating that it felt “at its worst.” He set the 16th-fastest time and was frustrated by the new tyre allocation system in place for the race, limiting the number of tyre sets available to drivers.
Q: Why did Max Verstappen complain during the Hungarian Grand Prix?
A: Max Verstappen, the world champion, also voiced complaints about the new tyre allocation system. He found the limited number of tyre sets available during the weekend to be restrictive, affecting proper preparation for the race.
Q: Who set the fastest time during the Hungarian Grand Prix?
A: Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc set the pace during the Hungarian Grand Prix, leading the pack on a day that provided few clues about the true competitive picture due to the altered tyre allocation system.
Q: What is the ‘alternative tyre allocation’ system being tried at the Hungarian Grand Prix?
A: The ‘alternative tyre allocation’ system reduces the number of tyre sets available over a weekend from 13 to 11, changes the distribution across the three available compounds, and enforces the use of hard, medium, and soft tyres during specific qualifying sessions. The aim is to promote sustainability by reducing tyre usage.
Q: How did the limited tyre allocation system impact teams’ performance during Friday practice?
A: The limited tyre allocation system meant that teams ran fewer sets of tyres during Friday practice. For instance, the Mercedes drivers used only one set of medium-compound tyres for the entire day. Many drivers and teams expressed concerns about the reduced track time and its impact on performance.
Q: What was the overall performance outlook during the Hungarian Grand Prix?
A: The limited running due to the tyre allocation system made it challenging to provide a comprehensive assessment of the overall performance. While Charles Leclerc of Ferrari set the fastest time, the true competitive landscape remained uncertain.
Q: How did Daniel Ricciardo perform in his return to Formula 1 with Alpha Tauri?
A: Daniel Ricciardo finished 14th in his return to Formula 1 with Alpha Tauri. He had a steady session, focusing on learning the new car and setting competitive lap times during his runs.
Q: What challenges did Sergio Perez face during the Hungarian Grand Prix?
A: Sergio Perez had a difficult day at the Hungarian Grand Prix, crashing into the wall during the first practice session. His early-season ambitions of challenging his teammate, Max Verstappen, for the championship have been hindered by a series of errors.
Q: Did Sergio Perez’s crash impact his learning and preparation for the race?
A: Sergio Perez was somewhat fortunate that his crash coincided with the rain during the first session. The rain meant he did not miss out on valuable track time, unlike other drivers who had to deal with the limited running due to the tyre allocation system.
Q: How did the new tyre allocation system affect the competitive landscape of the Hungarian Grand Prix?
A: The new tyre allocation system made it challenging to assess the true competitive picture of the Hungarian Grand Prix. Teams and drivers faced limitations on tyre sets, affecting their ability to fully explore their cars’ performance potential.
More about Grand Prix
- BBC Sport – Hungarian Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton unhappy with his Mercedes as Charles Leclerc fastest
- The Guardian – Hamilton unhappy with tyre rule
- Sky Sports – Charles Leclerc sets pace in Hungarian GP practice as Lewis Hamilton finishes 16th
- Motorsport.com – Hamilton slams “less running” in Hungary
- RaceFans – Hamilton: Mercedes “at its worst” on Hungarian GP Friday
- ESPN – Max Verstappen not happy with tyre rule at Hungarian GP
- Autosport – Daniel Ricciardo: Red Bull sacking spurred my F1 comeback
- Formula1.com – Ricciardo explains return to F1 with Alpha Tauri