Hungarian Grand Prix 2022 — What You Need To Know
There’s one final race for Formula One to tackle before the annual mid-season summer break. The 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix will be the 13th round of a gruelling season where Max Verstappen has driven like a champion in waiting but has to face a circuit where he has yet to take an F1 win before he enjoys some downtime.
The Hungaroring has earned a reputation of being “Monaco without the walls,” so there will be a lot of pressure for the drivers to qualify as high up the grid as possible to get a result. However, the new 2022 aero regulations and Pirelli’s tyres might make that not the case for this year’s visit.
What to watch out for in the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix
Mercedes looked mightier than they have all season last week during France’s Grand Prix, but they are still not at the strength levels they’re used to. George Russell couldn’t keep Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz behind, for example, and Lewis Hamilton had no answer to Verstappen’s race-winning pace, but they’re closing in. Clever tyre strategy calls might put the Silver Arrows’ all-British driver pairing in with a chance, but it otherwise looks like a Red Bull vs Ferrari fight.
However, the great equaliser — rain — could play a part in the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix weekend. After the baking temperatures that hit Europe (you might’ve noticed…), more unsettled weather is around this week. Forecasts predict rain will hit the Hungaroring circuit sometime during the three days. You may remember last year’s crazy race start on Intermediate tyres for a taste of what can happen when the heavens open in Hungary.
2022 Hungarian Grand Prix Pirelli Tyre Choices
There’s a repeat of the tyres from Paul Ricard for the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix, as Pirelli will provide the C2, C3, and C4 compounds. This trio of rubber represents the middle three tyre options in the range. Last week, we saw how the performances differed, with Sainz’s impressive surge through the midfield and frontrunners when using the Pirelli Mediums.
If rain features, as it did in 2021, the Intermediate compound will appear. The high temperatures in the 20s-30s that forecasters expect suggest that any rain that falls won’t keep the track wet for too long, but any sudden deluge would mean that the teams would require the lesser-spotted blue-walled Wet tyres. Forecasts suggest Free Practice 3 or Qualifying are the most likely times to see Pirelli’s grooved tyres on the circuit.
Who could win the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix
There’s only one name in town when it comes to the Hungarian Grand Prix — Lewis Hamilton. The seven-time champion has won here a record-equalling eight times in his career. He excels at the circuit and would’ve made that nine wins in 2021 if it wasn’t for the oddest race restart in F1 history when Hamilton was the only driver on the starting grid for lights out.
Unfortunately for Hamilton and teammate Russell, the Hungaroring’s track surface is well known for its bumpiness, which the Mercedes hasn’t worked too well on in 2022. The near-constant twists and turns mean that any engine advantage Ferrari or Red Bull have over their opponents may not help so much. Nonetheless, the mechanical and aerodynamic grip the ‘big two’ have should see them comfortably as the teams to beat.
Charles Leclerc is the Qualifying king this season but hasn’t converted too many into race wins. However, starting from pole position is crucial for victory at the tough-to-overtake circuit, so he’ll hope to continue his strong Saturday showing. If the drivers need Wet or Intermediate tyres in Qualifying, it’s anyone’s guess who will start from pole position and have the best chance to win the 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Originally published at Tyres Northampton