Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Hungry for more success in Budapest: Mercedes Hungarian Grand Prix Preview

(Mercedes AMG F1 Team)

The Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team head into this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix just outside Budapest on the back of another strong weekend last time out at the Hockenheimring in Germany where Nico Rosberg took victory ti extend his championship lead over team mate Lewis Hamilton to 14 point's. Hamilton started the German Grand Prix from 20th place but made his way through the field to join Rosberg on podium.

Mercedes have won nine of the ten Grand Prix so far this season and have a huge point's advantage in the Constructors champion over Infiniti Red Bull Racing. They lead the championship by 178 points. Nico Rosberg commented:

'It was an amazing feeling to take a home victory for myself and Mercedes-Benz at Hockenheim. That race and Monaco are the ones I really want to win, so I came into the weekend hoping for a good result and it worked out perfectly. My Silver Arrow was so dominant and I have to thank the team for this fantastic car. 

So many positive things have been happening for me in the last few weeks. Getting married was definitely the best feeling, then with the new contract, the World Cup for Germany and the weekend at Hockenheim. It’s been a very special time for me. Now we head to Hungary, which is always a really fun weekend in a lot of different ways. Budapest is a really cool city, with a lot of nice things to do in the evening with all the restaurants on the river. 

I often have friends come to this race as they really enjoy the place – although, of course, while they’re out partying on the Saturday night, I’ll focusing and preparing for the race! We’ve had some great after-race parties on the Sunday night in Hungary before, as it’s the last one before the summer break. Hopefully we can give everyone back at the factories and here at the circuit something to really cheer about as a reward for all their hard work before they go on holiday!'

Lewis Hamilton will be hoping for an improved qualifying position this weekend, the 2008 world champion was happy that the team were able to get both cars on the podium in Germany saying:

'I was very proud that we could put both cars on the podium for Mercedes-Benz in Germany in front of all the Mercedes employees there last weekend. From a personal point of view, I couldn´t be too ecstatic about the race because it was a tough weekend for me and ultimately I lost more points to Nico in the Championship battle. 

But I had great fun out there and did as good a job as I could. To get the car from right at the back to the podium was quite an achievement for everyone involved and I´m grateful that we could limit the damage after qualifying. The Hungarian Grand Prix is always a special one for me, with four pole positions and four wins from my seven races there so far – including my first victory for Mercedes last season. 

I don’t really have any secrets there – I’ve just been very fortunate over the years and it’s a circuit I really enjoy. It’s one where you can really attack, which works for an attacking driver like myself, so perhaps it suits my driving style a little bit more than some others. I’ve always had great support there from the fans too, so I’m looking forward to it. I´m doing absolutely everything I can to get back on level terms with Nico in the title battle – I can´t focus more or work harder than I am doing right now. This Championship is proving a big challenge for me but that´s how I love it – and I wouldn´t have it any other way.'

Mercedes Motorsport boss Toto Wolff who is currently recovering following a cycling accident commented:

'Our performance at the last race in Germany was very satisfying indeed. So many of our board members, colleagues and friends from Stuttgart were there in Hockenheim for the weekend so the pressure was on. 

We’ve performed well at the other big races for the team in Malaysia and Britain, but this was the pinnacle for us as a home race. As our thoughts now turn swiftly to the next race in Hungary, it’s important to recognise the hard work put in by everyone at our factories in Brackley and Brixworth. It’s a tight turnaround between the two races and this will be the final trip before the summer break, so we are pushing flat out to make sure we wrap up the first part of the season on a high.

It has been a very busy year so far and another strong result would be the right reward for everyone involved before taking a well-earned rest. We had a spectacular race in Hockenheim and Budapest also has real potential to deliver an exciting Sunday afternoon, although overtaking is much more challenging there. the Hungaroring has always seen fantastic levels of support and we are looking forward to putting on a good show for the fans.'

The Brackley based outfit will be hoping that they will be able to repeat their performance from last season in Hungary by taking another victory and it would be the perfect way to go into the four week Summer break with another win. Despite being a permanent circuit the Hungaroring is similar in nature to the Monaco Grand Prix where Nico Rosberg took victory this season. Speaking about this weekend's race, Mercedes Executive Director (Technical) Paddy Lowe who was also caught up in the cycling accident commented:

'Germany proved to be a busy weekend for the team from start to finish – both in the garage and off track as the home race for Mercedes-Benz. The big talking point going into the weekend was, of course, the demise of FRIC. Much was made of its potential impact on the relative performance of the teams, but as we saw from the first sessions on Friday this did not come to fruition. Lewis’ incident during qualifying came as a big shock. 

The damage to the car left us with some difficult decisions to make and, in the end, changes to the gearbox meant a 5-place penalty dropped Lewis even further down the grid. Lewis then produced a superb recovery drive from the back of the grid to claim a fine podium finish. Nico, meanwhile, built on a strong qualifying position with a perfectly judged race performance to take a well-earned home win. We now move on to Hungary, which will be another interesting challenge. It’s usually very hot in Budapest, which will be a consideration in terms of car setup. Overtaking is also notoriously tough around the Hungaroring circuit – with a high emphasis placed on a good qualifying result.

Lewis has a fantastic record at this particular venue, with four pole positions and four wins from his seven races here. Nico, by contrast, has had a tough time in Hungary in previous years. However, judging by his performance in Germany last weekend we should be set for another fascinating battle between the two drivers. As a team, we will approach this race as we would any other as we look to cap off a strong start to the season with an equally strong result heading into the summer break.'

© Ben Johnston 2014 

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