Tuesday, 22 July 2014

McLaren Mercedes Hungarian Grand Prix Preview

(McLaren Mercedes)

The McLaren Formula One team head to this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix looking to bounce back from a disappointing race last time out at the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim where despite Kevin Magnussen equally his best F1 qualifying performance starting the race from 4th place on the grid and finished the race in 9th place following a first corner racing incident with Williams Martini Racing Felipe Massa.

Jenson Button had an equally difficult race. The 2009 world champion started the race from 11th place on the grid and finished the race in 8th place. Button was involved in a clash with former McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton. However after watching the race over Button said that he overreacted in relation to the clash with Hamilton.

The Woking based outfit have a good record in Hungary having won there with Lewis Hamilton in both 2011 and 2012.

The team have had a difficult time of it since they scored a double finish in the opening race of the season in Australia. However Kevin Magnussen's fourth place grid start in Germany shows that the team are gradually making progress. They head to Hungary hoping to overtake Sahara Force India in the Constructors championship as the Silverstone based squad are two points ahead of McLaren in the race for 5th place. 

Speaking ahead of this weekend's last Grand Prix before the month long Summer break Jenson Button said:

'As you know, this has been a special place for me for some time. I won my first grand prix here back in 2006 – it was one of those day when everything seemed to go my way – and I won my 200th grand prix here. That was an emotional day – and it was back in 2011 – I can’t believe it was nearly 60 races ago.

“The Hungaroring is a great track. Everybody thinks of it as a slow circuit, but, out the back, it’s got some pretty decent corners – Turn Four requires some serious commitment, and it’s made harder because it has a blind apex. Equally, the sequence of S-bends that make up Turns Eight to 11 are really satisfying to drive.
“Nonetheless, it’s still a circuit where you require lots of down-force and grip, and I think we are making positive steps in that direction.'
 Kevin Magnussen is excited to be returning to the Hungaroring where he race in Formula Renault 3.5 last year. The Dane commented:
'I really like the Hungaroring. It isn't a fast circuit but, a bit like Monaco, it's a track on which a driver can really make a difference. I raced there last year in World Series by Renault 3.5 – and, although I didn't win either of the two races we had that weekend, I really enjoyed the first of them in particular.
“Qualifying had been messed up for many of the drivers, owing to torrential rain, and I ended up 16th on the grid. From there I got it all hooked up really well on race day, which was also extremely wet, and I overtook a load of cars as I worked my way up to second place at the end. It was great!
“I think we’ve shown recently that our car performs slightly better on tracks with a combination of low- and mid-speed corners, so I think this weekend will hopefully offer us another opportunity to score some useful world championship points. 
“After a couple of frustrating races, I’m hoping for a weekend where everything comes together.'
McLaren Racing director Eric Boullier is looking forward to the race this weekend saying:
'McLaren has a fantastic record in Hungary – we’ve won 11 grands prix there – and, while it’s unlikely we’ll be in a position to win this year, I think we travel to Budapest feeling encouraged by a number of our recent performances. We know there’s still a lot to do, but there’s a feeling that the whole team’s motivation is growing.
“This is effectively the last race of the first ‘half’ of the season: Formula 1 takes a short break for the summer before we return for the final few races in Europe, then the long and intense series of fly-aways that end the year.
“It’s always beneficial to go into the summer break with a positive result, so we’ll be trying hard to do just that; even more important, it’s essential that we maintain our focus and determination with regard to car development. The next six months will be critical for everybody at McLaren, and we’ll be working as hard as possible to keep on pushing.'
© Ben Johnston 2014

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