Budapest was a scorcher of a race — the hottest one of the year so far. The action had started long before the Grand Prix weekend!
Following the Sivlersoptne Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo got behind the wheel of the Red Bull RB19 for a Pirelli tire test. According to sources in the Red Bull garage, his lap times were so impressive that he would have been on the grid's front row for the Grand Prix on Sunday. Sergio Perez hasn’t managed to do that since the Miami Grand Prix in May.
Helmut Marko made a call on the first day of the test, and shortly after, Nydck De Vries was dropped from the Alpha Tauri team, with Daniel Ricciardo being announced as his replacement. It’s brutal, but that’s the way this sport works, especially with the Red Bull junior team.
Now, the pressure was on both Sergio Perez and Daniel Ricciardo to perform!
Sergio Perez seemed to buckle under the pressure immediately, crashing into the barriers just 5 minutes into Free Practice 1 — Marko was visibly frustrated in the garage. The Mexican driver luckily managed to claw his way into Q3 for the first time in five races.
In the race, Perez drove brilliantly — showing that form we haven’t seen since the start of the season. Checo made great overtakes and fought into the podium to finish in third place. He was also voted Driver of the Day for his performance on the track. But is it a little too late?
Red Bull Losing Their Advantage?
Max Verstappen took victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix to break McLaren’s record of 11 wins in a row for a constructor. It’s an incredible accomplishment for the team and a testament to how dominant the RB19 has been this season.
Verstappen is now sitting on seven wins on the bounce. He’s hunting down Sebastian Vettel’s 2011 record of nine wins in a row. Should the Dutchman continue his fine form, he’ll equal that number at his home race in Zandvoort!
However, Red Bull might not be so dominant for long. They brought a massive sidepod upgrade to the Hungaroring. However, they weren’t miles ahead of the competition as they usually would be.
Lewis Hamilton took pole position by 0.003 seconds. The Hungaroring is one of the Brit’s favourite circuits, so he might have something extra in the tank. At the start of the race, though, Hamilton struggled off the line. A disappointed Hamilton apologised to his team over the radio: “Sorry about that, guys”.
On the other hand, McLaren is looking incredibly fast following their upgrades a couple of races ago in Austria. Their pace is confirmed following podiums in Silverstone and Hungary. Lando Norris finished in second place after starting the race in third place. The Brit drove an excellent race and is rising to the challenge against Red Bull — they sure;y have a victory coming soon!
We also need to remember that the Hungaroring is one of the weakest circuits for the RB19 — their car doesn’t like the tight and twisty nature of the circuit. However, the advantage Red Bull had before is dissipating fast.
Mid-Season Break Coming Up
The next race is the legendary Spa-Francorchamps. It’s always an incredible race track for these cars and a spectacular venue to watch the racing.
Red Bull will have a massive straight-line speed advantage down the Kemmel straight. However, we should see some skinny rear wings from the other teams in an attempt to reduce the drag on their cars.
We’ll see if McLaren can keep it up — perhaps Lando Norris and Oscar Piastri can challenge for a victory this weekend!
How Did Ricciardo Do?
Daniel Ricciardo impressed right from the get-go. The Australian managed to outqualify his teammate Yuki Tsunoda. He made it into Q2 and put his Alpha Tauri into 13th position, which is impressive, considering he hasn’t been on the grid for eight months.
Ricciardo got a decent start in the race and made up some positions. However, he got punted into the Alpines and dropped down to last place.
Nevertheless, He put in a solid race and fought back up to 13th place, where he started. He managed to finish ahead of Tsunoda but did not score any points.
So, has Ricciardo been revitalised from his short break from F1? Will he continue to perform against Tsunoda? Can he snatch Checo’s Red Bull seat next year?