F1 2018: Hungarian Grand Prix Track Guide
The Hungaroring is a narrow, winding, ribbon of tarmac near Budapest. It can be a nightmare for overtaking, but where can you make your move?
The first Hungarian Grand Prix was held in 1936, but World War II and the ensuing fallout meant that motor racing disappeared from the country for a long time. It wasn’t until 1986 that the Hungarian Grand Prix entered the Formula 1 calendar. It was a major moment as it was the first race to take place behind the Iron Curtain. The Hungaroring was chosen as the venue and it has become a mainstay of Formula 1 ever since. Now it marks the start of the summer break for the sport, but in F1 2018 it is a frustrating narrow, single-track, circuit that can be utterly punishing on the tyres.
There are only 14 corners at the Hungaroring, but thanks to a lot of lengthy, mid-speed, corners the front-left tyre in particular takes a beating. This emphasises the need to stay on line and have a good setup that protects your rubber. There are very few overtaking places around the Hungaroring, and while you can get your elbows out and force a way past against the AI, when it comes to moves on another user it is incredibly hard to make an overtake stick. Where is the best place to try a pass?
The pit straight is not extremely long, but it is the best straight on offer here. Coming after a DRS zone and having a wide entry, turn 1 is the best overtaking point on the lap. The downhill braking zone can catch some people unaware, and the width of the corner also allows for a dive up the inside even against a defensive move. It is possible to go around the outside if you are very brave. If you can’t quite make a move stick here, then you can finish it off at turn 2, but it is very difficult to launch a move there from scratch.
The next best place to try an overtake is into turn 12, a slow right-hander. This requires something of a perfect storm, however. You need a great exit from turn 11 (we’ll get to that corner later) and hope your opponent has a worse one that you. This is possible if you are on fresh tyres and they are not. If you do get this superior exit and throw your engine mode and ERS mode up then you can get yourself into a position to make a dive up the inside here. It’s risky though, try from too far back and you’ll lose some of your front wing.
These are the only sensible places to launch an overtake attempt. You can perhaps find a window to make a dive at the turn 6/7 chicane, but it is very unwise to throw it up the inside here as there is nowhere to go if it goes awry. There are plenty of tricky corners around the Hungaroring though, that are just waiting to cost you time and send you into the wall.
Turn 5 looks like a simple long right-hander. An easy 180-degree arc that holds little risk. That is true, unless you touch the inside kerb and then you lose all control. It’s like hitting a banana peel on Mario Kart. If your rear tyre hits that kerb it’s all over, you’re into the wall and there isn’t a thing you can do about it. A normal racing line would allow you to take this line, but with the kerbing here you simply cannot. Just stay wider than you feel you should in order to avoid that inside kerb.
I told you we’d come back to turn 11. This sweeping right-hander is the most fun corner of the circuit as you can carry a huge amount of speed. Getting this corner right makes passes into turn 12 possible, but running wide will seriously compromise you to any car behind. With fresh tyres you can really throw it in but on older rubber you’ll need to scrub some speed before entry so you can carry momentum and get your foot down early.
The final corner of the Hungaroring is one of the toughest to get right in all of F1 2018. The long right-hander has its late apex obscured by the pit wall, and the mid-speed nature of it makes it very difficult to take optimally for anyone using a pad and not a wheel & pedals. If you get this wrong, you’ll lose time all the way down to turn 1 and end up leaving yourself vulnerable to an overtake. The easiest mistake here is to apex too early and get on the gas too early, which only serves to drive you wide onto the less grippy run-off area. Be patient on turn in and clip the apex before drifting to the exit kerb and hitting the power for the run down to turn 1.
The Hungaroring demands a high wing-angle and precise suspension setup so you can have a balanced and responsive car. This comes at the cost of straight line speed and also tyre wear. The key is to balance tyre life with cornering performance. You can see our setup here, but remember that your own driving style, controller setup, and level of assists may require you to make a few tweaks to it.