Eddie Jordan: Budapest Preview

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After that scintillating race in Germany the big question is whether the Hungarian Grand Prix can deliver the same again. There we had a world-class show, with Lewis Hamilton shrugging aside all the criticism he has endured since Monza last year to win from Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber.

The McLaren driver’s move on Fernando around the outside of Turn 2 showed just what he can do when really on it, and counts as one of the manoeuvres of the year – and believe me, we’ve had many fantastic moments already. Yet the season is only halfway done…

The combination of KERS, degrading tyres and DRS has made an enormous difference to the spectacle. I think we should single out Pirelli, who have done a fantastic job. I know I’ve said it before, but what they’ve achieved in their first season has been extremely impressive, and as fans we should be truly thankful.

Equally impressive has been the resurgence of PUMA’s team Ferrari. Including Monaco there have now been five consecutive races where the red cars have raced at the sharp end, so it seems they are once again a real force to be reckoned with. However, I found it most interesting that Fernando said afterwards he hopes McLaren will help him in taking points away from the Red Bulls. I never thought I would hear him say that, particularly after their acrimonious ‘divorce’ in 2007.

What the last two races have proven is that Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull are beatable, in the process raising questions about Vettel’s ability as a racer. Fighting it out while in the thick of the action is totally different from going wheel to wheel with two or three others. He has certainly proven he can lead from the front, but his ability to put up a fight while under pressure is now questionable.

What can we expect from this race weekend? I think it will be very close again, but that Red Bull will have the advantage. Mark Webber won here last year, but only after Vettel was hit by a penalty for an indiscretion behind the Safety Car. This suggests the tortuous Hunagroring, which is basically Monaco without the city and water, suits the Red Bulls more than the rest.

The DRS zone is on the main straight, which should sort out one of the criticisms the circuit has had to endure over the years – namely, that it is too tight for overtaking between two competing cars.

Pirelli have specified their Super Soft and Soft compounds for the race, so we should see some interesting strategies. This combination was used in Monaco and Montreal, and we all know what happened there.

The weather is likely to be a factor as well. There was a massive storm at the circuit on Thursday evening and further rain is forecast during the weekend, mainly on Saturday. We could have a jumbled-up grid, which would spice up the 70-lap race rather nicely.

Races at the Hungaroring have generally fallen into two categories: absolutely thrilling or totally boring. However, I think Sunday’s event will prove to be the exception to the rule, particularly based on recent evidence, and I for one can’t wait for the lights to extinguish.

For a change there is even more to look forward to after the race, for that is when F1’s summer holidays start. I originally pushed for the three-week break in August when I was a team owner as I strongly felt the need for F1 personnel to have balanced family lives, and I am extremely pleased to see the tradition continue.
 

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