Max Verstappen has said that he is excited to return to the Hungaroring – a circuit where he has a 100% scoring record – for the Hungarian Grand Prix next weekend, even if he is not fully confident about Red Bull’s chances there as a team.
“It’s a great track, especially in an F1 car,” the Dutchman said. “It’s always a bit too early to say how we’ll do in Hungary. We’re constantly improving, trying to get a better balance and more downforce on the car. Luckily there are not too many long straights.”
Indeed, the Hungaroring is notable for its tight and winding nature, to such an extent that it is sometimes described as “Monaco without the walls”. It has a tendency to punish small mistakes in much the same way as the Principality, and is equally as challenging for the drivers. Verstappen, however, seems to disagree with this comparison: “I wouldn’t say it’s Monaco without the walls,” he added. “But it’s definitely a bit more narrow than other circuits we go to.”
In terms of lap times, which fell significantly last time out at Silverstone thanks to the faster 2017 cars, Verstappen believes that we will not see such a big drop in Hungary – but also that there may be minimal changes in the ways the drivers approach each lap. “We do have more grip this year so maybe you have to do a few different lines compared to the previous year. But all in all that’s manageable and quite straightforward.”
Budapest does, of course, provide more than a tough test for the drivers; the city is a must-see location, and Verstappen is keen to experience as much of it as he can. “We’re always staying in the city centre for the race week,” he revealed. “We do get to see a little bit of Budapest.
“Unfortunately we never have time for a lot of sightseeing. But I’ll hopefully have one day to walk around and get to know the city a bit more after the race.”