2018 FORMULA 1 PIRELLI MAGYAR NAGYDÍJ
HURRAH IN HUNGARY
By the time our STR13s rolled out of the garage in torrid temperatures at the Hungaroring on Friday, there was the feeling the Hungarian GP was actually the last race in a five race back-to-back, rather than just the second race one week on from Germany. It's been a very tough time for everyone, especially as all the European venues we have visited since the French GP have been hit by heatwaves.
Although the most common question heard in the paddock over the weekend was "what are you doing in the summer break?" It's not quite time to relax just yet. There's the small matter of two days of testing, still at the Budapest circuit, on Tuesday and Wednesday. Brendon is driving all of Tuesday and Wednesday morning, while Pierre takes over for the final afternoon.
A very tough schedule therefore, but one which our crew is tackling with a new spring in its step thanks to an excellent result on Sunday. Pierre started the Hungarian GP from sixth on the grid and that's where he finished, but that doesn't really tell the whole story. For starters, given how difficult it is to pass cars at this tight track, maintaining your grid position is no mean feat. Secondly, our French driver was the only man not to be lapped by the five cars ahead of him and all five of them were from what we refer to as the "top three teams." Therefore we can claim the honour of having been best of the rest on Sunday. Brendon was less fortunate and having started eighth, he might have also expected to finish in the points. However, to give credit where it's due, McLaren pulled off a clever strategy, running a very long first stint to jump several cars, including Brendon, when they finally pitted for a tyre change. Although our Kiwi finished right on the tail of the two cars ahead of him, he had to settle for eleventh.
The result was a great reward for so much hard work from everyone in our team and our colleagues at Honda and a great way to go into the summer break. The relationship between ourselves and our PU supplier continues to develop and that could be seen from the way everyone worked in synch to get both Pierre and Brendon into the top ten on the grid in those changeable wet-dry-wet conditions during Saturday's qualifying.
While some of the team are about to tackle the two day test in Hungary, back in Faenza and Bicester, everyone is still working flat out this week to ensure that when we switch off the factory lights this coming weekend and make sure the doors are locked for the official F1 shutdown, everything is pretty much ready for the start of the second half of the year. There will only be a couple of days back at work before it's time for... another back to back! The second half of the year starts with two of the absolute all time classic races on the calendar, the Belgian and Italian Grand Prix. Even on holiday, you can be sure that Spa and Monza won't be far from our thoughts.