Race Report – Budapest
I usually write my reports in a very structure manner using the weekend’s schedule as headlines – FP1, FP2, Q, QR, MR, Free Practice One, Free Practice Two, Qualifying, Qualifying Race and Main Race respectively. However, Budapest is and was different.
There is a reason for the interrogation after Budapest! I never fully understood why F1 and other series race at the Hungaroring. The circuit is technical, requiring your full concentration. The Hungarians are a great crowd and love motorsports. However, there are only two things that matter at the Hungaroring for a racing driver: qualifying and the start. The reason: you simply cannot overtake!
10 days before the weekend race a few of us went to test at the Hungaroring. Thank God! As stated above, it is a very technical circuit. Most corners are in second/third gear but you need to know when to take the curbs and when not to, when to brake or simply lift. So how did it go?
It was a reconnaissance, getting back to speed. The temperatures were still okay, but raising fast.
We made a couple of changes to the car as we simply had lost front grip from mid-corner to exit. Temperatures were causing us problems with tire pressures raising too fast. After 5 laps the car was floating on the track!
It was important to have a good qualifying. We tried to go out first and get a good time with new tires. We were careful with tire pressures. With 56 degrees on the track, it was difficult to push from the start. We had to start with very low pressures and build up speed. It somewhat worked as I qualified 5th. It was good considering that 2-6th were separated by only half a second!
At the start I lost one position going into the first corner. However, I was able regain my position braking late. On the second lap I managed to pass a car on braking in turn 12. It was a great pass, with the driver not leaving me a lot of space. I then kept behind the 2 and 3 place car that were battling. The first car was way gone by then. I kept my cool. I knew I was faster but could simply not overtake. I had to brake earlier in some corners not to touch the car in the front and go around corners a gear under! It was going fine, when at the exit of turn 9 I overstepped the curb by 20 centimeters. This unsettled the car, and as I was on throttle, the car went into oversteer – the back of the car sliding. I tried twice to recover the car but I could not control it. I went straight into the barrier, hitting the barrier at 160 km/h. The car was seriously damaged. I tried to bring it back, but the engine went to safe mode.
The car was then brought back to the pits for repair. The mechanics started disassembling the broken car as the team manager, BMW and myself discussed what we could do. There was a big concern that the engine was damaged. After several hours in looking at our options we decided to stop the repair and not race the next morning.
DNS – Did Not Start!
It’s really a shame. Our objective was to score as many points as possible to secure second in the Championship. This did not materialize and we are now third. Barcelona will be our last meeting at the end of September where we intent to maximum our potential and regain our second place!