F1 2020: Wolff expecting Red Bull challenge as Hamilton targets Schumacher records in Hungary

By Sports Desk July 15, 2020

The podium at the end of the Styrian Grand Prix had a familiar look as Lewis Hamilton stood on the top step and he will have history in his sights at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Hamilton and Mercedes head to the Hungaroring on the back of a one-two led by the defending world champion, who can equal a pair of records belonging to Michael Schumacher this weekend.

Hoping to prevent Mercedes from making it three wins in as many races will be the Red Bulls, who have typically shown impressive pace at the Mogyorod circuit.

Sunday's race begins at 15:10 local time (14:10 BST), with Hamilton targeting a third successive win in Hungary that would take him top of the drivers' championship.

 

LAST TIME OUT 

Having had to settle for fourth in the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, Hamilton was dominant at the same Spielberg circuit that hosted the Styrian Grand Prix.

He took pole in a rain-affected qualifying session by 1.2 seconds and was only leapfrogged at the pit stops in a routine win.

While it was a dream weekend for Mercedes, Ferrari endured a nightmare as both Scuderia drivers retired after colliding on the opening lap. They will hope a positive result in Hungary can atone for that.

Max Verstappen was third but Red Bull will surely have left their home circuit disappointed with their points haul of 27 from the two races.



WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR IN HUNGARY

Qualifying will be crucial at a circuit where there are notoriously few spots for overtaking. However, a pole-to-flag Mercedes victory should not be taken as a given despite Hamilton's recent success in the race.

Indeed, Silver Arrows boss Toto Wolff is expecting a sustained challenge from the Red Bulls at a track suited to their RB16 car.


"I'm 100 per cent convinced they will come very strong in Hungary," said Wolff. "It's a track they have shown historically great performance. We have improved there too in the last few years but it's always a difficult weekend.

"Hot temperatures are still a bit of an Achilles' Heel for us, and as far as I have seen on our weather forecast, it could be up to 30C on Sunday. We need to prepare well, put all the focus on Budapest and hopefully do the best out of it."


TOP FIVE OPTA STATS

Hamilton targeting Schumacher record –  Hamilton could make F1 history if he wins the Hungarian Grand Prix; the Englishman would equal Schumacher as the driver with the most wins at a single Grand Prix (currently 7, Schumacher has 8 in the French GP).

A historic pole –  Hamilton (6) is one pole position away from equalling Schumacher (7) as the F1 driver to record the most pole positions in Hungary. Only in Australia has Hamilton recorded more poles (8) than at the Hungarian GP.

Rapid Red Bulls –  Hungary is the Grand Prix where Red Bull have recorded the fastest lap on the most occasions, doing so seven times – each of those coming in their last eleven races there (set by four different drivers).

Verstappen out for repeat –  Verstappen has recorded two pole positions in his career, the first coming in Hungary last year after beating Bottas by just 18 thousandths of a second.

Norris leading McLaren resurgence –  Lando Norris' haul of 26 points is the best for a McLaren driver after the opening two races of a season since Hamilton in 2012 (30 points). 
 

CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

Drivers 

1. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 43
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 37
3. Lando Norris (McLaren) – 26
4. Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) –18
5. Sergio Perez (Racing Point) – 16

Constructors 

1. Mercedes – 80
2. McLaren – 39
3. Red Bull – 27
4. Racing Point – 22
5. Ferrari – 19

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    Maverick Vinales has another golden opportunity to put himself firmly in the MotoGP title picture when he starts on pole at Misano on Sunday. 

    Vinales was on pole for the San Marino Grand Prix last time out but was unable to convert that position into a victory, finishing down in sixth. 

    The Spaniard is 18 points adrift of Andrea Dovizioso in a wide-open fight to replace the injured Marc Marquez as world champion. 

    However, he is in the prime spot to vault up the standings after an error by Francesco Bagnaia gave him pole for the Emilia Romagna and Rimini's Coast Grand Prix. 

    Yet the owner of the lap record at Misano cannot afford to take anything for granted ahead of what looks set to be a fascinating fight for the chequered flag.

    WHAT HAPPENED IN QUALIFYING

    Bagnaia should have been celebrating a maiden MotoGP pole - and another Misano lap record - having smashed the previous mark in FP3. 

    He crossed the line on his final flying lap in one minute and 30.973 seconds, a time that would have seen him top the timesheets. 

    However, he crucially exceeded the track limits on the final turn, an infraction that saw his lap struck off and both pole position and the record handed to Vinales.

    Vinales will have Jack Miller and Fabio Quartararo for company on the front row, with Bagnaia dropping to fifth as a result of his error. 

    Championship leader Dovizioso heads the fourth row, with Franco Morbidelli - winner of the San Marino Grand Prix - sandwiched between Valentino Rossi and Danilo Petrucci on the third row. 

    THE STARTING GRID

    1. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha), 2. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing), 3. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha)
    4. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), 5. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing), 6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
    7. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha), 8. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha), 9. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati)
    10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), 11. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar), 12. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda)
    13. Iker Lecuona (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), 14. Johann Zarco (Avintia), 15. Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3)
    16. Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia), 17. Alex Marquez (Repsol Honda), 18. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar)
    19. Bradley Smith (Aprilia), 20. Tito Rabat (Avintia)

    EMILIA ROMAGNA GRAND PRIX TALKING POINTS

    The searing pace displayed by Bagnaia will be a topic of discussion despite his phenomenal last flying lap counting for nothing. 

    He and team-mate Miller will surely pose a significant threat to Vinales, though Quartararo is concerned about some of his title rivals positioned further back on the starting grid. 

    Joan Mir of Suzuki trails Dovizioso by 16 points, but he produced a disappointing display in Q2 and starts 11th. However, with Quartararo branding the Suzuki "a perfect bike", a charge through the field from Mir is not out of the question.

    "Yes, I'm worried because they are fast in the straight, they are fast in acceleration to overtake people, they are so fast," Quartararo said on Thursday.

    WHAT THE RIDERS SAID

    Maverick Vinales (pole): "This weekend I tried to work always with a race setting. We make an improvement. Last weekend the bike always feels good without fuel but with fuel on the race I struggle a lot. This weekend we work a lot and it seems that we make an improvement. We wish it will work for the race."

    Jack Miller (2nd): "When we got to Q2 I only had one tyre, so it was kind of a one-shot wonder. Anyway, we made it, not a bad qualifying, I was lucky to get the two off Pecco [Bagnaia]."

    Fabio Quartararo (3rd): "Feeling great to be on the front row, that is really important. Our race pace is looking good. I'm happy because we have a good base for tomorrow."

    CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

    Riders

    1. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) 76
    2. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 70
    3. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) 64
    4. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 60
    5. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 58

    Teams

    1. Petronas Yamaha 127
    2. Monster Energy Yamaha 116
    3. Ducati 101
    4. Suzuki Ecstar 100
    5. Pramac Racing 97

  • Bagnaia hands second successive Misano pole to Vinales with costly late error Bagnaia hands second successive Misano pole to Vinales with costly late error

    Maverick Vinales claimed his second successive pole position at Misano as an error from Francesco Bagnaia saw him miss out on the front row in a dramatic qualifying session for the Emilia Romagna and Rimini's Coast Grand Prix.

    Bagnaia, who smashed the Misano lap record in third practice, found searing pace as the Pramac Racing rider attempted to deny Vinales.

    He crossed the line in one minute and 30.973 seconds, which would have seen him take a first career pole and set the first 1:30 lap at the Marco Simoncelli circuit.

    However, his lap was immediately expunged as Bagnaia exceeded the track limits on the final turn, handing pole to Vinales after his lap record of 1:31.077.

    Bagnaia dropped to fifth, with Jack Miller and Fabio Quartararo completing the front row behind Vinales.

    The KTMs of Pol Espargaro and Brad Binder were fourth and sixth respectively, while championship leader Andrea Dovizioso will have work to do to hold on to his six-point lead over Quartararo.

    Dovizioso was 10th behind Ducati team-mate Danilo Petrucci, the fourth row completed by Joan Mir and Takaaki Nakagami.

    LCR Honda's Nakagami went off at turn 15 in FP4 and repeated that error in Q2, wrecking his second bike of the race week and leaving him to settle for 12th on the grid.

    Provisional classification

    1. Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 1:31.077s
    2. Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +0.076s
    3. Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) +0.145s
    4. Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +0.231s
    5. Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing) +0.236s
    6. Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +0.312s
    7. Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) +0.359s
    8. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) +0.489s
    9. Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) +0.497s
    10. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +0.504s
    11. Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.540s
    12. Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +1.207s

     

     

  • MotoGP 2020: Marquez stand-in Bradl to sit out Emilia-Romagna GP MotoGP 2020: Marquez stand-in Bradl to sit out Emilia-Romagna GP

    Repsol Honda rider Stefan Bradl will miss the Emilia Romagna and Rimini's Coast Grand Prix because of an arm injury.

    Bradl has filled in for Marc Marquez - the six-time world champion who broke an arm in the MotoGP season opener at Jerez - but is battling ongoing issues in his own right arm.

    The German competed in the first practice session at Misano but was 1.3 seconds adrift of Fabio Quartararo, who set the pace with a time of one minute and 31.271 seconds.

    Following discussions with Honda, Bradl will sit out the rest of the race weekend.

    "Unfortunately, I am still having problems with my right arm and I am unable to ride in a safe and consistent way," Bradl said.

    "I spoke with my doctor and we performed a small operation to clean the nerve before this weekend, but when they opened the arm they saw the situation was more complicated than they first thought.

    "I came to Misano with the intention of racing because my doctor told me it would be okay to race. But in this situation, I do not feel I can ride safely over a whole race, together with HRC [Honda Racing Corporation] we have decided to take the rest of the week to recover before Barcelona."

    FP2 saw Brad Binder of KTM lead the way with a lap of 1:31.628.

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