“Looking at the positives from the Ricard weekend, I enjoyed the interaction with all my fans and the support from the French crowd. As for our on-track action, on Friday the new upgrades delivered a good performance, but we could not extract the maximum out of them on Saturday or Sunday, and we left France with no points in the end. We need a bit more time evaluating the new package but there’s obviously a limit to how much we can do in just a few days. However, I know our engineers will be looking at all the data, so that we can try some more things in Friday practice at the Hungaroring, which will be another hot weekend.
I’ve generally done well in Hungary, it’s always been successful for me and I’ve finished sixth, sixth and fifth over the last three races we’ve had there and last year I also set the fastest race lap. I like the layout a lot, it’s very twisty and technical to drive with very few straights. It’s unique in its way and you can really get into a rhythm. In terms of the enjoyment you get from driving it, the Hungaroring is up there as one of my favourites. As always here, it will be very important to qualify well, as overtaking is traditionally very difficult. With the summer break coming up after this race, it would be good to go on holiday with a good result under my belt, not just for me, but for the whole team.
You need plenty of downforce at this track, similar levels to Monaco and that is part of what the updates are meant to deliver. We will be pushing as much as possible to be where we think we should be in terms of performance.
There’s a great atmosphere at the Hungaroing. It always has a very big crowd and when we get back to the city in the evening, the fans are waiting for us at our hotel and they are very excited about the Grand Prix. It will be interesting to see what sort of show we put on with these new cars on this tight track. I hope we can perform well.”
“The French weekend was important for the team as we introduced a big update, mainly aimed at producing more downforce. There were definite signs of improvement in free practice on Friday and I was pleased with my Qualifying performance, getting into Q3 felt like progress. But my race was ruined when Ocon hit me and although I tried to continue, in the end the damage was too bad and I had to retire. It also meant that it was hard to assess the changes to the car over a race distance.
It’s a big contrast going from a fast circuit like Ricard to the Hungaroring, which is so much slower and twisty, and this weekend we might get a better idea of what the updates bring, as we increase our knowledge of how they work. Last year at this race, I had a bit of good luck, because although I only qualified 16th after a difficult session, on the Sunday, with the accidents on the opening lap, I was eventually classified sixth. The Hungaroring is an enjoyable track to drive, as you get into a rhythm through all the corners with no time to relax as there are no real long straights, but it can be a bit frustrating in the race as if you get stuck behind another car, it has always been difficult to overtake. I will be keen to see if this year, that situation is improved with these new cars, as so far we have seen that it is generally easier to overtake than before. Qualifying as well as possible will still be really important. I want to do well, as it makes the summer break that comes next more enjoyable if you have scored points just before it.”