24 July 2013
Hungarian Grand Prix: Rosberg expects tough, physical race
Nico Rosberg is under no delusions about the challenge awaiting him this weekend in Budapest, with soaring temperatures adding to the punishing tight and twisty nature of the Hungaroring.
Nico Rosberg knows that it will will take over ounce of talent and endurance to win this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix at Budapest's Hungaroring, but with two wins under his belt already in 2013 he reckons it's the best chance he's ever had of finally getting on to the podium here.
"The Hungaroring is always a track that I enjoy driving and it has quite a challenging layout for the drivers," he explained. "With all the twists and turns, it feels very much like Monaco but takes place on a normal circuit.
That's borne out by the fact that last year's Hungarian GP saw only 19 overtaking moves, fewer than the 202 Monaco GP which boasted 23. As a result, the FIA has added an additional DRS zone coming out of turn 1 to help drivers complete passes begun down the start/finish straight.
Even so, grid position will be key, as Rosberg was quick to agree.
"Qualifying will be important this weekend which is good for us," he said, pointing to the team's recent run of success on Saturdays. "But we know that we have to deliver on Sunday as well."
Mercedes' Achilles Heel on race day has been tyre wear which has seen them struggle to hold on to their starting position. With temperatures up to 39C (102F) forecast for the weekend in Hungary, and with the teams using medium and soft compound Pirellis on the notoriously tight, twisty and dusty 2.722-mile, 14-corner circuit, the tyres will once again face a lot of punishment on Sunday afternoon - as will the drivers.
"The forecast looks hot and it is likely to very demanding on the tyres," admitted Rosberg. "Physically it will be a tough race and the lack of straights means that you never get a moment to relax.."
At least once the race is over the drivers will have some time off to recover from the bruising effort they'll have put in, with four weeks off before the next round of the world championship in Spa on August 25.
"It would be great for us to come away from Hungary with another strong result to take into the summer break," Rosberg said.
While Rosberg's best result in Hungary to date has been fourth place in 2009 while driving for Williams, his team mate Lewis Hamilton is a three-time winner a the Hungaroring. Despite his two Grand Prix wins already this season, Rosberg is still trailing Hamilton in the drivers championship, although their combined efforts have managed to boost Mercedes as a whole into second place in the constructors battle ahead of Ferrari.
"Hungary will mark the end of the first half of the season and it has been a generally positive one for our team, said Mercedes' director of motorsport Toto Wolff. "We go into the race weekend with two victories and six pole positions under our belt. Those results show how much hard work we have put into our year so far and the successful way the team is coming together.
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