Pirelli Motorsport boss, Mario Isola, said that all three compounds brought to the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend coped well with the heat, after drivers feared excessive overheating at the high-energy Hungaroring. Track temperatures in Budapest peaked at 60C before the race start, staying constantly high throughout the duration of the 70 laps.
Lewis Hamilton took a lights-to-flag victory, starting on the ultra-soft tyres before switching to softs on lap 25, ahead of Sebastian Vettel – who reversed the Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport driver’s strategy in a successful attempt to elevate him from the fourth place he qualified in.
Mario Isola noted that, due to Saturday’s heavy rain during qualifying, the teams had free choice of tyres up and down the grid, leading to differing strategies. The Italian highlighted the choices of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing‘s Daniel Ricciardo, who took an impressive fourth after starting from twelfth: “With a wet qualifying session yesterday, the teams had a free choice of slick tyres to start the race. This led to some split strategies. In particular, Vettel went in a different direction from his key rivals, which enabled him to make progress from his grid position, as was the case with Ricciardo as well.” – Mario Isola explained, as reported by Pirelli’s official website.
The Australian mirrored Sebastian Vettel’s strategy, however he extended the length of his first stint to 44 laps before stopping for the fastest compound, the ultra-softs, for an attack on the top four with a decreasing fuel load. As Valtteri Bottas‘ tyres – and front wing – degraded, Ricciardo assumed fourth at the second time of asking having made contact at Turn 1 on his first attempt.
Despite Saturday’s adverse weather altering track grip for the race, Isola said that the data collected on a warm and dry Free Practice 2 session was enough to collate a race strategy. He also praised the compounds for their durability in the searing heat – 33C ambient temperatures heavily contributing to the overly hot track conditions. No complaints were heard from the drivers regarding blistering, Pierre Gasly even managed 32 laps on the ultra-soft compound: “The data that the teams collected from Friday was reliable enough to formulate their race strategies, with the track having effectively reset itself after the rain. Consequently, we saw a few different tactics throughout the field, with the teams making good use of all three compounds, which stood up well to track temperatures that were close to the highest we have ever seen.” – Pirelli Motorsport boss Mario Isola concluded.