Hungary 2019 - GP preview - Toro Rosso
“The Hungaroring is a difficult circuit, a proper driver’s track, old-school and physically demanding with no straights where you can pause for breath. I’ve had mixed fortunes here in the past, the highlights being winning the GP3 sprint race in 2016 and the F2 sprint last year. Racing here can be frustrating if you are stuck in the pack as it is difficult to overtake, so this will be a weekend where we really have to prioritise Qualifying. Doing well on Saturday will be our first important goal. Historically, Hungary has suited the Toro Rosso car, which is a positive heading into the weekend, and I think we could do well here this year too. After such a great result for the team last week in Germany, I can’t wait to hit the track again this weekend. It was great to finish sixth which was the best result of my career, even if I thought there was more on the table!
“Budapest is a beautiful place and I managed to have one day as a tourist there. The fans are great, very passionate and enthusiastic. We have a bit of a break after this race and I think I will enjoy it. It will be time for me to reflect on the first part of my first season in F1 and focus on the rest of the year. So far, it’s felt as though I’m riding an unstoppable wave, so it will be nice to chill out for a bit.
“The last race in Germany was an incredible experience after stepping onto the podium again after three years. It was special because we didn’t have an easy weekend before the race, we didn’t qualify well so it looked like it was going to be a difficult Sunday. However, I think I drove a great race in the changing conditions and made good strategy calls along with the team, to ensure we were there to capitalise on whatever opportunity that presented itself. To be on the podium the same weekend my daughter was born is a surreal feeling.
“We travel to Hungary on Wednesday for the final race before the summer break. I like the Hungaroring because it’s interesting and unusual; plenty of slow-speed corners, which is why people say it’s like Monaco without the barriers. But it also has some high and medium-speed corners so it’s not really accurate to say it’s a slow speed circuit. The Hungaroring is where I got my best ever result in Formula 1 when I finished second in 2015, but that seems a long time ago now.
“In the past, this has been a good track for Toro Rosso, so the key will be finding a good balance and hopefully it will be a successful weekend for us again this year. Although the track is nice to drive, it can be tricky during the race if you get stuck behind slower cars as it’s very difficult to overtake and you might have to try a change of strategy. Therefore, you want to have a very good Saturday and then control things on Sunday. But things rarely go to plan, so you must be prepared to be flexible. July is the hottest time of the year in Hungary and it gets very warm inside the cockpit, so it can be physically quite demanding, especially as there are no straights, so you can never ‘relax’. After this race, we have the summer break and it will be nice to get some rest and recharge my batteries, but I know that after a week, I’ll be keen to go racing again.”