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Hungarian Grand Prix 2023

Hungarian Grand Prix rule change sets up thrilling strategy battle

What are the proposed strategies for the Hungarian Grand Prix?

Hamilton Hungary
To news overview © XPBimages

The Hungarian Grand Prix could see a multitude of different strategies lead drivers home.

High temperatures and a never-ending stretch of corners across a lap of the Hungaroring will place strain on the Pirelli tyres, which are a step softer this year than in previous visits.

Drivers struggled for grip across long runs in FP2 and FP3 after first practice was largely washed out by rain and wind gusts have only hurt the chase for balance.

So what are the possible race strategies?

F1's tyre manufacturer Pirelli has provided no less than four potential strategies for the race.

Option one is a two-stop race with drivers starting on Medium tyres. The pit window would open between laps 17 and 24, with a switch to Hards recommended.

Another pit stop between laps 42 and 48 for another set of the white-walled Hard compound would then see a driver to the end of the race.

Option two is a modified two-stop strategy where a driver would switch back to Mediums for the final stint. This requires stricter tyre saving in the first two stints, with the pit windows set at laps 18 to 25 and 45 to 52.

Teams up and down the grid have mooted a potential three-stop strategy if temperatures remain high, with Pirelli suggesting a Medium-Hard-Soft strategy would be the way to go.

The first stint would last until laps 13 to 19, before a second stop on lap 32-39. Whilst Softs are recommended for the final stop at laps 52 to 58, wear so far this weekend could push teams towards the Mediums.

The final option provided by Pirelli is a one-stopper that would see Hards taken to at least lap 40 before a switch to Mediums - though this decision is highly unlikely.

			© Pirelli
	© Pirelli

Russell aggression?

The 'Alternative Tyre Allocation' trial forced a change of qualifying format, with Hards used in Q1, Mediums in Q2 and Softs in Q3.

In addition to varying run plans across practice, drivers have been left with different strategic opportunities in the race.

Crucially, top two Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen find themselves in the same situation with a new set of Hards each, two used sets of Medium tyres and two used Soft sets.

The big names that dropped out of qualifying early - Carlos Sainz in 11th and George Russell in 18th - have more flexibility when it comes to deciding on strategy.

Ferrari driver Sainz joins Russell in saving two sets of Softs by not reaching Q3, but critically, the Briton has two new sets of Medium tyres to fit to his Mercedes across the race.

This could open up a more aggressive strategy with multiple pit stops and undercuts available to move back up the pack.

F1 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix RN365 News dossier

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