AHEAD OF THE HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX
OK Daniel, what’s so good about the Hungarian Grand Prix?
How long have you got? The Hungarian Grand Prix has a lot going for it. Personally, I love these races in the European summer when you have the high temperatures and – usually – the great weather, plus it’s the final race before the summer break and that tends to put everyone in a good mood. There’s usually a really good party on Sunday night and, because of the break everyone tends to stay and have fun. Budapest is a cool city, really good restaurants and bars, really nice, really loyal fans and basically a great place to have a grand prix. That’s the short version.
Your opinion of the track is a little mixed…
It’s a great, great track for a qualifying lap, one of the best of the year. It’s tight, twisty and bumpy, and you have to use a lot of kerb – so getting in a low fuel, new tyre lap right on the limit it’s lots and lots of fun. But, for the same reasons the race tends to be quite tight with not a lot of overtaking.
Well, yeah, last year was a great race for me! Of the three wins last year, it was the one where I was definitely most excited during the race. It’s tough for me to judge but probably it was the best performance of the three, purely because of the people I passed to finish in the lead. I had tyres in better condition – excellent strategy from our guys – but Fernando and Lewis don’t let you have the places for free – I had to really work for it!
And rumours of a good celebration afterwards…
Yeah, that happened! Winning the race was awesome but the fact I had half a dozen mates over for the race made it even better. What I said about Hungary being the final race before the break? We had a really good Sunday night.
So Daniil, after a good race in Britain, at what might be termed a power circuit, we’re heading for the Hungaroring. So what are you expecting from Budapest’s very different and very twisty circuit?
I really used to enjoy it in Formula Renault 2.0 but it’s probably a little bit too narrow for modern Formula One cars. But still, in qualifying it really makes you push to the limit. You’re right on the edge and you never get a rest during the lap. I think that’s the biggest characteristic of the circuit.
You mentioned racing in junior series. Has Hungary been kind to you in the past?
I was on pole and won there in Formula Renault 2.0 in 2012 and was on the podium in GP3 in the feature race, so I’ve got pretty good memories of racing here.
Is it a technically demanding track, a place where you have to be inch-perfect?
It is pretty challenging, yes. You need to hit every apex right, don’t make any mistakes in your line selection, it’s quite a difficult one to get right but I do find it to be a lot of fun.
Speaking of fun, Budapest comes with a reputation of being one of F1’s more party-oriented venues. Do you get the chance to get out and about?
It’s one of the best cities we go to during the whole championship. Budapest is very cool. We don’t go crazy, obviously, but there are a few really nice restaurants along the river – particularly one Italian where I go quite often when I have time. I really like it along the river, it’s cool.