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In The Pit Lane with David Croft | Hungarian Grand Prix race preview

Our third exclusive Formula 1 race preview with Sky Sports F1 expert David Croft arrives ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

F1 Hungarian Grand Prix

Two wild weeks in Austria have given fans much optimism about the Formula 1 season ahead with a raging battle in the chasing pack behind Mercedes.

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Red Bull, McLaren, Racing Point, and Daniel Ricciardo in his Renault have all provided drama for the right reasons. Ferrari, on the other hand, have certainly not.

The iconic Italian team has endured a miserable start to racing on the F1 2020 calendar after Charles Leclerc slammed into Sebastian Vettel last week, retiring them both from the race in no time.

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We’ve chatted to Sky Sports F1 expert David Croft as part of our In The Pit Lane series full of the big talking points ahead of every race this season.

Ferrari…

DC: Short on horsepower, car’s a bit draggy as well. This should be a better weekend for them because the power isn’t as important around this race track – top speed’s only about 197mph – but with only one engine upgrade to come this season and a car that needs a lot of aerodynamic work on it from the outside, it’s difficult to see Ferrari improving that drastically to becoming the runner-up or third in the championship.

They really are struggling at the moment. With three triple-headers on the bounce, one thing they haven’t got is time, and they need time. I can’t be optimistic about Ferrari because logic suggests this struggle is going to continue.

This car at Monza – Vettel hasn’t been in the top 18 in the qualifying speed-trap – so when we go to Monza where it’s all about the Cathedral of Speed, heaven only knows where Ferrari are going to be.

“Last lap Lando!”

DC: We have to call him that now! Lando Norris is making a habit of putting himself in a position to take opportunities that come his way. I’ve been so impressed with him, I really have, those last two laps of the Styrian Grand Prix for him – excellent – absolutely excellent.

You’ve got to be in it to win it and Lando is just putting himself in the right place to take advantage. Who is to say he won’t there to strike again? You don’t want to go anywhere before the end because Lando could very well storm through the field once more. And so could Carlos Sainz as well. They’ll both push each other.

It’s so refreshing to see drivers giving it everything right until the last moment.

“Monaco without the boats”

DC: It’s another short track, so I’m expecting a close battle, but it’s a different track, it’s a different circuit to Austria. It’s all about high downforce, it’s like Monaco without the boats, this Budapest circuit.

This track: a lot of corners, difficult to overtake so you have to take opportunities when they come your way, overheating can be a problem because you run quite closely to the cars in front, you’ve got to find a good rhythm, attack the curbs but not too much, and basically one small mistake can be so costly here because there isn’t a huge amount of run-off area at all times.

You often see cars hitting barriers because a curb has thrown them off the line. It’s a strange track, but you often get unexpected really great races.

The midfield showdown

DC: It’s a lot cooler here this weekend, I don’t think that suits Red Bull, I think it suits Mercedes, but it’s a really competitive midfield that we’ve got. McLaren, Renault and Racing Point, I’m expecting a great scrap between the three of them.

McLaren, who say they haven’t got the third best car, are clearly running a very good operation on race day, and are making the most of their opportunities.

Renault who have got good pace and say they have solved their reliability problems.

Racing Point probably have the better car than the other two.

How to watch the Hungarian Grand Prix

The race starts at 2:10pm on Sunday 12th July live on Sky Sports F1.

For full TV details as well as timings of practice, qualifying and the race itself, check out our comprehensive guide to the Hungarian Grand Prix.

For the full breakdown of F1 races coming up check out our F1 2020 calendar guide.

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If you’re looking for something else to watch check out our TV guide.