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A lap of Hungary with Jenson Button
Round eleven of the 2007 Formula One world championship will take place this coming weekend at the Hungaroring in Budapest, a circuit that is well known for its difficulty to overtake on, making grid position all the more important. Unfortunately, Honda Racing hasn’t had a good history of strong grid spots this season, however that won’t stop Jenson Button from giving his all from opening practice on Friday until the checkered flag falls on Sunday afternoon in the hope that he will get a repeat of his one and only victory in the sport…

"The Hungaroring is a track with good rhythm and a good mix of slow-speed and high-speed turns,” he explained. “It was never really one of my favorite races before, but for obvious reasons that all changed last year. It will always be a special place as the scene of my first win. Obviously it will be quite a different race for us this year but hopefully we can keep up the steady progress we have been making and take another step forward.”

Here is what a lap of the 70 lap, 4.384 km Hungaroring is like to drive through Jenson’s eyes….

"When we exit the final corner ready to start a clean flying lap you can always really feel the drag due to the high downforce configuration required for this twisting circuit. We arrive at the first corner at 290 kph and we change down five gears to 2nd gear, turning through a full 180 degrees as the circuit drops away onto the short sprint towards the second gear left-hand turn two. This opens out into a very fast right-hand kink at the lowest point of the circuit. The straight that follows climbs steadily towards turn four, which is a pretty exhilarating left-hander taken in 5th gear.”

“This corner has seen many drivers come unstuck because it is so very quick and if you get it wrong you go straight on into the gravel. Another short burst before the tight right hander turn five which is one of the very few potential overtaking spots. We take this in 3rd gear. As we accelerate out of turn five we only reach 5th gear before braking hard once more and literally throwing the car over the curbs at the right-left chicane. We stay on the right-hand side of the circuit in preparation for the quick entry to the next left-hander, which is taken in 3rd gear. This is quickly followed by the 3rd gear right-hander leading into a fast and flowing combination of right-left-right and we have to take care not to exit too wide onto the Astroturf at the last right-hander.”

“Another very short straight leads to a slow-speed right-hander in 2nd gear and then into another 180 degree left-hander, again in 2nd gear, climbing past the pit entry and into the final 180 degree right-hander in 3rd gear which brings us all the way back to the main straight again.”
A lap of the Hungaroring is quite tiring because there is no respite and no opportunity to relax your hands, so you are gripping the steering wheel hard the whole time. Although last year's race proved a rather wet exception, the Hungarian Grand Prix is typically a hot one and the relatively low average speed means the airflow over the driver is reduced, so you never really get the chance to cool down and therefore it is quite a physical challenge.

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