2023 Hungarian Grand Prix: Friday Tyre Analysis – The first day of practice for the 38th Hungarian Grand Prix featured changeable weather. Rain affected the first session to the extent that dry weather tyres could only be used for the first few minutes. Then came the rain and all the drivers, with the exception of Perez who had gone off the track almost immediately after the start of the session damaging his Red Bull in the process, were able to assess the Intermediates. Some did this purely speculatively to ensure they would have an additional set for the rest of the weekend, others more seriously, as could be seen from the nine lap stints from Russell and Hulkenberg, while Leclerc, Zhou, Norris, Piastri, Bottas and Sargeant did eight. Magnussen was the only driver to try the extreme wets, running them for eight laps.
The dry weather tyre work therefore took place in the second session, which was a bit different to usual, also because this weekend sees the first trial of a new tyre allocation system. Each driver has 11 sets of slicks, as opposed to the usual 13 and is also obliged to use the Hard compound in Q1, the Medium in Q2 and the Soft in Q3. This meant the timesheet looked rather different to usual, partly because of the rapid evolution of the track and because of the different programmes being run by different teams. For example, only one driver tried the Hard – again the “adventurous” Magnussen – two teams used only the Medium (Mercedes and Alfa Romeo,) while Verstappen used just a single set of Soft tyres. However, the times were still very evenly matched, with the twenty drivers all within the same second and a half.
The busiest driver in FP2 was Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) who did more laps (33) than the two Red Bull drivers – Verstappen 18, Perez 14 – put together. The longest stints overall came from Norris and Hulkenberg, who both did 19 laps on the Medium, while the longest Soft stint was 17 laps courtesy of Tsunoda.
Simone Berra – Pirelli Chief Engineer
“It was rather an unusual day, down to the changing weather and to the debut of the new tyre allocation format for the weekend as a whole and for qualifying specifically. The first session was not very relevant, especially as the chance of more rain for the rest of the weekend is very low. The second hour however was very useful, producing interesting data. For example, we were able to see that, in these temperatures, with the track never exceeding 34°, even the C5 compound looks like a potential candidate to be used in the race The ATA definitely influenced the teams’ programmes, with almost all the drivers saving the Hard for the coming sessions. As usually happens at the Hungaroring and it was even more the case today given the temperatures were lower than usual, we had some graining, a phenomenon which tends to diminish bit by bit as the track rubbers in and the temperatures rise. A very initial look at the data suggests the performance difference between the Soft and the Medium is in line with expectations at around four to five tenths, while it wasn’t possible to confirm the gap between Medium and Hard given how few laps were completed on that compound.”