What is it about the Team and back-to-backs this season? We’re midway through the second double-header of the campaign and we’ve already picked up a win during each.
The first of those, of course, came in Austria, the second half of a back-to-back with France, and that gave us plenty of time afterwards to nurse sore heads and prep for the following round.
This time, though, Max put the RB15 in P1 at the first of two races in quick succession, so there’s hardly been a moment to celebrate his brilliant win and fastest lap and also to toast another world record-breaking pit stop of 1.88 seconds.
OK, we had a bit more time than that to recover from the Team’s 61stF1 win, but it wasn’t long before thoughts turned to the short trip east to Budapest and this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
Just as well then that the Hungaroring is a circuit at which we’ve prospered in the past. With two wins, two pole positions, nine podium finishes in all and six fastest laps to our credit in Budapest, Round 12 of this year’s championship is one we’re definitely looking forward to. And Max and Pierre are in full agreement…
What’s your favourite stretch of track there?
My favourite corner is turn 11, the fast right-hander, and it’s a nice feeling when you get it right. A good exit from the final corner is also very important as the straight is so long and you have to carry good speed into it.
In the past, the Hungaroring has been described as a little bit like a go-kart for the big beasts in terms of layout. That’s got to appeal to a former karting champion like you hasn’t it?
I like the Hungaroring, it’s one of my favourite tracks and I’m looking forward to going there again this year. It’s a very technical circuit and you really have to hit the apexes to position yourself well for each corner. It feels a bit like you’re driving a big car on a small track as it’s so narrow but that doesn’t make it any less fun.
What about the city? It’s a perennial favourite with fans and the teams. Budapest is a beautiful city and there’s lots to do in the evenings. The whole Team always looks forward to this race, it’s one of the warmest of the year and it’s normally a good track for us.
Rewind a couple of days. Has the Hockenheim win sunk in yet?
Germany was one of the most crazy and difficult races for me but it was great to come out on top. We all worked so well together and it’s amazing that the pit crew got another world record, even though they had to do nine pit stops last weekend. Now we go to Hungary ready to give it everything before the summer break!
You’ve had some success at the Hungaroring in the past, including a feature race win in GP2 here in 2016, so would we be right in thinking you’re a fan of this track?
Budapest is one of my favourite races on the calendar for many reasons. Firstly, I really like tight, technical tracks with many corners, which is exactly the layout of the Hungaroring.
Secondly, Budapest brings back a lot of good memories from last year’s race with Toro Rosso. It was my second best result of the year with P6 and I’ve had a lot of good races in Hungary with victories, podiums and pole positions in GP2, Formula Renault 3.5 and Formula Renault 2.0.
Is it a good city to hang out in before or after the race weekend?
Budapest is also a pretty amazing place. I’ve actually spent some holidays in this city as it has a great atmosphere and I like the warm temperatures. I feel good when I’m there and I’m always excited to race on this track.
What are your expectations going into your first Hungarian GP as a Red Bull Racing driver?
The Hungaroring is the kind of circuit where Red Bull has been pretty strong in previous years and hopefully that remains to be the case this year.
In Germany, I was disappointed not to finish the race as there were a lot of points on offer, but we will continue to focus and I’m confident that soon we’ll get our reward.