The Hungaroring. The final race before the summer break is definitely no holiday for cars or drivers, as it is very demanding on both, with the twisty nature meaning that there is no time to pause for breath for the men at the wheel. As for the cars, the new power units will be tested here, as the nature of the track means that good driveability will be one of the keys to a quick lap, with all the low speed corners. The extremely high temperatures – 50 degrees track temperature is quite normal here – that can be a feature of this race will mean that tyre management, with Pirelli bringing its medium and soft compounds, will also be of paramount importance. Over many years of running V8 engines, the task of putting the torque through the tyres onto the track had been well managed, but this year new parameters will come into play. Downforce levels will be similar to Monaco. After this race, the Toro Rosso engineers will have a good idea as to how the STR9 performs on the hottest tracks, which will be useful for other races later in the season.
This is an important race as it comes just before the summer break, so if you do well here, it means you can enjoy the holiday more. It is a really tough race for the car and for the drivers. The circuit is located in a bowl which seems to trap the heat and the lap has no straights, so there is no time to rest at all over a lap. It can be frustrating to race here though, like in Monaco, as you can find yourself behind a slower car and not be able to get close enough to pass. To overtake, you need to be really close in the last corner to pass down the pit straight and in order to manage that, you must be right on the tail of the slower car for the whole lap, which is quite tricky, as there are a few high speed corners. You are always turning, braking, accelerating. Not an easy race and the last two years it has not been a good track for Toro Rosso, so I really want this to change and we will be doing all we can to have a good race. I like the city, which I have visited many times from my days racing in the World Series
Hungaroring is on the list of my favourite tracks with its flowing nature and fast chicanes and corners, which you need to attack a lot. That’s what I really love about this track. There’s no time to rest there but I am really looking forward to it. You can get stuck behind slower cars, which is frustrating and that’s why it is really important to get as good a grid position as possible here and start in front of your rivals. It can be very hot and from a physical point of view, Budapest can be even tougher than Malaysia because you don’t get time to rest as there are no long straights. It makes for a demanding and challenging weekend. I also like the city of Budapest, quite a lot of Russians come to this race, so I am looking forward to seeing a lot of Russian flags in the grandstands: not on the scale of Sochi of course, but a nice feeling all the same.