More DRS at Hungarian Grand Prix

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The FIA has increased the length of track on which drivers can use DRS at the Hungaroring ahead of this weekend’s race.

Overtaking has always been difficult at the Hungarian track and it is hoped this year’s changes will remedy that.

In addition to the previous DRS zone on the start/finish straight, drivers will also be able to activate their rear wings at the exit of turn one, for the short straight leading to turn two.

A single detection point will be used for the two zones, located at the penultimate corner. A driver who is within one second of the car in front will then be able to deploy DRS through both of the zones.

Whether that will be sufficient for them to overtake could prove decisive in this weekend’s race. Last year Lewis Hamilton won despite coming under pressure from Kimi Raikkonen, as the Lotus driver was unable to get close enough to attempt a pass.

However Raikkonen believes the usual policy of qualifying at the front and staying there will be the best ticket to victory at the Hungaroring:

“I have finished second in Hungary too many times, so I know how important it is to lead the race after the first corner,” he said. “DRS or not, it’s never easy to overtake at the Hungaroring.”

“To get the weekend right, you have to have good sessions in FP1, FP2 and FP3, then a strong qualifying session and finally a perfect start to the race.”

Lewis Hamilton aims to match Michael Schumacher’s F1 win record

Lewis Hamilton Schumacher record
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SOCHI, Russia — Lewis Hamilton has set many Formula One marks over the years, but few are as significant as the Michael Schumacher record he can match Sunday at the Russian Grand Prix.

Victory for Hamilton at the Sochi Olympic Park would see him draw level with Schumacher at 91 career victories, more than any other driver in the 70-year history of F1.

It also would increase Hamilton’s commanding 55-point lead over teammate Valtteri Bottas in the championship standings, putting him closer to a seventh world championship, matching another Schumacher record.

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History is on the side of Hamilton, who won Sept. 13 at Mugello. He’s won four of the six Russian races so far, and all six were won by Mercedes drivers. His closest challenger is likely to be Bottas, who beat Hamilton in the 2017 edition of the Russian Grand Prix.

Elsewhere in the championship hunt, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen’s season has gone up in smoke since his Aug. 9 victory at Silverstone. An overheating engine forced the Dutch driver out of the Sept. 6 race at Monza and then a similar problem struck just before the start at Mugello. Verstappen was far slower off the line than the cars around him and was struck by Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo.

That leaves Verstappen 80 points off Hamilton in the standings and a 25-point deficit to Bottas.

If Hamilton does win to tie Schumachher at Sochi, more fans will see it in person than any other race in a 2020 season mostly run before empty grandstands because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Organizers say the race weekend is sold out but haven’t given final ticket sales figures.

Race promoter Alexei Titov previously told Russian state TV that the stands would be at 50 percent of their capacity, which equates to around 30,000 spectators.

That’s far more than the previous season high of 3,000 fans for the most recent race, the Tuscan Grand Prix at the Mugello circuit.

Unlike at the last two races in Italy, there will be a full entertainment program on offer for fans with concerts featuring some of Russia’s most popular musicians.

Russian organizers say they’re taking precautions to keep fans safe and will have medical staff posted at checkpoints around the venue, and that spectators will have their temperature measured on entry.