By: Shaelyn Winters
Edited By: Kylie Augis
The Hungarian Grand Prix marked the halfway point of the 2023 Formula 1 season. Here are the five key storylines you need to know headed into the second half of the season.
Courtesy of @redbullracing on Twitter
1. Red Bull Sets Record for 12 Straight Race Wins
Let’s be honest: Max Verstappen achieving yet another victory this season was fairly predictable. Prior to the race, he maintained a 99-point lead over his teammate, and his victory in Hungary extended this lead by 11 additional points. Despite the foreseeable race conclusions – and whether or not it has made the season less entertaining – Red Bull must be applauded for their twelfth straight victory. This defeats McLaren’s record of 11, which they set in 1988, earning Red Bull the longest win streak in Formula 1 history.
Moreover, a frequent topic of discussion amongst the Formula 1 community has been Segio Perez’s struggles in qualifying. While the Mexican driver crashed in the first free practice session on Friday, he completed the weekend on the podium with a third place finish. Despite the debate surrounding his future with Red Bull, Perez has finished the last five races (including Hungary) within the points and maintained his second place position in the drivers championship.
2. Lando Norris Achieves Second Straight Podium
Contrary to the success of Red Bull, McLaren’s start to the 2023 Formula 1 season was anything but smooth. Between Lando Norris and his rookie teammate, Oscar Piastri, McLaren had achieved points in five of the ten races prior to the Hungarian Grand Prix. Norris has proven the strength of the MCL60, which has been upgraded consecutively throughout the month, in his last three races. He achieved a fourth-place finish in Austria before accomplishing two back-to-back second place finishes in Silverstone and Hungary. Piastri has also experienced success following the upgrades, finishing fourth and fifth in the last two races respectively. This surge in success pushes McLaren to fifth in the constructors championship.
Courtesy of @McLarenF1 on Twitter
3. Lewis Hamilton Earns Pole Position on Saturday
For only the fourth time this season, a driver other than Max Verstappen has achieved pole position. Lewis Hamilton set the fastest qualifying time (1:16:609) on Saturday to earn his first start at the front of the grid since the 2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. His 104th pole position comes following several complaints from Hamilton regarding the pace of the car on race days. While his teammate, George Russell, qualified at the back of the grid in eighteenth, the two managed to finish in the points with a fourth place finish for Hamilton and a sixth place finish for Russell.
Courtesy of @MercedesAMGF1 on Twitter
The new qualifying rules – which mandated tyre compounds for each of the three segments – witnessed new teams appearing in the top half of the grid order on Saturday. In case you missed it, drivers were subjected to hard tyres in Q1, medium tyres in Q2 and soft tyres in Q3. Alfa Romeo drivers Zhou Guanyu and Valteri Bottas experienced tremendous success in qualifying in comparison to their previous ten races, starting the race on Sunday in fifth and seventh respectively. These positions marked Alfa Romeo’s highest start of the season – with Bottas achieving the team's only other top ten starting position at the Miami Grand Prix. However, their success on Saturday did not translate on Sunday as the drivers finished the race outside of the points in twelfth and sixteenth.
Courtesy of @AlphaTauriF1 on Twitter
5. Daniel Ricciardo Outperforms Teammate Yuki Tsunoda
Finally, there has been speculation (and controversy) surrounding the removal of Nyck de Vries and the replacement of Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri. If Ricciardo was brought in to prove himself against teammate Yuki Tsunoda – the second half of the season should be immensely entertaining. With his first Formula 1 race in eight months, Ricciardo out-qualified Tsunoda on Saturday, finishing thirteenth and accomplishing AlphaTauri’s first Q2 appearance since the Spanish Grand Prix. Tsunoda was knocked out in Q1 and started the race at seventeenth. On Sunday, Ricciardo also finished ahead of his teammate, ending in thirteenth alongside Tsunoda’s fifteenth place finish.