All those who went to the Hungaroring for their first race on site had plenty of action to see. They will come back with high expectations, after a thrilling Formula 1 contest and two great drives by the Romanian ace Robert Vișoiu in GP3.
Some years ago, we were fooling ourselves that Michael Herck, of Romanian descent and racing with Romanian license, could be a star of the future. It wasn’t to be, the leap in quality being made later, with the arrival of Robert Vișoiu. Last year’s race day at the Hungaroring started with the Romanian national anthem, as Vișoiu mastered with supreme confidence the sprint race, starting from pole position. In 2014, his team started to come good one week ago and Robert contributed in Hungary by claiming the best grid spot for Arden so far this year. A sign of things to come, as he came really close to winning the Saturday race in one of his best outings.
After his struggles in the first half of the season, the lack of patience that Robert displayed when attacking Richie Stanaway is understandable. On a racetrack like the Hungaroring overtaking is so difficult that any half of chance can be the only one you’ll get during a race. Surely, Stanaway had higher tire wear and another lap or two would have put Robert in a better position to attack, but this is the reality of racing, when a racer’s mentality makes you go for the gap when the door is a bit open.
Finally, Robert left Hungary with mixed feelings, but also with 21 points in the bag. When he came to Budapest he had just one. The Romanian fans rejoiced, witnessing their driver’s comeback, but there was not a random occurrence, as even before the race we saw the Arden cars getting back up there in the battle for the lead positions. The ascendance is also due to the soft tires that Pirelli brought since Germany. Robert will resume his assault to the top 10 in the standings after the summer break, on the wonderful tracks in Belgium and Italy.
Speaking of Spa-Francorchamps, we already had sparks and drama there in the 24-hour race that had everything: stunning mistakes, chain reactions, animals on track, red flags, classy drives and an overtake for the lead with just 15 minutes to go. Once again, we saw the level of involvement showed by Audi in such races, bringing massive input from Le Mans to the Belgian WRT crews. BMW did everything they could, but there was too much pace from Rene Rast in the end, and Dirk Werner had to accept defeat.
I left the F1 race for the end, where rain struck, causing inherent errors that mixed up the cards. Fortune smiled to Daniel Ricciardo, and the Aussie smiled back at her. Alonso was just one step away from one of his greatest wins, reminiscent of Jarama 1981. Kimi was more comfortable at the wheel than ever before, but the press will always choose to focus on the false controversies and the imaginary dramas at Mercedes. Another pair of roosters fought in GP2, Palmer and Nasr, but their duel is barely mentioned in the media.
And now we’re waiting for our friends to come back from the Hungaroring, with their stories and a larger grin than Ricci.