Brundle spat with Nico Rosberg

Martin Brundle is a much loved part of the Formula One setup having started his now famous ‘grid walk’ before each race over 20 years ago.

He has been snubbed by American movie stars and super models which creates uproar given that despite having super VIP passes to walk the grid before lights out the celebrities fail to understand the ‘Brundle” factor during those pre-race moments.



Bold claim from Martin Brundle

Martin was a steady Formula One driver but has made his name as a specialised co-commentator offering analysis from the racing drivers’ perspective. This together with his intimate knowledge of the paddock folk has elevated his analysis of all things F1 to expert status and he is rarely wrong when making predictions.

All this came crashing down during the 2023 Formula One Grand Prix in Hungary. Known as a Hamilton fan, Martin hailed the British drivers’ pole position on Saturday as evidence Red Bull were losing their advantage over the field.

“The competition are definitely closing the gap” he claimed in the post qualifying Sky F1 show.

He further appeared to be dismissive of Red Bull’s biggest upgrade of the year which they had brought to the Hungaroring favouring his opinion the chasing pack were closing in on the world champions.



Red Bull give up pole for Sunday

Of course Lewis Hamilton claimed pole from Verstappen by a mere 0.003 seconds and the Red Bull driver had for once failed to improve his time from the first run in final qualifying.

As it turned out, the Red Bull upgrades were designed to make the cooling on their RB19 car more efficient which was to pay off with a significantly higher track temperature on race day.

Rear tyre degradation is the Bain of a Formula One car in Hungary, so by setting the car up on Saturday after which it cannot be altered to understeer and protect the rear tyres, Verstappen was set to enjoy the least tyre degradation during the race.

In the post race press conference Verstappen described the RB19 as one of the best race cars he’d ever driven but linked the Saturday qualifying setup as the reason why on Sunday he was so comfortable. 

Wolff blunt criticism of Lewis



Verstappen: “worst possible balance”

Understeer for Max over a single lap is the “worst possible balance for me” yet on Sunday this protected his rear tyres from sliding and the subsequent thermal degradation others suffered during the race.

Verstappen explained the team tried to give him a balance that would clim pole position and deliver great tyre management on Sunday but the team were prepared to only take this so far.

“We tried a few different things on the set-up,” for qualifying explained Verstappen after the race. “Which probably worked very well for today.

“We tried so many things but it never worked on one lap. It might have been we didn’t make our tyres work well over one lap.”

Red Bull suspected of Perez sabotage



‘The field are closing in’ claim

Yet the Hungarian Grand Prix is rub over 70 laps ad the Red Bull team were not prepared to comprise their record 12. Consecutive win for Saturday glory.

“in the race everything heats up, runs hotter for a long time,” added Verstappen.

“You need a very different balance for that. Then [on Sunday] we had warmer ambient and track and it all came to me and that’s probably why I had such a nice balance today.”

Martin Brundle went on record after qualifying in Hungary claiming “the rest of the field is closing in on Red Bull.”

Reduced F1 tyre allocation controversy



Record winning margin in Hungary

Yet 24 hours later the expert British commentator and analyst was made to look foolish.

In a race uninterrupted by a Safety Car Verstappen won the 2023 Hungarian Grand Prix by over 33 seconds.

Hamilton was 40 seconds behind the race winner and the leading Ferrari an embarrassing 70 seconds off the pace. Martin Brundle unusually did not join the post chequered flag Sky F1 coverage.

The last time a Formula One race winner had a margin of over 30 seconds ahead of the driver placed second was in Russia 2001 when Hamilton destroyed the field in one of the best Mercedes cars the team had designed since 2014.



Wolff joins the foolish claim party

Yet it was not the exclusive prerogative of Brundle to make a fool of himself this weekend given Toto Wolff’s defensive analysis of how his team had performed in Hungary.

“I think we had the second-quickest car today,” Wolff claimed to Sky F1’s Ted Kravitz who looked puzzled and replied, “really?”

The Mercedes boss ploughed on with his theory, ”If you look at the lap time profile, also where George came from, but we just didn’t monetise on it.”

In an effort to extract himself from what appeared to be a highly unrealistic claim Wolff added, “But having said that, you see where Verstappen is doing his laps, tranquil, and that needs to be the target – and that’s far off at the moment.”

Horner slams Hamilton’s criticism



Toto’s race analysis was wrong

Wolff then rambled about the start “playing a role” in Lewis’ downfall and then suggested his strategy team had instructed the drivers to bring “the tyres in very carefully, maybe too careful, and you can see the lap time difference towards the end.”

“I think we reeled in maybe 15 seconds – something around that. We were missing at the end 1.9s to Perez and just four seconds to Lando, or less, and I think we had that.”

However Toto failed to consider that Hamilton had much fresher tyres at the end of the race than Perez which is why his driver made up time he’d lost by running longer on the previous old set of rubber.

Mercedes engineer: ‘We can’t catch Red Bull’



Hamilton contradicts Wolff assessment

Hamilton also believed Wolff’s interpretation of Mercedes position amongst the chasing pack was way off.

“The balance of the car was pretty awful on that first stint,” Hamilton revealed after the race, and this was at a tine the McLaren pair were pulling away from Lewis.

[I had] “a lot of understeer to snap oversteer, through corner balance and I just couldn’t keep up with them. So then, bit by bit as we got through the next couple of stints, the car started to become more driveable.”

Hamilton suggested Mercedes were not the second quickest car as his boss argued but third behind the resurgent team from Woking.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Lewis sighed. “We’re a long way off beating Red Bull in a race and obviously, now we’re behind the McLarens. We’ve just got to keep pushing.”



Brundle branded “rude”

Martin Brundle had a run in prior to qualifying qualifying in Hungary with Sky’s world champion expert driver punter Nico Rosberg. Brundle insisted ahead of qualifying that Ricciardo should be very quick immediately on his return to Grand Prix racing.

“In terms of raw pace I’d expect him to be straight on it,” stated Brundle.

“Your piling the pressure on him Martin,” Rosberg joked.

“He asked me a question and I gave him an honest answer,” Brundle responded icily.



Social media calls Brundle out 

Following the slightly frosty exchange, @F1_Jordan questioned on Twitter: “Why is Brundle rude to everyone these days?”

He wasn’t the only fan to be surprised by Brundle’s frostiness to the 2016 World Champion, with @LagentiumJim having shared their view that Brundle has a problem with the German.

“I don’t think he likes Rosberg,” said the fan.

Brundle apparently refused to appear in his usual slot as part of the post race Sky F1 team roundup, presumably due to his exchange with Rosberg. Whilst Martin Brundle is part of the UK F1 establishment , Nico Rosberg is a world champion and as such deserves respect.

READ MORE: Hamilton DRS theory debunked

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