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LIVE COMMENTARY: 2009 HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX - HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX WEATHER
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: Hungarian Grand Prix Weather
By Emlyn Hughes
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Mon 15:00 Following two chilly grands prix, the 2009 FIA Formula 1 World Championship rolls on to round ten for an event where warm temperatures are the norm. It's the Hungarian Grand Prix at the 4.318 km Hungaroring circuit, near Budapest.



The German Grand Prix two weeks ago showed us that Red Bull has established a significant speed advantage on the field, thanks to the team's recent upgrades to the RB5. With Renault, Ferrari and especially McLaren making serious inroads, championship leaders Jenson Button and Brawn GP have struggled with two cool events and a severe lack of tyre temperature.

Brawn will be pleased to learn it can fight on an even keel this time, as forecasters predict temperatures soaring above 30 degrees Celsius on Friday and Sunday.

High pressure will rule the atmosphere over southern and eastern Europe through the second half of this week, therefore our forecast for the event is relatively short.

Dry and mainly sunny conditions are expected on all three days and temperatures will climb quickly as the sun makes a welcome appearance over the circuit.

On Friday the air temperature will peak at around 32 degrees. Obviously track temperatures will be cooler in the morning session, but we can expect to see the asphalt nudge into the thirties Celsius range, and rising in the afternoon to approximately 45 degrees in the heat of the day.

Saturday is predicted to be a little cooler at 27 degrees, but that should still be warm enough to provide the teams and drivers with an asphalt temperature of around 40 Celsius to work with.

Race day will see the thermometer climb once again as the sun shines. It will be hotter than at any other time during the weekend, with the maximum predicted to reach 33 degrees Celsius.

We can be confident in the computer model forecast of high pressure influencing the Hungarian Grand Prix weather. Therefore, AUTOSPORT Live will take another detailed look at the weekend weather on Thursday evening, as we get ready for a Formula 1 free-for-all at the Hungaroring dust-bowl.

Brawn TrucksThu 17:10 As the teams gather at a very warm and sultry Hungaroring, the weather situation becomes ever-more intriguing. Heatwave conditions are expected to stay for the early part of the weekend, before slightly fresher weather moves in for Saturday and Sunday - sending a chill down the spine of the Brawn GP team and their supporters alike.

Synoptic Trend

The original forecast, published on Monday, was a surefire winner for the championship leaders: a stable high pressure block over most parts of southern Europe, bringing with it dry and very warm conditions. Since that time, there has been one notable change in the synoptics.

Looking at the GFS European air pressure model chart for the week, you can see that the high pressure remains throughout the rest of today, and on Friday, continuing the short-term theme of stable conditions and warm temperatures.

However, to the north, the movement and development of a weak 1000 millibar low over Scandinavia will be just enough to push the high away to the east, allowing cooler conditions to slip south and east, into Hungary, on Saturday and Sunday (note the change from red to yellow over northern Hungary as the weekend progresses).

Another fly-in-the-ointment, which could have a bearing on the race meeting, is the development of a cold front as seen from the UK Met Office surface pressure forecast (from +36 hours onwards). On Monday, it was expected that this frontal system would skirt Hungary to the north but, with the high block no longer in play, Budapest is now at risk of a shower or two on Saturday morning.

Weekend Forecast

So what does all this mean for the teams and drivers as they attempt to put some rubber down on the asphalt throughout the event?

Friday will be hot, sunny and there will be little escape from the 32 degree heat.

On Saturday the effects of that 'Scandinavian Low' come into play, as temperatures cool off to a maximum of 27 Celsius. The cold front will be crossing to the north simultaneously (as shown on the European rainmap) and there is a risk of showers on Saturday morning. There will be a lot more cloud around, but we should see some lengthy sunny periods - particularly in the afternoon as the rain to the north clears away eastwards.

Sunday will be the best of both worlds for the spectators at the circuit. The fresher air remains in place over northern Hungary but, with the frontal system now out of the way, we can expect a dry and reasonably bright day.

Tomorrow, the fun begins and 20 drivers will start serious work in the heat. We hope that you'll be able to enjoy the action with us here on AUTOSPORT Live. Our coverage of the Friday practice sessions begins at 07:45 GMT.

SunshineFri 16:20 Heatwave conditions continued today at the Hungaroring, with an air temperature of 29 degrees and a track temperature topping 45 during the afternoon session.

"We've had a reasonably good day," said Jenson Button after practice. "We've got the temperature now, which is great for us."

However, the championship leader may not be quite so positive when he hears that there are changes afoot in the atmosphere over north-west Hungary tonight, which will have a significant impact on temperatures for the rest of the weekend.

Synoptic Trend

The European pressure charts show that, tonight, the current area of high pressure enveloping Budapest will be pushed away for a time as a low to the north moves in. This will allow a cold front with a band of wet weather to move east, across northern parts of Hungary, clipping Budapest for a time.

Behind this frontal system, the weather picture is brighter, but the fresher feel is set to continue through Sunday as the edge of the low remains over northern parts of the country.

Weekend Forecast

The rest of Friday should remain dry, with a good deal of sunshine, but cloud will build from the west later this evening as a band of rain approaches from the Alps. The forecast path on this rain is much the same as it was 24 hours ago: the Hungaroring may get clipped by an occasional shower in the morning after dawn. The shower risk during the final practice session is 50/50.

Even if no rain falls, there will be some cloud cover around to bring the temperature down, allied to a slight change in wind direction as the breeze swings round from a westerly to a north-westerly.

The top temperature tomorrow will be around 24 degrees. The shower risk diminishes as we move into the afternoon and the qualifying hour.

From then on it's plain sailing as we keep the cooler temperatures and the rain slides away to the east by mid-afternoon. The rest of Saturday will be dry, with a similar pattern expected for Sunday - dry with some brightness around, but a light breeze from the west and temperatures reaching a maximum of 26 Celsius.

We are set for a very interesting day of action tomorrow. Will Red Bull and Brawn occupy the front two rows of the grid, or can McLaren steal the show and continue its upward trend? Join us from 08:45 GMT for coverage of final practice and the all-important qualifying session.

QualifyingSat 16:25 The track action today at the Hungaroring ended in confusion, as Fernando Alonso beat everyone on track, and then was forced to wait several minutes to find out he'd claimed pole position.

One aspect of the race that certainly won't be confusing tomorrow is the weather. Early this morning we saw the first and last of the rain to affect the grand prix weekend and conditions tomorrow will be very pleasant both for racing and spectating.

Sunday will dawn quite bright, with plenty of sunny spells and just a few clouds dotted around the skyline.

Once again, the wind that has been a factor of the meeting so far will be evident, and blowing from the west.

Temperatures will begin to recover and we expect a maximum of 26 or possibly 27 degrees Celsius translating into a track temperature approaching 45 degrees as the sun shines down on the track surface.

Tomorrow, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel will race off the start-line in a bid to get to Turn 1 and open country in the lead. Who will take the honours? Join us on AUTOSPORT Live from 10:30 GMT for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

  LIVE COVERAGE NAVIGATOR
Monday 20 Jul Start GMT
 Hungarian Grand Prix Weather 15:00
Friday 24 Jul
 Friday Morning Practice 07:45
 Friday Afternoon Practice 11:45
Saturday 25 Jul
 Saturday Morning Practice 08:45
 Qualifying 11:45
Sunday 26 Jul
 Race day at the Hungaroring 10:30
  ABOUT
Emlyn Hughes and Geoff Creighton are autosport.com's live commentary team. The dynamic duo have developed an inimitable style and a reputation for fast, accurate and insightful commentary. With unrivaled access to events unfolding at the circuit, they bring you the very latest, as it happens.

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