Lewis Hamilton closed to within a point of championship leader Sebastian Vettel with victory in Britain last time out and would jump ahead with another triumph at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix (Race: Sunday, 13:00 BST, live on Sky Sports F1).
Hamilton dominated the British Grand Prix, collecting his fifth career victory at Silverstone after securing pole position and also setting the fastest lap of the race. With Valtteri Bottas recovering from ninth on the grid to finish second, it was a perfect weekend for Mercedes.
The same could not be said for their rivals Ferrari. Vettel was never quite on the pace all weekend and saw his championship lead severely reduced when a late-race puncture saw him drop down to seventh. Kimi Raikkonen qualified second and finished third despite tyre problems of his own that similarly required a late pitstop.
It was a third win in four races for Mercedes, who after a relatively slow start to the season, now appear to be fully unlocking the potential of their package. While there is still plenty of time for Ferrari to strike back, it is Mercedes and Hamilton who have the momentum behind them going into the second half of the year.
The British driver will be particularly confident of success this weekend at a circuit at which he always shows excellent pace in qualifying and on race day. Not only does he have five victories to his name at the Hungaroring but also four pole positions.
Hamilton can therefore be fancied to take the championship lead with a clean sweep of pole position and the race victory this weekend.
It says much for the unreliability Red Bull have suffered so far this season that the fourth and fifth-place finishes secured by Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo respectively at Silverstone represented just the third time this season that both of their cars have finished.
Ricciardo has, however, generally benefited from better luck in that regard, as a series of six consecutive finishes can attest. Prior to the British Grand Prix, he had put together a run of five successive podium finishes, including victory at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in June.
The Australian driver has always gone well in Hungary. He won the race in 2014 following late-race overtakes on both Hamilton and Fernando Alonso, came home third at the circuit for his only podium finish of the 2015 season, and qualified and finished third there last year.
This year’s Red Bull should again be quick at the Hungaroring, and Ricciardo therefore has a solid chance of securing his fourth consecutive podium at the circuit on Sunday.
Nico Hulkenberg qualified and finished sixth for Renault in a strong showing at Silverstone. Force India secured another double points finish, with Esteban Ocon leading home Sergio Perez in eighth and ninth, while Felipe Massa took the final points-paying spot for Williams.
McLaren endured another pointless weekend in what has been a terrible season to date. They are currently plum last in the Constructors’ Championship, with only the two points Alonso picked up in Azerbaijan to their credit. But they were encouraged by improvements in their pace and will be looking at the Hungarian Grand Prix as one of their primary opportunities to pick up points.
The Hungaroring is one of the least power-intensive tracks on the calendar and the team will therefore not be as heavily hampered by their under-performing Honda power unit. Alonso secured the best result of the McLaren-Honda partnership to date with a fifth-placed finish at the circuit in 2015 and also scored points with a seventh-place finish last year.
Alonso is therefore the obvious choice to achieve a points finish for the team this weekend but that is reflected by the big bookmakers, who have him odds-on to do so. Despite Alonso’s obvious qualities as a driver, the relative unreliability of the McLaren-Honda package makes it difficult to recommend backing him at those odds.
With that in mind, it is his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne who offers the better betting opportunity. Vandoorne won at the Hungaroring in GP2 in 2014 and finished second in 2015, in addition to another second-place finish in the Formula Renault 3.5 series in 2013. He qualified in the top 10 at Silverstone and will see this weekend’s race as an excellent opportunity to score his first points of the season.
Our Preview’s F1 Hungarian Grand Prix Betting Tips
With those thoughts in mind, here are this preview’s three betting tips for this F1 weekend: