Following success on home soil last time, Lewis Hamilton (pictured) can extend his lead at the top of the F1 Drivers’ Championship with victory at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix (1pm BST, Sunday, live on BBC & Sky Sports F1).
Hamilton dropped two places on the opening lap at Silverstone after qualifying on pole position. But he recovered his lead following the first round of pitstops and led from there until the finish following a well-timed stop for intermediate tyres as rain arrived at the track.
As predicted by our preview, the win was Hamilton’s third at the British Grand Prix and saw him increase his lead over Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg to 17 points at the head of the drivers’ championship. Rosberg came in second after dropping to fourth on the first lap, ahead of the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel, who, like Hamilton, came in for intermediates at just the right time.
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The two Williams drivers, who had led the pack early on, finished fourth and fifth respectively, with Felipe Massa coming in ahead of Valtteri Bottas. Daniil Kyvat took sixth for Red Bull, ahead of the Force India of Nico Hulkenberg, the second Ferrari of Kimi Raikonnen and Hulkenberg’s team-mate Sergio Perez.
Fernando Alonso rounded out the points-scoring positions in his McLaren, taking his first point of the season and the team’s fifth of a difficult campaign to date.
The build-up to the Hungarian Grand Prix has been overshadowed by the tragic death of Jules Bianchi nine months after he suffered severe head injuries in a collision with a rescue crane while driving for Marussia at last season’s Japanese Grand Prix. Just 25, he had been in the frame for a seat at Ferrari prior to his accident.
The Hungaroring in Mogyorod on the outskirts of Budapest has played host to the Hungarian Grand Prix since its introduction to the Formula One calendar in 1986. It is a bumpy and dusty, tight and twisty circuit that provides a good challenge to the drivers during qualifying but often produces fairly uneventful races due to its lack of overtaking spots.
Current weather forecasts suggest that it will be hot yet cloudy weekend, with little chance of rain on either Saturday or Sunday. Pirelli have selected their soft and medium compound tyres, mirroring their choices from last year’s event.
Rosberg had won three of the previous four Grand Prix coming into the race at Silverstone three weeks ago. He ran well in practice, but when it mattered on Saturday and Sunday it was Hamilton who came out on top. The British driver ended the weekend having taken a clean sweep of pole position, the race victory and the fastest lap of the race. Our preview advised betting on those first two eventualities.
Hamilton is a four-time previous winner at the Hungaroring, including a victory in his first year at Mercedes in 2013. He recovered from a pit-lane start to finish third ahead of pole-sitter Rosberg at last year’s race and can be expected to follow his dominant performance in Great Britain with another clean sweep of qualifying and race laurels this time around.
Despite its far less glamorous setting, the Hungaroring shares a number of similarities with the Monaco Grand Prix in so far as the demands the circuit places on the cars. The Monaco weekend was Red Bull’s strongest of the season to date, with both of their drivers qualifying and finishing in the top five, and they can again be expected to run well this weekend.
Kyvat finished ahead of his team-mate Ricciardo in Monaco and travels to Hungary on the back of a strong sixth-place finish at Silverstone. After a slow start, the Russian driver seems to be settling in at Red Bull and is starting to give Ricciardo a good run for his money.
Kyvat recorded a victory and a further podium finish at Hungary in the junior categories and is confident of performing well this time out. A top-six finish should be within his reach.
Carlos Sainz Jr has made a good impression since stepping up to Formula One with Toro Rosso on the back his success in last year’s Formula Renault 3.5 Championship. The Spaniard has, however, failed to score due to technical problems in each of the last two Grand Prix and will be keen to get his season back on track with a strong finish in Hungary.
Toro Rosso showed good pace in Monaco earlier this season. Sainz qualified eighth but was forced to start from the pit lane after failing to heed a request to pull into the weigh-in area at the end of the first session. From there, he made his way through the field to come home 10th in a race in which his team-mate Max Verstappen set the fifth fastest lap.
The Hungaroring should be similarly well-suited to the Toro Rosso, and Sainz can therefore be expected to return to the top 10 this weekend.
F1 Hungarian Grand Prix Preview’s Betting Tips
- As our preview successfully recommended last time, once again back Lewis Hamilton to both qualify on pole position and win the race @ best odds of 8/11 with Paddy Power.
- Bet on Daniil Kyvat to finish in the top six @ best odds of 5/2 with Ladbrokes.
- Back Carlos Sainz to finish in the points @ evens with Betfred, Ladbrokes or BetVictor.