Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton (pictured) will be confident of victory at one of his favourite circuits at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix (Race: Sunday, 13:00 BST, live on Sky Sports F1).
Hamilton endured a difficult weekend in Germany, starting 20th on the grid following a crash in qualifying and a subsequent gearbox change. He drove superbly to finish third in the race, but still conceded 10 points to teammate Nico Rosberg in the Drivers’ Championship.
Rosberg was a comfortable winner ahead of Valtteri Bottas, who secured his third consecutive podium finish for Williams. The team have a number of track-specific updates planned for this weekend’s event as they seek to close in on Red Bull in the battle for second in the Constructors’ Championship.
Sebastian Vettel was fourth for Red Bull, ahead of Fernando Alonso (Ferrari), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) and Nico Hulkenberg (Force India). McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen were eighth and ninth, with Sergio Perez (Force India) rounding out the top 10.
The Hungarian Grand Prix is the last race before the month-long summer break and all the teams and drivers will be keen to go into the holiday period on the back of a strong result on Sunday.
The Hungaroring, located just outside Budapest, has played host to the Hungarian Grand Prix since 1986. It is a tight and technical circuit – beloved by the drivers during qualifying but less appreciated during the race, where overtaking opportunities are often few and far between. The track is quite bumpy and required a high-downforce set up.
Current weather forecasts suggest there is a possibility of rain this weekend, but temperatures will generally be high. Pirelli will bring their medium and soft compound tyres to this weekend’s event. Last year, 13 of the 19 finishers utilised a three-stop strategy, although Kimi Raikkonen finished second for Lotus after making two.
Rosberg’s victory in Germany has left Hamilton in need of a strong result in Hungary in order to reduce his teammate’s championship advantage ahead of the summer break. The good news for Hamilton is that he has a superlative record at the Hungaroring, having secured four pole positions and four race victories in seven Grands Prix at the circuit.
It is a track that is suited to Hamilton’s attack-minded driving style and he can be expected to have a pace advantage over Rosberg. That was certainly the case last year in their first season as teammates. Hamilton took both pole position and the race victory, a double he can be fancied to repeat this weekend.
The tight and twisty Hungaroring circuit is sometimes, slightly unfairly, described as Monaco without barriers, glamour or girls. Toro Rosso ran well in Monaco, with both cars qualifying in the top 10. They have struggled in Hungary in the past but seem well placed for a good weekend this time around.
Jean-Eric Vergne has reached the final session of qualifying in six of the 10 races so far this year, but he has been out-qualified by his younger teammate Daniel Kyvat in each of the last three. Vergne can, however, be expected to win the qualifying tussle this weekend due to his good previous record at the circuit, particularly in the Formula Renault 3.5 Series. A top 10 qualifying position is certainly within his capabilities.
McLaren have performed well at tracks with a number of low and medium-speed corners and can be expected to have a good weekend at a circuit at which the team has won on 11 previous occasions. Kevin Magnussen qualified in an impressive fourth place in Germany, but it is Button who is likely to enjoy the better weekend this time around.
Button secured his first Formula One victory at the Hungaroring in 2006 and won again at the circuit in 2011. He came through from 13th on the grid to finish seventh in Hungary last year and is capable of going one place better this weekend. He can be backed to secure his sixth top six finish of the season.
It would be fair to say that Raikkonen has struggled since returning to Ferrari at the turn of the year. The Finn has finished behind his teammate Alonso at each and every race so far this season and comes into the Hungarian Grand Prix on the back of just two points-paying finishes in the last five races.
There are, though, reasons for optimism for Ferrari this weekend. They were quick at Monaco, with both cars qualifying in the top six, and both of their drivers have performed well at the Hungaroring in the past.
Alonso secured his first Formula One victory at the circuit back in 2003 and has finished in the top six in all four of his races there for Ferrari. Raikkonen has finished on the podium in each of his last five visits to the circuit and won the race for McLaren in 2005. In tandem, they are capable of taking Ferrari to a double points finish on Sunday.
Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix Betting Tips Verdict
- Back Lewis Hamilton to qualify on pole position and win the race @ 5/4 with Bet365.
- Bet on Jean-Eric Vergne to reach qualifying session three @ Evens with Ladbrokes.
- Back Jenson Button to finish in the top six @ 2/1 with SkyBet.
- Bet on Ferrari to achieve a double points finish @ 8/11 with BetVictor.