Who Will Leave Hungary At the Top of The Formula 1 World Championship?

This season has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable in recent Formula 1 history. In previous years, we have seen one team, Mercedes, largely dominate the Driver’s and the Constructor’s Championships, to the point where it was rare that a race was not dominated by one or both of their drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas or before the Finn took the seat in 2017, Nico Rosberg.

Mercedes drivers have won each of the last four World Driver’s Championship (Hamilton with three of those wins, Rosberg with one) and the team has run away with each of the Constructor titles for each of those years too.

Therefore, the fact this new season has been so unpredictable and has seen Ferrari, and to a lesser extent, Red Bull come to challenge the dominance of Mercedes frequently and dramatically, has made for a real spectacle for F1 fans and no doubt has encouraged plenty of punters to head to the online betting sites to place a few wagers on the outcome of the races.

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The topsy-turvy nature of the season was encapsulated in a single race weekend last time out at the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.

Drama at Hockenheim as Hamilton Masters the Conditions for an Unlikely Victory

After qualifying, Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes would have been forgiven for thinking that their race weekend was cursed from the beginning. After the first qualifying session, Hamilton’s car had hydraulic failure, meaning he was unable to compete from onwards, meaning he would start from 14th position on the grid.

While his team mate Valtteri Bottas was second, he was sandwiched between Sebastian Vettel’s Ferrari in first and Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrai in third. Both Haas cars did well finishing 5th and 6th respectively (Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean) to give the team hopes of a solid performance this weekend.

For the majority of the race, Ferrari were dominant with Vettel and Raikkonen always at the front of things and keeping a lid on Bottas nicely, while Hamilton worked his way through the pack to move up into the points places in the race.

However, during the race rain began to fall but only in certain sections of the track. As conditions deteriorated, drivers came in to change tyres and the pace slowed and that allowed Hamilton to creep on up towards the top three, but Vettel was maintaining a solid pace and looking very comfortable in the race with a big lead over his team mate Raikkonen in second.

That changed with just 15 laps to go when the rain got heavier and shortly after, Vettel lost control at the hairpin in the Stadium section, sending his car into the barrier. With other cars pitting for tyres under the safety car, Hamilton remained out on slicks and took a surprising lead, a lead which he would hold on to until the chequered flag, albeit with the help of some team orders.

There was then drama following the race when Hamilton feared he may be disqualified for an infraction, however he was only reprimanded and allowed to keep the victory, which moved him 17 points clear of Sebastian Vettel in second place.

Driver’s Championship

  1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 188
  2. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) – 171
  3. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) – 131
  4. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 122
  5. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) – 106
  6. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 105
  7. Nico Hulkenberg (Renault) – 52
  8. Fernando Alonso (McLaren) – 40
  9. Kevin Magnussen (Haas) – 39
  10. Sergio Perez (Force India) – 30
  11. Estaban Ocon (Force India) – 29
  12. Carlos Sainz (Renault) – 28
  13. Roman Grosjean (Haas) – 20
  14. Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso) – 18
  15. Charles Leclerc (Sauber) – 13
  16. Stoffel Vandooren (McLaren) – 8
  17. Marcus Ericsen (Sauber) – 5
  18. Lance Stroll (Williams) – 4
  19. Brandon Hartley (Toro Rosso) – 2
  20. Sergey Sirotkin (Williams) – 0

Constructor Championship

  1. Mercedes – 310
  2. Ferrari – 302
  3. Red Bull – 211
  4. Renault – 80
  5. Force India – 59
  6. Haas – 59
  7. McLaren – 48
  8. Toro Rosso – 20
  9. Sauber – 18
  10. Williams – 4

This means with just one race to go before the summer break, there is plenty to race for at this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest.

Hungarian Grand Prix

What makes this weekend’s race so intriguing is that it should be one of the most evenly contested in the F1 calendar. The twists and turns of the Hungaroring means it is a real test for the cars and also that outright power, where Ferrari and Mercedes hold a big advantage, is not so critical. This means that Red Bull should fancy their chances of a strong performance here.

Four drivers in the race have won at the Hungaroring, but nobody has won more than Lewis Hamilton who boasts five Hungarian Grand Prix wins in his career, Sebastian Vettel has won the race twice (both in the last three years, including last year), while Daniel Ricciardo and Kimi Raikkonen have both notched up wins at the circuit.

Race Odds – Hungarian Grand Prix

  • Sebastian Vettel – 7/4 favourite
  • Lewis Hamilton – 11/4
  • Max Verstappen – 10/3
  • Daniel Ricciardo – 7/2
  • Kimi Raikkonen – 16/1
  • Valtteri Bottas – 16/1
  • 1000/1 bar

Who is our tip to win in Hungary?

The bookies have Sebastian Vettel the favourite here and it is easy to see why. The German ace has won two of the last three Hungarian Grand Prix, the layout of the track will tend to suit his Ferrari more than the Mercedes and the fact he crashed out in his home Grand Prix last weekend means the German will have plenty to prove, as well as wanting to close the 17-point gap between himself and Lewis Hamilton in the Driver’s Championship.

Indeed, another poor weekend here for Vettel and if Hamilton were to win, that could open up an almost unassailable lead for the Englishman.

So if Vettel is the smart choice here for a number of reasons, who is likely to challenge him other than Hamilton and Bottas? Well I think this weekend both Red Bull cars will feel that on this track they have the pace to worry the big two and I’d expect Daniel Ricciardo and particularly Max Verstappen to step up here.

Ricciardo has been the more consistent of the two this season but after a slow start Verstappen has shown the qualities in recent races that made him such an exciting prospect last season and I think he may well be Vettel’s strongest challenger this weekend and he is certainly a very decent each way bet.