The Hungarian Grand Prix marks the end of the first half of the 2017 F1 season. The summer break in Formula One is almost upon us and for Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel this is a crucial race to go into the recess with confidence.
Hamilton won the British Grand Prix last time out and F1 betting fans are backing him to claim victory one again, this time at the Hungaroring. This 4.3km track is one of twister circuit races on the F1 calendar and yellow flags are expected on Sunday.
Hamilton is one point behind Vettel in the Drivers' Champions standings and comes into this race having won at the Hungaroring on five previous occasions — including in 2016.
Bet on Lewis Hamilton
Hamilton cruised to victory at the British Grand Prix and was barely challenged by either of the Ferrari’s or his team-mate Valtteri Bottas. A repeat performance is what Mercedes want this weekend.
But for that to happen Hamilton needs a strong start in qualifying. Turn 1 at the Hungaroring is a tight 150 degree right. Getting that inside lane is crucial. The deceleration into the turn after a long starting straight will test the drivers' brakes and Hamilton must protect his line. Expect a bump or two behind him and the yellow flag to settle everyone into place.
This is assuming the Brit starts on pole. He did that in 2007, ’08, ’12, ’13 and ’15. He didn’t last year and still won the race. Hamilton loves this circuit and is 1.80 to start on pole and 1.80 to win the race.
Bet on Sebastian Vettel
Where can Vettel make up time on Hamilton to sneak pole? There are three major straights at the Hungaroring where the Mercedes has the upper hand. Hamilton has had tyre management problems in previous races this season and Vettel must hope the tricky weave between Turns 5 and 11 flummoxes the Brit.
Vettel himself is an exemplary driver and proved his skill when bypassing Bottas at Silverstone two weeks ago. Only a puncture prevented the German from a podium spot.
In qualifying Vettel must keep his nerve through that middle section to shave off vital milliseconds. The weather is meant to be fair so Ferrari’s tyre strategy should match the Mercedes. Only then will he have a chance of beating Hamilton to pole, which he is 4.75 to do.
Hungarian Grand Prix best bets
Who will win the Hungarian Grand Prix? The logical money is on Hamilton but, as Ferrari showed last weekend, punctures and bad luck can ruin a race. Hamilton’s odds are slim and therefore not attractive for a keen F1 betting fan.
Instead, it’s worth considering Bottas, who has the car to at least sit second on the grid and who is 5.50 to win this race. He claimed victory in Austria earlier in July and there is no reason why another win cannot go the Mercedes’ second driver. However, that does depend on where Hamilton is, because Bottas won’t be overtaking the three-time world champion on race day.
Daniel Ricciardo’s run of five consecutive podiums came to an end at Silverstone. But the Aussie is driving well and the Red Bull car is improving as the season goes on. Ricciardo is not in the fastest car out there and shouldn’t be backed to win. But with Turn 1 providing such a complicated start to this race he may be able to scramble up the positions there. Back Ricciardo at 2.75 to get on that podium again.
As for the retirees, Fernando Alonso’s woeful season continues and don’t be surprised if he withdraws at some point. The same can be said for Daniil Kvyat.