After two weeks away, Formula 1 arrives in Budapest this weekend for the Hungarian Grand Prix. For those of you thinking that a return to the normal weekend format will mean a quiet weekend, think again. With one race to go before the summer break, everyone will be motivated to end this first part of the season on a high. Let’s take a look at the main things to watch out for this weekend.
The Title Bout Continues
Following *that* moment in Silverstone, the gloves are well and truly off in the title fight. Mercedes’ win and Red Bull’s forgettable weekend last time out essentially wiped out the advantage they built over the previous five races. Lewis Hamilton is eight points behind Max Verstappen. Mercedes are four points behind Red Bull. It’s all to play for with the stakes higher than ever.
Mercedes have out strategized Red Bull in Hungary before, can they do it again? Valtteri Bottas and Sergio Perez will also be crucial players in what is most likely going to be a race of strategy. This weekend is almost guaranteed to provide us with edge of your seat action. Get ready to hide behind your sofa.
Can Ferrari spoil the party?
Charles Leclerc came within a whisker of winning the British Grand Prix. He also already has two pole positions to his name this year. Carlos Sainz stood on the podium in Monaco. For a team that says they aren’t up to scratch yet, they appear to be doing rather well considering.
With Budapest being a low speed track, it seems like the ideal place for Ferrari to spice things up. Could Charles or Carlos stick their Ferrari on Pole position? Could a podium at the very least be on the cards for the prancing horses? You wouldn’t be called crazy for thinking there’s a decent possibility of it happening.
Both drivers have what it takes to get the most out of the car and the patience to avoid on track action. Keep your eyes peeled on the men in red this weekend.
But what about McLaren?
Ferrari’s main rivals, and a thorn in Mercedes/Red Bull’s side at times, McLaren have been excellent this season. This has been down in large part to a phenomenal Lando Norris. He broke Alonso’s record for longest points tally in a season in Silverstone and currently sits P3 in the standings.
Daniel Ricciardo also has a great weekend last time out. The Aussie loves the Budapest track so he will be hoping that this is a good omen. Judging from Silverstone, their pit stops seem to be weakness at the moment so if they can get that sorted, they could just spoil Ferrari’s plans again this weekend and extend their lead over them in the Constructor’s Championship.
A podium for Ricciardo? This might be an ambitious prediction but if it were to happen anywhere, Hungary is the place.
Alonso Vs Vettel
No, you’re not misreading this subheading. And no you haven’t travelled back to 2012. Whilst they may not be fighting each other for a Drivers’ Title, both former World Champions are locked in a battle for tenth place in the Drivers’ Standings.
Alonso is now back up to speed in an F1 car and has shown brilliant pace in the last few races, particularly in Silverstone. Vettel already has a podium under his belt at his new home in Aston Martin. They tussled with each other last time out and have found themselves racing closely a few times already this year. It seems only a matter of time then before they encounter each other on track in Hungary.
Seeing these two titans fighting each other will be great fun and should provide us some excellent entertainment this weekend.
Points for Williams?
If past lives are a thing, you must be thinking that George Russell must have been someone awful previously to get the bad luck he’s been having this season. On the cusp of achieving his and Williams’ first points on numerous occasions, they’ve been snatched away at the last moment.
Could this bad luck finally change in Hungary? If I say it quietly enough, maybe it will happen. Russell is driving the absolute backside of that Williams car and he – along with the team – deserve to be rewarded for their monumental efforts.
Budapest is a track where high speeds aren’t necessary to do well so maybe, just maybe, points will come home for Williams.