Formula One rolls into Hungary this weekend and Lewis Hamilton has a great chance of overtaking Sebastian Vettel in the thrilling Drivers’ Championship race. Vettel is clinging to the lead by a solitary point but his margin has been eroded in recent weeks and the momentum is now with Hamilton. The Brit has a great record at Hungaroring and can use that to his advantage as he seeks to land a major psychological blow over his German rival. It promises to be another intriguing race, full of twists and turns, and there is plenty of value to be had for punters.
Last year put in an extremely composed performance to take the chequered flag in the Hungarian Grand Prix and take the lead in a two-horsed title race against teammate Nico Rosberg. This season he is locked in another two-horsed race, but rather than against a teammate it is against a star driver from a rival team, and F1 is all the more thrilling as a result. The 2017 season is what fans have been crying out for after a four-year spell of Red Bull dominance was followed by a three-year period of Mercedes dominance. Now finally the sport has two teams firing on all cylinders, extremely competitive practically impossible to separate in terms of pace and quality.
Or so we thought. In recent races there has been the suggestion that Mercedes is once again asserting its dominance over the sport and pulling away from Ferrari. The German team seemed a little blindsided by Ferrari’s early season pace, but they have since gone away, regrouped and emerged better than ever. Mercedes’ lead in the Constructors’ Championship is now 55 points (largely because Valtteri Bottas has been far better than Kimi Raikkonen, more on the Finns later) and they are now just 1/10 with Bet365 and various others to secure a fourth consecutive title. After winning three of the first six races of the season, Ferrari has not taken the chequered flag in any of the subsequent four. During that time it has enjoyed just two podiums, with Vettel second in Austria and Raikkonen third last time out at Silverstone.
The German team is suddenly looking second best and that spells bad news for Vettel. His frustrations were laid bare in Baku when he rammed into Hamilton and was slapped with a costly penalty, and he has been watching on helplessly as the Brit claws away at his lead. Were it not for Hamilton’s sheer bad luck – a loose
headrest costing him a certain win in Azerbaijan, a five-place grid penalty for an unscheduled gearbox change in Austria – he would already be well clear of Vettel. It seems like only a matter of time before he usurps the German, and Hungaroring is as good a track as any for him to do it on.
Hamilton is the most successful driver of all time at Hungaroring and that should give him a psychological edge going into the race. Stan James is offering even money on Hamilton to win this race and that looks a great bet. With Vettel now all the way out at 7/2 as a result of his recent woes, plenty of action is going on him, but he has not won a race since the Monaco Grand Prix in March and that looks a risky bet. Hamilton at evens seems a far better option, and it could actually be Bottas rather than Vettel that is Hamilton’s main rival here. The steady Finn has been quietly amassing points and is just 22 behind Hamilton and 23 behind Vettel, so there is every chance that he could force his way into championship contention. He is 6/1 at Bwin to win this race and that looks interesting. Bwin does not offer each-way betting but you can get 5/1 on Bottas at Sky Bet and Sportingbet and get a third of the odds if he finishes in the top two, which looks intriguing.