The race is over.
First place: Lewis Hamilton.
The Hungaroring doesn’t exactly offer the fastest track, but that means we could be in for a fascinating tactical battle. A year ago, the likes of Max Verstappen may not have welcomed races like this yet the Red Bull star is adapting all the time and will be eyeing another upset after his extraordinary turnaround and recent spout of glory.
Almost everything we thought we knew about the established order has been turned on its head. When Daniel Ricciardo, Valtteri Bottas, Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly, and Lando Norris all record a DNF, serious questions are going to be asked. That said, it’s best not to get carried away. Hungary is expected to be a slower race and with far less dramatic weather. In fact, it should be a hot and dry track which means normal service should be resumed.
Hamilton to win
Nobody would have predicted Mercedes’ unhappy weekend last time out. It was a catastrophe from start to finish but looking ahead to Hungary, it should be remembered there were mitigating factors. Hamilton was suffering from a bug which he admitted made him feel mentally drained and what is more, he tends to bounce back after his rare setbacks. Whenever he has not won a race this season, he has always triumphed in the next one. Expect that to happen again in Hungary, barring catastrophic rain and another unforeseeable Mercedes meltdown.
Verstappen to win
There’s a solid argument that whenever an opportunity has presented itself in 2019, Verstappen has been the man most ready to seize it. The Belgian-Dutchman has now won two of the last three Grand Prixs. After his success in Austria and Germany, it’s even debatable whether his success should be deemed an upset anymore. For any of that to happen, though, he will need to significantly improve upon his display in Hungary in 2018, when he did not finish.
Vettel each way
Sebastian Vettel was much improved in his home Grand Prix, finishing second. It was the first time he had made the podium since Canada on June 9, surging from 20th to 2nd. So many of his problems in recent months seem to have been psychological that now he has had another respectable race, he will be looking to capitalise going forward – even if his title hopes evaporated long ago.
Head to Head
Intriguingly, in the last four years, Vettel has won twice in Hungary, and Lewis Hamilton twice, with the British driver coming out on top in 2018.
On that occasion, Ferrari’s hesitancy cost them but the year before that, they secured a 1-2 finish.
Of the top five last year, only Bottas is likely to challenge either Hamilton or Vettel, which does suggest we could be in for a few more surprises.
Hamilton to win
Just when it looked as if Hamilton was almost faultless, the first specks of doubt began to creep in. However, anomalies are just that – anomalies – and in the wider scheme of things, he has been winning race after race with alarming predictability.
Perhaps what happened in Germany will cause a moment or two’s hesitation for those who were starting to see him as a dead cert, but if anything, that has at least made the odds slightly more appealing.
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John Abrams is a passionate sports fanatic who follows NBA, NFL, NHL, NCAAF, NCAAB and Formula 1. A former sports trader, John has an unquestioned thirst for sports knowledge and often fills his time playing fantasy or placing wagers online.
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