Hungarian GP: A sneak peek

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The Red Bull Racing RB14 of Daniel Ricciardo in the Pitlane during previews at the Hungaroring. 

By SHILADITYA BISWAS

It’s time again for the Hungarian Grand Prix, when the drivers duke it out one last time before heading for a much-needed mid-season break.

The Hungaroring is one of the slower tracks on the calendar and the race – on Sunday night, 11.10pm AEST – is said to be “won at the qualifiers”.

Overtaking other drivers on the track has proven to be difficult in the past with 11 breaking zones and 13 proper corners forming part of the 4.83km track. Therefore, a good chassis performance will be the key here.

Red Bull’s RB14s, with their superior average corner speed and acceleration, are being touted as the pre-race favourites – even Sebastian Vettel admitted as much.

Even so, the race is pretty much going to be about two drivers going head to head in a bid to become the World Champion for the fifth time.

With a 17-point gap separating Lewis Hamilton at the top from Sebastian Vettel, a win for either of them could see the winner head into the break with a massive upper hand.

Hamilton will come into the race with a psychological edge following his victory at the German GP despite starting from 14thon the grid.

However, Hamilton will have to rewrite some history if he is to claim the World Championship, with his record five Hungarian GP wins never coming in the same year as his World Championship victories.

With a combination of warm weather and rain expected on race day, the choice between white-walled medium, yellow-walled soft and purple-walled ultrasoft tyres will also go a long way to determine the victor.

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Lewis Hamilton on the way to winning the German GP. 

Podium prediction

  • Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes – After the “race of his life”, there’s only so much he can do to top it. But considering the form that he is in right now he will want to capitalise on it and get this race under his belt before heading for his vacations. Taking his wins to six will see him race away from the rest in the points table.
  • Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull – The Australian is a shoo-in for a podium finish. If he gets a top three grid position in Q3, with the trusty stocky Red Bull chassis he can hold on to his position without much contest. I could have given him a first place finish but considering the red hot form Hamilton is in right now it would be an incredible feat to oust him for the pole position.
  • Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari – Maybe we shouldn’t count him out just yet. An unforeseen collapse in the final stages of the German GP might have shaken his confidence but he is a tough nut to crack. With four wins and six podium finishes this season he is as much in the title race as Hamilton. Slips happen to the best of them but it’s how one bounces back that matters, and Vettel will start on Sunday with every intention of hitting back when the chips are down. This guarantees a podium finish at the very least.