Formula One World Championship heads to Hungary for the 11th round of the chaotic and quite controversial 2021 season. Despite crashing out of the British Grand Prix, Max Verstappen heads to the Hungarian Grand Prix with an eight-point lead, which he can keep a hold of and keep his distance ahead of Lewis Hamilton ahead of the summer break.
This weekend’s race marks the halfway point of the season, and there aren’t many tracks suitable to commemorate that than the Hungaroring. The Hungarian racetrack has hosted several spectacular races and has produced more than a handful of surprising winners – will we see something similar this weekend?
The controversial crash between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen at Silverstone remains a hot topic of discussion in the Formula One world. And while the dust might have settled, Red Bull are not ready to let this one slide.
As revealed, the Red Bull team is currently appealing to Hamilton’s penalty, which they deemed to be too lenient. Although the 10s penalty definitely isn’t small, Red Bull judged Hamilton to be mostly to blame for the crash and should be handed a harsher penalty on the day.
Hamilton ended up winning on his home track last weekend with +3.871s to spare ahead of Charles Leclerc in second and Valtteri Bottas in third (+11.125s).
The forecast for Friday shows hot and sunny weather, with cloudy Saturday and a possibility of rain/thunderstorms on Sunday.
The problem with the current weather forecast is that it’s not to be trusted. The weather in Europe has been highly volatile of late, and there is no way of telling what awaits us on Sunday – it might rain, it might not, there might be a thunderstorm of just a shower.
We know, however, that it will be hot, at around 30°C, for Saturday and Sunday, with an 80% and 40% chance of rain respectively.
The Heat Got Turned Up
The “small” incident at Silverstone has made the Verstappen vs Hamilton battle a bit more heated. Whether Hamilton has intentionally crashed into Verstappen is really up to debate, but it surely seemed so from the eyes of the Red Bull driver.
Verstappen and Hamilton collide!— Formula 1 (@F1) July 18, 2021
The title rivals come together at Copse, pitching Verstappen into a high-speed crash.
The Dutchman was able to walk away but he has been taken to hospital for precautionary checks#BritishGP 🇬🇧 #F1 pic.twitter.com/ol1s9dRJoa
It likely won’t take long before these two get involved in another scuffle on the track, and it’s more than fair to say that it will be Hamilton who will get the short end of the stick the second time out. When that happens remains to be seen, but it surely makes betting on either Verstappen and Hamilton for the upcoming races far less appealing. At the same time, it increases the chances of the outsiders to shine.
Hungaroring Not Kind To Pole Sitters
During the turbo-hybrid era, only the pole sitters won only three races. While it’s fair to say that Hungaroring wasn’t kind to pole sitters, it has been very welcoming for Hamilton, who has won here four of the last five races.
Another thing about Hungaroring is that it’s often compared to Monaco. Year after year, drivers who have done well in Monaco tend to perform well in Hungary, and we don’t expect that to change here.
The two tracks are fairly similar in how the drivers need to approach them. There is little room for overtaking, and there are plenty of turns, which suits some drivers better than the others. The only big difference between the two tracks is that there are no walls in Hungary.
There have been a few drivers who have done well at Hungaroring, which includes Sainz, Daniel Ricciardo, Pierre Gasly, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, and of course, Hamilton. Verstappen is also not to be ignored, having finished second here in his last two outings.
Outsiders That Can Impress
Verstappen and Hamilton are a class above everyone else, so it’s fair to say that either of the two will win in Hungary. That said, it’s not entirely unlikely that the two favorites will clash again, which makes picking either a not-so-appealing option. Instead, we will take a look at a few outsiders who could impress.
Hungaroring has produced first-time winners before, namely Fernando Alonso, Heikki Kovalainen, Damon Hill, and Jenson Button. So it’s fair to speculate whether we will see another first-time winner on Sunday.
Out of all the names, the only driver with a realistic chance to achieve that feat is Lando Norris, who has already collected three podiums on the season (Italy, Monaco, Austria) and drove well in Silverstone. What’s more, he has finished inside the top five in all but one race (Spanish Grand Prix).
As noted, driver’s showings in Monaco are often a good indication of how they’ll do in Hungary, and while Norris hasn’t won in Monaco this year, he has managed a bronze medal, which makes him a solid outsider pick for this week.
Another darkhorse that caught our attention is Carlos Sainz. While he wasn’t very successful this season, he has managed a runner-up finish in Monaco. What’s more, Ferrari tends to do better on tracks with plenty of corners, so Hungaroring should be right up his alley.
In fact, Sainz drove the best in Monaco, where he has not only collected his best placement on the season but also seemed very comfortable in qualifiers. It’s also fair to mention that Sainz usually does well in the rain, so he should have that going for him if it happens to be wet on Sunday.
Keeping with the theme of Monaco showings, Aston Martin managed two double points on the season, one of which came in Monaco, where Vettel landed in fifth, and we expect him to have another strong showing this weekend.
Vettel is also fairly solid at Hungaroring, where he has won two races (2015, 2017) and added five podiums (2010, 2011, 2013, 2018, 2019). In fact, Vettel has finished outside of the top-six here only once (2014) in his last 11 starts.
Hungarian Grand Prix Betting Picks
- Prediction: Lando Norris to win – 41.00 at Bet365 0.25 units
- Prediction: Carlos Sainz to win – 51.00 at Bet365 0.25 units
- Prediction: Carlos Sainz Top 3 Finish – 7.00 at Bet365 0.55 units
- Prediction: Lance Stroll – Points Finish – 2.00 at Bet365 1.00 units