Sebastian Vettel may have notched up his fourth win of the year in the previous race in Germany, but this remains a close and competitive Formula One season, with seven different drivers priced at 15.00 or less to win this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.
Lotus look promising
Inevitably Vettel is the favourite – though at 2.30 his odds are more than twice as high as Ogier’s. But the real interest this weekend has to be the Lotuses. The E21 chassis thrives in high temperatures as it treats its tyres better than any other car out there. And early forecasts for Sunday’s race predict severe heat – potentially as high as 37C.
There are other reasons to favour the Lotus drivers this weekend. They were clearly the quickest cars on a warm race day at the Nurburgring two weeks ago. Vettel managed to stay ahead because he out-qualified the Lotus drivers (the E21 is not the best car on Saturdays) and Red Bull played the tactical game to perfection, while getting a little help from the Safety Car.
Lotus had a strong race in Hungary last year, finishing second and third behind Lewis Hamilton. Overtaking has always been tricky at the Hungaroring, but that may change this year with the addition of a second DRS zone at the exit of turn one.
With all that in mind, Kimi Raikkonen looks excellent value for the win at odds of 5.00. And it would be worth covering all bases with a punt on team mate Romain Grosjean as well at 15.00. He was in superb form at the Nurburgring, but keep in mind that Raikkonen is ahead in the championship and Grosjean has been ordered to let him past in the last two races (though team principal Eric Boullier says this was done for tactical reasons and not because of the championship situation).
Avoid Mercedes and McLaren
If a high temperature in Hungary is good news for Lotus, it’s a disaster for Mercedes, who have struggled with overheating tyres this year. Making matters worse, they were the only team not to attend last week’s test to evaluate new tyres for the upcoming race, following the ban handed down by the FIA earlier this year.
Ferrari’s potential is a little harder to read. How well the F138 performs on the new tyres this weekend will be critical to Fernando Alonso’s championship hopes. He remains the second-favourite to win the title, behind Vettel, but his odds on doing so have crept up to 7.00 after a lacklustre fourth place in Germany.
Historically, the Hungaroring has been an excellent circuit for McLaren. They’ve won six of the last eight races here. But it’s a measure of just how dreadful their season has been so far that Jenson Button is priced at 125.00 to win and Sergio Perez is on 300.00. At this rate it seems unlikely either will score a podium finish before the year is out, let alone win a race.
For qualifying it’s hard to find a reason to look beyond the usual suspects: Vettel and the Mercedes drivers, all priced in the 2.50 to 3.50 range. This trio have claimed all the pole positions so far this year.
Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic.
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