Hamilton to hit back in Hungary

  • By: Tom Millard
  • Last Updated: July 23 2014, 10:18 BST

Lewis Hamilton is a worthy favourite to get back to winning ways in the Hungarian Grand Prix, according to our tipster Tom Millard.

Lewis Hamilton: Can justify odds-on quotes
Lewis Hamilton: Can justify odds-on quotes

1st/5th/1st/Ret/4th/1st/1st

The form figures are those of Lewis Hamilton at the Hungaroring dating from his first Formula 1 race there in 2007.

And yet those raw numbers don't quite do justice to the manner in which Hamilton has mastered the Budapest track.

The 2008 race, in which he finished fifth, was looking nip-and-tuck between the then-McLaren driver and championship rival Felipe Massa before a puncture for the Englishman robbed the race of its deserved climax.

Three years later, Hamilton had eased clear of team-mate Jenson Button in slippery conditions, only to make a strategy misjudgement which handed the race to his compatriot - he made six pit stops to Button's three, which was enough to demote him to fourth.

But the trend is clear: this is a circuit at which Hamilton excels, meaning the odds-on quotes about him adding a fifth Hungarian win to his CV look fully justified.

Sunday's German Grand Prix showed that the Mercedes, despite being shorn of its FRICS dynamic suspension system, is still clearly in a league of its own.

The odds for each race thus far this season have been relatively stable, with Hamilton and Nico Rosberg trading either side of evens with a wafer-thin allowance for the other 20 competitors.

Most of the time it's difficult to argue with the consensus, but there comes a time to pull the trigger on one half of the dominant pair, as we did with Rosberg in Monaco and with Hamilton in Bahrain and Britain.

We'd have also sided with the 2008 world champion in Canada if his price (1/2) wasn't so prohibitive, but the 4/5 marked up for this race is plenty long enough.

In something which might be described as 'scoreboard compiling' the layers have put too much emphasis on Sunday's race result rather than the underlying performances - Rosberg never had to break sweat after Hamilton's rear brake disc failure pitched him out of Q2 and resigned him to fighting through the field from 20th on the grid.

But the German has never really excelled in Budapest - his best result remains a fourth place from back in his Williams days - and he may well be forced to rely on error or misfortune to befall his team-mate for the sixth weekend in a row.

The controversy over Rosberg's lock-up in qualifying at Monaco seems half a season ago now but that proved to be the first of five successive incidents on Saturdays that have scuppered Hamilton's chances of pole.

This weekend he's 8/11 to head the grid for the first time since the Spanish Grand Prix back in May, which looks a fair price but the slightly bigger odds available on the race win look more appealing given how the pressure has got to him over a single flying lap this season.

Behind the duelling Mercs it could be the turn of the Red Bulls to prove best of the rest at a circuit which rewards downforce and a consistent aero balance.

Valtteri Bottas has shone for the rejuvenated Williams team, taking second in the last two races but the Hungaroring's long-duration low- and mid-speed corners could suit the loaded RB10 more than the torquey, slippery FW36 this weekend.

Daniel Ricciardo has slowly won the layers over and now starts shorter than Sebastian Vettel across the board, a status which continues to be deserved despite the German slowly getting to grips with his machinery.

Vettel finished ahead of the Australian driver on Sunday but the latter got caught up in the Massa/Kevin Magnussen first-corner skirmish and dropped down the field.

Paddy Power have Bottas at just 2/1 to win the race without the Mercedes', which means both Red Bull drivers are backable with the Irish firm.

Ricciardo is 3/1 and Vettel 9/2, so the pair can be backed at combined odds of just over 13/10.

  • Friday's free practice sessions take place at 0900 and 1300; Saturday's at 1000. Qualifying is at 1300 on Saturday with the race scheduled for the same time on Sunday (all times BST).