High hopes for Hamilton in Hungary as he hunts for history
Joint-record Hungarian Grand Prix winner (on four with Michael Schumacher) and last year’s victor on this track Lewis Hamilton will hope for a repeat show, to close the gap on Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg. He is odds-on at 8/11 to be first again.
The Englishman is still within touching distance of Rosberg (6/4), with the season now into its second half, but has slipped to 14 points behind in the Drivers’ Championship, after finishing third at Hockenheim, and the German winning on home soil.
However, despite the result, it was a heroic drive from Hamilton, who started in 20th place, and it seems he enjoys the fight and a challenge.
“It’s not been a smooth-sailing season for me, as it has been mostly for the guy I’m racing against,” he said after the German Grand Prix. “But I don’t want it easy. Some don’t mind that. But I do like a challenge.”
The Mercedes duo are now joint-odds-on favourites for the Drivers’ Championship title at 10/11, and Hamilton spoke confidently ahead of the race in Hungary, as he bids for a third straight win.
“This race is always a special one for me, with four poles and four wins from my seven races there so far, including my first victory for Mercedes last season,” the Englishman said.
“I don’t really have any secrets there. I’ve just been very fortunate over the years, and it’s a circuit I really enjoy.
“It’s one where you can really attack, which works for an attacking driver like myself, so perhaps it suits my driving style a little bit more than some others,” Hamilton continued.
“I’m looking forward to it, and I’m doing absolutely everything I can to get back on level terms with Nico in the title battle. I can’t focus more or work harder than I am doing right now.”
Reflecting on a huge victory at his home circuit, Rosberg said: “To win at Hockenheim was a very, very special day for me. That race and Monaco were the ones I really wanted to win, so to have done that is really awesome.
He added: “But now I’m just looking forward to this next race in Hungary where I’ll naturally be aiming for another win to extend my championship lead.”
The Hungarian Grand Prix in recent times has favoured competitors from Great Britain and Finland mostly, with eight of the last nine races there producing a winner from those nations.
Williams’ Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas is probably his country’s best hope this year, having finished on the podium in the last three races this season (third, second and second). He is 13/8 to be in the top three again, and 16/1 to win.
His compatriot Kimi Raikkonen, though, who is in his second spell at Ferrari, is a past champion here at the Hungaroring circuit, back in 2005, and is an enticing 20/1 and 200/1 respectively in the same markets.
Recent history suggests more success for a Brit or Fin, but Nico Rosberg does have Finnish blood in him, through his famous former F1 driver father Keke, so expect another tough battle between him and Hamilton.