Formula One speeds into the summer break after one final stop – Round Twelve and the Hungarian Grand Prix at Budapest. Red Bull hope to get ahead of title rivals Mercedes and Ferrari, while the threat of rain lingers over the weekend. Plus, there’s a good reason to not want to win in Hungary… Here are your reasons to watch all of the action this weekend!
The electrifying title battle
Lewis Hamilton retook championship control after a remarkable drive from fourteenth on the grid to victory last weekend in Germany, while championship rival Sebastian Vettel slid off the circuit and crashed out of his home event. Hamilton now leads the way by seventeen points, while Mercedes lead Ferrari for Constructors’ honours by eight points.
Mercedes and Ferrari are now tied for the same number of wins and the same number of poles in 2018, while the title lead has changed between Hamilton and Vettel five times – the most times the lead has changed between two drivers since 1997, and we’re only just past the halfway point of the season!
Barring problems for Hamilton, it seems unlikely Vettel will make up the seventeen point deficit this weekend. But as we saw last weekend, you can never be too certain of anything in this sport. Who’ll head into the summer break as the championship leader?
The one they don’t want to win?
Victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix has seemed to come at a price in recent years. For the past thirteen races at the Hungaroring, the winner of the Grand Prix has not gone on to win that year’s championship. Not since 2004, when Michael Schumacher triumphed in Hungary and then took his seventh and final championship title a few weeks later at Spa, has a driver taken victory here and title glory. Lewis Hamilton has won the event five times, but never in a year where he’s won the championship, while Sebastian Vettel has won here twice – both times with Ferrari – in 2015 and 2017. Will 2018 break the trend?
Red Bull look to conquer
Red Bull and Daniel Ricciardo have their hopes pinned on a Hungarian Grand Prix victory. The team tactically changed the engine in the Australian’s RB14 at last weekend’s German Grand Prix to escape a penalty this weekend, where the team feel they’re more likely to be competitive. Annoyingly for them, though, Ricciardo retired from last weekend’s race with a power unit issue. While it doesn’t look like he will drop places on the grid in Hungary as a result of the problems in Germany, it’s an uncomfortable position for the team to be in at a Grand Prix where they expect a big result.
It seems that this weekend could be Red Bull’s best shot at a win until Singapore. Will they get amongst Mercedes and Ferrari this weekend?
Force India and Haas battle it out
There’s been plenty of speculation about the future of Force India this week. Some sources claim the team are on the verge of entering administration, while others suggest Lawrence Stroll is set to buy the team. On track, the team are embroiled in a battle for fifth with Haas, which sees both teams currently tied on 59 points.
Both Haas drivers have reached Q3 in all of the past four race weekends, while Force India have seen both of their drivers score points at the last three races. Force India have scored more times than Haas – eleven times compared to Haas’ eight – but Haas have more consistently finished in the top five, with three top five finishes, while Force India’s only top five appearance was Sergio Perez’s podium back in Azerbaijan.
Which of the two teams will score more points in Hungary?
Another wet weekend?
It may be the height of summer, but the prospect of two successive rain-affected race weekends seems likely, looking at the weather forecast. The latest forecasts suggest there’ll be thunderstorms around the Hungaroring on Friday afternoon and just after qualifying on Saturday, while Sunday in Budapest looks set to be wet, with rain forecast from mid-morning throughout the afternoon. Will the weather come into play once again this weekend, and if it does will it cause any surprise results?
The 2018 Hungarian Grand Prix gets underway at 2:10pm BST on Sunday. In the UK, coverage is exclusively live on Sky Sports F1.