RICCIARDO SHINES IN HUNGARY: Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo raced to victory in a crash-filled 2014 Hungarian GP. Image: AP / Darko Vojinovic
England - The head says Lewis Hamilton but those willing to take a more
adventurous punt might fancy the chances of Valtteri Bottas or Kimi Raikkonen
as Formula 1 regroups in Hungary with a heavy heart this weekend.
Hamilton, winner at the Hungaroring four times in
eight years and twice in the past three, is the clear favourite as the double champion
seeks to stretch his 17-point overall lead going into the August break.
‘GOODBYE WAS HARD’
Briton Hamilton and his rivals will also be racing
with Jules Bianchi in their thoughts after attending the French driver's
funeral in Nice on Tuesday - a promising talent who died on Friday nine months
after a crash in the 2014 Japanese GP left him in a coma
said: "Saying goodbye to Jules was incredibly hard for everyone. I wished
I had known him better.
"Hungary is a beautiful place, one of my
favourites. I will be carrying Jules with me in my prayers and thoughts, not
only this race but for the rest of my driving days.
“I know he'd
want us to race hard, as he did. So I will."
The form book points to another battle between
Hamilton and his Mercedes team mate Nico Rosberg, each chasing a seventh 1-2
from 10 races, but history offers some hope of a different outcome.
The race, now in its 30th edition, threw up a surprise
in 2014 when Australian Daniel Ricciardo won for Red Bull. It has had other
It may be just a statistical curiosity but the fact
remains that only English, Australian or Finnish drivers have won in Hungary in
the past decade.
Raikkonen, who could
be replaced by Bottas at Ferrari in 2016 if speculation is correct, won for
McLaren in 2005 while compatriot Heikki Kovalainen triumphed in 2008.
Bottas said: "I always have a lot of support -- it's almost a Finnish GP. We
should be looking for a strong weekend and to build on the good momentum we
He has, however, yet to win in F1; he was third in
RENAULT STILL LOOKING FOR POWER
Raikkonen was second in Bahrain, his first top-three
finish since he won for Lotus in 2013, and apart from 2014, the 2007 champion
has been on the podium in Hungary every year he has raced there since 2006.
Ricciardo is the only Australian on the grid and Red
Bull has lost hope of winning until Renault provides a more competitive engine.
The team might have to grin and bear it…
Jenson Button took his first F1 win in Hungary for
Honda in 2006 - and from 14th on the grid. That feat remains the lowest winning
start for the race but even starting that low will be a challenge this time
with Honda-powered McLaren.
Bianchi's death, the first since 1994 of a driver
resulting from a race incident, has put everything into perspective. McLaren
boss Eric Boullier said: "Last weekend's sad news... means the GP circus
heads to Budapest with heavy hearts.
"We'll all remember his life in our own personal
way but F1 will come together on Sunday to silently and respectfully mark his