Lewis Hamilton flexed his muscles a week ago to bounce back from a disappointing opening weekend with a dominant victory in race two, but can the defending world champion make it back-to-back wins when Formula 1 heads to Hungary this week?
Hamilton set the early standard in Austria a fortnight ago as he topped the timesheets in practice, but when things got serious over the course of the weekend he suffered penalties in both qualifying and the race that resulted in him missing out on a place on the podium. That left the Mercedes ace in desperate need of an immediate response a week ago, and he issued one to exorcises his Red Bull Ring demons in the first ever Styrian Grand Prix.
Hamilton produced a sensational display during a rain-soaked qualifying session to claim pole position, and he then turned that into a race win as he dominated the Styrian Grand Prix from start to finish, with the only time that he was not out front coming as a result of pit stops. It was impressive stuff from the defending world champion, but he remains behind team-mate Valtteri Bottas in the Drivers’ Championship so he will be keen to send another message to his main rival for the world title in Hungary. But can he?
My answer has to be an emphatic ‘yes’. To say the Hungaroring is a happy hunting ground for Hamilton would be a gigantic understatement. He has won this race in each of the past two seasons, in three of the last four and overall in his career he has taken the chequered flag at this circuit in seven of the last 13 years. That is complete dominance and given that track record along with what we saw last weekend, as well as Ferrari’s struggles and Red Bull’s failure to make much of an impact, you have to fancy Hamilton to stand on the top spot on the podium once again on Sunday.
The odds on a Hamilton victory are not terrible – they are pretty decent for a driver who has dominated not only this race but the sport itself over the past several years – but if you are looking for a bigger price then I suggest backing the British star to do the pole position/race winner double over the course of this weekend. Hamilton, a master at qualifying in recent years, has started from pole position in three of his last five wins at the Hungaroring, and he is more than capable of turning pole position into victory once again in 2020.
The Hungaroring has played host to the Hungarian Grand Prix since it returned to the Formula 1 calendar in 1986. F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone had been aiming to introduce a Russian Grand Prix to the schedule but opted for Hungary instead, and plans for a street circuit were then shelved in 1985 in favour of a new track – Hungaroring – that was built in less than a year and ready for the 1986 season. The circuit is very similar in lay-out to the Monte Carlo street track used for the Monaco Grand Prix, with tight and twisting corners making it difficult to overtake. Conditions are usually hot and dry so drivers also have to battle with what is a notoriously bumpy surface, but that has not prevented it from being a venue that has hosted some memorable races over the years. Lewis Hamilton holds the record for most Hungarian Grand Prix victories after his 2019 success saw him become a seven-time winner. Only one other active driver, Sebastian Vettel, has won this race more than once, while only three drivers – Hamilton, Mika Hakkinen and Jacques Villeneuve – have managed back-to-back Hungarian Grand Prix victories in the past 20 years.
Location: Hungaroring, Mogyorod, Hungary
Number Of Laps: 70
Lap Length: 2.722 miles
Lap Record: Max Verstappen, 1 minutes 17.103 seconds (2019)
Hungarian Grand Prix Winners
|1936||Tazio Nuvolari||Alfa Romeo||Nepliget|
|2010||Mark Webber||Red Bull-Renault||Hungaroring|
|2014||Daniel Ricciardo||Red Bull-Renault||Hungaroring|