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F1: Lights Out - What to look for at the Hungarian GP

The final race before Formula 1's summer break takes the teams to Hungary, a race that's shaping up to be a must-win for Ferrari after their French catastrophe.

 

For the fifth time this season, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc failed to convert a race lead into maximum points, spinning off at Paul Ricard Circuit to hand reigning world champion Max Verstappen his seventh victory of the year.

The Red Bull racer now leads the drivers' standings by 63 points with 10 races to go, while the Dutchman's team are 82 points ahead of Ferrari in the constructors' table.

The Scuderia are in danger of losing touch with Red Bull but the Hungaroring gives them a shot at heading into the mid-season interval with a spring in their step.

WhatHungarian Grand Prix
Where

Hungaroring, Mogyoród, Hungary

When14:00 BST, Sunday 31st July
How to watchSky Sports F1
OddsCharles Leclerc 6/5, Max Verstappen 6/4, Carlos Sainz 11/2, Lewis Hamilton 10/1

'Monaco without the buildings'

The tight, twisty Hungaroring isn't everyone's cup of tea with its technical nature, coupled with the usually very warm weather, making it one of the more demanding circuits. But one team who should show it plenty of love this weekend is Ferrari.

The Hungaroring shares plenty of similarities with Monaco, a venue where Ferrari were significantly faster than the rest of the field earlier in the season.

A bungled pitstop call cost the Scuderia victory in Monte Carlo as Red Bull's Sergio Perez nabbed the chequered flag but Hungary offers the Italians and Leclerc a chance to redeem themselves.

Unlike previous instances where mechanical faults or poor strategy calls have cost him points, Leclerc only had himself to blame in France for crashing out and admitted afterwards that title contenders can't afford to make those kinds of mistakes.

A response should be expected from the 24-year-old and Ferrari's strong aerodynamic package at a high-downforce circuit gives him the tools to bounce back.

Leclerc is the 6/5 favourite to record his fourth win of the season, while he's 4/6 to grab his eighth pole position of 2022, which could prove crucial to victory.

It's not easy to pass at the Hungaroring and as a result 23 of the 36 races at the venue have been won by a driver starting from the front of the grid.

Red Bull need a helping hand

Pole positions have been hard to come by for Red Bull this year, who have four to their name, and the lack of opportunities to utilise their straightline speed will hamper their chances in Hungary, where they've won just once in the last 11 years.

Red Bull can't count on help from the usually high temperatures either having done a far better job of managing tyre wear compared to Ferrari in the sweltering heat of France last weekend.

Hungary is usually one of the hottest races of the year but is forecast to be raced in cooler conditions than normal of around 26c, limiting tyre degradation.

And yet, Red Bull are certainly not without hope for round 13 with Verstappen amongst the minority of drivers who enjoy this track.

Mercedes struggling to make up ground

Red Bull weren't too far off the pace in Monaco, as race winner Perez proved, and Ferrari's string of technical and strategy errors means the door could be kept open to Verstappen as he chases a first win in Hungary.

The world champion could do worse than ask for Lewis Hamilton's advice on how to win in Hungary, the Brit having taken the chequered flag eight times at the Hungaroring.

However, a ninth win looks a way off the Brit, despite Mercedes coming into the race off the back of their best finish of the season in France as Hamilton and George Russell took second and third respectively.

Despite the double podium finish, the Silver Arrows were some way off the pace at a track that was expected to suit them and the unfavourable conditions in Hungary could result in them coming under pressure from the cars behind them, rather than challenging Red Bull and Ferrari.

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Alpine and McLaren eye strong weekend

Two teams setting their sights on Mercedes are McLaren and Alpine, with the latter returning to the site of their greatest-ever F1 success. In a topsy-turvy 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix, Esteban Ocon was able to secure his maiden win in F1 and heads back to the Hungaroring in good form.

Ocon has posted four top-10 finishes in his last five races, including a pair of top six finishes, while his team mate Fernando Alonso has secured points in each of his last seven races.

Alpine are 8/11 to have both cars finish in the points, with McLaren a 6/4 chance, a price that reflects the hit-and-miss season Daniel Ricciardo is having.

Ricciardo is getting far less out of this year's McLaren than team mate Lando Norris, who went well in similar conditions in Monaco, finishing sixth and taking the extra point for fastest lap.

Norris has finished in the top seven in the last three races and appeals at 6/5 for a top-six spot this weekend.

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