The 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix was the only race last year in which a Mercedes did not finish either first or second so, while the Silver Arrows is clearly the constructor to beat in this year’s edition, one is inclined to think that there is more betting value away from the event favourites.
Nico Rosberg qualified for the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix on pole position but Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes caught fire during qualifying which meant that did not post a time and had to start the race from the back of the grid. Hamilton made his way through the field to finish third, one spot ahead of Rosberg with fewer than seven seconds covering the first four – Daniel Ricciardo was first and Fernando Alonso was second. Both Mercedes suffered from rear-break problems during the race, with Rosberg’s brakes overheating when the first safety car was lapping the track and Hamilton’s brakes experiencing a similar issue midway through the contest. The weather forecast for this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix is for hotter temperatures than 12 months ago and that only serves to increase the probability of cars becoming faulty on what is one of the slowest and tightest circuits on the calendar.
The Hungarian Grand Prix bet that appeals most on what is sure to be an emotional weekend – Formula One paid its last respects to Jules Bianchi earlier this week, which is yet another reason why punters should not be steaming into any short-priced options at the Hungaroring – is Ricciardo to finish in the top six at odds of +225 with Ladbrokes.
First, Ricciardo is the defending Hungarian Grand Prix champion and no-one could present that as anything other than a positive for one’s odds-against pick. Yes, Ricciardo benefited considerably from the safety car’s involvement in last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix but the Australian driver still had plenty of work to do to convert what was a great opportunity into a great victory. Previously, Ricciardo’s Hungarian Grand Prix results had been 13th, 15th and 18th but 2014 was the first renewal in which he had been behind the wheel of a competitive car. Remember, too, that Mercedes won 16 of last year’s 19 races so Ricciardo was always going to need a slice of luck to get ahead of the Silver Arrows.
Second, Ricciardo’s best result this season occurred in the Monaco Grand Prix when he drove his Red Bull to fifth place. Also worth noting is that Ricciardo’s Red Bull colleague, Daniil Kvyat, has his 2015 peak performance of fourth in Monte Carlo. That is significant because one believes that the Hungarian Grand Prix’s Hungaroring home is similar in many aspects to the Monaco Grand Prix’s street circuit.
And third, the Williams cars of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa registered far and away their worst result of this season in the Monaco Grand Prix, suggesting that they may not be ultra competitive in the Hungarian Grand Prix – they finished in 14th and 15th position respectively. There are several grounds for thinking that one or more of the teams who are in front of Red Bull in the championship may not be as well suited to the Hungaroring as Ricciardo’s outfit.
Ricciardo announced himself as a genuine Formula One force in 2014 and he has not become a bad driver overnight. What has happened is that his Red Bull has slid down the pecking order and, until such time that his team’s technicians made a quantum leap in their car’s design, he is only going to be a factor on circuits such as the Hungaroring that level up the playing field. Ricciardo will know that the Hungarian Grand Prix represents a rare opportunity for him to mix it with the likes of Hamilton, Rosberg and Sebastian Vettel and we are expecting the likeable Australian driver to do that.
Ricciardo to finish in the top six
26th July 13:00 GMT
Where to Bet: Ladbrokes
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