Will Hamilton take the title lead? Five Hungarian GP talking points

2017 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Having closed to within one point of Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton could take the lead of the championship at the Hungaroring.

Here are the top talking points for this weekend’s race.

Hamilton to take the title lead?

Sebastian Vettel’s strategy backfired badly at Silverstone after a tyre went flat, leaving him seventh. That was his worst result of the year so far, and it coincided with another strong weekend for his championship rival.

Approaching the final race before the summer break Lewis Hamilton now trails Vettel by just one point. Finishing ahead of the Ferrari on Sunday will almost certainly be enough to move him ahead in the championship, giving him the satisfaction of going into the summer break carrying an advantage.

However a concern for Mercedes has been the gearbox problems which forced penalties for one of their cars in each of the last two races.

Red Bull headache for Ferrari?

How big a step will Red Bull take?
The Hungaroring has previously been a circuit which has suited Red Bull well and they have a significant performance upgrade planned for this weekend. This is also a track where their Renault performance disadvantage will be less of a hundrance.

The team has made gains with its RB13, while Ferrari goes into the weekend knowing it may need to err on the conservative side to avoid a repeat of its Silverstone tyre troubles – particularly with very hot conditions expected.

Sauber ready for a step forward

F1’s tail-enders have a badly-needed upgrade as they’ve brought up the rear of the field in the last two races. They need a significant improvement to stand a chance of out-scoring McLaren at a track where the MCL32s should thrive.

This weekend will also be the first since the arrival of new team principal Frederic Vasseur.

Are Renault now ‘best of the rest’?

Only Nico Hulkenberg had Renault’s new floor last weekend and he used it to beat the Force India and Williams drivers. Can he and Jolyon Palmer replicate that form this weekend when both have the new parts?

Palmer is under pressure as the team prepares to give Robert Kubica a test next weekend. If the test shows he has recovered from his 2011 injuries well enough to race again he will be an obvious contender for a 2018 seat.

Kvyat needs to keep his nose clean

Kvyat is dangerously close to a race ban
Daniil Kvyat has caused two first-lap crashes in the last two races which have eliminated three drivers including two of his Red Bull colleagues: Max Verstappen at the Red Bull Ring and Carlos Sainz Jnr at Silverstone.

Because of these and earlier infractions he will be on nine penalty for the next seven races. That’s just three away from a ban, and we’ve seen other drivers get that many for individual incidents.

Kvyat has been unrepentant about the collisions, suggesting he still hasn’t learned the lessons from his driving in Russia last year, which cost him his place at Red Bull. Could these latest incidents put his Toro Rosso future in doubt?

Are you going to the Hungarian Grand Prix?

If you’re heading to Hungary for this weekend’s race, we want to hear from you.

Who do you think will be the team to beat in the Hungarian Grand Prix? Have your say below.

And don’t forget to enter your predictions for this weekend’s race. You can edit your predictions until the start of qualifying:

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Will Hamilton take the title lead? Five Hungarian GP talking points”

  1. It’s time for Hamilton to seize control. He has been the driver of the season so far and with a little more team competence he would be leading.

    1. Hamilton needs to capitalise on pretty much drawing level while he can. He has the momentum, so he needs to take the advantage and maintain a good lead if he has any chance of winning the championship this year.

    2. I think you’ll find plenty of people who actually think Hamilton should be leading, but he has not been the driver of the season so far.

      1. +1 @xtwl I’m a fan of Hamilton and I strongly disagree that he’s been the driver of the season so far. He’s put in some amazing performances but he’s also had some awful ones too. Monaco he was well off the pace all weekend with Bottas getting close to pole and that the same again in Russia.

        1. Fukobayashi (@)
          27th July 2017, 15:24

          +1
          And I disagree with his assessment that he’s driving better than ever. He drove better in 2014 and 2015 imho.

          1. And had a car that was over a second clear of the rest of the field. Imagine that. He sure did look racey. …

        2. @Tom, @xtwl
          In Monaco the team found the car difficult to set up the car, and CONFIRMED it had nothing to do with Lewis. Afterwards, Toto Wolff cryptically said they knew “what had gone wrong” and were working hard to fix it. He also confirmed both their car were not behaving he same way for some funny reason. So, how is that Lewis’s fault?

          Did a multiple Monaco GP winner who holds the lap record suddenly forget how to drive and couldn’t even make Q2 because “he was well off the pace all weekend” ? Only the blinkered would believe so.

    3. Hamilton has had some really poor weekends this year. Sochi and Monaco springs to mind especially. Compare it to Silverstone though, where he had an amazing weekend.

      I’d say the strongest driver this season might be Ricciardo or Massa. Or Vettel. Or Perez. Many names have had good weekends compared to the equipment under them.

      1. Fukobayashi (@)
        27th July 2017, 15:25

        Ricciardo has been flattered by his teammates unreliability, he has regularly been behind Max on pace.

      2. @chrischrill, I’d say that, even before the tyre problems, Vettel wasn’t having a great weekend in Silverstone – he had generally been slower than Kimi that weekend, and although he managed for a while to keep pace with Kimi, in the latter part of the race he was losing ground to him again.

        As @offdutyrockstar notes, whilst Ricciardo has picked up a number of decent finishes, he is right to say that he does seem to have been flattered a bit by the problems of other drivers, and particularly Verstappen (who has shone briefly in some races, but then lost out due to mechanical failures) – his pace has been solid, but I wouldn’t say it has been exceptional.

    4. I actually think Vettel has been the better driver up until this race weekend. Monaco and Russia were some poor performances from him, while Vettel was only a little sub par at the British Gp.

      Going forward though, I expect Lewis to get stronger, while Vettel puts in ragged performances when frustration levels rise.

    5. LOL! you again!!

  2. Should be a really close battle for the front row. However, barring something unforeseen, can’t see anyone taking pole and win off Lewis. The real action will be for second between Bottas, Vettel and the Red Bulls. This is where Lewis takes the championship lead for good!

    1. Chip Hilton
      27th July 2017, 14:46

      Let’s hope not.

  3. I don’t know I’m feeling more and more disappointed with Ferrari every race.

    Ferrari’s advantage seems to be draining off ever since the Monaco GP. They’ve lost it (development battle). Im just hoping they do some magic in the mid season break.

    It will be mostly Hamilton vs Bottas from here on, with Seb or Riccardo taking occasional wins.

    1. That’s my feeling as well. I don’t see Ferrari coming back. And if you consider Hamiltons Hungaroring record and the championship leading margin its almost out of question that he’ll take the lead an probably will never loose it again.

    2. @redbullf1 I think it’s fair to say this oil-burning ‘regulation clarification’ & Mercedes improved tyre management seems to have blunted their performance a bit…

  4. Interestingly the winner of the Hungary GP hasn’t won the title since 2004.

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