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Hamilton leads as Mercedes secure first row ahead of Ferraris at Hungaroring

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Hungarian Grand Prix 2018

Perhaps there’s a reason why the speed course in the heart of the Mogyorod is named Hungaroring. For it only fancies the triumph of the hungriest man on the grid.
And there was little doubt who that man was on Saturday, a certain four-time world champion and Sebastian Vettel’s antithesis, Lewis Hamilton.
But there’s nothing that Hamilton would want other than to extend his lead over arch-rival Vettel as the F1 caravan approaches the mid-season break. To that regard, car number 44 has fired the opening salvo in taking pole for Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix, a track that naturally suits the Ferrari’s and has proven helpful for the Red Bull’s.

Hungaroring’s Regenmeister at Qualifying

In Q3; the qualifying session, amid massive rains on a track that was about as slippery as a skating rink in midst of an opulent fest, Hamilton came out of nowhere to clinch pole position, his first pole since Silverstone. Getting a better entry into the tricky corners of the legendary Hungaroring, Hamilton was quick on the straight lines and would ensure it would be the Silver Arrows that’d rule a track filled with Finnish supporters.
Bottas and Raikkonen enjoying massive support at the Mogyorod, followed Hungary’s pole-sitter on second and third, respectively.

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Mercedes vs Ferrari at Hungaroring with an edge

Hungarian Grand Prix 2018
Hamilton secures Pole Position as Mercedes lock the first row

In a clear Mercedes versus Ferrari battle that Hungary seems to have unfurled for the fans, let’s not forget Carlos Sainz Jr.
In beginning his Hungaroring challenge from fifth on the row, his best-ever start to an F1 race, Sainz was quick and surprisingly so, extracting his best from the wet-weather rubber in the crucial final practice run.
While Renault teammate, Nico Hulkenberg struggled for grips and will start from outside the top ten as will the McLaren of Fernando Alonso, the final session produced a disappointing run for the Red Bulls.
While Max Verstappen was the first to contest in Q3 and seemed quick initially, he’d buckle under the serious Mercedes and Ferrari pace and would salvage only seventh, while Australian teammate Daniel Ricciardo, who endured a DNF last year will begin from twelfth.

That told, here’s what makes Hungaroring exciting

Hungarian Grand Prix 2018
Fans enjoying the Hungarian Grand Prix 2018 (Image: F1destinations)

What was surprising was that Vettel lacked the speed and perhaps the traction needed to master a daunting situation such as the one the Hungaroring evidenced on a rain-besieged evening.
While Hamilton would be looking out for his 9th podium of the season, and perhaps, a 5th win, a thought goes out to Sebastian Vettel.
In finishing fourth, any chances of the German driver- who endured a torrid final stage retirement in last week’s German Grand Prix- of mounting a serious charge at the Hungaroring were thwarted by the Briton. Unless one evidences an opening lap skirmish, something that Hamilton won’t exactly relish or a sudden downturn in fortunes, it’s uncertain whether the German driver can be on top at the Hungaroring.
Lewis will be chasing his 67th overall Grand Prix victory, that’ll take him closer to Schumacher’s tally of 91, a record that only the 4-time world champion can break on current form.

Hamilton’s win would ruin it even more for Vettel

Hamilton win tomorrow could frustrate Ferrari (Image: Motorsport)

Should he get there the 2018 Hungarian Grand Prix, it would be his sixth triumph at the 70-lap contest. This would, in turn, mean disconsolation for Vettel who was not only unable to finish the previous Grand Prix but also looks uncertain to finish on top here in Western Europe.
That said, 2017 wasn’t Lewis’ most memorable run at Mogyorod, with the Mercedes driver proving no match to Ferrari’s superior pace in a contest that belonged utterly to Sebastian Vettel. Raikkonen was no lame pushover either, grabbing a fesity P2 in 2017.
In so doing, he would defend brilliantly from a trailing Hamilton, who’d swap places after trying for final 9 laps to catch the Kimster, giving third-position on the grid to Bottas as the trio crossed the checkered flag.

This time, however, the tables have turned for Ferrari

It will be tough for the Ferrari duo Sebastian and Kimi Raikkonen (Image: Scuderia Fans)

With Vettel on top and Raikkonen on second, Ferrari enjoyed a 1-2 at Hungaroring in 2017. Bottas caught a third, Hamilton behind him.
But that was exactly a year ago.
Cut to this year and Hungaroring has sided with Mercedes, who last won the race in 2016. In a complete reversal of fortunes, it’s the Silver Arrows who’ve dug the gold for Sunday with Ferrari watching from behind.

Tough battle for Sebastian

Sebastian Vettel will start behind Kimi Raikkonen in the 2nd row at Hungaroring (Image: Eurosport)

While Vettel enters the Hungarian Grand Prix 17 points adrift of Hamilton, who’s sitting pretty on 188, there’s a possibility to evidence a major gap as F1 breaks for a breather before reprising the climax a few days later.
In all possibility, there’ll be a high probability of seeing Ferrari impose team orders on the faster of the two drivers, Kimi Raikkonen, who is in contention to bag what could be his eighth podium for 2018.
But given team orders have become such a crucial imposition at Ferrari, it seems unlikely that Raikkonen would be allowed to hold track position ahead of his teammate.

So where does this lead Kimi?

Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen will start at P3 on Race day (Image: Autosport)

At the German Grand Prix last weekend, there was no evidence of Sebastian Vettel being quicker over Kimi and was allowed to pass through when the Iceman was told to let him go. Social media burst out with trolls as did Sky’s David Croft suggesting it’s the modern version of “Fernando is faster than you” at Ferrari.
That said, we know where Vettel ended at Hockenheimring.
This also brings into contention a repeat of the last race’ team orders.
Should that happen, Raikkonen, who’s started from the front row in as many as 3 Grands Prix out of 11, managing a P2 in 3 races and P3 in 2 races, would evidence what his fan-army would call a heartbreak.
What would be most interesting would be to see the midfield battle at the Hungaroring with Renault holding the upper hand over the likes of McLaren, Force India’s and the Haas all thanks to Carlos Sainz Jr.
Can the Spaniard bring home a finish inside top-five?
There’s so much to look forward to at the Hungaroring. Should it rain on Sunday, as expected, we’d have another rip-roaring racing fest at our hands.

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Dev Tyagi
Dev Tyagi
Dravid believer, admirer of - the square drive, Drew Barrymore, Germany, Finland, Electric Mobility, simplicity and the power of the written word! Absolutely admire contributing to KyroSports

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