A quick glance at the top of the Formula One world standings points to a familiar tale of Mercedes dominance and a Lewis Hamilton versus Nico Rosberg showdown. While that may be the case on the surface, the true story paints a much more competitive picture.
The dominant Silver Arrows have won nine of this year’s 10 races, but both Red Bull and Ferrari have had Mercedes on their toes.
Sebastian Vettel could and should have won in Australia and Canada, while the same applies for Daniel Ricciardo in Monaco.
And it could be Ricciardo again who becomes this weekend’s thorn in Mercedes’ side in Hungary.
The Australian shone around the tight confines of the principality, and with the Hungaroring often referred to as ‘Monaco without the walls’, Ricciardo looks fine value at 7/1 to win this Sunday.
Red Bull’s lead driver stormed to victory in 2014 at the Budapest venue, and was in contention for the win last year too.
The Milton Keynes’-based squad have won two of the last seven Hungarian events, with Mercedes still chasing their first win at the venue in the Turbo era.
The circuit’s long, sweeping bends play beautifully into the strengths of Red Bull’s RB12, which arguably boasts the best handling characteristics on the grid.
It’s a trend of Red Bull cars in recent years, and given the developments from engine supplier Renault, they could really challenge Mercedes this weekend.
Teenage superstar Max Verstappen – a race winner in Spain – is also 7/1 for victory on Sunday, a reflection of his fine form of late with podiums in Austria and Great Britain last time out.
Since being promoted from sister squad Torro Rosso in May, Verstappen has taken the fight to Ricciardo at Red Bull, and the team’s results have noticeably improved from this intense rivalry, something which could further boost their hopes in Hungary.
Red Bull’s progress has come at Ferrari’s expense, with the Italian squad fading away since challenging in Canada.
The Scuderia hit a nadir in Silverstone, but the red cars should be stronger in this weekend.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.