With Lotus having confirmed that Kimi Raikkonen will take part in the ‘young driver’ test at Silverstone next week ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix, 6/1 on him using that to his advantage and winning at the Hungaroring looks increasingly tempting.
The ‘young driver’ test is traditionally used to test out rookie drivers, with rules usually stipulating that no driver who has taken part in more than two F1 races may compete.
However, following new tyre designs brought in by Pirelli to avoid any further issues that led to a number of high-profile and controversial failures at the British Grand Prix last month, the rules have been relaxed to allow teams to use their primary drivers for one of the three days in order to get used to the new tyres.
So far, only Lotus and Sauber, with Nico Hulkenberg, have revealed that their driver will take part, though others are likely to follow suit, knowing that it will be greatly beneficial and could prove crucial ahead of the Budapest race on July 26th.
At 6/1, Raikkonen certainly looks a better shout than Hamilton at the same odds. Despite Hamilton having won in Hungary on three previous occasions – including last year – he has admitted that he will be entering the race ”blind”, following the decision by the FIA to ban Mercedes from entering the ‘young driver’ test for running an illegal in-season test with Pirelli.
Given the importance many, including Hamilton, are placing on the opportunity to test the Pirelli tyres ahead of the season’s tenth race, it is surprising that two-time Hungary winner Jenson Button (100/1 to win) has confirmed that he will not take up the opportunity to test the tyres.
Sauber’s meticulous approach and eagerness to get their main man out there for the full day could yet reap rewards.
Championship leader Sebastian Vettel remains the favourite to win, at 6/4, with Fernando Alonso second fav at 5/1. The Hungaroring is one of the few tracks where Vettel is yet to win in his distinguished career so far, while Alonso hasn’t tasted success there in over ten years.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.