Lewis Hamilton’s win at Silverstone, part of a Mercedes one-two has really closed up the title race with the three time world champion now only a point behind Sebastian Vettel
As a five time winner at the Hungaroring, Hamilton will be looking to go into the summer break at the head of the standings.
Mercedes, having struggled to convert their pace into results in the early part of the season have been in more consistent form in the last few races having finally appeared to have solved their problems with tyre pressures. They have begun to have the measure of Ferrari in qualifying and in race pace, where Ferrari were very close in the first part of the season. With Hamilton confirming his car hadn’t been boosted by any upgrades, there was no secret to Mercedes’ Silverstone success other than an improved understanding of their car’s optimal set-up.
The Hungaroring is a track that is one of the tighter of the non-street circuits on the calendar with only one straight offering an overtaking opportunity. As such qualifying pace is key, advantage Mercedes.
Mercedes have held a clear advantage over Ferrari in qualifying all season. Between them, Hamilton and Bottas have claimed eight poles in 2017 compared to just two for Raikkonen and Vettel.
At Silverstone Hamilton claimed pole by 0.547 seconds, the biggest margin of the year.More significantly, clear daylight emerged also appeared between Mercedes and Ferrari on race day for the first time too. Hamilton’s fastest lap, set on lap 48, was a 1:30.621. Ferrari’s, set on lap 44, was a 1:31.517.
“Our qualifying pace is looking really strong and our race pace was a lot higher than Ferrari’s for the first time this season,” said Hamilton.
What must also worry Ferrari is that Silverstone wasn’t a blip but part of a larger trend: the Scuderia’s last win is already five races old and the team have won just one of the last seven events
An engine upgrade for Britain produced no discernible competitive improvement as Mercedes topped every session. Qualifying has been Ferrari’s weakness since the start of the year – Vettel has only claimed one pole in 2017. But that weakness was counter-balanced by general race superiority.
The significance of Silverstone, however, was that in both qualifying and the race Mercedes held a clear advantage.
“At the beginning of the year Ferrari had a big upper hand on Sundays, they were really quick,” said Bottas. “But in Austria we were very quick in the race and here again we were quicker than Ferrari so we have definitely made progress.”
Obviously in these circumstances, and with his record here (Hamilton is Hungary specialist – he has previously won here five times), Lewis Hamilton is going to be favoured in outright betting markets which sees the best prices available as follows:
Hungaroring is seen as the circuit closest in type to Monaco, where Ferrari won and achieved their only one-two of the year to date. Hamilton in particular struggled to find the sweet-spot of the W08 in both Sochi and Monaco. Hungary will be a test of just how much Mercedes’ lead driver has learnt about the 2017 car and its desired set-up
At the prices it should be worth looking at Bottas here, with the Mercedes now moving clear of the Ferrari on performance. Bottas has begun to challenge, such that the title is now a three man race. As he has got used to the car his results have improved and Hamilton is not blowing him away. After a win in his first six races his results in the last four races are 2nd, 2nd. 1st (Austria) and 2nd, from 9th on the grid after a penalty at Silverstone
We can get 5-1 on Bottas with Bet365 and Sportingbet, one third the odds top two places. A Mercedes 1-2 must be a reasonable assumption and therefore Bottas is an interesting value bet not only for the win but with the each-way component looking solid.