|6. NICO ROSBERG – MERCEDES (190 PTS – CHAMPIONSHIP LEADER)|
|Last 5 Races: 1st, 2nd, 1st, DNF, 1st||Best in Hungary: 4th (2009)|
After his first real low of the 2014 season, Nico Rosberg passed a character test with flying colours in Hockenheim. The German saw his championship lead wiped out by his DNF at Silverstone but responded wonderfully to win his home Grand Prix from pole position, aided by the problems that struck his teammate. With Hamilton a master of the Hungaroring, Nico faces a tough task to overcome the Briton here but the same was said before Canada and he didn’t do too badly against him there.
|44. LEWIS HAMILTON – MERCEDES (176 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 14 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 2nd, DNF, 2nd, 1st, 3rd||Best in Hungary: Winner (2007, 2009, 2012, 2013)|
Qualifying disasters are threatening to destroy Lewis Hamilton’s bid for a second world title. The Briton’s Q1 accident came through no fault of his own after brake failure on his Mercedes but third was the maximum Lewis could achieve from 20th on the grid. Whatever the cause, Hamilton hasn’t started on the front row since Canada and is without a pole position since Barcelona back in May. With the Hungaroring notoriously difficult to overtake on, Lewis will know he needs to put at least one of those statistics right to claw back the points lost to Nico Rosberg in Germany.
|3. DANIEL RICCIARDO – RED BULL RACING RENAULT (106 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 84 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 3rd, 1st, 8th, 3rd, 6th||Best in Hungary: 13th (2013)|
Daniel Ricciardo’s German Grand Prix chances looked to have been damaged irretrievably by the first corner pile-up which dropped him down the field as he took avoiding action. The Australian produced a magnificent recovery drive and although he lost a thrilling battle with Fernando Alonso, Daniel finished a superb sixth. If Monaco is anything to go by, the high-downforce Hungaroring should play to the strengths of the Red Bull RB10 so Ricciardo should be in a position to challenge Williams at the very least, and possibly keep the Mercedes on their toes.
|14. FERNANDO ALONSO – FERRARI (97 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 93 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 4th, 6th, 5th, 6th, 5th||Best in Hungary: Winner (2003)|
The Ferrari F14 T continues to underperform but that doesn’t stop Fernando Alonso relentlessly churning out the results. The Spaniard could only qualify seventh but took advantage of every possible opportunity to sneak fifth from under the nose of Daniel Ricciardo. Alonso’s rise to super-stardom started in Budapest back in 2003 but he hasn’t won here since that glorious maiden victory eleven years ago and only some unpredictable weather conditions would give him any chance this time.
|77. VALTTERI BOTTAS – WILLIAMS MERCEDES (91 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 99 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, 7th, 3rd, 2nd, 2nd||Best in Hungary: DNF (2013)|
All things being equal, you will struggle to find anybody in Formula One driving as well as Valtteri Bottas at the moment. The Finn has followed up his debut rostrum in Austria with back-to-back second places and he showed his coolness under pressure to hold off a seemingly rampant Lewis Hamilton in the closing stages at Hockenheim. Red Bull will expect to be stronger here but the Williams FW36 doesn’t appear to be week anywhere and Bottas will look to delight the strong Finnish contingent in Budapest with a fourth straight podium.
| 1. SEBASTIAN VETTEL – RED BULL RACING RENAULT (82 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 108 PTS)
|Last 5 Races: DNF, 3rd, DNF, 5th, 4th||Best in Hungary: 2nd (2011)|
His teammate may have been held up on the opening lap but for the first time since Malaysia, Sebastian Vettel has finished ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and would you believe it, for the first time all year in a race which both have finished. Another astonishing fact is Sebastian’s failure to ever win a Grand Prix in Hungary with Mark Webber often having the edge on him in Budapest but the reigning champion will have been boosted by his strong drive to fourth in Hockenheim and will know this weekend is a big opportunity to return to the rostrum.
|27. NICO HULKENBERG – FORCE INDIA MERCEDES (69 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 121 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 5th, 5th, 9th, 8th, 7th||Best in Hungary: 6th (2010)|
Half of the 2014 season has been completed and Nico Hulkenberg remains an ever-present in the points. His German Grand Prix wasn’t without problems with an engine issue making life tricky mid-race but McLaren’s strategic error saw him beat Jenson Button to seventh and keep Force India ahead in the battle for fifth in the Constructors Championship. The team’s Hungaroring record is truly awful with a single points finish in seven visits but if the story of 2014 tells us anything, it’s that Hulkenberg should change that on Sunday.
|22. JENSON BUTTON – McLAREN MERCEDES (59 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 131 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 6th, 4th, 11th, 4th, 8th||Best in Hungary: Winner (2006, 2011)|
On one his favourite circuits over the years, Jenson Button was expected to go well at Hockenheim but the 2009 champion admitted he was far from comfortable with his McLaren over the first two days in particular, leading to an underwhelming eighth on race day. No-one will never forget the masterful wet weather victories of 2006 and 2011 but even with rain forecast for Sunday, it’s difficult to see Jenson adding a third Hungarian victory to his collection. A podium could be possible though if he can overcome his qualifying woes from a week ago.
|20. KEVIN MAGNUSSEN – McLAREN MERCEDES (37 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 153 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 10th, 9th, 7th, 7th, 9th||Best in Hungary: Debut|
Kevin Magnussen was unquestionably one of the stars of qualifying at Hockenheim with the Danish rookie doing a stellar job to stick his McLaren on the second row, ahead of both Red Bulls. Unfortunately, his lofty grid position led to mayhem at the start when Kevin came together with Felipe Massa and given the time lost, he did well to score any points at all. Much like at Hockenheim, Magnussen has no shortage of experience driving around the Hungaroring from his junior career and if the Dane can qualify well again, he will be more than half way to a strong race result.
|19. FELIPE MASSA – WILLIAMS MERCEDES (30 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 160 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 7th, 12th, 4th, DNF, DNF||Best in Hungary: 4th (2010)|
No-one would have believed you if you’d predicted Felipe Massa to be 61 points shy of his teammate Valtteri Bottas at the halfway point in the season but that’s the position the Brazilian finds himself in. Felipe will point to countless moments of misfortune and Hockenheim was another example when Kevin Magnussen flipped his Williams at turn one. A return to Hungary though puts his 2014 issues into perspective given the way his 2009 weekend ended and if anybody deserves a result to celebrate on Sunday, surely it’s Felipe.
|11. SERGIO PEREZ – FORCE INDIA MERCEDES (29 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 161 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, 11th, 6th, 11th, 10th||Best in Hungary: 9th (2013)|
Sergio Perez had much higher hopes for Hockenheim than a solitary point but given the way his race panned out, the Mexican had to be satisfied with it. Lower temperatures than expected and a general lack of grip forced Sergio to make three pit stops, one more than his teammate Nico Hulkenberg, and tenth was the best he could manage in the end. Perez will be hoping for more sweltering temperatures that play into the hands of those that can conserve their tyres but the forecast for race day looks iffy and he may have to chase a points finish in the wet.
|7. KIMI RAIKKONEN – FERRARI (19 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 171 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 12th, 10th, 10th, DNF, 11th||Best in Hungary: Winner (2005)|
With no Hungarian driver in the field, Kimi Raikkonen is likely to receive the bulk of the support from the grandstands in Hungary but he’s unlikely to provide his fans with the result they are looking for. Kimi’s decision to start on the prime tyres didn’t pay off at Hockenheim as the Finn failed to score a single point but in fairness, his record in Germany has always been poor. His record in Hungary, on the other hand, is superb with seven visits to the podium (including a victory) and he will surely be stronger here.
|25. JEAN-ERIC VERGNE – STR RENAULT (9 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 181 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, 8th, DNF, 10th, 13th||Best in Hungary: 12th (2013)|
Jean-Eric Vergne felt points were possible in Hockenheim but his race started to unravel when an illegal overtake at the hairpin landed him with a five second stop/go penalty. The Frenchman subsequently gambled on a set of option tyres to chase back through the field but he could only manage thirteenth come the finish. A lack of straight line speed isn’t quite the penalty in Budapest that it is elsewhere so Vergne has every reason to believe points are possible here too, as long as he stays out of trouble this time.
|8. ROMAIN GROSJEAN – LOTUS RENAULT (8 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 182 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 8th, DNF, 14th, 12th, DNF||Best in Hungary: 3rd (2012)|
Since returning to Formula One with Lotus, Romain Grosjean has always shone at the Hungaroring with a podium in 2012 followed by another strong drive a year later ruined by a rather harsh drive/through penalty. The rostrum is something of a pipe dream for Grosjean this weekend with the E22 appearing even more difficult to drive after the removal of the FRIC suspension and points would almost feel like a victory for the Frenchman if he cracks the top ten on Sunday.
|26. DANIIL KVYAT – STR RENAULT (6 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 184 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, DNF, DNF, 9th, DNF||Best at Hockenheim: Debut|
Daniil Kvyat’s impressive rookie season provided another highlight in Hockenheim when the Russian beat two world champions on his way to reaching Q3 but an avoidable collision with Sergio Perez and the fiery end to his race would certainly count as lowlights. Kvyat’s march to the GP3 title arguably started here with his first podium in the class last season and although it would take a miracle, including the intervention of the weather gods, for him to achieve that kind of result, he will certainly start with his eyes on a point or two.
|17. JULES BIANCHI – MARUSSIA FERRARI (2 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 188 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 9th, DNF, 15th, 14th, 15th||Best in Hungary: 16th (2013)|
Marussia were expected to be one of the teams most inconvenienced by the removal of FRIC suspension but it didn’t stop Jules Bianchi putting in another eye-catching qualifying display in Germany. The Frenchman was nineteenth, ahead of Pastor Maldonado’s Lotus, although he couldn’t match Lotus nor Sauber in the race itself once he had been left on the start line. Marussia fans will point to the similarities between the Hungaroring and Monte Carlo and hope for another shock result from Bianchi but the lack of barriers and attrition will probably keep Jules outside the top ten, unless we get rain.
|99. ADRIAN SUTIL – SAUBER FERRARI (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 190 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, 13th, 13th, 13th, DNF||Best in Hungary: 14th (2011)|
Adrian Sutil will have been hoping for some respite after a disastrous first half of 2014 at his home Grand Prix but instead, Hockenheim brought yet more disappointment. The Sauber driver was eliminated in Q1 yet again and although the C33 proved more competitive in the race, Adrian was sidelined when his car started to lose power and ultimately all drive after spinning at the last corner. In a situation like this, Sutil is understandably looking for positives and the removal of FRIC did at least move him and the team slightly closer to the midfield.
|9. MARCUS ERICSSON – CATERHAM RENAULT (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 190 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 11th, DNF, 18th, DNF, 18th||Best in Hungary: Debut|
Marcus Ericsson’s preparation for the German Grand Prix was hardly ideal with power unit issues on his Caterham causing him to start from the pitlane. Add to that a stop/go penalty for breaching parc fermé regulations and the Swede was always unlikely to finish any higher than last place, even if he did keep Max Chilton honest. After such an eventful weekend, Marcus admits he would much prefer a quieter time in Hungary and if everything runs reliably, he may get in amongst the Marussias.
|13. PASTOR MALDONADO – LOTUS RENAULT (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 190 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNS, DNF, 12th, 17th, 12th||Best in Hungary: 10th (2013)|
After the elimination in Q1, Hockenheim looked set to be another one of those weekends for Pastor Maldonado but to his credit, the Venezuelan drove superbly in the race. Maldonado made a two-stop strategy with a long final stint work and even ran in the points at one stage before fading to twelfth, matching his season best. Hungary 2013 remains the last Grand Prix where Pastor scored a world championship point and the promising performance last weekend will give him hope that his drought may not last much longer.
|21. ESTEBAN GUTIERREZ – SAUBER FERRARI (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 190 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: DNF, 14th, 19th, DNF, 14th||Best in Hungary: DNF (2013)|
It went largely unnoticed, and unrewarded because of his grid penalty carried over from Silverstone, but Esteban Gutierrez was one of the unsung heroes of qualifying in Germany. The Mexican was four tenths quicker than his teammate in Q1 and dragged the C33 up to fourteenth but the penalty meant he couldn’t climb any higher than that in the race itself. Sauber definitely showed a slight improvement at Hockenheim, even if it wasn’t enough to score them some points, but Esteban’s luck will surely turn if he keeps this performance level up.
|4. MAX CHILTON – MARUSSIA FERRARI (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 190 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 14th, DNF, 17th, 16th, 17th||Best in Hungary: 17th (2013)|
Max Chilton left Hockenheim disappointed after being beaten to the finish by Kamui Kobayashi’s Caterham and the Briton was keen to point out that the removal of FRIC had taken its toll on the Marussia. The Briton was also outqualified by the Caterham and will know he needs to up his game in Hungary but he should have no shortage of inspiration having clinched his maiden GP2 race victory here back in 2012. He will be fighting a very different battle this time though.
|10. KAMUI KOBAYASHI – CATERHAM RENAULT (0 PTS – TRAILS ROSBERG BY 190 PTS)|
|Last 5 Races: 13th, DNF, 16th, 15th, 16th||Best in Hungary: 9th (2010)|
Kamui Kobayashi split the Marussias in Silverstone although that largely came as a result of the misfortune of his rivals but in Hockeheim, the Japanese driver did it again, and earned it. Jules Bianchi’s disastrous start almost allowed him to beat both Marussias but the safety car ultimately cost Kamui and he had to settle for sixteenth at the finish. Whatever the cause, Caterham were much more of a match for their tail-end rivals in Germany and Kobayashi will be desperate to give his team a morale-boost to take into the summer given the turbulent season they’ve had.