McLarens made for the Hungaroring

Hungarian Grand Prix

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Published: 27/07/2012

The most unpredictable Formula One season in recent history continues with the Hungarian Grand Prix, the 11th round of this year`s championship, at the Hungaroring near Budapest.

No fewer than seven drivers - Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Pastor Maldonado, Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber - have sprayed expensive champagne in celebration of grand prix success this season, with Alonso (three wins) and Webber (two wins) the only multiple winners in the first half of the championship.

Bookmakers have installed Vettel as the Hungarian Grand Prix favourite at around 3-1, with Alonso at around 7-2 and the McLaren pair of Hamilton and Button next at around 5-1 and 10-1 respectively, while Webber is a top price of 12-1.

Two things stick out like sore thumbs when you look back at the results of the Hungarian Grand Prix in recent seasons.

First, McLaren boasts an extremely impressive record in the Hungarian Grand Prix since Kimi Raikkonen scored for the Woking-based team in 2005, taking the chequered flag first more than 35 seconds ahead of then world champion Michael Schumacher. Raikkonen recorded the fastest lap as well.

Hamilton triumphed for McLaren in the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix, starting from pole position and leading at the end of every lap despite having to fend out near-constant pressure from Raikkonen, who was now behind the wheel of a Ferrari.

Heikki Kovalainen and Hamilton sealed the deal for McLaren in the 2008 Hungarian Grand Prix and the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix respectively and Button, who had won the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix in the colours of Honda, made it five Hungaroring victories for McLaren in the space of seven years by taking out last year`s 70-lap contest.

Second, even though the Hungaroring has a reputation for being one of the hardest Formula One circuits on which to pass, pole position has not equated to race success very often, at least not lately. Since 2005 there has been only one Hungarian Grand Prix winner from pole and that was Hamilton in 2007 when the Briton qualified second fastest but was promoted because Alonso was adjudged to have him impeded him during the final round of qualifying.

So what does that mean for punters looking to strike a bet on this year`s Hungarian Grand Prix? Well, for one thing, there is a case to be made for backing McLaren to be the winning manufacturer at around 3-1 or, if you are a bit more adventurous, supporting Hamilton or Button individually.

And then there is the matter of when to bet. Such is the reputation of the Hungaroring that bookmakers may overreact to the make-up of the Hungarian Grand Prix grid and quote the pole sitter and the other driver on the front row at artificially low odds because they will expect punters to back the frontmarkers in anticipation of a procession.

There could be some great value available if, say, either Alonso or Vettel qualifies fastest and the McLarens of Hamilton and Button are somewhere on the second row.

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