Thu, Jul 27, 5:34pm by Staff Writer
Daniel Ricciardo is ready to feel the heat at the Hungarian GP as he looks to continue his string of summer successes on the Hungaroring.
Ricciardo’s run of consecutive podium finishes ended on five at the British GP earlier this month when he turned in an impressive performance to finish fifth after a 19th-placed start.
But if history is any measure, the Red Bull driver could be swilling champagne again this weekend as he continues to challenge the dominance of Ferrari’s championship leader Sebastian Vettel and fast-closing challenger Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.
Ricciardo won the 2014 Hungarian GP before claiming third in 2015 and 2016.
Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen is on $15 after a disappointing first half of the season.
Hamilton has narrowed Vettel’s lead to just one point at the F1 season’s halfway point heading into the weekend and has five wins at the Hungaroring already under his belt.
The British driver cemented his place as the likely 2017 F1 champion with a dominating drive at the British GP and arrives in Hungary with records in his sights.
As well as a chance at a record sixth Hungarian GP win, the three-time world champion could draw level with seven-time champion Michael Schumacher in the record books with his 68th pole position.
With summer temperatures of 31C forecast for Sunday’s race day, Ricciardo will be cautious about enjoying too much Budapest hospitality in the lead up.
“If Sunday is hot it’ll definitely be a physically demanding race,” he said.
“So I can’t make the mistake again of eating too much meat on Saturday night.”
The dusty, bumpy technical Hungaroring should pose plenty of challenges, as well as opportunities for driving to take precedence over power.
The names given to the track’s curves are testament to its difficulty. Turn 4 is named after Nigel Mansell, due to him losing a wheel there during the 1987 Hungarian Grand Prix, while Turn 11 is named after Jean Alesi following his massive crash there during qualifying for the 1995 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Ricciardo had expected Red Bull to implement a ‘significant’ upgrade ahead of Hungary but team boss Christian Horner clarified that it is a more evolutionary aerodynamic improvement.
Still, Ricciardo is upbeat about his RB13 challenging the four Mercedes and Ferrari cars for top honours.
“We’ve got lots more grip this year so it’ll be a bit more fun,” he said.
“The second sector is going to be amazing. That’s one of my favourite sectors in F1.”
The Hungarian GP gets underway at 10pm Sunday AEST.
Suggested Bet: Ricciardo to finish on the podium: $2.62
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