Hungarian GP inside line

Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn reckoned that Hockenheim and Hungaroring would be the two toughest races of the year for Ferrari. It was all about surfaces and tyre grip - chemical rather than mechanical - but in Germany Bridgestone proved that it has more than stepped up to the plate

Hungarian GP inside line

And so to Budapest, which is twistier than the new Hockenheim and where temperatures could be even higher. Brawn didn't think that Schumi could get the pole in Germany but his driver proved him wrong. Will he do it again? Well, the Paddy Power odds have him as 5-4 favourite and, after Germany, who are we to argue?

But remember Alonso here last year? The Spaniard took the pole and won convincingly. Renault has a revised 'D' spec engine in Hungary, a big enough step to warrant the new designation, and at 8-1 for the pole, Fernando is definitely worth a look. He's also 11-1 to win the race.

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McLaren has been running at a new level recently and if the Michelins do happen to afford an advantage in Hungary, then Raikkonen at 5-1 for pole and 6-1 for the race needs looking at. But after Michael's 11 from 12, I wouldn't put the house on it. There is obviously some doubt in the minds of those setting the odds though, because Schumacher is quoted at 1-2 for the race. When else have you been offered a 50% return on a man with Schumacher's '04 record?

Another sensible bet, I think, is David Coulthard. We know the McLaren works, the team has a new aero package in Hungary, the reliability problems now seem much improved, German rear wing notwithstanding, and DC needs some results. The Scot is 11-2 for a podium, which might be asking a bit much, but 4-9 for points is generous.

And I'd advise retaining a bit of faith in Mike Gascoyne's updated Toyota. It was a definite improvement in Hockenheim even if the drivers did their best to mask it. Ricardo Zonta will be out to prove a point having replaced Cristiano da Matta and Olivier Panis wants to retain a seat in F1 next year. So, the Brazilian at 11-2 for points, and the Frenchman at 5-1, are worth a modest investment.

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