MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: Hungarian GP

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The Formula 1 paddock rolls into Budapest this weekend with a heavy heart following the death of Jules Bianchi last Friday at the age of 25.

Tributes to the popular Frenchman have poured in from all over the world and will continue to do so across the course of F1’s first race weekend in three weeks.

Lewis Hamilton arrives at the Hungaroring with a 17 point lead over Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg at the top of the drivers’ championship, and goes in search of a fifth win at the circuit this weekend.

Ahead of what is set to be an emotional weekend, Luke Smith and Tony DiZinno make their predictions for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Race WinnerLewis Hamilton. The Hungaroring has been a very happy hunting ground for Hamilton over the years. Given his dominant display at Silverstone and excellent record at the track, I’m tipping him to become the first five-time winner of the race this weekend.

Surprising FinishMcLaren. At a track where engine ability isn’t so much of a big deal and with a fresh power unit in the back of both Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button’s cars, this weekend may not be so miserable for McLaren. More points would be a great success for the British team.

Most to ProveNico Rosberg. This time last year, Rosberg was coming off the back of an emotional home win in Germany and appeared to have control of the championship. Now? He’s staring down the barrel of a growing deficit to Lewis Hamilton. A second straight defeat heading into the summer break would leave him with plenty to dwell over – and we all know what happened last time he did that.

Additional Storyline to WatchForza Jules. As I wrote in my preview for this weekend, all storylines or talking points in Hungary are nothing but side-stories. The F1 paddock continues to send our support to his family at this tough time, and it would be great to pay tribute with an exciting, entertaining and safe grand prix on Sunday.

Predict the Podium

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Race WinnerLewis Hamilton. Feel like I’ve written this before but it’s a track that suits him and the car both. Will no doubt be keen to avenge his frustration at Monaco, the closest mirroring circuit to the Hungaroring, this week.

Surprising FinishDaniel Ricciardo. The Hungaroring masks the Renault power deficiencies and here’s hoping the likable Australian and defending race winner can get his first podium of the year. That’s probably not realistic on paper but a top-five could be possible.

Most to Prove: Williams. After what many viewed as a strategic gamble gone awry in Silverstone and with their Monaco no-points debacle the closest reference point for them on this circuit, Williams has to do a better job this weekend.

Additional Storyline to Watch: First race post-Bianchi’s passing. The obvious story heading into the weekend is how the paddock will hold up, and how the emotions will be, after Jules Bianchi’s passing last week. It’s a first for F1 since Monaco 1994. Undoubtedly there will be a different tone, a more somber feeling, even though there is the last race to run before the traditional – and needed – summer recess.

Predict the Podium

1. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2. Nico Rosberg Mercedes
3. Sebastian Vettel Ferrari

The Hungarian Grand Prix is live on CNBC and Live Extra from 7:30am ET on Sunday.