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MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: 2016 Hungarian GP

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Nico Rosberg may have arrived in Budapest for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix leading the Formula 1 drivers’ championship, but the German will know that the momentum lies chiefly with Mercedes teammate Lewis Hamilton.

Four wins in the past five races have brought Hamilton back into the title fight, cutting the gap from 43 points to just one in the process.

Hamilton arrives at the Hungaroring keen to pick up a record-breaking fifth victory at the circuit and give Mercedes a full set of wins at all 21 tracks on the F1 calendar.

MotorSportsTalk writers Luke Smith and Tony DiZinno have made their picks for this weekend’s race. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Luke Smith (@LukeSmithF1)

Race Winner: Lewis Hamilton. No driver has won more times at the Hungaroring than Lewis Hamilton… yet it is the only track Mercedes hasn’t been victorious at in the hybrid era. Still, I’m tipping Lewis to keep his roll going and seize the championship lead for the first time in 2016.

Surprise Finish: Max Verstappen. We’re yet to see Hamilton and Verstappen duke it out together on-track – why not on Sunday? Max to split the Mercedes drivers for a third race in a row.

Most to Prove: Ferrari. Because if Ferrari can’t win here, where can it?

Additional Storyline: Radio rules. After the debate surrounding radio communications at Silverstone, tweaks have been made to the rules

Predict the Podium

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

Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno)

Race Winner: Daniel Ricciardo. Lewis hits a rough patch at a track that should favor the Red Bulls this weekend. After Ricciardo’s frustrating near miss at Monaco, I’ll peg him to finally bank his first win in two years now.

Surprise Finish: Fernando Alonso. Where horsepower doesn’t reign and where both McLaren Hondas scored points here last year, solid points finish could be on the cards for Alonso.

Most to Prove: Nico Rosberg. Austria contact, Britain radio transmission and general lack of form in comparison to Hamilton in recent weeks. Is at risk of losing the title lead for the first time this year and must fight back.

Additional Storyline: Rain? Possible storms on Sunday usually spices up this race, which on the whole has been more interesting in recent years compared to most of its history.

Predict the Podium

1. Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
2. Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
3. Max Verstappen Red Bull

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.