Lewis Hamilton heads into the Hungarian Grand Prix with a 17-point lead over Sebastian Vettel following his stunning victory in Germany.
Hamilton won from 14th on the grid as his championship rival Vettel crashed out from the lead.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at the talking points prior to the last race before the summer shutdown.
1. F1 boss Carey leads Marchionne tributes
This week’s Hungarian Grand Prix is set to be overshadowed by the death of former Ferrari chairman Sergio Marchionne. The 66-year-old Italian, who was stood down only four days ago after complications from shoulder surgery, helped to re-establish Ferrari as a leading force in F1. He was also one of the major players away from the track, and, concerned with the post-2020 direction of the sport, had even threatened to pull Ferrari out. F1 chairman Chase Carey described Marchionne as a “great leader”, while citing his achievements in the sport as “immeasurable”. Mercedes boss Toto Wolff called Marchionne a “fierce competitor, ally and friend”. Ferrari are likely to honour Marchionne at the Hungaroring. Vettel led Kimi Raikkonen home in a Ferrari one-two last year, and a repeat performance would be the perfect tribute to Marchionne and his untimely passing.
2. Villenueve: Hamilton confuses F1 with Hollywood
Hamilton said his prayers had been answered after his stunning victory in last Sunday’s rain-hit German Grand Prix. Jacques Villeneuve, the outspoken 1997 world champion, was not convinced. “He confuses Formula One with Hollywood,” the former Williams driver was quoted as saying by German publication Auto Bild. “Everything he does is staged. He portrays himself on social media like he is Jesus.” Hamilton, meanwhile, will be in the spotlight in Hungary after he claimed, in a deleted Instagram post, that he is “undermined” by some F1 TV pundits. It is unclear what irked Hamilton with most claiming the Briton is treated favourably on Sky Sports. Veteran pundit Martin Brundle even compared Hamilton to triple world champion Ayrton Senna during his commentary of Sunday’s race.
3. Wolff fears rampant Ferrari and Red Bull
The slower-speed Hungaroring suited Ferrari last year, and Mercedes are worried that the Italians, and indeed Red Bull, will be strong there this term, too. “Hungary will see another tough fight with both Ferrari and Red Bull,” said Wolff. “It’s a high downforce track and on paper they should both be very fast in Budapest.” Indeed, Hamilton finished only fourth last year, and Vettel, who won, will be hoping for a similar result after the embarrassing crash at his home race. Hamilton always comes back stronger after the summer break, so Vettel can ill-afford to be more than the 17 points he already is behind the Brit heading into the four-week shutdown.
4. McLaren put brakes on Norris?
McLaren reserve driver Lando Norris had looked set to land a 2019 seat with the British team, but there is a growing feeling that he may have to wait another 12 months. The 18-year-old started his Formula Two (F1’s feeder series) season in emphatic manner after victory on debut in Bahrain, but his stock has fallen in recent weeks with countryman George Russell overtaking him as championship leader. It is understood that McLaren feel Norris would benefit from another full season in F2. As such, Carlos Sainz could join his Spanish compatriot, Fernando Alonso, at McLaren next year. Russell, who will test for Mercedes next week, could end up at Williams if the Silver Arrows can convince the British team to give him a chance.
5. Ricciardo edging closer to Red Bull deal
Daniel Ricciardo made little secret of his interest in switching Red Bull for either Mercedes or Ferrari next season, but the Australian’s hopes of a move are over. Mercedes have signed up Valtteri Bottas alongside Hamilton for another year, while Ferrari will keep either Raikkonen alongside Vettel for 2019 or sign Charles Leclerc from Sauber. Ricciardo, despite privately fearing that Red Bull are building their long-term future around Max Verstappen, will stay put. With both parties having said they want their respective futures resolved before the summer break, do not be surprised to see an announcement this weekend.