Hungarian GP: Lewis Hamilton hopes to reverse run of misfortune
Hamilton will hope to reverse the run of bad luck heading into this weekend's race
Lewis Hamilton could become the first driver to win the Hungarian Grand Prix for the fifth time as he bids to bounce back from the latest setback to his title challenge and close the gap in the championship battle to team-mate and leader Nico Rosberg.
Hamilton has attracted the lion's share of the bad luck in the team and, his title challenge hampered by a run of misfortunes, heads into this weekend's race trailing Rosberg by 14 points in the standings despite having won five races to the German's count of four.
Having failed to finish on two occasions already this season, Hamilton's latest stroke of misfortune came at last weekend's German Grand Prix.
Heading into the weekend four points off the top of the standings, Hamilton arrived in Hockenheim poised to seize the championship lead.
Instead a brake failure that pitched him into the barriers in qualifying and a penalty for a gearbox change forced him to start from the back of the grid.
And though he fought back spectacularly to finish third, Hamilton was powerless to stop Rosberg extending his lead in the standings.
"I'm doing absolutely everything I can to get back on level terms with Nico in the title battle - I can't focus more or work harder than I am doing right now," Hamilton said ahead of this weekend's race.
"This championship is proving a big challenge for me but that's how I love it - and I wouldn't have it any other way."
The Hungarian Grand Prix has been one of Hamilton's most rewarding races.
The 2008 world champion has won at the Hungaroring, a 4.3 kilometer long circuit on the outskirts of Budapest, a total of four-times in seven appearances, including on his last two visits to the circuit.
Last year the track was the scene of his first win for Mercedes and Hamilton will be hoping for a similarly dominant performance this season.
"The Hungarian Grand Prix is always a special one for me, with four pole positions and four wins from my seven races there so far - including my first victory for Mercedes last season," said Hamilton, who will overtake Michael Schumacher as the most successful driver around the Hungaroring if he wins on Sunday.
"I don't really have any secrets there - I've just been very fortunate over the years and it's a circuit I really enjoy," he added.
Apart from Hamilton, McLaren's Jenson Button, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso and team-mate Kimi Raikkonen have all tasted success in Hungary.
Alonso and Button, a two-time winner here, took their debut Formula One wins at this circuit but neither driver has a realistic chance of adding to their tally this season.
Instead, it will be Red Bull and Williams slugging it out for the mantle of best of the rest behind the two dominant Mercedes.
Williams have emerged as closest challengers to the Silver Arrows over the last few races but the layout of the Hungaroring, with its slow to medium speed corners, isn't one that plays to the strengths of their car.
As a result the Grove-based team – which has been strong on circuits with long straights -- are bringing special aerodynamic upgrades to this weekend's race in a bid to catch Red Bull in the constructors race.
"Hungary is a track where a good power unit is a little less important," Felipe Massa, who suffered a near-fatal accident in qualifying here five years ago, said.
"Aerodynamics play a higher part and getting good downforce for the corners is vital.
"We have worked hard to get the car ready for this type of circuit and if that has all worked we should still be competitive," Massa, hoping to score a strong haul of points after two straight first lap retirements, added.
But the reigning world champions feel the circuit layout, with only two notable straights to speak of, should negate the advantage of the Mercedes-powered teams and play to the strengths of their Adrian Newey-designed chassis, allowing them to get closer to the front.
"Hungary is a good opportunity for us, and Singapore is not too far away," Christian Horner told reporters following the German Grand Prix.
"So it will be interesting to see how the car performs in Hungary."
"Of course Mercedes is in a great position but hopefully we can be a little bit closer even there."