• Mercedes the most likely team to win on Sunday.
• McLaren and Racing Point are in line for strong results.
• Ferrari to probably compete for top 10 finish.
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This weekend the third round of the 2020 Formula 1 championship will head to Hungary. It's the third race for the third consecutive weekend, something that is not very common in the sport. But with Covid-19 wreaking havoc and turning the season on its head, drastic steps had to be taken to ensure that we fit as many races as possible in the revised calendar.
With the Hungarian Grand Prix looming and the first two practice sessions set to take place today, how will the weekend play out? Who is the favourite to win? Who will flounder and come off worse?
Here are our predictions for Sunday's Hungarian GP.
Mercedes for the win
Bar Lewis Hamilton's mishaps in Austria two weeks ago, the Mercedes-AMG F1 cars are the talk of the town. In the first race of the season, Valtteri Bottas took victory for the German team. Hamilton would have been second, but a penalty relegated him to fourth. In Styria, a week later, Hamilton led team mate Bottas to a dominating one-two finish.
It's two wins for the Mercedes team, and they are comfortably leading the constructors' championship on 80 points after two races - more than double the points than second-place McLaren.
Given that their car is superior to any other car on the grid, expect both Hamilton and Bottas to vie for pole position in qualifying on Saturday. And on Sunday, best believe that these two drivers will either compete among themselves or with Red Bull's Max Verstappen for the win. Of course, provided everything goes to plan.
Bar the technical issue that forced him out of the opening race of the season, Verstappen had a very good race this past Sunday. He is in line to follow up on that momentum and ruffle the feathers of the two Mercedes drivers. If not a win, expect to see him on the podium. His team mate, Alex Albon, has been knocking on the door of his first podium but was taken out by Hamilton twice en route to realising this achievement. Both Red Bull drivers have the car underneath them to challenge for a top-three finish, so expect them to be strong on a track that's always been kind to them.
Rounding out the top five, or six, is McLaren. Lando Norris and Carlos Sainx Jr have been delivering for the team; hence they are second on the constructors' table. Norris has been impressive the last two races, highlighting the growth he and McLaren have made over the last year. If all goes well, expect either one, or both, McLaren drivers in the top five.
That's if they can stop the 'Pink Mercedes' of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll.
Don't count on them
I would not encourage anything to count too much on Ferrari to achieve a great result. Of all the top teams, Ferrari is the only one to have gone backwards in their development. And yes, they are, at best, the fifth-fastest team. A top ten finish is all the team can hope for, provided their drivers don't take each other out on the first lap like what happened in Styria this past Sunday.
Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel have been struggling in an under-competitive Ferrari. Though the team will be bringing aerodynamic updates to the track this weekend, it is not guaranteed that the updates will work. What could play into their favour is that the Hungaroring is not too harsh on engine power. And given that Ferrari's engine lacks majorly in this department, the team could maybe find themselves in the thick of things.
Unless you live on the wild side, it's not worth betting on Ferrari to make it to the podium or even realise a top-five finish.