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Hamilton vs. Rosberg: Good Teammates, Better Enemies

Hamilton versus RosbergThe story heading into the Hungarian Grand Prix this Sunday 24th of July is the rivalry between Mercedes teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. As far as auto racing betting goes, the 2016 Formula 1 championship is increasingly looking like it will come down to these two. The German driver started the season very strong, winning the first four races and putting a lot of distance between him and the second place. However, beginning in Monaco, the Brit has won four non-consecutive races, culminating in a victory at the British Grand Prix – his third in a row and fourth overall at the Silverstone Circuit – to reduce Rosberg’s advantage from 43 to a single point (168 to 167).

This Sunday at the Hungaroring could prove to be a turning point in the 2016 season – not to mention auto racing betting-wise –, should Hamilton manage to leapfrog Rosberg at the top of the drivers’ standings. Also, it would be supremely awesome if Hamilton’s car literally leapfrogged over Rosberg’s during the actual race. Alas, that’s probably asking too much. Nonetheless, it will be a very visceral affair as it is no secret that neither man gets along particularly well with the other. As Rosberg told The Guardian, “I have huge respect for (Hamilton) but, well, we’re not best friends at the moment.” This sentiment – which is no doubt mutual – stems for the drivers’ high level of competitiveness. This rivalry has been going on for about a decade now, and will one day probably be remembered as one of the greatest rivalries in sports. Betting on that is a sure thing.

Rosberg will have a tough time warding off Hamilton come Sunday. The German has never won the Hungarian Grand Prix, while the Brit is tied for most wins with none other than legend Michael Schumacher with four. Rosberg finished the British Grand Prix in third place – he was penalized for breaking team radio rules – but remains optimistic, mostly because he is still in the lead, even if it is by a solitary point. Hamilton, on the other hand, has said he is “feeling fresh, feeling powerful and feeling confident,” as well as “feeling that fire inside (him).” Well, as long as it’s not heartburn, it’s all good. Rosberg has also said that “the battle is one with Lewis.” Hopefully neither will forget that there are several other drivers in the race.

For example, Mercedes will have to keep an eye out for Red Bull and Ferrari – coincidentally, the teams that won the past two editions of the Hungarian Grand Prix. Red Bull’s Max Verstappen won in Spain – the only other driver besides Hamilton and Rosberg to finish first so far this year – and took second place in both Austria and Great Britain. Meanwhile, Ferrari is in ‘win-now’ mode. Or as team principal Maurizio Arrivabene put it, “we cannot fail.” If this team comes through, it might pay handsomely in terms of auto racing betting. Ferrari’s Sebastien Vettel is the current Hungarian Grand Prix champion.