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Monday, 17 December, 2018

Bottas each-way value for lively qualifying session

Traffic and weather could play a part at Hungaroring

Valtteri Bottas's Mercedes in practice at Hungaroring
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Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying
Sky Sports F1, 2pm Saturday

One thing that should be odds-on about Saturday's qualifying sessions for the Hungarian Grand Prix is that someone will be complaining about having their chances ruined by traffic afterwards.

The tight Hungaroring circuit is the slowest one the F1 field tackle apart from Monaco and the amount of whinging about being blocked and not getting a clear lap in during Friday's practice suggests more is inevitable when everyone needs to be on the track at the same time for qualifying.

Much less predictable is the weather. Storm clouds were gathering as afternoon practice finished on Friday and the forecast suggests they could appear again in qualifying.

Red Bull, winners in Monaco, proved suited to the twisting circuit as expected and Daniel Ricciardo was fastest in first practice - as advised by Racing Post Sport at 11-4.

The Bulls were in the mix again in the afternoon when Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel topped the times, with the Austrian team's drivers Max Verstappen and Ricciardo close behind.

Mercedes pair Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were fifth and sixth in both sessions, but the extent to which they are disadvantaged by the track may have been overplayed - neither got a clear fast run in at the end of second practice and they should be in a six-car fight for pole.

Hamilton is on offer at an unusually big 11-2 for pole but there is a value case for backing Bottas at 20-1 with bet365, who are offering a welcome three each-way places.

The Finn has been on the front row in five of the last seven races, including taking pole in Austria, and with the random factors of traffic and the weather, the comfort of a bigger price on your side makes sense.

Mercedes may be protesting too much about their prospects - they were first and second on the grid two years ago and Bottas was third with Hamilton fourth last season.

Ferrari may have more up their sleeve for Saturday but they can't unleash all of their recently displayed power advantage at this track, while picking between the Red Bull duo is not easy. 

Ricciardo, the winner in Monte Carlo, is the better driver at this kind of circuit but Verstappen has a newer version of their Renault engine and few bookmakers favour one over the other.

V Bottas fastest qualifier
1pt e-w 20-1 bet365

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Red Bull, winners in Monaco, proved suited to the twisting circuit as expected
E.W. Terms
Sky bet