But the antagonism has reached a new high after McLaren escaped from the FIA hearing into espionage without punishment.
The tight Hungaroring is ordinarily an overtaking-free zone, so qualifying will be crucial and a mis-timed safety car period could potentially be disastrous for the leaders.
Read the F1Fanatic preview and predict the podium below.
The Hungaroring can usually be relied upon to inhibit overtaking at every turn. Last year was a major exception, as a wet track transformed the race, making one of the best events of the year which saw Jenson Button win his first Grand Prix.
The tight twists of the Hungaroring are more like Monte-Carlo than any other circuit, so expect McLaren to have the upper hand.
But don’t expect rain – Hungary is gripped by a severe heatwave that has caused hundreds of deaths this summer.
Interestingly, this is one of few events this year in which the super soft compound tyre will make an appearance. Is there a chance it could prove too soft for the fierce Hungarian heat?
TV times – Britain
Schedules from ITV and Radio Times
Hungarian Grand Prix Qualifying live – Saturday 4th August 12.30-14.15 ITV1 (Qualifying starts 1pm)
Hungarian Grand Prix Race live – Sunder 5th August 12.00-15.30 ITV1 (Race starts 1pm)
Hungarian Grand Prix Race highlights – Monday 6th August 00.45-1.45 ITV1
Hungarian Grand Prix Race highlights – Monday 6th August 18.00-19.00 ITV4
McLaren were handed a Get out of Jail Free card at the Paris hearing, which will be a weight off the minds of Ron Dennis and co. But the sword of Damocles still hangs over them – if Ferrari provide evidence of wrongdoing, it could be curtains for them.
Fernando Alonso seems to be firing on all cylinders once again – he was much faster than Lewis Hamilton at Silverstone. Then came that inspired and opportunistic win at the Nurburgring, one in the eye for the critics who say he races only for championship points.
At the scene of his first Grand Prix win, another victory will give him the championship lead.
Renault conspicuously failed to capitalise on a ripe opportunity to score big points at the N?âãÆ?é??rburging. It allowed Red Bull, who use their engines, in to capitalise.
But a distinctive feature of recent races has been that Heikki Kovalainen has been quicker than Giancarlo Fisichella. If that trend continues at the Hungaroring, things will be looking bad indeed for the Italian.
Red fury. Ferrari’s Jean Todt was apoplectic about McLaren’s exoneration in the espionage trial and for the first time even their drivers are talking about it.
Having needlessly thrown away points at the Nurburgring thanks to unreliability (Kimi Raikkonen) and Alonso’s late pass on Felipe Massa, Ferrari need to hit back hard at McLaren.
You’d forgive him for feeling especially bitter after blamelessly sliding out of fourth place in the worst of the rain at the Nurburgring.
The revised car introduced at Magny-Cours seems to have been a step forward – they scored points there and finished strongly at Silverstone. But they might need a couple of retirements to make the top eight at the Hungaroring.
Not too much attention was given to BMW’s embarrassment in the European Grand Prix, where Nick Heidfeld clouted Robert Kubica on the first lap.
Was this a sign of simmering tensions between the pair? Kubica has looked the quicker of the two since his return from injury, and this is the first track in 2007 that he has raced at in F1 before.
Top ten qualifying positions and dismal race performances are becoming a regularity at Toyota. But the Hungaroring is the kind of track where Jarno Trulli can nail a strong qualifying performance and then just hold everyone up until the end to score points.
Monte-Carlo’s tight twists didn’t seem to suit the TF107, though (Ralf Schumacher spent the early part of that race last), so this could be a tougher race than usual for the team.
Buoyed by their largest ever haul of points at the Nurburgring, Red Bull have jumped up to sixth in the constructors’ championship and a couple more points should see them stay clear of Toyota.
Williams are only two points ahead – and wouldn’t Mark Webber love to put one over his old team?
Alexander Wurz did his ‘calm amid the storm’ thing at the Nurburgring and netted more valuable points. But perhaps more importantly, he also nailed qualifying, lining up alongside team mate Nico Rosberg before professing disappointment at the result.
He must repeat the feat in Hungary because points are going to be hard to come by for drivers who qualifying outside the top ten, never mind those in the bottom six.
Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari
Toro Rosso’s season just gets worse. They failed to capitalise on the dismal N?âãÆ?é??rburging conditions to score points as their sister outfit did. And although one driver was claimed by the conditions, Vitantonio Liuzzi crashed because of yet another car failure – this time the suspension.
Franz Tost then helpfully punched Scott Speed and Speed slated him in the press. The American will apparently remain with the team, but the atmosphere in that garage must be pure poison.
If Spyker are going to be the new Minardi, at least they’re doing it with style. Mike Gascoyne’s call to bring Markus Winkelhock in for intermediate tyres was perfect. And it was poorly rewarded – Winkelhock lost his half-minute lead when the race was suspended.
The German is gone for this weekend, replaced by the underwhelming Sakon Yamamoto, who at least has experience of the remaining circuits having raced most of them while at Super Aguri last year.
No points for Super Aguri whose glory days of worrying their sister team seem to be over – although they do still lead them in the constructors’ championship.
Further points over the rest of the season look unlikely, and attention turns to the battle between the two drivers, where Takuma Sato has had an edge all year.
Predict the podium for the Grand Prix – leave your comments below.
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