Can anyone catch the dynamic duo?
After their thrilling battle in the streets of Monaco, Sebastian Vettel (Carlin Motorsport) and Alvaro Parente (Tech 1 Racing) will once again go head-to-head at the Hungaroring. Just seven points separate the German and Portuguese drivers, who have already opened up a sizeable gap on the rest of the field, leaving a dozen or so drivers to fight for third place in the overall standings.
For the first time in its history, World Series Formula Renault 3.5 is heading to Hungary, for a meeting at the Hungaroring circuit. The peculiarities of the venue -- a narrow, winding circuit with very little grip -- will be equally unfamiliar to all the teams and most of the drivers.
With a third of the season gone, Sebastian Vettel leads the overall standings after Monaco. The last meeting, however, saw the Carlin Motorsport driver lose out to Alvaro Parente, a majestic performer in the streets of the principality. Both men were touted among the big favourites in the run-up to the season, and neither has disappointed. They are the only drivers to have scored points in every race. Going into the Budapest meeting, just seven points separate the two rivals, who have each notched up one pole position, one race win and three podium finishes.
Since Monaco, Vettel has competed in his first Formula 1 Grand Prix. Standing in for Robert Kubica in Indianapolis, he set a record in his very first race, becoming the youngest driver in history to score points in the World Championship!
The championship could well be decided not on performance alone but on how Sebastian and Alvaro do in the second race of each meeting. With the starting grid reversed for the top eight, the second race is proving to be a tricky proposition. For the moment, it is advantage Vettel.
The epic battle between the top two has left their rivals trailing in their wake. In third place, the rookie Filipe Albuquerque (Epsilon Euskadi) is 29 points adrift of the leader, but has nonetheless had an excellent start to the season. The reigning Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 champion is two points ahead of the experienced, but inconsistent, Mikhail Aleshin (Carlin Motorsport) and Milos Pavlovic (Draco Racing). Milos, who hails from neighbouring Serbia, will be keen to pick up the victory he has been chasing since 2005 close to home.
Salvador Duran (Interwetten.com) and Davide Valsecchi (Epsilon Euskadi) won the second races at Monza and the Nurburgring respectively. They will be going all out to repeat the feat, but they will also have to show consistency if they are to feature prominently in the final overall standings.
Of the drivers yet to win a race in 2007, Ben Hanley (Prema Power Team) and Marco Bonanomi (RC Motorsport) are the most likely candidates. The British and Italian drivers, who have consistently finished in the top places, are not far away from the leading pack.
Other drivers will be hoping that Lady Luck will change her allegiance and smile on them at last: Alvaro Barba (Draco Racing), Giedo van der Garde and Charlie Kimball (Victory Engineering), Guillaume Moreau and Bertrand Baguette (KTR), Clivio Piccione (RC Motorsport), Miguel Molina (Pons Racing) and Julien Jousse (Tech 1 Racing) all have the talent to make it onto the podium.