Bottas versus Ricciardo The duel between Daniel Ricciardo (SG Formula) and Valtteri Bottas (Motopark Academy) has only just begun if the no-holds barred racing witnessed at Silverstone between the early season in-form drivers is anything to go...
Bottas versus Ricciardo
The duel between Daniel Ricciardo (SG Formula) and Valtteri Bottas (Motopark Academy) has only just begun if the no-holds barred racing witnessed at Silverstone between the early season in-form drivers is anything to go by. And there's a hefty line-up of forty-two race cars for this meeting, the first time this season that there will be a qualifying race for the 18 drivers who fail to qualify for the SuperPole.
The spectacular Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 field will once again provide one of the highlights for this third World Series by Renault meeting at the Hungaroring track. Four drivers are battling it out at the top of the standings, having stood out since winter testing.
Daniel Ricciardo is top of the class at present. The Australian currently leads the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 standings with two race wins under his belt. Fast and consistent on all of the tracks, in both the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 and Formula Renault 2.0 West European Cup in which he has won four races, he'll be determined to maintain his rich vein of form. After his win at Silverstone in the last round up against Bottas, Ricciardo now has a seven point lead in the championship. He can't however afford to take his foot off the gas just yet he needs to keep pushing, particularly since Bottas still poses a serious threat.
The least you could say about Valtteri Bottas is that he has been impressive in qualifying, since he has secured four pole positions out of four so far this year! In the races themselves, the Finn has had less success one win and three podium finishes to date but he undoubtedly has what it takes to win the title. Bottas comes to Budapest with revenge in mind. Although he was pleased with his performance at Silverstone, he was clearly affected by losing the lead in the second race on the last lap. Boosted by another two race wins in Formula Renault 2.0 Northern European Cup (making six wins out of six) at his home round in Alastaro, Finland, Valtteri Bottas knows just how important the Hungarian round will be if he is to heap more pressure on Ricciardo.
The ever-consistent Andrea Caldarelli (SG Formula) may yet muscle his way into the fight between the leading pair of Ricciardo and Bottas. The Italian has racked up three podium finishes in four races, but is still looking for his first win. His familiarity with the Hungaroring could work in his favour this weekend. Roberto Merhi (Epsilon Euskadi) is also in a similar situation. Fourth overall, he has often gone for the points finishes, but must now raise his game if he is to challenge the leaders. He also knows the track and needs to get some decent points if he is to close the gap in the Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 standings.
Of the other serious contenders, Michele Faccin (Jenzer Motorsport), Daniele Zampieri (BVM Minardi Team) and Cesar Ramos (BVM Minardi Team) might spring a surprise, as might Mathieu Arzeno (Epsilon Sport) who made amends at Silverstone for a poor debut performance at Spa-Francorchamps.
For the first time this season, a qualifying race will be held on Saturday morning. Restricted to drivers who fail to qualify for the SuperPole (the first 12 in each group will qualify for the SuperPole), the result of this twenty-minute race will determine the starting order for the 18 drivers involved, who will line up on the start grid behind those who made it into the SuperPole.