Ferrari's [ Images ] Fernando Alonso [ Images ] could celebrate his 31st birthday by winning his 31st Grand Prix [ Images ] on Sunday at the Hungaroring circuit where he chalked up his Formula One victory nine years ago.
McLaren [ Images ] will hope to get the most out of their upgraded car after Lewis Hamilton's [ Images ] bad luck in Germany [ Images ] and champions Red Bull will want to put a troubled weekend in Hockenheim behind them.
Alonso will go into the August break on top of the standings whatever happens at the ageing, twisty Hungaroring, where temperatures usually soar after the cooler races in Britain and Germany.
Although Alonso's Ferrari is not the fastest car on the circuit, the Spaniard has amassed 154 points, shooting 34 clear of Red Bull's Mark Webber [ Images ] (120).
After two wins and a second place in his last three outings, a fourth win of the season would put Alonso well on course for a third Formula One title to add to the ones he won as a youngster with Renault [ Images ] in 2005 and 2006.
"I don't want anyone to come to Hungary better prepared than me, physically or mentally or more motivated than me and I always try and win this competition that runs alongside the one on the track," Alonso said.
"I expect to go well in Budapest and there is no reason to be pessimistic. However, I am not forgetting that Red Bull and McLaren were quicker (at Hockenheim)."
Team principal Stefano Domenicali described it as a key race and added: "We know we still have a lot of work to do, because we are still not the fastest."
Reliability has become the watchword for Ferrari, who have not had a retirement since the opening race in Australia [ Images ] while Alonso has managed a top ten finish in every round. He has also racked up 22 successive races in the points.
Photographs: Paul Gilham/Getty Images