We said in our preview that even though the Hungarian track is difficult to overtake on, it always produces interesting races. This year was no different. This years race saw steering issues, radio rubbish, crashes and team orders, and that is only amongst the top 6.
We also saw a McLaren not only finish a Grand Prix, but in the points and, remarkably, with the fastest lap of the race.
The fight for the Championship took a swing back towards Sebastian Vettel after he managed to nurse his Ferarri, which was suffering from steering issues, to the chequered flag, followed by teammate, Kimi Raikkonen, with Rival, Lewis Hamilton finishing fourth.
It was a strange race for Ferrari. Clearly, there was a lot of pace in the car, but with Sebastian suffering from steering issues, Kimi Raikkonen felt he could go faster than his teammate, but was asked, and subsequently obeyed, to stay behind the championship leader. ‘Uncomfortable’ at this turn of events, it was the Finn’s team play that probably stopped Hamilton going into the summer break with the Championship lead, as opposed to Vettel who now has a 14-point lead.
The one-two for Ferrari does bring them closer to Mercedes in the Constructors’ Championship, and with the president of Ferrari, Sergio Marchionne, watching on, it was the perfect weekend for the prancing horse.
There weren’t just team orders at the Scuderia though. After the only pit-stops of the race and the radio issues that had plagued the first portion of the race behind him, Lewis Hamilton asked to be allowed past teammate, Valtteri Bottas, to attack the Ferrari’s, saying: “OK, man. I’ve got a lot of pace. You’ve got to let me use it. And this radio rubbish sucks.”
Hamilton was subsequently let through by Bottas, on the proviso that the place would be returned if Hamilton was unsuccessful in his chase. Hamilton, indeed, was unsuccessful, having the pace to catch the Ferrari’s but struggling in their dirty air and the notoriously overtake-unfriendly, Hungaroring. He duly returned the place to Bottas, losing three championship points in the process.
BULLS IN A CHINA SHOP
Oh dear, Max Verstappen will have an exciting team briefing after collecting his teammate on the opening lap of the Grand Prix. With Ricciardo ahead of his teammate heading into turn two, Verstappen braked too late, locked up and careered into Daniel, breaking his radiator and forcing him to retire.
Max was given a ten-second penalty, but Daniel was not amused: “It’s frustrating. It’s not even an overtaking move. It’s an emotional response – sees me pass him, wants to make it back and messed it up.”
Christian Horner will earn his money trying to calm this situation down! Good job there is a four-week summer break.
MCLAREN FASTEST LAP?
No, you are not reading that wrong, Fernando Alonso underlined his ability, as if it were needed, and took a clearly well designed McLaren chassis to sixth place and scored the fastest lap of the race. Unfortunately for McLaren fans, this is not a return to form. The Hungaroring is a very low power track, so the Honda engine’s comparative lack of power was not an issue. We wouldn’t get our hopes up for the next race, Spa.
Still, an excellent display by Fernando on his 36th birthday weekend and he celebrated by sitting in a deck chair on an image of him famously sitting in a deck chair at Brazil a couple of years ago. Who said we have no characters in Formula One!
DRIVER OF THE RACE
Honourable mention to Alonso, and Vettel for nursing the car to first place, but our driver of the day is Kimi. Put in the most awkward of positions–not being allowed to race to his full potential, to save Sebastian, and having to hold back a charging Hamilton–the Finn did an admirable job and underlined his worth to both Ferrari and Vettel.
MOMENT OF THE GP
A couple of good ones this week, Hamilton expressing his love for his race engineer after some time apart and Raikkonen telling Paul Di Resta to go back to ‘reporting’ after not allowing him past quick enough under blue flags. It can’t, though, be anything other than the two Red Bulls locking horns at turn two.