Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel won a tense Hungarian GP in searing hot conditions at the Hungaroring to extend his title advantage over Lewis Hamilton to 14 points heading into the summer break. He led home the second Ferrari 1-2 this season, with both Mercedes coming home in 3rd and 4th places, headed by Valtteri Bottas. Max Verstappen was just fifth after he took out his own teammate on the 2nd corner of race, which proved costly in the end as he had to serve a 10 second time penalty, and finished some 13 seconds off the lead. Fernando Alonso secured McLaren’s best result this season with a 6th place finish, and set the fastest lap of the race in the end! His teammate Stoffel Vandoorne was 10th, in what was his second ever points finish in F1.
The race started amid chaos. Vettel and Raikkonen made a clean start from the front row of the grid to build up a substantial lead. However, there was drama behind as Verstappen collided his teammate Daniel Ricciardo on the 2nd corner, after locking up. Ricciardo suffered a tyre puncture and a broken radiator which meant he had to retire. As a result, Verstappen was given a 10 second time penalty. Hamilton had earlier been jumped by both Red Bulls and was running behind Verstappen for a majority of the first stint. Both Mercedes were plagued by radio issues throughout.
There was drama for race leader Vettel as he developed steering problems which meant that he had to avoid the kerbs at all costs. It became very close after the first round of pit stops as Raikkonen came very close to Vettel who was struggling. Then, it became clear that there IS a driver hierarchy going on at Ferrari. Raikkonen had superior pace and was challenging for the lead but ultimately gave it up as Vettel was told to up his pace. It could have potentially cost Ferrari the win, with the Mercs catching up fast. Hamilton was let through by Bottas to try and catch Raikkonen, but the Briton gave back his place to Bottas, as had been agreed earlier should he fail to catch Raikkonen, in a widely welcomed move by many.
Vettel however was able to weather the storm and came home to take the win and second 1-2 finish for Ferrari this season. His drive while struggling with steering problems was epic, but it also cost Raikkonen a victory. Team orders certainly came into play, as Vettel would have lost 7 points in the championship had he let Raikkonen through, apart from the fact that Raikkonen has scored about half as much points as Vettel this season.
Elsewhere, both Force Indias finished in the points again, while Paul di Resta, driving his first race since 2013 for Williams, had to retire the car after a respectable drive in a completely unfamiliar 2017 car. Nico Hulkenberg, too had to retire the car, and neither Renault managed to finish in the points.
With the last race before the summer break, Vettel now leads Hamilton by 14 points with Bottas 33 points adrift in 3rd place. Ferrari have also closed down the gap to Mercedes to 39 points in the constructors’ standings.
Facts of the day:
1) No driver who has won the Hungarian GP has gone on to win the drivers’ championship that year. The last driver who managed to do so was Michael Schumacher in 2004, when he led home Rubens Barrichello in a Ferrari 1-2. Incidentally, this was Ferrari’s first 1-2 finish since 2004 at the Hungaroring.
2) No team has managed to lose the constructors’ championship after leading it into the summer break. This has been the trend since 2007, when McLaren lost the constructors’ title to Ferrari after being stripped of all points due to the ‘spygate’ scandal.
3) Vettel took Ferrari’s first pole position at the Hungaroring since 2005.