Hello everyone and welcome to the review of the Hungarian Grand Prix! Before we start I need to express my sadness about the death of Sergio Marchionne, Ferrari and Fiat-Chrysler CEO. He was a tremendous person and businessman who made Scuderia Ferrari get back on top in Formula 1. We’ll miss him a lot. Anyway, let’s get to the review.
It was a great weekend in Budapest with very changeable weather conditions. So let me begin with the qualifying session in which the drivers had to cope with thunderstorm and heavy rain. As we know from the previous season, Ferrari is not particularly good on a wet track and it wasn’t here either. Mercedes locked-out the front row with Lewis Hamilton starting on pole. The second row was a territory of Ferrari. Surprisingly from P5 started Carlos Sainz (Renault). He performed very well in quali.
The start was very smooth, however in the turn one Charles Leclerc (Sauber) was squeezed between the two Force Indias and had to retire from the race. Also Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) made contact with Marcus Ericsson (Sauber). In turn 2 we saw Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) challenge his teammate, Kimi Raikkonen and succeed. As we know, the championship battle is still on, so Seb needed to pass Kimi as quickly as possible. On lap 6 one of the Red Bulls retired from the race as well and it was Max Verstappen. The Renault engine simply died.
Raikkonen and Bottas were the two first drivers to come into the pit lane. It was very early but it was the part of teams’ strategy obviously. Meanwhile Daniel Ricciardo was gaining a couple of tens or seconds every lap. He started from the back of the grid and now was overtaking his rivals very quickly. Sebastian Vettel was also chasing Lewis Hamilton. The Brit pitted before the German, so Seb needed strong pace to gain as much as possible driving through the clear air at the front. He visited his mechanics on lap 40 and that was the key point of the race for Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel. A very long pit-stop made him lose place to Valteri Bottas. Now he had to pass the Fin immediately to still have any chance of winning the Grand Prix.
But Bottas was defending absolutely brilliant. He was helping Hamilton as usual and made Vettel struggle. Meanwhile Stoffel Vandoorne retired due to the power unit failure. And now the breaking point: lap 65, Seb finally gets the DRS out of turn 1 and overtakes Valteri into turn 2, but the Mercedes driver simply cannot brake enough, because of the done tyres and hits Vettel’s car. He damages his front wing, Seb takes second place, Kimi is right behind. A moment later Daniel Ricciardo got Bottas in DRS range and tried to overtake him but the Fin couldn’t stop once again and hit the Red Bull driver as well. Double damage and 10 second penalty, that’s what Valteri achieved in the last stint. Surprisingly neither Vettel nor Ricciardo had to box as everyone thought they had damaged cars.
The first man on track to see the chequered flag was Lewis Hamilton. It was his 6th win here at Hungaroring. P2 for Sebastian Vettel and P3 for his teammate, Kimi Raikkonen. Driver of the day? Absolutely Daniel Ricciardo who finished 4th. P6 for Pierre Gasly (Toro Rosso), which also is a great success. So after the last race before the summer break Lewis Hamilton extended his advantage in the championship battle over Sebastian Vettel to 24 points. In the constructors standings Mercedes leads with 10 points ahead of Ferrari. So that’s it guys. See you in Spa next month with another great Formula 1 race 😉