The Hungarian Grand Prix was a rather sombre affair this weekend, with minds still thinking about the recently departed Jules Bianchi. The race itself was anything but sombre, with exciting action from start to finish. A perfect tribute to the sadly departed Jules Bianchi.
Sebastian Vettel claimed victory after a fantastic personal performance. He got off to the perfect start, accelerating quickly and overtaking Hamilton from third position going into the first corner. As soon as he was ahead, it looked like there would be no stopping him. Surprisingly, this was Vettel’s first victory in Hungary, taking him up to 41 total wins, level with Ayrton Senna. Vettel’s race was reminiscent of the four year domination he held over the sport, with a late charge from Rosberg and Ricciardo fizzling out.
In an emotional tribute, Vettel dedicated the race to Jules Bianchi, who had been earmarked as a future Ferrari team mate. Speaking on the team radio after passing the checkered flag, Vettel dedicated the race victory to Bianchi. Vettel was a close friend of Bianchi, acting as one of the pallbearers at his funeral this week. His tribute was one shared by many, including Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo, who finished second and third place respectively.
A mixture of excellent driving and fantastic fortune helped Red Bull claim their best finish of the season, with Kvyat in second and Ricciardo in third. As the race neared its end, it seemed Ricciardo had a genuine chance of catching Vettel in first. In the way was Rosberg, sitting in a second place position that would have put him on top of the championship standards, who was not willing to relinquish his position so easily. Going round the outside on the entrance to a chicane, Ricciardo made his move. The Aussie racer had thought he had made his way through. But Rosberg closed the gap, his rear wheel colliding with Ricciardo's front wing. Both cars were damaged, Ricciardo having to stop and have his front wing changed with just a few laps to go.
And there you have it, the sweet taste of Champagne for the first time this season! #HungarianGP #F1 🙌 🎉 🏆 pic.twitter.com/KjIoSxf1Wy — Red Bull Racing (@redbullracing) July 26, 2015
Kvyat was quick to capitalise on the misfortune, speeding into second place. With Raikkonen forced to retire and Hamilton stuck up the field, Kvyat raced clear to claim his first ever podium. This was despite a ten second penalty added to his overall time. Overall, a fantastic weekend for Red Bull. If they can get their engine right, it might just make for more interesting races as F1 returns from its summer break.
Despite heading into the summer break on top of the constructor's championship, with Hamilton first and Rosberg second in the driver's standings, Hungary was a weekend to forget for Mercedes. Qualifying first and second, it looked like it could have been another easy Mercedes victory. But both drivers, especially Hamilton, made a poor start to the race, with Vettel taking advantage as he zoomed past them before the first corner.
Hamilton looked out of sorts throughout, his situation not helped when he was forced off the track and into the gravel just a few turns into the race. Pushed back into the middle of the pack, his hopes of victory looked quickly finished. Hamilton's recovery drive took a further blow when he understeered into the side of Ricciardo's Red Bull, damaging his car and incurring a time penalty. The championship leader was moved to apologise over the team radio, post-race stating that this was one of his worst ever performances. With a chance to capitalise on his team mates misfortune, Rosberg had his eye on the top of the F1 championship, only to have it all unravel after his collision with Ricciardo. The puncture forced him to limp back to the pit lane, bumping him from second on the grid down to eighth, two places behind Hamilton. A missed opportunity.
17 year old Max Verstappen finished in fourth place, a fantastic drive from the young dutchman that came close to matching his father. Back in 1994, Jos Verstappen finished in third place at Hungary. The young Verstappen was also close to breaking another record, becoming the youngest driver to finish on the podium. The talent he has displayed surely means he is not far from adding that record to a growing list of achievements.
Alonso was also delighted with his race, finishing in fifth place, the highest McLaren have achieved all season. Speaking after the race, Alonso described the fifth place finish as "unbelievable". Reliability and performance issues have neutered the driving skills of Alonso and Button this season, so McLaren will be pleased with the fifth and eighth place finish.
Everyone recovered…? #HungarianGP pic.twitter.com/yhpRs9J56L — Formula 1 (@F1) July 27, 2015
The Hungarian Grand Prix was a fantastic race, reigniting excitement in a season where the dominance of Mercedes has disheartened fans. Spa is another great course and with Ferrari doing well and Red Bull showing signs of recovery, we could be in for another thrilling race.
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