By Robert Haile
A damp start to the Hungarian Grand Prix made all the difference today, August 1, as the usual order was torn up and youth beat out experience.
After the tactical final lap of qualifying secured Mercedes the front row with Lewis Hamilton taking pole position over Valtteri Bottas.
As the cars headed out on there formation lap the rain came down with the field switching to intermediate tyre, a middle step between the smooth and grooved wet tyres.
Heading into the first corner Hamilton made it through clear but teammate Bottas collected McLaren’s Lando Norris, Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez while Lance Stroll looking to avoid the collision collided with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc who spun Daniel Ricciardo.
The resulting damage to the cars meant that Bottas, Norris, Perez, Leclerc and Stroll all had to retire and as the race was red flagged the track dried out.
All the teams pitted as the race was set to restart except Mercedes who left Hamilton on the intermediate tyre but had a clear run to the first corner as all the others were starting from the pit lane.
This put Williams’ George Russell in second, but the Brit had to give seven places back, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon in third while Verstappen was twelfth.
Coming in on the next lap Hamilton went from first to last as Haas’s Nikita Mazepin retired after colliding with Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen in the pit lane after the Finn was released.
As they headed into what they hoped would be the final round of pit stops Ocon stayed in front with Vettel second, Sainz third and Hamilton in fourth with Alonso dropping to fifth.
After pitting for the final time Hamilton entered a battle with former teammate Alonso after he had passed while in the pits with the Alpine driver holding the Mercedes driver up for several laps before a mistake gave the seven time champion the chance to pass.
Hamilton completed an unlikely race to the podiums as he passed Sainz to claim third.
Out in front Ocon was maintaining to gap to Vettel to become the first French driver, with a French engine, for a French team, to win a Grand Prix since his teams non-executive Director Alain Prost won the Austrian Grand Prix for Renault in 1983.
AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda took sixth and seventh while Williams scored their first points as Nicholas Latifi and George Russell claimed eight and ninth.
Verstappen finished tenth to add to his championship total as Raikkonen, Ricciardo, Schumacher and Giovinazzi finish outside the points.
Bottas and Stroll have both received a five place grid penalty for causing the crashes at turn one of the race to be taken at the next race in the season.
Hamilton overtakes his rival Verstappen for the overall lead championship with Mercedes taking the lead in the constructors.
Championship leader Hamilton said “First of all, I want to say a quick congratulations to the Alpine Team and to Esteban – he’s been a shining star for some time now so it’s been a long time coming and I’m really, really happy for him. It’s great to see Aston Martin up there with their best result so far and I know there’s more to come from them. We’ve had an amazing crowd this weekend and I’m grateful for the support.
“Today was definitely tough, it’s crazy to think we were the only ones on the grid at the start, but these things happen in an unpredictable race, and we will learn any lessons that need to be learnt. I gave it everything today and I had nothing left at the end. I came into this weekend not knowing how we would perform and considering the circumstances today, I’ll take P3.”
Since the end of the race Sebastian Vettel has been disqualified for insufficient fuel but the Aston Martin team have appealed the decision.
Formula One will next move to Spa, Belgium with qualifying on Saturday, August 27, with the race taking place on Sunday, August 29, after its summer break.
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) – 192
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull) – 186
- Lando Norris (McLaren) – 113
- Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) – 108
- Sergio Perez (Red Bull) – 104
- Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) – 80
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari) – 80
- Daniel Ricciardo (McLaren) – 50
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri) – 48
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin) – 48
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine) – 39
- Fernando Alonso (Alpine) – 36
- Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) – 18
- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri) – 16
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams) – 4
- George Russel (Williams) – 2
- Kimi Räikkönen (Alfa Romeo) – 1
- Antonio Giovinazzi (Alfa Romeo) – 1
- Mick Schumacher (Haas) – 0
- Nikita Mazepin (Haas) – 0
- Mercedes – 300
- Red Bull – 290
- McLaren – 163
- Ferrari – 160
- Alpine – 75
- Aston Martin – 66
- AlphaTauri – 64
- Williams – 6
- Alfa Romeo – 2
- Haas – 0