The teams came into the last race before the summer break with Sebastian Vettel leading the championship by one point for Ferrari over Lewis Hamilton. After a poor race at the British Grand Prix, both Ferrari drivers would be looking to step up in Hungary. This seemed very possible. Hungary is sometimes described as Monaco without the barriers. If we take this into account, Ferrari were able to get a 1-2 finish at Monaco. So there was a possibility for the same to occur this weekend.
The Ferraris showed brilliant pace in qualifying; and were able to lock out the front row of the grid with Vettel on pole position. Then Bottas and Hamilton followed in 3rd and 4th for Mercedes. Sainz put in a decent performance to put his Toro Rosso in 10th, his teammate Kvyat was in 13th. The Haas cars of Grosjean and Magnussen were 15th and 16th. Then Wehrlein was 18th with Ericsson at the back starting 20th and last. Paul Di Resta was called in to replace Felipe Massa for Williams due to illness. With no prior experience of the 2017 car, he qualified 19th which was a fabulous result for the Scottish driver who hadn’t driven a race since Brazil in 2013.
The lights went out on Sunday and the Ferraris defended their position into turn 1. There was drama further down the field however as Hulkenberg pushed Grosjean off the track. He was not penalised but Magnussen defended his teammate by saying “If you can do what Hulkenberg just did to Romain (Grosjean), this is going to be a dirty race.” There was more drama into turn 2, as the Red Bull cars collided leaving Vertsappen unscathed. Riccardo wasn’t so lucky. He received a puncture and had a spin at turn 3. He retired as his radiator spilled fluid onto the track. Luckily, no one collided with his car. This collision brought out the safety car. At this point Vettel led from Räikönnen in second, Bottas was in third. Sainz got a great start and got up to sixth. Kvyat was in forteenth. Magnussen was ahead of Kvyat in thirteenth and Grosjean 16th.
The Saubers were eighteenth and nineteenth as they made a pit stop under safety car conditions. The race restarted on lap five. Soon after Vertsappen got a penalty for the collision with Riccardo. There wasn’t much action in the next few phases of the race. Vettel and Räikönnen had a five second lead over Bottas by lap thirteen. By lap 21, the order was Vettel and Räikönnen fist and second. Bottas still in third. Sainz in sixth, Magnussen thirteenth and Kvyat in fourteenth. The Saubers were still running in 18th and 19th. Grosjean was running 16th until he made a pit stop. However, the wheel-nut didn’t go on the car properly. This meant that Grosjean had to stop the car and retire. Haas would be investigated for an unsafe release after the race.
On lap twenty five, Vettel reported a steering issue to his engineer, proving that the race win would be difficult for him. The car was pulling to the right meaning he had to steer left slightly down the straights. Vettel’s steering issues meant that he was slower and Räikönnen was closing. This put Kimi in a difficult position. He couldn’t get too close to his teammate otherwise the car would overheat. However, he couldn’t drop to far back as Bottas in the Mercedes would catch him. Then on lap thirty two, Vettel stopped. This put Räikönnen into the lead. However he stopped a lap later much to his dismay. He told the team over the radio that he could have gone longer before stopping. On lap thirty six both Sainz and Alonso who were racing each other stopped. Sainz came out ahead but a lap later, Alonso made it past his fellow countryman. Vettel retook the lead on lap forty two as Verstappen pitted and came out in fifth.
It was on lap forty six that Mercedes started to pressurise the Ferraris. Bottas let Hamilton through and Hamilton started to catch the Ferraris. Bottas however only let Hamilton through on the basis that Hamilton would let him back through if he couldn’t overtake the Ferraris. With ten laps to go, Hamilton was within DRS range of Räikönnen who was still being held up by his teammate. Vettel led with Räikönnen second and Hamilton close behind. Sainz was seventh and Magnussen eleventh. Kvyat was twelfth and the Saubers were 16th and 17th. Paul Di Resta sadly had to retire due to a car failure. He had raced brilliantly for his first time back and I hope he’ll be able to drive again in F1 competitively. Magnussen and Hulkenberg had an incident as well on lap sixty five. Magnussen didn’t get a penalty but he and Hulkenberg weren’t happy with each other after the race!
By lap sixty five, Hamilton was dropping off the pace of the Ferraris. A Ferrari 1-2, like at Monaco, was on the cards. By the checkered flag, Vettel had won, with his teammate coming home in second for his 8th podium at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton stayed true to his word and let Valtteri Bottas through to take third place. Sainz was seventh. Magnussen narrowly missed out on points by finishing eleventh. Kvyat was twelfth. And Wehrlein and Ericsson finished fithteenth and sixteenth for Sauber.
Congratulations to Sebastian Vettel who fought a car issue but was able to win on his fiftieth race start for Ferrari. Räikönnen got driver of the day after showing amazing pace. He was also able to fend off Lewis Hamilton. Fernando Alonso outperformed the McLaren brilliantly, setting the fastest lap and getting some good points to put McLaren Honda ahead of Sauber in the Constructors Championship. Vandoorne also scored his first point of 2017. A brilliant performance also from Paul Di Resta who until qualifying hadn’t driven the Williams at all. He was able to qualify ahead of Marcus Ericsson and he nearly finished the race. As he hadn’t driven an F1 car in a race since 2013, that’s a very good effort.
Now, we head into the summer break with Sebastian Vettel leading the championship by fourteen points over Lewis Hamilton. Kimi Räikönnen is fith place and is only one point behind Daniel Riccardo in fourth. Sainz is in ninth for Toro Rosso, ten points behind Ocon in eighth. Grosjean is in thirteenth but he is on the same amount of points as Stroll in twelfth. Magnussen is fourteenth. He is seven points behind his teammate (Grosjean.) Wehrlein is 16th for Sauber. He is five points behind Alonso. Kvyat is 17th for Toro Rosso and is one point down on Wehrlein. Then Ericsson is 20th. He hasn’t scored a championship point yet. Ferrari are second in the Constructors Championship. They’re thirty nine points behind Mercedes. Toro Rosso are 6th and they are two points behind Williams. Haas are ten points behind Toro Rosso in seventh. Sauber are now tenth and they are six points behind McLaren Honda. The next race is taking place at the famous Spa Francorchamps circuit in Belgium. Let’s hope that Ferrari can try to overtake Mercedes in the constructors in the second half of the season.
*Author: Cameron Matthews