Wet track, opening lap crashes, 6 cars out before the race can start, historic battles, and a first-time winner. We could not have asked for more as the Hungarian GP served up a treat of a race. Alpine’s Esteban Ocon claimed his maiden victory in F1 ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.
It was crazy right from lights out with cars colliding and sliding into each other going into turn 1. Valtteri Bottas locked up and shunted Lando Norris, sending Lando into the Red Bull of Max Verstappen. While Valtteri crashed into the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez.
A little behind, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll crashed into the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc. McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo was side slammed by the Ferrari and spun around. All this mess meant a lot of damaged cars and debris around turn 1.
Hamilton managed to get a clean start and was clear of the chaos happening behind him. But a safety car and an eventual red flag saw all the cars return to the pit lane. The race started with all cars using the wet intermediate compounds as the track was wet from rain earlier on in the day.
The result of the chaos was 5 cars out before the restart. Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, McLaren’s Lando Norris, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll.
The Hungarian GP just keeps giving and giving
But the drama was not over yet. At the restart, Hamilton stood alone on the grid as the train of cars behind him all jumped into the pit lane to change to the medium compounds. The sun was out now and Hamilton was on the wrong tyres.
A pit-stop on the lap after the restart meant Hamilton effectively started the race from the last place. Ocon was gifted first place but still had 65 laps of racing to ensure that he took his first victory in F1. At one point it was 1-2 for Alpine before Fernando Alonso
Hamilton flew through the places lap after lap pulling off some amazing overtakes. He was on course to win the race. But he eventually came up against Fernando who was in 4th place now. The battle of the champions went on for a good 9 laps before the Alpine driver yielded. Fernando had a huge hand in Ocon’s win today. Had he not held up the Mercedes, Ocon would have eventually been overtaken by Hamilton.
Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz finished in 4th ahead of Fernando Alonso and the Alpha Tauri pair of Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda. Pierre took an extra point as he set the fastest lap of the race.
But the biggest winners of the day were Williams as both their drivers in the points, their first of the season. Nicholas Latifi and George Russell finished in 8th and 9th respectively.
And Verstappen took 10th place and solitary point after a recovery race for the title challenger. There was extensive damage to his car from the opening lap crash affecting his pace significantly.
After all the controversy at Silverstone in the last race, the Hungarian GP will just add more fuel to the fire. Bottas looked responsible for the chaos at turn 1 but there was not much he could do. There will be investigations and suitable penalties awarded.
But the race was just what the fans would want as F1 takes a one month summer break. Hamilton now leads the driver’s table and Mercedes are on top of the constructor’s table. A huge psychological advantage for the defending champions.