Vettel wins chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel dominated a chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix to take his second victory of the season.

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton asserted his authority on qualifying, taking pole by over half a second from Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.

But Vettel got the jump on both of the Silver Arrows at the start of the race, vaulting from third to claim the lead by the first corner. Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari followed through to second, dropping Rosberg down to third and Hamilton to fourth.

Hamilton compounded his troubles, running wide and clattering through the gravel at the chicane part way round the first lap. He tumbled down to tenth place but set about working his way through the field back to fourth.

Meanwhile, the Ferraris held a clear advantage at the front, as Rosberg was unable to find an answer to their pace. It wasn’t to last for Raikkonen though, a problem with his car’s hybrid system dropping him down the order and ultimately into retirement.

Then the front wing shattered on Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India and turned the race on its head. Several drivers pitted during the resulting safety car period, among them Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

The Australian rejoined in fifth, ahead of Hamilton. When the race resumed, the pair battled into the first corner, but Hamilton locked up and clouted the Red Bull, damaging both cars. A front wing change and a drive-through penalty for causing the collision dropped Hamilton down to 12th. After apologising to his team over the radio, he got his head down and scythed through the field.

Ricciardo’s involvement with Mercedes wasn’t over. Just four laps from the end he lunged up the inside of Rosberg at Turn 1, locking his brakes and running wide. Rosberg cut back to the inside, but drifted towards Ricciardo, smiting the Red Bull’s front wing and puncturing his own rear tyre. Rosberg was able to limp back to the pits for a new set of covers, but fell down the order.

Vettel was well clear at the front, though, and took a comfortable victory – his 41st, equalling the tally of his hero, Ayrton Senna. Behind him there were a few surprises, drivers who had avoided all the drama and quietly risen through the order.

Red Bull pilot Daniil Kvyat took second, his best finish in F1 to date and the best for a Russian driver, despite incurring a ten second penalty for exceeding track limits. Ricciardo recovered from his travails to finish third, while 17-year old Max Verstappen had his best finish, taking fourth for Toro Rosso.

Fernando Alonso went almost unnoticed on his way to fifth, a remarkable result for the troubled McLaren Honda. Hamilton climbed up to sixth, crucially in front of Rosberg who took eighth behind the Lotus of Romain Grosjean.

Jenson Button secured McLaren’s first double points finish of the season in ninth and Marcus Ericsson took a valuable point for Sauber in tenth.

Vettel dedicated his win to Jules Bianchi, who died ten days earlier as a result of head injuries sustained in a crash at the Japanese Grand Prix last year. After crossing the line, he said in French over the radio: “Merci, Jules. Cette victoire est pour toi.” (Thank you Jules. This victory is for you.)

Vettel was among the many drivers, past and present, who attended Jules’ funeral on the Tuesday before the race. A minute’s silence was held before the start; Jules’ family was in attendance and uppermost in everyone’s thoughts.

By finishing ahead of Rosberg, Hamilton has extended his advantage at the top of the championship standings. He holds a 21 point lead as the whole of F1 closes down for a short summer break.

The season resumes at the fearsome Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium on 23 August.

Hungarian Grand Prix results after 69 laps

  1. Sebastian Vettel — Ferrari — 1:46:09.985
  2. Daniil Kvyat — Red Bull-Renault — +15.748
  3. Daniel Ricciardo — Red Bull-Renault — +25.084
  4. Max Verstappen — Toro Rosso-Renault — +44.251
  5. Fernando Alonso — McLaren-Honda — +49.079
  6. Lewis Hamilton — Mercedes — +52.025
  7. Romain Grosjean — Lotus-Mercedes — +58.578
  8. Nico Rosberg — Mercedes — +58.876
  9. Jenson Button — McLaren-Honda — +1:07.028
  10. Marcus Ericsson — Sauber-Ferrari — +1:09.130
  11. Felipe Nasr — Sauber-Ferrari — +1:13.458
  12. Felipe Massa — Williams-Mercedes — +1:14.278
  13. Valtteri Bottas — Williams-Mercedes — +1:20.228
  14. Pastor Maldonado — Lotus-Mercedes — +1:25.142
  15. Roberto Merhi — Marussia-Ferrari — +2 laps
  16. Will Stevens — Marussia-Ferrari — DNF (suspension)
  17. Carlos Sainz Jr. — Toro Rosso-Renault — DNF (fuel pressure)
  18. Kimi Raikkonen — Ferrari — DNF (power unit)
  19. Sergio Perez — Force India-Mercedes — DNF (brakes)
  20. Nico Hulkenberg — Force India-Mercedes — DNF (front wing)

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By Only Motors

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