Hungarian GP: Vettel wins wild race, Mercedes hit trouble

Sebastian Vettel led almost every lap of the Hungarian Grand Prix for Ferrari, but all the action was behind him as both Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg suffered incident-packed races to finish sixth and eighth respectively.

Hamilton suffered a first-lap excursion after almost hitting the rear of Rosberg, but his collision with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo later in the race not only cost his front wing but also earned a drive-through penalty.

But Rosberg would also clash with Ricciardo in the closing laps, and lost a huge amount of time cruising back to the pits for a new tyre.

Daniil Kvyat inherited second place, his first-ever Grand Prix podium, while Ricciardo recovered to third.

Story of the race

From pole position, Hamilton bogged down away from the startline, and although Rosberg briefly led, it was Vettel who came steaming down the outside and swept past them all into the lead.

Vettel ran wide at Turn 1, but held on. Rosberg was initially second, but ran wide at Turn 2, allowing Raikkonen to make it a Ferrari 1-2.

Hamilton then appeared to outbrake himself into the chicane, although he claimed Rosberg “crossed his line”, locked up and ploughed through the gravel trap. He rejoined down in 10th.

Behind them, Daniel Ricciardo made a poor start, and was passed by Valtteri Bottas. They made solid contact on the exit of Turn 1, Ricciardo briefly jumping into the air and dropping back to seventh.

Ricciardo complained that Red Bull teammate Kvyat (who had a flat-spotted tyre) was holding him up, although the Russian claimed it was only because he was “stuck behind [Nico] Hulkenberg”.

Vettel pulled clear of Raikkonen by 2s by lap six, with Rosberg another 2.4s back. Bottas was a distant fourth, ahead of the battling Hulkenberg and Kvyat.

Ricciardo passed Kvyat on the straight before Turn 4 on lap eight. Kvyat only let him through after swearing at the team on the radio that he still had DRS on Hulkenberg.

Ricciardo dived past Hulkenberg for fourth at Turn 1 on lap 10, and seconds later Hamilton passed Massa at the same place, but not without contact on the exit.

Ricciardo lunged past Bottas from a long way back at Turn 1, as Hamilton continued his charge, towing up to Sergio Perez – who had taken great advantage of the first-lap dramas to run eighth from 13th. Hamilton DRS-ed past Perez on lap 13 to take eighth.

Bottas pitted for softs on lap 14, while Kvyat stopped for fresh mediums, and Hulkenberg pitted for softs on lap 16. The leaders stayed out longer on their softs, with Vettel leading Raikkonen by over 3s. Rosberg slipped back by 7s, with Hamilton in fifth catching Ricciardo.

Bottas rejoined sixth, ahead of Hulkenberg and Kvyat.

Hamilton pitted on lap 20, with a slightly tardy stop, rejoining just ahead of Bottas, who he stayed ahead of by squeezing on the kerbs at Turn 1.

Hamilton ran the softs on his second stint, whereas Rosberg switched to the mediums on the next lap.

Vettel pitted from the lead on lap 22 with a 3.2s stop, with Ricciardo also stopping for fresh mediums and staying ahead of Hamilton.

Hamilton was unable to pass Ricciardo, despite his tyre advantage, and ran very wide at Turn 11 on lap 25.

Raikkonen led for a lap before his first stop, the team electing not to change his front wing despite the camera pod falling off his car on the opening stint. He rejoined in second, 5.6s down, but Rosberg was even further behind – 9.6s.

Hamilton DRS-ed passed Ricciardo into Turn 1 on lap 29 to take fourth, but was 16s behind Rosberg.

Hamilton lapped up to 1.7s per lap faster than Rosberg on his soft tyres, slashing into his advantage.

Raikkonen complained of a loss of power and an “odd sound in the car” on lap 40, and dropped back over 10s behind Vettel. He was told it was a problem with the MGU-K.

Hulkenberg crashes out

A virtual safety car was required as seventh-placed Hulkenberg crashed out at Turn 1 following a front-wing failure. Both Rosberg and Hamilton pitted straight away, with Vettel and Raikkonen a lap later.

Then the safety car replaced the VSC, eradicating Ferrari’s advantage at the head of the field. It picked up Vettel leading, the hamstrung Raikkonen second, and then the two Mercedes.

Mercedes believed Ferrari would have a pace problem on the medium tyre, while Ricciardo was able to switch to the set of new soft tyres he’d saved from Q1 yesterday.

Rosberg passed Raikkonen at Turn 1, but Hamilton and Ricciardo collided behind them, both sustaining damage. Then Bottas suffered a right-rear puncture after a hit from Max Verstappen as he tripped over the battling Hamilton and Ricciardo at Turn 5.

Vettel led Rosberg, Raikkonen, Ricciardo and Kvyat. Hamilton fell to sixth, ahead of Verstappen. Ricciardo picked off Raikkonen for third, despite damage to his sidepod.

Hamilton was forced to pit for a new front wing, dropping him to 13th – which was compounded by a drive-through penalty.

Vettel had the pace to keep Rosberg at bay, while Raikkonen was forced to make a lengthy pitstop in an attempt to reset his hybrid system, which still didn’t work and he retired.

Behind them, Ricciardo recovered his poise and caught Rosberg as the laps unwound, as Kvyat caught his teammate.

More late drama

Ricciardo had a huge lunge at Rosberg at Turn 1 with five laps to go, and clipped his left-rear tyre on the exit, breaking his front wing and puncturing Rosberg’s tyre.

Kvyat was elevated to second, with Ricciardo keeping third despite stopping to change his front wing. Kvyat was given a 10s post-race time penalty for passing Hamilton while off the track, but finished 10s clear of his teammate, which nullified its effect.

Verstappen finished fourth, despite a drive-through for speeding under the virtual safety car. Teammate Sainz had been right behind him, but his pace dropped markedly in the closing stages and he was forced out, allowing McLaren's Fernando Alonso – who had earlier been delayed by a puncture – up to sixth.

Hamilton bounced back from his delays, and surged back to sixth from 13th.

Rosberg rejoined in ninth and picked off Jenson Button to finish eighth just behind Romain Grosjean.

Marcus Ericsson scored a point for Sauber, finishing ahead of teammate Felipe Nasr.

Massa finished 12th after taking a 5s penalty for lining up short of his starting spot on the grid which caused an aborted start.

Pastor Maldonado was given a litany of penalties, including ones for speeding in the pits and overtaking under the safety car. He was 13th, ahead of the delayed Bottas.

F1 - Hungarian GP
 DriverTeamTimePts
01   Sebastian Vettel   Ferrari 69 laps 25
02   Daniil Kvyat   Red Bull +15.7 18
03   Daniel Ricciardo   Red Bull +25.0 15
04   Max Verstappen   Toro Rosso +44.2 12
05   Fernando Alonso   McLaren +49.0 10
06   Lewis Hamilton   Mercedes +52.0 8
07   Romain Grosjean   Lotus +58.5 6
08   Nico Rosberg   Mercedes +58.8 4
09   Jenson Button   McLaren +67.0 2
10   Marcus Ericsson   Sauber +69.1 1
11   Felipe Nasr   Sauber +73.4  
12   Felipe Massa   Williams +74.2  
13   Valtteri Bottas   Williams +80.2  
14   Pastor Maldonado   Lotus +85.1  
15   Roberto Merhi   Manor + 2 laps  
    Will Stevens   Manor DNF  
    Carlos Sainz   Toro Rosso DNF  
    Kimi Raikkonen   Ferrari DNF  
    Sergio Perez   Force India DNF  
    Nico Hulkenberg   Force India DNF  

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Event Hungarian GP
Track Hungaroring
Drivers Lewis Hamilton , Sebastian Vettel , Daniel Ricciardo , Daniil Kvyat
Article type Race report