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F1’s capacity to stir the emotions - Reflections on memorable Hungarian GP

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F1’s capacity to stir the emotions - Reflections on memorable Hungarian GP
Jul 26, 2015, 11:39 PM

The Hungarian GP was a perfect illustration of Formula 1’s capacity to stir the emotions in every way.

The Hungarian GP was a perfect illustration of Formula 1’s capacity to stir the emotions in every way. From the touching tribute paid by the drivers before the start to their fallen colleague Jules Bianchi - standing in a circle with their helmets placed together in the middle surrounding Jules’ - through to the thrilling overtakes pulled off by the likes of Daniel Ricciardo and Lewis Hamilton, this was a Grand Prix to remember.

For those who believe in Fate, there could have been no more appropriate outcome for a Grand Prix that was all about honoring Bianchi than for it to provide plenty of top drawer racing action and ultimately a victory for the Ferrari team of which he was becoming an increasingly important part before his untimely death.

Vettel Hungary 2015

Afterwards Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel dedicated his first win in Hungary and his second win of the season to Bianchi, the first F1 driver to die as a result of a racing accident since Ayrton Senna in 1994.

It was fitting on many levels as Vettel’s 41st career win equalled the great Brazilian’s total of F1 victories and puts him equal third in the all time list. He and Hamilton have both been closing on this record for some time; the only drivers to do so since Michael Schumacher. When informed that he'd equalled Senna, Vettel began to well up, but then swallowed hard and contained his emotions admirably. He underlined that the bigger story was that Bianchi had been remembered today. But no doubt when he gets home and thinks about what it means to have equalled Ayrton Senna's win total, for a student of the history of the sport like Vettel it will be a huge thing to come to terms with.

Equally it will irritate Hamilton that Vettel got there before him. Hamilton is three wins short of Senna's tally and has three races to collect those wins in order to have exactly the same win to starts ratio as his idol.

This was a drive of quality from Vettel, built on a stunning start which saw him and team mate Kimi Raikkonen come through to lead the Mercedes, which blew a front row grid lockout for the second race in succession.

Once Vettel hits the front it’s hard to shake him off the trail. He built a race winning lead in the first half of the race, extended his first stint on the soft tyres to 21 laps and was set fair until the Safety Car at three quarter distance closed the field up and then his wingman Raikkonen’s car let him down. Both events allowed Nico Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo the chance to attack him for the win.

Then Vettel's bad luck turned to good. A series of events unfolded to take the heat off Vettel again. Mercedes had rushed Rosberg’s stop under the Virtual Safety Car and fitted the set of tyres that was ready to go; medium tyres he had been calling for to for the final stint to cover Hamilton’s stint on the same tyre.

He should have gone for softs. That would have given him better pace for the final 22 racing laps, faster tyres for the final dash to the flag after the Safety Car. It would have meant that Rosberg was attacking Vettel rather than defending from Ricciardo and he would therefore have avoided the collision with the Australian that ensued between them and which punctured Rosberg’s tyres.

Instead of 4 points, Rosberg could have had 25 and that would have meant being just ahead of Hamilton on points at the half way stage of the season.

Vettel rode his luck and claimed a well deserved victory.

Raikkonen

Under pressure Raikkonen drove well enough, but went home empty handed as the MGU-K component of the hybrid system failed him. Afterwards Vettel supported his team mate once again and said that the Finn’s performance showed what “bull***t” it was to talk about him losing his seat.

Everyone wanted to know from Ferrari team boss Maurizio Arrivabene whether this had been the drive to save Kimi’s career, but he wasn’t telling. He said he is in no hurry and that’s true; he can take his time as his two alternative candidates Valtteri Bottas and Nico Hulkenberg won’t be going anywhere fast if there’s the chance of a Ferrari drive in the Autumn.

Hamilton, Bottas

Lewis Hamilton had a bad day at the office but still extended his points lead over Nico Rosberg to 21 as F1 reaches the half way stage in a season that has been lit up by the last two dramatic races at Silverstone and Budapest.

He was dejected after the race and apologised to the team for aeries of mistakes, including a drive through penalty, which meant that he finished 6th. It is hard to imagine a greater contrast from the driver who bounded into the Press Conference room on Saturday after qualifying. This in itself was odd as Hamilton normally keeps his joy in check over pole position, considering the job to be far from done.

So two excellent races in succession, after the thriller at Silverstone, sends F1 into the summer break with more confidence in itself as a show and a sporting spectacle than at any stage since the wave of negativity was launched.

The championship is still Hamilton's to lose, but it was good to see some new characters on the podium and to see plenty of variability in the race and its outcome.

The second half of the season should feature more of the same, especially with a random element coming into the start procedures, which will make things less uniform (although Mercedes have been less than uniform in the last two races). It shows that Mercedes is not as dominant as it seems. They have the advantage of the fastest car in qualifying which invariably gives them track position at the start.

But when that is lost, as it was in Hungary, they are certainly beatable.

How did you rate the Hungarian GP? Leave your comment below

Jules Bianchi tribute

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