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F1: ten talking points from the Hungarian Grand Prix

Race of the season? All the news from the Hungaroring as F1 honours Bianchi

  1. A brilliant tribute to Jules Bianchi

    Now that’s a grand prix.

    After a moving ceremony at the front of the grid to honour the late Marussia driver, Hungary produced a stunning race that did everything possible to live up to the occasion.

    A weekend of reflection clearly had an effect on motorsport’s finest, as time and again the drivers went wheel-to-wheel on a track that doesn’t usually lend itself to overtaking manoeuvres.

    Daniel Ricciardo summed it up afterwards, saying: “This race was for Jules. I left everything on the track, whether some competitors like it or not, that is how I wanted to do it. That is how I will always do it.

    “Watching Jules grow up, that was how he did it. He had amazing racecraft and made some pretty impressive lunges.”

    Thanks for the race, Jules.

  2. Vettel now has as many wins as Ayrton Senna

    There was a time when the thought of watching Sebastian Vettel lead from the first corner to the last would have made even the most dedicated F1 fan shudder. Not now though.

    Along with his teammate, the German cruised past both Mercedes at the start to take the lead on the first lap, never looking back as Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg endured comparatively miserable afternoons.

    Vettel’s victory – which would have been a Ferrari one-two had Kimi Raikkonen not suffered an MGU-K failure – takes him level with Ayrton Senna on 41 grand prix wins. Only Alain Prost (51) and Michael Schumacher (91) have more.

    Ferrari boss Maurizio Arrivabene found an odd way to describe his emotions after the race, concluding: “I’m Italian but I don’t like spaghetti. I prefer pizza all’arrabbiata. That means ‘angry pizza’, and this is my favourite plate.”

    Obviously.

  3. There were surprises throughout the gird

    Not least on the podium, which didn’t feature a Mercedes driver for the first time in the hybrid era.

    Remarkably, the winning Ferrari was joined by the two Red Bulls in the top three, despite the team’s well-documented struggles with their Renault power unit this season.

    The narrow, twisty track was almost tailor-made for Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo, the latter of whom could well have snatched the win in the final part of the race had he not collided with Nico Rosberg with five laps to go.

    There was reason to cheer for McLaren-Honda as well, who recorded an impressive double points finish for the first time this year. Jenson Button completed a steady race to come home in ninth, while Fernando Alonso made the most of the chaos to finish in an “unbelievable” fifth place.

    And we mustn’t forget fourth placed Max Verstappen, who is…

  4. ...currently preparing for his driving test

    You read that correctly.

    The 17-year-old, who recorded his best finish to date in Hungary, will use the summer break to get ready for his practical exam in September. Verstappen reportedly scored 47 out of 50 in his theory test earlier in the year.

    “With the F1 schedule it has been difficult to fit everything in so I’ve had to wait for the break,” said Max. “You need a minimum six or seven hours driving under the laws in Belgium where I live – and I hope that’s all I need. We’ll see.”

    As the Dutchman is already quite adept in a 200mph racer, you’d assume he’d have no trouble with a three-point turn and backing round a corner…

  5. Mercedes struggle when they’re not at the front

    After locking out the front row in qualifying, it had looked as though the Hungarian GP would be another forgone conclusion. It wasn’t though, as both Mercs were overtaken immediately for the second race in succession.

    A mistake from Lewis Hamilton dropped him to tenth on the first lap, while Nico Rosberg was powerless to challenge the Ferraris for the lead until his puncture on lap 64.

    Hamilton briefly looked like he could rescue his afternoon, but a damaging collision with Daniel Ricciardo and subsequent drive-through penalty ended his hopes of a podium finish.

    “I was all over the place,” said a baffled Lewis afterwards. “I really don’t have any words to describe what happened. It was a really bad performance from me. I pushed right to the end but there were so many obstacles.”

    It’s evident that the W06 is much weaker when running behind traffic, while the Mercs’ “under-performing” clutch is consistently making them vulnerable off the line. That might not be such a bad thing if it gives us more races like this…

  6. Hungaroring is a bit of a car breaker

    No wonder some drivers aren’t that keen on it being on the F1 calendar.

    The bumpy surface is suspected of causing several accidents over the weekend, most notably the monster involving Nico Hulkenberg, who careered into the tyre wall on Turn 1 after his front wing collapsed underneath his Force India.

    His teammate Sergio Perez – who himself had a big crash after a rear suspension failure in free practice on Friday – was later told to retire from the race, although it’s not clear if this was a precaution to avoid a similar incident.

    Kimi Raikkonen also fell foul of the uneven surface, telling his team that part of his front wing had broken on lap 19. It wasn’t until watching a slow-motion replay that Ferrari were able to establish that the chunk of debris was in fact a camera that had come unstuck from the car’s nose.

  7. Williams really don’t like corners

    Three weeks on from their impressive showing at Silverstone, the Grove outfit had been aiming to build some momentum before the month-long summer break.

    That was always going to be difficult at Hungaroring, though, and so it proved as Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa qualified sixth and eighth before finishing outside of the points on race day.

    The Brazilian said that “the pace was really, really bad and I don’t know why,” while his teammate was equally at a loss to explain their lack of performance.

    With a car set up to do well on long straights and fast corners, it came as no great surprise that they delivered their worst race of the season bar Monaco; the slowest and bendiest track of the lot. Expect them to fare better in the next grand prix at Spa.

  8. Race control must have been exhausted

    We’ve not had official confirmation, but we reckon Hungary must have set some kind of record for the number of penalties handed out in one race.

    The stewards had to investigate 11 incidents in total, with nine penalties handed out over the course of the grand prix.

    The first incident came after Felipe Massa failed to line up on the grid correctly, resulting in a second formation lap, and stewards had to react quickly to debris on the straight by directing the safety car through the pit lane after Hulkenberg’s crash on lap 43.

    Romain Grosjean, Lewis Hamilton, Daniil Kvyat and Max Verstappen all had points added to their super licences, as did a certain Venezuelan…

  9. Maldonado had a very bad day at the office

    Oh Pastor.

    The Lotus driver – whose form has actually been fairly reasonable of late – had a dire weekend which saw him pick up two drive-throughs and a 10 second penalty on his way to finishing 14th in Hungary.

    He was deemed to have caused a collision with Sergio Perez on lap 19, and was later punished for speeding in the pit lane and overtaking under safety car conditions.

    Oddly, Maldonado Bingo players could only have scored a total of 30 points this week for his numerous investigations. His contact with Perez didn’t force the Mexican to pit straight away, so no points there, and the judging panel decided that speeding in the pit lane didn’t constitute the big-scoring ‘losing control in pit lane’.

  10. Fernando Alonso deserved to carry on in qualifying

    With McLaren-Honda looking to improve again over the weekend, the former world champion found himself pushing hard… in more ways than one.

    After making it through the first part of quali, the Spaniard’s MP4-30 lost power, rolling to a stop just outside the pit entry lane during Q2.

    Heroically, Alonso climbed out and began to push the stricken McLaren back to the garage in the hope of fixing the problem in time to do another lap.

    But despite help from several marshals, the Spaniard later explained that he was “not allowed to compete again after the car doesn’t arrive by itself into the garage.

    “So when I knew the rules I thought: ‘Why did I push so hard?’”

    Worth a go, Fernando.

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