Alongside the first turn chaos and an unbelievable race, Esteban Ocon captured his first Formula One race win. It was an unexpectedly interesting race that many thought would be boring due to the difficulty to overtake at the Hungaroring. It all began with the first rainy start of the season. We have been teased all year long with rain in the forecast to only be a bright and sunny start. After the lights went out, Lando Norris had a great start from P6. He pushed his way into the front in P3 when he and the field approached the first turn when Valtteri Bottas struck him from behind after his wheels locked up. It caused a chain reaction event where Norris then struck Max Verstappen and Bottas crashed into Sergio Perez. Lance Stroll also had a lock up on the same turn and struck Charles Leclerc who also hit Daniel Ricciardo. Due to the two incidents, five cars were forced to retire from the race and two drivers managed to stay in the race despite severe damage to their cars. The race was red flagged after three laps.
After the restart, the track had dried and during the formation lap all but one driver, Hamilton, went into the pit lane to change their tires from intermediates to slicks. The race started with only Hamilton on the grid and the rest of the drivers starting from the pit lane. Mercedes realized the error of their decision on the next lap and pitted Hamilton for slicks. Which now meant that Esteban Ocon was leading the race. From the back of the pack, Hamilton showed blistering pace moving through the field pretty easily. It was only until he met with fourth place Fernando Alonso where he slowed up his pace. In the subsequent 27 laps, Alonso held Hamilton at bay with some of the best defending seen in the DRS era of F1. It was only until lap 65 when Alonso locked up in turn one where Hamilton took advantage of the mistake and passed him. Hamilton passed Carlos Sainz two laps later but didn’t have enough runway to catch the top two drivers. Ocon owes a lot to his teammate who helped him win his first race.
After the race, there was a bit of controversy when the stewards could not take out the mandatory one litre of fuel from Sebastian Vettel’s car which caused his disqualification from the race. He had to forfeit his P2 result which pushed everyone ahead one position. Hamilton took over the lead in the Drivers Championship. Williams scored double points and are now eighth in the Constructors Championship ahead of the two other bottom teams.
And now… Summer Break
With the end of the Hungarian GP, we have the three week summer break. I thought that this is a great time to ponder some questions as to what’s going to happen ahead of the Belgian GP at Spa-Francorchamps at the end of August.
Will teams make a driver change during the break?
After Valtteri Bottas’ incident at turn one and George Russell’s first points in a Williams, will Mercedes make that change. Bottas did take out both Red Bulls in the crash and helped both Hamilton and Mercedes move ahead of Red Bulls in both championships but he has struggled throughout the year to deliver when everything is there for the taking. Russell on the other hand has done everything to show that he is ready for the seat. He has pulled out everything he can from his Williams car by moving onto Q3 twice this year and finishing in the points for the first time. He is also test driving the Mercedes this week for testing.
How will the battle for the driver’s championship continue after the summer break?
Max Verstappen looked to run away with the Drivers Championship after nearly posting five straight wins going into the British GP. He was on top in qualifying taking the pole and that incident at Copse seemed to derail his progress. He, of course, DNFd that race and at the Hungarian GP he was delegated to the second row after being out-qualified by both Mercedes. He started the race out in front of Bottas in P2 but after the incident at turn one, he suffered serious damage to his barge board and finished the race in P9. In two weekends, Verstappen has only scored 2 points while his rival scored 43 points. Hamilton took advantage of Verstappen being out of the British GP despite being assessed a 10 second penalty to take the victory and if not for Alonso’s incredible driving he may have won his second race in a row. Will Hamilton continue that momentum through the break or will Verstappen use the break to regroup and take back the championship?