Alpine’s Esteban Ocon has claimed his maiden Formula 1 victory in what was, without doubt, one of the most thrilling Hungarian Grands Prix of all time, ahead of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel – while Lewis Hamilton recovered from being last at one point to claim P3, as Max Verstappen could only take 10th after Lap 1 contact in a crash that triggered a red flag.
A wild and wet start to the Hungarian Grand Prix saw five drivers eliminated on the first lap, as Valtteri Bottas locked up and wiped out Lando Norris and Sergio Perez – as well as hitting Verstappen – while Lance Stroll also locked up and hit Charles Leclerc, who spun around Daniel Ricciardo, with Bottas, Perez, Norris, Stroll and Leclerc all forced into retirement as the race was red-flagged.
Polesitter Hamilton had made it through unscathed, but Mercedes misjudged track conditions at the race restart, keeping Hamilton out for the standing start on intermediates as the entire rest of the field pitted for mediums, Hamilton was forced to pit a lap later and dropping to the back of the pack.
That allowed Ocon to take a lead that he’d hold for almost all the 70 laps at the Hungaroring, holding off the race-long advances of Vettel to take his first single-seater win since 2015, as Vettel secured his second P2 of the season after a fine drive.
A fantastic comeback from Hamilton saw him make what was effectively a two-stop race work to recover from P14 to third by the chequered flag, while Verstappen could only take P10, with damage from that Lap 1 collision hobbling his recovery, and allowing Hamilton to take the lead in the title race heading into the summer break.
Carlos Sainz had held P3 for much of the race but was forced to succumb to Hamilton three laps from the end, as he took fourth for Ferrari, ahead of Fernando Alonso in P5 to cap an incredible day for Alpine.
Pierre Gasly was sixth for AlphaTauri, ahead of teammate Yuki Tsunoda – while in a day of heart-warming stories, Williams claimed their first points since the 2019 German Grand Prix, Nicholas Latifi having enjoyed an awesome Lap 1 before taking P8 ahead of George Russell in P9, with Verstappen rounding out the order, at the end of one of the most epic Grands Prix in recent memory.
Mario Isola – Head of F1 and car racing at Pirelli commented:
Even before the race start, it was hard to make any predictions, so the race began as a complete step into the unknown today, with the drivers having no reference point for the conditions they faced this afternoon. The amount of water meant that the intermediates were the clear choice to originally start the race with, but with the track drying rapidly following the red flag delay, it effectively became a dry race after the re-start.
If we just consider this as the ‘real’ race, some drivers selected a medium-hard one-stopper while others like Hamilton and Verstappen – who were running out of position due to the unusual race circumstances – went for a two-stop ‘sprint’ strategy. Congratulations to Esteban Ocon and Alpine for their first win.
2021 Formula 1 Hungarian GP Race Results
|1.||31||Esteban Ocon||France||Alpine F1 Team||2:04:43.199||25||39|
|2.||5||Sebastian Vettel||Germany||Aston Martin F1 Team||+1.859s||18||48|
|3.||44||Lewis Hamilton||Great Britain||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||+2.736s||15||192|
|4.||55||Carlos Sainz||Spain||Scuderia Ferrari||+15.018s||12||80|
|5.||14||Fernando Alonso||Spain||Alpine F1 Team||+15.651s||10||36|
|6.||10||Pierre Gasly||France||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+63.614s||9||48|
|7.||22||Yuki Tsunoda||Japan||Scuderia AlphaTauri||+75.803s||6||16|
|8.||6||Nicholas Latifi||Canada||Williams Racing||+77.910s||4||4|
|9.||63||George Russell||Great Britain||Williams Racing||+79.094s||2||2|
|10.||33||Max Verstappen||Netherlands||Red Bull Racing||+80.244s||1||186|
|11.||7||Kimi Räikkönen||Finland||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+1 lap||0||1|
|12.||3||Daniel Ricciardo||Australia||McLaren Racing||+1 lap||0||50|
|13.||47||Mick Schumacher||Germany||Haas F1 Team||+1 lap||0||0|
|14.||99||Antonio Giovinazzi||Italy||Alfa Romeo F1 Team||+1 lap||0||1|
|15.||9||Nikita Mazepin||Russia||Haas F1 Team||DNF||0||0|
|16.||4||Lando Norris||Great Britain||Mclaren Racing||DNF||0||113|
|17.||77||Valtteri Bottas||Finland||Mercedes-AMG Petronas||DNF||0||108|
|18.||11||Sergio Perez||Mexico||Red Bull Racing Honda||DNF||0||104|
|19.||16||Charles Leclerc||Monaco||Scuderia Ferrari||DNF||0||80|
|20.||18||Lance Stroll||Canada||Aston Martin F1 Team||DNF||0||18|