Race Check-Up: Drama 2.0A refreshing podium after 69 laps of high-voltage drama is what the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest delivered. So what was the plot of this exhilarating play?
On a sunny day in Budapest, four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel took his second win of the season and the 41st victory of his career at the Hungaroring. The Ferrari driver took his maiden win at this circuit equaling Ayrton Senna’s record of total victories, trailing behind Alain Prost who has 51 victories to his career and Michael Schumacher, who has an impressive total of 91. Dedicating the win to former Ferrari Driver Academy protégé Jules Bianchi, the German spoke in French on the radio on his way to Parc Ferme: “Merci, Jules. Cette victoire est pour toi” (Thank you, Jules. This victory is for you).”
Vettel was followed by Red Bull driver Daniil Kyvatt, who took his maiden podium and became the second-youngest racer to ever be on the podium. Daniel Ricciardo finished third and was caught up in several incidents throughout the race. It is the first time in the era of V6 engines in Formula 1 that there was a podium without a Mercedes driver on it.
Mercedes: no podium for the first time in 3 years
The Brackley-based team had a front-row lockout in qualifying, however, the 69 laps of the race changed their fortunes. Pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton made a bad start, running off the tarmac and causing a collision with Daniel Ricciardo. After dropping to fourth after the start he ran wide again at the chicane in the first lap dropping him to tenth. He lost the lead to Vettel in the first lap itself and with 20 laps to go into the race he was a handed drive-through penalty that dropped him to 12th. However, the Mercedes double champion managed making it up to sixth.
Now addicted to dramatic changes, fans can’t wait for Formula 1 to return to Spa.
Nico Rosberg was running second and had an incident towards the last few laps of the race while battling it with Daniel Ricciardo. He made contact with Ricciardo’s car – his left tyre clipped the nose of the Red Bull car costing him a left tyre puncture and dropping him down the grid. Both drivers pit after the incident, but Rosberg lost many places making him finish eighth in the race.
Ferrari: Vettel wins and Kimi retires
Vettel who kept his calm and managed winning for the first time on the Hungarian circuit, and the win plunged him back into the championship standings ahead of Valterri Bottas. The German now trails behind Nico Rosberg in the third position. His teammate Kimi Raikkonen had a pretty painful Grand Prix though – the Finn had jumped into second from fifth at the start and was trailing comfortably behind his teammate for the majority of the race. With 28 laps to go Kimi had to pit due to a problem with the MGUK unit of his car, which pushed him down to the grid in second last. After a failed attempt in fixing it, the problem led to further technical issues and the team decided to retire his car. This is Raikkonen’s third retirement in the season and he is 86 points behind his teammate in the standings. However, with his future in Ferrari becoming a point of concern, one can only hope the Finn can bounce back after the summer break.
Red Bull Racing: Bulls unbolted
For the Milton Keynes-based outfit, this double-podium finish was just what they needed to reassure the audience that they were still in the game. Daniil Kyvatt drove a flawless race and won his maiden podium. However, teammate Daniel Ricciardo had an edge above him for the majority of the race, but got caught up in a few incidents during the race. Nevertheless, a team strategy to give Ricciardo a fresh set of soft tyres for the final stages of the race enabled him to close in on the gap to seal the third spot.
McLaren: Double-points finish and a boosted morale
McLaren, who had their worst year in Formula 1 history – both their World Champion drivers were at the bottom of the grid after most races – their current finish has been a true confidence booster. Fernando Alonso always had a reputation of outdriving a car, and he managed the best finish of the year by finishing at an unbelievable fifth place followed by teammate Jenson Button in ninth. In an incident-filled GP, a result like this was just what the Woking-based outfit needed to bail them from their struggles.
Force India: Double retirements
With teams boasting of double-point finishes or double podiums, the Silverstone-based team had a bad day with both their drivers retiring. Nico Hulkenberg retired due to the collision with Hamilton at the start of the race. After the horrific crash in the practice session, Sergio Perez’s car had suffered suspension damage that was rectified in time for the race. However, Perez had an entertaining race until he made contact with Pastor Maldonado and damaged the right side of his car, leading to a further problem with the brake pedal resulting in the car being retired at lap 49. Both drivers started the race at 11th and 13th positions on the grid. This is the second Hungarian GP where the team has had to retire both cars, as last year both the drivers had crashed into each other at the start.
As thrilling as it was, the Hungaroring delivered a much-needed entertainment session before Formula 1 takes a three-week summer break. Currently Hamilton leads the drivers’ standings with 202 points, which is 21 points ahead of teammate Nico Rosberg. Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel is back into the race for the title as he trails by another 21 points in third place with a total of 160 points. Mercedes leads the pack of constructors with a total of 383 points, followed by Ferrari with 236 points and Williams with 151. Now addicted to dramatic changes, fans can’t wait for Formula 1 to return to Spa-Francorchamps for the Belgian GP on the 23rd of August.
Check out more spectacular shots from Hungary by our very own James Moy here