Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix 2017

Vettel Wins 2017 Hungarian GP

Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari will have a very happy holiday after finishing the Hungarian Grand Prix 1 – 2 with Vettel leading Kimi Raikkonen home despite suffering from steering issues since lap six, to extend his world championship lead to 14 points over title rival Lewis Hamilton going into the mid season break.

The Ferrari’s got away cleanly with pole sitter, Vettel exiting turn 1 in the lead, Max Verstappen made a stonking start to be challenging for third place with Valtteri Bottas pushing the Dutchman wide, meanwhile his Red Bull team mate, Daniel Ricciardo got better drive out of turn 1 to move ahead of both Lewis Hamilton, who made a poor start and Verstappen, who ended up colliding with Ricciardo in turn 2.

The stewards decided that it was squarely Verstappen’s fault handing him a 10-second time penalty which he served in his one and only pit stop. I agree with the stewards, Verstappen was super ambitious entering turn 2 way too fast, understeering into his team mate, damaging the Australians hydraulic system, spraying hydraulic fluid all over his wheels, sending him into a spin and out of the race.

The Red Bull incident brought out the safety car to clear Ricciardo’s car and clean up the fluid spill. During the lap 6 restart, Hamilton got a run on Verstappen into turn 1, only to be rebuffed by the 18-year-old, Hamilton tried again into turn 2 and again faced a robust defense to maintain the status quo. Unfortunately for Hamilton, that was the only overtaking attempt he managed to make on the Dutchman.

Verstappen led the race for nine laps after the Ferrari’s and Bottas made their tire stops. However, when the Dutchman finally pitted on lap 43, he fell back to fifth place behind the Ferrari and Mercedes duos.

Ferrari’s Raikkonen closed up to within DRS range of his Maranello team mate, Vettel, but never made an overtaking attempt on the ailing German’s car. The Finn repeatedly asked his Ferrari team if he could pass Vettel as he was being held up and feared a challenge from the Mercedes duo, but that request fell on deaf ears on the pit wall, ultimately it didn’t matter as neither Mercedes driver could make an impact.

On lap 46, Bottas moved aside in turn 1 for Hamilton, in a clearly orchestrated team order to chase down second place, Raikkonen, but Hamilton couldn’t get into a position to attempt to overtake the Finn, Raikkonen managed to stay more than one second ahead and out of DRS range for the most part. When it was clear that Hamilton couldn’t get the job done, Mercedes switched the driver positions back.

However, there was a problem, Max Verstappen had closed to within 1.5 seconds of Bottas, so Hamilton elected to let his team mate pass on the final corner of the race, stamping on the loud pedal as soon as Bottas slid up the inside to maintain fourth place crossing the line just 0.5 seconds ahead of Verstappen.

I have never liked team orders, however, I have to give kudos to Hamilton for giving third place back to Bottas as agreed. Especially as Bottas had fallen five seconds behind the Briton, Hamilton had to slow considerably, allowing a few drivers to unlap themselves for the Finn to catch up in what has to be considered a risky move, Hamilton could have easily lost fourth place if he had mistimed the switcheroo.

It was a great result for McLaren Honda taking the chequered flag in sixth and 10th place for the first double points score of the season. Just for a change, the Honda power unit remained reliable and the power deficit is less apparent on a tight and twisty track like Hungaroring. Alonso still had to make the difference, winning his race long battle with STR’s Carlos Sainz in the final third of the Hungarian GP.

Hungarian Grand Prix 2017 Results

1. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 1:39.713
2. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) +0.908
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes) +12.462
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) +12.885
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull) +13.276
6. Fernando Alonso (McLaren) +71.223
7. Carlos Sainz (Toro Rosso) +1 LAP
8. Sergio Perez (Force India) +1 LAP
9. Esteban Ocon (Force India) +1 LAP
10. Stoffel Vandoorne (McLaren) +1 LAP

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