Strategy played a strong part at the Budapest based Hungaroring this weekend in one of the most dramatic races of the 2014 season so far. Yet more technical
Strategy played a strong part at the Budapest based Hungaroring this weekend in one of the most dramatic races of the 2014 season so far. Yet more technical issues plagued Lewis Hamilton in qualifying, he was forced to start from the pit lane after a car fire led to the mechanics having to fix the Mercedes for a long 10 hour stint.
McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen also started from the pits, having smashed into the barrier after hitting a patch of water during a wet qualifying section.
Ferrari’s Kimi Räikkönen ended his attempt in 17th with even the Marussia of Jules Bianchi making it through to second qualifying after poor strategy choices.
After Hamilton’s early exit his teammate Nico Rosberg predictably went on to take pole position, narrowly followed by Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas in the Williams.
Rosberg got off to a relatively poor start but managed to hold on to the lead, extending it as the first few laps progressed. Hamilton spun off the track at turn two but managed to hold onto the car, continuing on his way but now at the very back of the pack.
It was good news for Felipe Massa and Williams though as he made it through to the second lap without harm for the first time since Austria three races ago.
Retirements left, right and centre
By lap nine Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson had crashed into the barrier and the safety car was deployed. This was good news for Hamilton who pitted quickly but left the top four of Rosberg, Vettel, Bottas and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso pitting in the next lap and losing out on places.
More pain came for Lotus as Romain Grosjean somehow managed to crash out under the safety car. As the safety car returned to the pits Jenson Button managed to take the lead from Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in his McLaren, with Hamilton overtaking swiftly to make the top ten.
Contact between Force India teammates Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez left the former crashing out. The German had so far scored points in every race this season and it was a devastating blow. It wasn’t long before Perez had a massive spin and crashed with full force into the barriers, leading to a second safety car deployment.
There was some great racing action on track as Vettel defended magnificently to fend off Hamilton. Meanwhile Rosberg got stuck behind Toro Rosso’s Jean Eric Vergne who had unexpectedly made it into fourth position.
Vettel took a massive spin in the same spot as Perez but some fabulous driving ensured that he only kissed the wall. He left the door wide open for Hamilton to gain on Rosberg. Further down the grid Kamui Kobayashi joined Caterham teammate Ericsson in retirement.
A few laps later Rosberg pitted, Hamilton adamant that he could stay out for a little longer on his tyres.
A shock came from Mercedes as, over team radio, Rosberg enquired as to why Hamilton hadn’t let the German overtake him. A response came via Hamilton’s radio with the Brit being told to move aside. Hamilton refused, and this seemed incredibly justified as the pair were both racing each other hard and Rosberg didn’t actually seem able to overtake his teammate.
The orders were relatively controversial and did seem a little perplexing. It looks set that Mercedes will win the constructors championship this year and one of their drivers will most likely lift the trophy for the world championship so their need to so obviously choose between the pair seemed a little ridiculous.
Rosberg had one more pit stop to take and he re-emerged in seventh, clearly bothered by the orders fiasco.
With 12 laps left of the Hungarian Grand Prix Alonso was leading the race, Hamilton and Ricciardo close on his heels. Both were gaining on the car in front and it was difficult to call who would seal the win.
With the drivers running out of laps Ricciardo made a stunning move on Hamilton and then overtook Alonso to take the lead. Rosberg was also gaining places fast, now up into fourth and set to catch the top three by the final lap.
As the race neared its end Rosberg was right on the back of Hamilton who refused to let him through and the pair cruised over the line in third and fourth place with Ricciardo at the top of the podium and Alonso second.
The Hungaroring provided a strong and intense race for the audience and driver’s alike and also Ricciardo’s second win of the season, leaving the Australian, Alonso and Hamilton smiling going into the summer break.
Rosberg still leads the standings but Hamilton has decreased the gap, only 11 points now separating them. Formula 1 returns at the Belgian circuit of Spa Francorchamps on the 24th August.
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