A damp-dry race—which didn’t quite deliver the expected drama—saw Hamilton dominate the Hungarian F1. A second place for Verstappen with Bottas rounding off the podium in third.
Perhaps two of the most interesting things happened before the race got started. Firstly, Verstappen slid off the damp track whilst trying to get to the grid, leaving his mechanics with a huge job. Rising to the occasion these guys squeezed a 90-minute job into 20 and set Verstappen off with a fixed car. Secondly, yet again, F1 failed to adequately provide a platform for its stand against racism. This week F1 seemed to implement an ill-thought-through and rushed ceremony. Drivers had to run from the grid—some not making it in time—do a quick kneel for the national anthem—or not, you know, whatever—and then run back to their car. This is a serious issue for F1 and society as a whole, but it doesn’t seem like F1 is giving it the respect that it deserves. F1 has a serious diversity issue and needs to do much better at showing solidarity against racism. At least the TV did not cut to a load of skydivers this time as they did last week.
To the race!
A stuttered start saw Bottas—second-place grid man—swamped by several cars and drop backward at the start as Hamilton eased into the lead. Verstappen was the biggest winner, starting seventh and running third— behind Stroll’s Racing Point—by the end of the opening lap. Damp conditions led to almost all cars starting on the full wet tyres. Only the Hass team taking a gamble, opting to change tyres after the formation lap and start the race from the pitlane. A gamble which paid off, leaving them running third and fourth after the track had dried a little and everyone else had been in for fresh dry condition tyres.
An inevitable story from the race, therefore, was the Haas cars slowly dropping down the field—as they did not have the pace of those around them. Their strategy did pay off, however, with Magnussen finishing tenth to gain the teams well-earned first championship point of the season. Another unfolding story was Bottas and Albon slowly moving up through the pack. Bottas with his poor start regained most of his lost places, and— despite being less than a second behind Verstappen on the penultimate lap—just wasn’t close enough to affect and overtake on the Dutchman who pipped him to second. Albon, who had a had a poor qualifying session—starting thirteenth—saw his consistency rewarded: steadily clawed his way up to finish fifth.
Midfield battles weren’t as engaging this week: the tight Hungaroring providing very few overtaking opportunities. We did see Leclerc and Carlos Sainz have a good battle for tenth, Sainz passing his future teammate to ultimately finish ninth later on. The Mclarens failed to shine as they had at Austria: presumably, the track not suiting them as much here, Renault however seemed more switched on. Different cars connect and perform better at certain tracks and under certain conditions, so as we move through the season I think we will see varying performances from Renault, Ferrari, and Mclaren making their championship fights and on-track battles very interesting.
The front cars seemed in a separate race to the others—and one another at times—with first place man Hamilton, Bottas in third and Stroll in fourth, all at some point in the later stages of the race pitting without losing a track position.
So it may not have been the most exciting race in the world, but we are watching history here. Hamilton today equalled Schumacher’s record of the most wins for a driver on the same track: eight. With 86 career wins Hamilton is six away from beating Schumacher’s record of 91 wins. Unless something bizarre happens, Hamilton will get his seventh world championship this year, equalling Schumacher’s record. These were records people never thought would be broken and Hamilton is smashing through them, the only question is: by how much can he beat all of these records?
Driver of the day: Max Verstappen.
Honourable mentions: Stroll, Hamilton, Bottas.
Heroes of the day: Verstappen’s mechanics.
Hungarian F1 GP Race Results
- Magnussen (although finishing ninth on track K-Mag was given a ten-second penalty for receiving assistance on the formation lap, dropping him to tenth.)
Next up! Silverstone!
It’s going to be fast! A high-speed track. Expect to see stunning pace from Mercedes and Racing Point.
USA: Live on ESPN race starts at 9:10 am EST
UK: Live on Sky F1 and Channel four race starts at 2:10pm