Tag Archives: Daniel Ricciardo

Hamilton wins in Monaco as pit mistake costs Ricciardo

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Lewis Hamilton stormed to his first victory of 2016 at the Monaco Grand Prix this afternoon. The Briton started the race in third place but after team-mate Nico Rosberg was ordered to allow Hamilton past and a pit-stop miscommunication delayed race leader Daniel Ricciardo, Hamilton assumed the lead.

Wet weather led to a Safety Car start as a precaution but the rain soon abated and the track began to dry. There was early trouble for Daniil Kvyat whose pit limiter got stuck on and limited his speed. The disheartened Russian was left lamenting his bad luck on the team radio before the issue mysteriously disappeared and he returned to full speed, albeit two laps down on the rest of the grid.

Eventually the Safety Car came into the pits allowing pole man Daniel Ricciardo to begin building a gap between himself and second placed Rosberg. Hamilton’s unease behind his team-mate was obvious but, with their Spanish clash surely in his mind, he stayed level-headed and avoided contact with Rosberg. Renault’s Jolyon Palmer wasn’t as lucky as he was caught out by the slipperiness of the Zebra crossing that runs parallel to the start/finish straight, and smashed into the barriers twice, before coming to a halt in the run-off area.

The Briton wasn’t the only one finding the conditions tough, as veteran racer Kimi Raikkonen clouted the barriers at the hairpin seconds later, before inadvertently blocking Haas’ Romain Grosjean. The Finn attempted to make it back to the pits but after driving through the tunnel with a badly damaged wing, something which would earn him disapproval from the stewards later on, he pulled into the run-off area to retire the car.

Meanwhile, Ricciardo was still increasing his gap to the Mercedes behind him. Rosberg was nearly ten seconds shy of the Aussie when the call was made to move over and give the penned up Hamilton a chance of catching Ricciardo. Rosberg duly obliged and Hamilton gave chase, almost immediately setting a new fastest lap and leaving Rosberg trailing behind him.

There was more trouble for Renault who now tangled with the Toro Rosso of Kvyat. The Russian had attempted to squeeze past Magnussen’s Renault into Rascasse, as Bianchi had done successfully to Kobayashi in 2014, but the door had closed and the two made slight contact. Both pitted and retired from the race.

Also in the pits was race leader Ricciardo who took on a pair of the intermediate tyres, rejoining in second behind Hamilton. Ricciardo’s wait for Hamilton to pit for his own set of intermediate tyres stretched on and it eventually became clear that Hamilton was trying to risk jumping from the full wets to the slick tyres, thus saving himself a pit stop and maintaining the lead of the race.

Hamilton eventually ducked into the pitlane when it seemed that slick tyres might finally be a feasible action. Ricciardo opted to wait until the following lap to change over his own tyres in an attempt to perform the undercut, but when he entered the pits, a miscommunication saw the wrong tyres brought out and he was left sitting in the pits for a long delay as the pit crew fell over themselves and searched for the right tyres. When he eventually rejoined the track he was neck and neck with Hamilton, the latter jumping into the lead as the duo climbed the hill from the first corner.

Ricciardo was clearly the quicker car and stayed right on Hamilton’s gearbox, but the lack of overtaking spots and the backmarkers dotted awkwardly along the road meant he couldn’t manage a solid overtake maneuver on the Mercedes. Ricciardo’s team-mate, who won his first race last time out in Spain, was having a much less fortuitous race this time around: having crashed in Q1 yesterday he started the race from the pitlane and had made it as far as tenth – until he ended his race when he went wide at Massenet and was collected by Monte Carlo’s unforgiving barriers.

Ricciardo nearly ended his race in a similar fashion when Hamilton ran wide at the Nouvelle chicane, rejoining at a strange angle and almost sending the opportunistic Ricciardo into the barriers. Stewards investigated the incident and decided no further action was warranted.

The Sauber boys were less lucky. Felipe Nasr was ahead of team-mate Ericsson on track but was the slower of the two drivers, so the call was made for fifteenth-placed Nasr to move aside for Ericsson. There’s a possibility that Nasr’s radio wasn’t working properly but either way Ericsson became impatient and decided to take matters into his own hands, which brought disaster for the team. Attempting an impossible overtake at Rascasse, Ericsson drove straight into the side of Nasr before hopping into the air in the resulting spin. Both men pitted and rejoined the race but smoke began to spill into Nasr’s cockpit which signaled the of his race. He was followed into the pits a few laps later by Ericsson who had also sustained damage and opted to retire the car.

At this point, rain began to fall in the final three laps of the race but nothing substantial came until the checkered flag was waved. Hamilton maintained his lead right until the end while Ricciardo’s Pirellis eventually went past their best and he began to fall back. Sergio Perez, who was trading fastest laps with Vettel towards the end of the race, fended third place from the Ferrari, while Fernando Alonso managed to bring his McLaren to fifth place. Championship leader Rosberg was in sixth and was passed mere seconds from the end by Hulkenberg. Carlos Sainz, who expertly saved his car during a slide at the Swimming Pool chicane, took eighth, with Button in ninth and Massa rounding out the top ten.

There’s no doubt that his skill in keeping the car on track with badly degraded full wet tyres and his ability to fend off Ricciardo’s relentless attacks helped win Hamilton the race, but their pace after the final pit stops suggest Hamilton has Red Bull’s clumsiness to thank for robbing Ricciardo of victory on the streets of Monte Carlo. Perhaps more important is Rosberg’s self-confessed lack of confidence during the race, which cost him huge amounts of time. One wonders if Rosberg has finally lost his edge on Hamilton. If he has, it’s hard not to see Hamilton claiming a third consecutive Championship this year…

Race Results:

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Daniel Ricciardo
  3. Sergio Perez
  4. Sebastian Vettel
  5. Fernando Alonso
  6. Nico Hulkenberg
  7. Nico Rosberg
  8. Carlos Sainz
  9. Jenson Button
  10. Felipe Massa
  11. Valtteri Bottas
  12. Esteban Gutierrez
  13. Romain Grosjean
  14. Pascal Wehrlein
  15. Rio Haryanto
  • Marcus Ericsson – collision
  • Felipe Nasr – collision
  • Max Verstappen – collision
  • Kevin Magnussen – collision
  • Daniil Kvyat – collision
  • Kimi Raikkonen – collision
  • Jolyon Palmer – collision
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Mercedes Return To Top Of The Timesheets In FP3

Mercedes showed that they appear to have retaken their stronghold over the rest of the field when they clocked the two fastest laps of FP3, over half-a-second clear of their closest rival.

It was Nico Rosberg who had the run on his team-mate when teams finally got a chance to complete some dry-weather practice before Sunday’s Grand Prix. The German was the only man to break into the 1m 33’s while Hamilton set a lap over two-tenths slower. Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo was the best of the rest as he led the Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa. Bottas had sat out the rain-affected FP2 knowing the rest of the weekend would be dry, and appears to have suffered no disadvantage in return. The Ferrari drivers were sixth and eighth, with last-time race winner Vettel 1.2s shy of the Mercedes drivers. Verstappen took seventh for Toro Rosso while Grosjean taking ninth and Sainz rounding out the top ten – the latter completing the most laps of anyone this morning.

Nico Hulkenberg in eleventh led an extremely close group of drivers where only four-tenths of a second separated eleventh to seventeenth. Button, in twelfth, looked strong at his engine supplier’s home race, but the Briton missed out on any low-fuel running as the team rebuilt a broken floor on the McLaren. Ericsson was thirteenth for Sauber while FP2 leader Daniil Kvyat couldn’t better fourteenth. Pastor Maldonado brought his Lotus to fifteenth ahead of Fernando Alonso and Sergio Perez for McLaren and Force India respectively. Felipe Nasr finished eighteenth while the Marussia drivers of Will Stevens and Alexander Rossi took their usual spots at the back of the grid for Marussia.

Mercedes look to have stood back up and dusted themselves off after being trampled on in Singapore. Although still leading the Championship by 41 points, Hamilton will be keen to exert his dominance and return to the top of the podium. The question of qualifying therefore is can Rosberg beat Hamilton to the front of the grid?

Free Practice Three results:

  1. Nico Rosberg
  2. Lewis Hamilton
  3. Daniel Ricciardo
  4. Valtteri Bottas
  5. Felipe Massa
  6. Kimi Raikkonen
  7. Max Verstappen
  8. Sebastian Vettel
  9. Romain Grosjean
  10. Carlos Sainz
  11. Nico Hulkenberg
  12. Jenson Button
  13. Marcus Ericsson
  14. Daniil Kvyat
  15. Pastor Maldonado
  16. Fernando Alonso
  17. Sergio Perez
  18. Felipe Nasr
  19. Will Stevens
  20. Alexander Rossi

Image courtesy of Mercedes F1 Team.

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Vettel Victorious In Singapore

Sebastian Vettel stormed to a dominant victory at the Singapore Grand Prix yesterday, taking advantage of the shock lack of pace from World Championship leaders and season dominator, Mercedes. The German four-time World Champion returned to the extreme levels of dominance he displayed during his peak at Red Bull, leading former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo by over three seconds by the end of the first lap. Meanwhile, Championship leader Hamilton’s fifth place start deteriorated into a DNF – his first since the Belgian Grand Prix last season.

Saturday’s Qualifying session had sprung a surprise when the Mercedes’ true pace was uncovered, showing that the Silver Arrows’ slow pace was not mere sandbagging. Both Ferrari and Red Bull had shown some unexpected pace during practice, and Ricciardo’s optimism about his teams speed proved well founded when he lined up on the front row of the grid, just ahead of fourth placed Daniil Kvyat. But it was Vettel who stole Hamilton’s pre-reserved slot at the front of the grid when he clocked in a lap 6-tenths clear of any opposition with a flawless lap around the tight streets of Singapore. His Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen took third, with Mercedes slotting into fifth and sixth for Hamilton and Rosberg respectively.

On the start, Vettel left the grid far behind him as he sped into the distance, while Raikkonen, the two Red Bulls and two Mercedes jostled through the first corners but essentially retained their qualifying position. Further down the grid, Hulkenberg had made strong gains from eleventh while Verstappen stalled his Toro Rosso on the grid. The Dutchman was left stranded and in need of a push from the marshalls, who returned him to the pits before he rejoined the race a lap later. Further down the lap the drivers, with the exception of the mechanical Vettel, were struggling for grip on the slippy circuit, with a number of close calls including Perez losing control under breaking and narrowly avoiding contact with his Force India team-mate.

Almost immediately the grid settled down into the traditional procession which gave the race it’s ‘Singabore’ nickname, opting to preserve brakes and tyres rather than challenge for position early into the long race. Romain Grosjean was the first man to duck into the pitlane for a new set of boots, spurring the first round of stops in the process. Alonso and Ericsson suffered long delays, McLaren struggling to get Alonso’s front-left tyre off his car, and then both men having to wait until Maldonado and Ericsson breezed past them in the pits before they could be released. Grosjean took advantage of Alonso’s slow stop, the first of many to suffer blunders, to jump the double World Champion on track.

Massa was one such driver who suffered a long pit stop and it proved costly when he emerged from the pitlane into the path of Nico Hulkenberg who, unable to see the Brazilian from his angle, unwittingly closed the door on the Williams and was sent airborne as a result. While the German spun into the barriers and clambered from his cockpit, Massa was able to continue until a gearbox issue would end his race prematurely in the latter stages.

The Safety Car was deployed for several laps to clear the debris from Hulkenberg’s crash which bunched the grid up, and the second time round saw Vettel kept far more honest by the drivers behind him. Indeed, fourth placed Hamilton (having passed Kvyat by pitting before the Safety Car came out) took to his team radio to claim Vettel was purposefully holding Ricciardo up. Ironically, the Briton soon took to the radio to say he was losing power. With the team’s suggestions proving useless for Hamilton, he dropped further down the grid until the team finally told him to retire the car. Not before Alexander Rossi, in his F1 race debut, had the chance to pass the slow car on track, undoubtedly giving the American a smile. Alonso followed Hamilton into the pits to retire with yet another mechanical issue.

As Grosjean spurred the second round of pit stops, the yellow flags came out in Sector 2, and then a Safety Car. A 27-year-old man had somehow gained access to the circuit and was leisurely walking along the track taking photos on his mobile phone while walking against the cars. Eventually the idiotic invader decided to clamber back over the track lining barrier where he was tackled by security and arrested.

The Safety Car eventually pitted, with Rossi tangled up in the top three and holding Kimi Raikkonen up. Further down the order, a slow moving Sainz saw Maldonado hesitate on the restart and drop behind Alonso on the grid. The Lotus driver was subsequently left open for attack and when Jenson Button attempted to pass the Venezuelan, the Lotus inexplicably slowed out of the corner with Button running into the back of him. As his front wing shattered and showered the cars behind, Button hopped on the radio to criticize Maldonado, with the 2009 World Champion eventually retiring. Maldonado subsequently dropped four places with the two Toro Rosso men and two Sauber drivers promoting themselves at his expense.

Up front, Ricciardo had closed Vettel’s lead to only 1.4s but could not close the gap before the maximum race time of 2 hours clocked out, leaving the Aussie bemused and blaming the second Safety Car for missing out on the win. Kimi Raikkonen crossed the line for third to seal a double Ferrari podium, with Nico Rosberg claiming fourth. Valtteri Bottas finished fifth for Williams with Kvyat crossing the line in sixth ahead of Perez. The Toro Rosso drivers crossed the line in front of the two Saubers and the two Lotus’, with the Manor drivers keeping their head down and finishing the race – Rossi beating team-mate Stevens on his debut.

Despite his retirement, Hamilton maintains his grip on the World Championship with 41 points over closest rival Nico Rosberg, and Vettel 49 behind. But the question now is, can Ferrari throw in a last minute challenge for the title?

Race Results: 

  1. Sebastian Vettel
  2. Daniel Ricciardo
  3. Kimi Raikkonen
  4. Nico Rosberg
  5. Valtteri Bottas
  6. Daniil Kvyat
  7. Sergio Perez
  8. Max Verstappen
  9. Carlos Sainz
  10. Felipe Nasr
  11. Marcus Ericsson
  12. Pastor Maldonado
  13. Romain Grosjean
  14. Alexander Rossi
  15. Will Stevens
  • Nico Hulkenberg
  • Felipe Massa
  • Lewis Hamilton
  • Fernando Alonso
  • Jenson Button

Image courtesy of Scuderia Ferrari. 

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Hamilton Edges Out Rosberg For Pole

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Lewis Hamilton took pole at the Singapore Grand Prix, mere miliseconds ahead of his team-mate, and front row companion, Nico Rosberg.

Suffering a time loss due to a lock-up at turn 1 on his flying lap, Hamilton was behind Rosberg after the second sector, leaving it to a strong third sector to secure his sixth pole position of the season. Rosberg, who felt that he had done enough to start from the front, responded only with “dammit” when his team informed him of the qualifying results.

But although they started from the front of the grid (for the seventh time in fourteenth Grands Prix), their early-season dominance was nowhere to be seen as they fought off challenges from Daniel Ricciardo who was looking to take his first pole position in front of huge numbers of Australian ticket holders in Singapore. The cheer from the crowd when Ricciardo took provisional crowd was so loud, it blocked out the sound of the cars and goes to show the popularity of the two-time race winner.

His team-mate, the four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel continued what has now become the norm as he qualified behind the other Red Bull car. Fernando Alonso will start tomorrow’s race from fifth on the grid, a position he has occupied thirty-four times in his career, more times than anyone else. Although Alonso stood as Mr Singapore for several years due to his apparent stronghold over the circuit, he could not challenge the Mercedes or Red Bull drivers, all of whom start ahead of him.

Meanwhile, Alonso’s team-mate, Kimi Raikkonen, was looking particularly strong and topped the opening qualifying session. Looking threatening to Mercedes, he went out in Q3 only to lose power mid-lap and crawl back to the pits, meaning he will start the race from seventh.

Massa and Bottas also looked like they could put in a genuine challenge for the front row, but, although Massa was the fastest driver after the first flying laps, they finished down the order; Massa sixth and Bottas eighth.

Jenson Button missed out on Q3 by only .017s and admitted to locking up during his lap. Romain Grosjean put no foot wrong but still missed out, qualifying twelfth and venting his frustration with the team after climbing from his cockpit. Sutil blamed an apparent lack of power for being knocked out in Q1 while Pastor Maldonado offered no excuses for not making it out of the first session.

Provisional Qualifying Positions:

  1. Lewis Hamilton
  2. Nico Rosberg
  3. Daniel Ricciardo
  4. Sebastian Vettel
  5. Fernando Alonso
  6. Felipe Massa
  7. Kimi Raikkonen
  8. Valtteri Bottas
  9. Kevin Magnussen
  10. Daniil Kvyat
  11. Jenson Button
  12. Jean-Eric Vergne
  13. Nico Hulkenberg
  14. Esteban Gutierrez
  15. Sergio Perez
  16. Romain Grosjean
  17. Adrian Sutil
  18. Pastor Maldonado
  19. Jules Bianchi
  20. Kamui Kobyashi
  21. Max Chilton
  22. Marcus Ericsson

Image courtesy of Mercedes AMG F1 Team.

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Ricciardo Takes Red Bull’s 50th Victory As Mercedes Trip Each Other Up

Daniel Ricciardo drove to victory at the Belgian Grand Prix this afternoon, taking advantage of an early crash between the leading Mercedes drivers which resulted in a puncture for Hamilton and front wing damage for Rosberg.

Hamilton had taken the jump on Rosberg into turn 1 and sped into the distance as Sebastian Vettel followed him past the Championship leader. In a mirror image of last year’s race, Vettel took a slingshot from Eau Rouge and gained rapidly on Hamilton, although it proved to be too little to successfully pass the Mercedes for the lead. In fact Vettel got squeezed at the end of the Kemmel straight and was forced to take to the run-off area where he skipped over several kerbs and lost his position to Nico Rosberg.

With the meddling Red Bull cleared, the Mercedes men were free to bolt away to battle each other, but that battle never materialised as Rosberg challenged Hamilton into turn 7, hit his front wing against Hamilton’s rear left and gave his team-mate a puncture. Hamilton rushed back to the pitlane, dropping down the order and causing damage to his car as his tyre carcus flailed and whipped the body work. He returned to the pits and was sent back out to the race, while Jules Bianchi also pitted with a puncture following a first lap incident which left Maldonado out of the race. Another driver dropping out of the race on lap 1 was German rookie Andre Lotterer who, after outqualifying his team-mate by a second, lost engine power at the end of lap 1 and had to abandon his car. Kobayashi is expected to return to the cockpit in Monza.

Back at the front Ricciardo had moved past Vettel and set his sights on new leader Rosberg, eventually taking the lead of the Grand Prix when Rosberg pitted for a new set of boots on lap 9. Rosberg had lost time changing his front wing in the pitlane and lost more time when Force India’s Perez ducked ahead of him in the run to Eau Rouge. Rosberg’s superior pace saw him getting back ahead of the Mexican but on the next lap round, some debris was thrown from the Sauber ahead of him and caught itself on his antenna, swinging across Rosberg’s field of vision and refusing to dislodge as he pulled at it.

Rosberg eventually managed to clear the object and latched onto the Bottas and Vettel fight ahead of him. Challenging Vettel into the bus stop chicane, he suffered a huge lock-up and went wide, letting Vettel get ahead and falling into the clutches of the Williams behind him. Bottas used Rosberg’s mistake to get past the Mercedes on the Kemmel straight and set his sights on the third place occupied by Vettel, a task which should be easy given Williams’ usual straight line advantage. As it turned out, Vettel’s aerodynamic changes for the weekend worked a treat and he managed to keep the feisty Finn behind him for an impressively long time.

Out of the public eye, Hamilton was trudging around the back of the grid with a damaged car and a downbeat mood, asking the team to allow him to retire the car so as to save the tyres. His team thought otherwise and repeatedly insisted on keeping him on track, fobbing him off with the excuse “we’re discussing that, Lewis”. Bizarrely then, after refusing to allow him to retire, they radioed him to order his retirement with four laps left in the race.

His team-mate had come into the pits with nine laps left and adopted a set of the softer, quicker Pirellis in a bid to catch the Red Bull ahead of him, but this proved fruitless as he emerged twenty-seven seconds behind. He did, however, catch Bottas and pulled a ballsy move around the outside of Blanchimont and moved up the order into the bus stop chicane.

Behind them, the two McLarens, Alonso and Vettel were fighting tooth and nail for position. Button got slightly out of shape which opened the door for his team-mate on the Kemmel straight. Alonso tried to hop on the overtaking bandwagon and got on the grass, losing his place to Vettel and slotting in behind. The two McLarens went two abreast through Les Combes and into turn 10 where they tried to get four abreast in their fight. Their collective skill was on show as they all made it through the battle unscathed. Eventually Vettel won the battle with Magnussen, Button and Alonso slotting in behind.

But while Vettel won his own little battle, it was Ricciardo crowned the overall winner as he crossed the line 3.3 seconds ahead of Rosberg. Bottas won a late battle with Kimi to take the final spot on the podium to mark his fourth podium appearance.

Belgian Grand Prix Race Results:

  1. Daniel Ricciardo
  2. Nico Rosberg
  3. Valtteri Bottas
  4. Kimi Raikkonen
  5. Sebastian Vettel
  6. Kevin Magnussen
  7. Jenson Button
  8. Fernando Alonso
  9. Sergio Perez
  10. Daniil Kvyat
  11. Nico Hulkenberg
  12. Jean-Eric Vergne
  13. Felipe Massa
  14. Adrian Sutil
  15. Esteban Gutierrez
  16. Max Chilton
  17. Marcus Ericsson
  • Jules Bianchi
  • Lewis Hamilton
  • Romain Grosjean
  • Pastor Maldonado
  • Andre Lotterer

Image courtesy of Red Bull/Getty Images.

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Bottas Quickest In Final Practice Session

Valtteri Bottas was the quickest man around Spa-Francorchamps this morning, putting himself two tenths clear of the next fastest man, race winner last-time-out Daniel Ricciardo. Following the pre-session rain, Bottas, like the rest of the grid, stayed in the shelter of his garage and willed others to go out to dry the wet track surface, a task which would essentially lead to wasted laps. The two Marussias and Kobayashi stand-in Andre Lotterer were the only three people to go out in the first half of the session, each setting a slow lap time before returning to the pits.

Eventually Esteban Gutierrez came out for Sauber following a long stint of track silence, and showed the others that the track had dried sufficiently, prompting the remaining drivers to emerge from their shelters. Following their first few flying laps, the usual suspects (Hamilton, Rosberg and Alonso) were near the top, but it was Bottas who held the top time provisionally. He traded the honour with the two Mercedes drivers and Fernando Alonso several times before putting in a session topping 1.49.465. As a reference, Jenson Button’s pole lap from 2012 was a 1.47.573.

Behind Bottas was Ricciardo who hopes to repeat his Hungarian Grand Prix victory this weekend and was himself followed by Championship leader Nico Rosberg, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. Daniil Kvyat, who was one of the session’s leaders briefly, continued his impressive form and ended his session in seventh, only four tenths off the fastest time. Jenson Button was eighth while Felipe Massa and Jean-Eric Vergne rounded out the top ten. Sebastian Vettel finished thirteenth while Pastor Maldonado, who was hospitalised following a shunt during yesterday’s FP2 session, finished seventeenth. The Caterham duo filled out the bottom of the timesheets, nearly two tenths off the Marussias ahead of them.

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Ricciardo Victorious In Enthralling Hungarian Grand Prix

Daniel Ricciardo took victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix this afternoon, in a race affected by rain, stopped by two Safety Cars, and with a myriad of race leaders. Ricciardo had gained the lead after the first Safety Car, but lost this lead when a crash for Perez prompted the Safety Car again. Alonso led the race from that point on, but Ricciardo was unstoppable and pulled two late overtakes, on Hamilton and Alonso, to secure his second Grand Prix victory.

The rain that was expected to interrupt the race arrived early, soaking the track about fourty-five minutes before lights out. The track was still wet at 2pm local time for the race start, so all drivers started on the green intermediate tyres. At lights out, Rosberg maintained his lead as the drivers behind him battled through the spray thrown up by the tyres. Valtteri Bottas started well, as per usual, and jumped second-placed Vettel into turn 1. The entire grid emerged unscathed from the first corner while Kevin Magnussen, Lewis Hamilton and Daniil Kvyat set off from the pitlane – Magnussen and Hamilton opting to start from the pit lane following qualifying, and Kvyat starting from the pitlane after getting stranded on the grid.

Nico Rosberg leads at the start (c) Red Bull/Getty Images

Hamilton was keen to start cutting his way through the grid, but with cold brakes on his Mercedes, he spun at turn 3 and dropped behind the grid. Back at the front, Rosberg was leading with a comfortable gap to Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel, who were sliding around in the slippy conditions.

Rosberg’s lead looked solid, and only set to increase dramatically, when Caterham’s Marcus Ericsson spun out of turn 3 and speared the barriers, destroying his car which swiveled to a halt on the side of the track. The Safety Car was deployed for the incident but Rosberg was too far past the pits to act on the news, meaning that those in the top four had to do another lap with reduced speed while the rest of the grid pitted for dry tyres. Thus, Daniel Ricciardo inherited the lead, ahead of Jenson Button on the inters tyres and Felipe Massa. Then, as the Safety Car was preparing to pit Romain Grosjean lost control of his Lotus in the same spot as Ericsson, hitting the barriers and spinning to a halt on the opposite side of the track. The Safety Car subsequently stayed out for longer as the wrecked Lotus was cleared away.

Second time around, Ricciardo led Button on the restart, but with the McLaren driver on the wet tyres, he swept clean past the Aussie and into the lead. But on the very next lap the tables were turned as Button was told that the expected rain would not materialise, and that he would need to pit soon. By the end of the second lap after the restart, his tyres were dead and Ricciardo had regained the lead.

Further down the order, the Force India duo were scrapping for position when Nico Hulkenberg locked up into the final corner and t-boned his team-mate, spinning himself out of the race. At the same time, Maldonado was getting too eager on the brakes and slid into Marussia’s Jules Bianchi, t-boning the Frenchman and spinning himself. Unlike Hulkenberg, however, the Venezuelan recovered his race and lived to fight another day.

Just as Hulkenberg’s car was cleared from turn 14, his team-mate spun out of the same corner and hit the barriers on the start/finish straight, throwing debris all over the track. Although Ricciardo had accumulated an impressive lead to this lead, his advantage was annihilated by the reappearance of the Safety Car. As Kobayashi parked his Caterham on the side of the track, the rest of the grid were led away by Fernando Alonso when the race restarted.

With the mixed-up order from two Safety Cars, Alonso now led the Toro Rosso of Jean-Eric Vergne who was celebrating his fiftieth Grand Prix. The Frenchman was keen to keep his place on the podium and acted as a rolling roadblock for third placed Nico Rosberg who, incredibly, couldn’t find a way past the slower car. This allowed Sebastian Vettel to close up on the Mercedes, and was soon joined by Hamilton and Ricciardo who slotted in behind. The collection of race winners and Championship contenders behind Vergne didn’t faze him and he continued to lead the duo. Although Vergne didn’t make a mistake, Vettel spun out of the final corner as Rosberg pitted, mirroring Perez’s crash at the same spot. Luckily for Vettel, he missed the pitwall by inches, but unluckily for Rosberg, the spin had freed Hamilton.

Kimi Raikkonen fights with Pastor Maldonado (c) Scuderia Ferrari

Hamilton made short work of Vergne when given the chance, pulling a ballsy move on the Toro Rosso around the outside of turn 4. Meanwhile, Alonso pitted from the lead and Gutierrez became the sixth retirement of the race when he parked in his garage. Hamilton also pitted, and although he maintained his lead over Rosberg, a slow stop had put him behind Alonso. His position wasn’t solidified though, as his team began to radio him to let Rosberg through, as they were on different strategies. He consistently refused to, however, as Rosberg was not close enough behind him, meaning he would lose time to Alonso ahead of him if he slowed to let Nico through. Although Rosberg continued to ask why he wasn’t being let past, Mercedes eventually gave up trying to enforce their team order.

Ricciardo pitted from the lead of the race, and was soon followed in by Rosberg, who had still not passed his team-mate. Rosberg came out further down the order, but Ricciardo was flying on his fresh softer compound tyres and was catching Hamilton at an almost unbelievable pace. He was soon on the back of Hamilton who himself was up the gearbox of a struggling Alonso, but nobody could get past each other and Alonso maintained his lead.

After several laps of shutting down overtake attempts, Hamilton went wide at turn 1 and allowed Ricciardo to challenge him into turn 2. Pushing Ricciardo offline, Hamilton handed him the inside line for turn 3, where Ricciardo squeezed up the inside and up to second. With the faster Mercedes cleared, Daniel set his sights on the Ferrari ahead – breezing past him at the end of the pit straight. Ironically, he took the lead of the race with three laps remaining, as he did at the Canadian Grand Prix earlier this season.

Hamilton failed to get past Alonso, and Rosberg closed up on the rear of the the battle, leaving Alonso, Hamilton and Rosberg to cross the line with the smallest of gaps between them. It was fifth for Massa whose race wasn’t overly exciting, but will come as a welcome relief after three faultless retirements out of four races. Sebastian Vettel finished the race in seventh, but knows he could have placed much higher had he not spun on the straight. Jean-Eric Vergne marked his fiftieth Grand Prix with ninth place, while Valtteri Bottas rounded out the top ten.

As a result of the race, Hamilton has cut Rosberg’s lead in the Championship – an unbelievable feat given their respective qualifying performances. Now, the two must face a month with just their thoughts as F1 enters it’s one-month summer break. The next race is the Belgian Grand Prix on the 24th of August.

Hungarian Grand Prix Race Results:

  1. Daniel Ricciardo
  2. Fernando Alonso
  3. Lewis Hamilton
  4. Nico Rosberg
  5. Felipe Massa
  6. Kimi Raikkonen
  7. Sebastian Vettel
  8. Valtteri Bottas
  9. Jean-Eric Vergne
  10. Valtteri Bottas
  11. Adrian Sutil
  12. Kevin Magnussen
  13. Pastor Maldonado
  14. Daniil Kvyat
  15. Jules Bianchi
  16. Max Chilton
  • Esteban Gutierrez
  • Kamui Kobayashi
  • Sergio Perez
  • Nico Hulkenberg
  • Romain Grosjean
  • Marcus Ericsson

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