Vettel leads Ferrari one-two at Hungaroring

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Sebastian Vettel secured victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix, despite car issues that hampered his pace. As others were unable to overtake, Raikkonen finished a close second, followed by Valtteri Bottas for Mercedes.

As the lights went out, both Ferraris made clear starts and stayed out of trouble to retain their positions at the front of the pack. Valtteri Bottas followed along even though Verstappen attempted to get past the Mercedes driver round the outside of Turn 1.

By the time they ended up at Turn 2, Ricciardo was on the outside of Verstappen, and as the latter outbraked himself went wide, he hit his Australian team mate quite violently on the left hand sidepod, immediately ending Ricciardo's race. As coolant started to leak, Ricciardo spun out of Turn 3 and was lucky not to be hit by any of the followers. Jolyon Palmer notably only managed to avoid a collision by going extremely wide off the track, only rejoining the track just ahead of Turn 4.

Verstappen was later on penalised by the stewards with a 10 second penalty for causing that collision.

Hamilton, who had fallen behind both Red Bulls was obviously pleased and moved back up to 5th as the safety car was announced to clear Ricciardo's Red Bull.

One of the best starts came from Carlos Sainz, moving up from 9th to 6th, followed by Alonso, Perez, Vandoorne and Ocon. Palmer dropped to 11th, just ahead of his team mate, who on his behalf had a coming together with Romain Grosjean at Turn 1, sending the latter off, and down into 16th place. Paul Di Resta moved up a place, passing Wehrlein at the start.

By lap 12, even though Hamilton was very threatening towards Verstappen on the restart, Hamilton lagged 2.4s behind Verstappen. The Briton by then already had graining on the right rear tyre while his team was having issues with the radio, failing to communicate with their driver until lap 11.

By lap 17, the gap between the top teams and the rest became increasingly obvious. In between Vettel and Hamilton in 5th, there were just 12 seconds, the same as between Hamilton and Sainz. Behind the Spanish Toro Rosso driver, all cars seemed more or less equally distanced at about 2 seconds from each other.

Two laps later, Nico Hulkenberg got past his team mate. Palmer was asked to let his German team mate go as it indeed appears extremely difficult with the current set of regulations to pass cars around the Hungaroring. Interestingly, having following Palmer for 19 laps, it took Hulkenberg just 5 laps to pull a 5-second advantage to his team mate, finding himself looking closely at the back of Ocon as of lap 25.

On lap 21, Romain Grosjean pitted due to a slow puncture. The crew changed him to new soft tyres, only to realise seconds later that the left rear wheelnut had not been properly fixed, forcing Grosjean into a retirement.

While Mercedes continued to struggle with their radio, Vettel had issues with his steering. His Ferrari appeared to have developed a preference to steer right, forcing the German to steer slightly left on the straight. It saw Raikkonen come closer again, reducing the gap to Vettel to 1.3 seconds.

On lap 30, Lance Stroll was the first to pit, with moments later Bottas opting to change to softs as well. Hamilton stopped as well one lap later, and returned to the track much closer to Bottas than before, thanks to a slow stop for the Finn, caused by the front left not getting fixed as quickly as usual.

Another lap later, Vettel pitted and rejoined in third place, followed by Raikkonen the next lap. As the latter had hoped to take the lead, he complained to his team afterwards that he had opted to stay out.

2 laps later, Sainz and Alonso pitted simultaneously. When out of the box, Alonso continued to put hard pressure on the Toro Rosso driver, first missing the chicane of Turn 7. Alonso later overshot his braking at Turn 1, but eventually got it done round the outside of Sainz at Turn 3. This moved Alonso back up into 9th as Vandoorne, Hulkenberg and Palmer had not pitted yet.

Similarly, Verstappen continued to lead due to not having stopped yet. Vettel followed 10s down the road, with Raikkonen, Bottas and Hamilton closing in due to Vettel's issues.

The leader pitted on lap 43, in which he first served his 10 second penalty. Verstappen returned in 5th position. One lap later, Vandoorne pitted, but stopped slightly past the stop markers, creating a sluggish pitstop for him. Palmer pitted another lap later, and Hulkenberg another 2. The latter had an even worse pitstop as the front right tyre failed to come off the car quickly, dropping Hulkenberg down to 10, and promoting Vandoorne back up into a points scoring 10th place.

Meanwhile at the front, Bottas moved aside to let Hamilton through, after the latter reported "I've got so much pace, you've got to let me use it". Having radio messaging fixed again as well, he also said "This radio this sucks. My previous tyres were fine, I could have kept going". Hamilton was told he had a number of laps to make it past a Ferrari, or would otherwise have to switch positions back.

With 19 laps left, Vettel led the race, followed by Raikkonen at 1.043s and Hamilton another 0.955s. For Hamilton however, the trouble was he usually dropped out of the DRS window in the final sector, making it very difficult to attempt any pass at all.

The situation changed constantly, with 2 laps later, Raikkonen at 0.7s of the leader, and Hamilton at 1.5s of Raikkonen. Bottas on the other hand consistently remained at 3s of this fight for the lead. Stress levels were high in the Mercedes pits as well, as the team were arguing about what to do, especially given that Verstappen was closing in behind Bottas as well.

3 laps from the end, Vettel had 1.3s to Raikkonen. Hamilton was another 1.5s further down, and Bottas 7s, shadowed by Verstappen at 1.5s. Alonso in 6th ran at a distant 56 seconds, and was himself also 10s ahead of Sainz.

The final lap was interesting as well, with Vettel winning ahead of Raikkonen. Hamilton meanwhile allowed Bottas to take back third place in the final corner, a tricky move as Verstappen was immediately behind in 5th.

Alonso was a pleased 6th place finisher, securing the race's fastest lap.

Results

Pos.No.DriverCarLapsTimePts
15Sebastian VettelFerrari701:39:46.71325
27Kimi RäikkönenFerrari70+0.908s18
377Valtteri BottasMercedes AMG70+12.462s15
444Lewis HamiltonMercedes AMG70+12.885s12
533Max VerstappenRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer70+13.276s10
614Fernando AlonsoMcLaren Honda70+71.223s8
755Carlos SainzToro Rosso69+1 lap6
811Sergio PerezForce India Mercedes69+1 lap4
931Esteban OconForce India Mercedes69+1 lap2
102Stoffel VandoorneMcLaren Honda69+1 lap1
1126Daniil KvyatToro Rosso69+1 lap0
1230Jolyon PalmerRenault69+1 lap0
1320Kevin MagnussenHaas Ferrari69+1 lap0
1418Lance StrollWilliams Mercedes69+1 lap0
1594Pascal WehrleinSauber Ferrari68+2 laps0
169Marcus EricssonSauber Ferrari68+2 laps0
1727Nico HulkenbergRenault67DNF0
NC40Paul di RestaWilliams Mercedes60DNF0
NC8Romain GrosjeanHaas Ferrari20DNF0
NC3Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing TAG Heuer0DNF0