The Hungarian Grand Prix can often end up in a processional race due to its tight and twisty nature, but rain can spice things up very much. History proved itself right with the damp condition at the start leading to an incident-filled 36th race in Hungary.
While Mercedes’ form from the last days indicated that it would be rather difficult for their championship rival, Red Bull to match their speed, things panned out rather differently at the end. Rain arrived just a few minutes from the start, forcing the entire field to start the 70-lap grand prix on the intermediate tyres.
A first corner incident, which saw Valtteri Bottas take out Sergio Perez and Lando Norris of the race, ended in a red flag period. In the meantime, the rain eased off and the sun came out, prompting the track to dry quickly. With the race director opting for a standing start, every driver headed into the pit on the formation lap for slick tyres with the exception of race leader Lewis Hamilton.
The Briton’s decision meant that he needed to visit his team to take new tyres on the first lap after the re-start, which sent him to the back of the field. While he could recover thanks to the dominance of his W12 to take P3, the race saw Esteban Ocon and Sebastian Vettel battle it out for the win with the Frenchman scoring his first ever grand prix victory.
Max Verstappen, 10th “It was all out of our hands in the race and I can’t believe I got taken out for the second week running. The mechanics did what they could to get me back in the race but I was carrying a lot of damage on the car after the incident and it was super difficult to drive with, there was a lot of oversteer and understeer from the downforce loss.
“Of course it’s really disappointing to only score one point but on the other hand I was incredibly lucky to continue after the crash so it was a surprise to score a point at all which is still important. We have the summer break now but we keep pushing, we will never give up and we will focus on ourselves. We’ve had two very unlucky races but nothing is lost, it’s still a very long season. Congratulations to Esteban too, you can see that he is super happy and I’m sure many more race wins will follow.”Sergio Perez, DNF
up to third and it is such a shame because I think we had a good opportunity in those conditions, but there was nothing I could do. I have watched the replays as it was hard to understand exactly what happened behind me from inside the car and I just knew I got a big hit.
“Bottas made a big mistake and braked too late into Turn 1 which took out a lot of cars, including me and caused bad damage to Max’s car. He came to me and apologised as he knew it was his mistake, and although it was not on purpose and is how racing goes sometimes, it doesn’t make a difference to the result for us right now as the large amount of damage ended our race and opportunity for points.”
AlpineEsteban Ocon, 1st
"Formula 1 Grand Prix winner, it’s unbelievable and it definitely has not sunk in yet. What a moment, allez les bleus! It was a crazy race from the very start to the end. There were a lot of decisions to make and the team executed that really well along with the crew who did a mega pit-stop, which was crucial to staying in front of Sebastian [Vettel].
“I was happy to manage the pace as best as possible at the front and it all worked out well today. What a fight from Fernando too, his amazing teamwork at the end played a huge part in the win and it was great to share the moment with him. I can’t be thankful enough for the team’s work and support and it’s all paid off today. A big thanks as well to everyone at Enstone and Viry – this is for you!"Fernando Alonso, 5th
"It was a very long race, very tough, and we were fighting all the way through. The start was key – I was a bit unlucky and lost some positions, but some were even unluckier than me. It compromised our race a little, however, top five is the best result of the year for me so far, but winning the race for the team is the best result ever. Now we have quite some history on this track! My first victory came here with Renault in 2003, now Esteban has won as Alpine in 2021.
"I am so happy for him and for the guys. Sometimes we have been unlucky but today was one of the lucky days and we have to maximise these opportunities. We can execute races close to perfection if luck is with us. We’ve been up and down, but we can now look forward to the future and repeat the success of the past. These boosts motivate us, and we can go into the break with a smile on our faces."
“Second place is a great result and we can be proud of our performance, but when you are that close to victory, you always want more. At the start of the race, I could see the contact ahead of me, so I took the inside line and found myself with the leading cars. From then on, I felt like I tried to take the lead for the entire 70 laps, but it is so difficult to overtake here. I think we were quicker for most of the race, but there was not enough of a difference to make an overtake because it was very hard to follow in the dirty air.
“I tried to pressure Esteban [Ocon] into a mistake, but he did not make a single one. Congratulations to Esteban, it is his day and I am very happy for him. He deserved the victory. I will sleep well tonight knowing I gave it my all. We have a good fight on our hands in the midfield with Alpine and AlphaTauri, so we will take the summer break to rest up and come back ready to fight in Belgium.”Lance Stroll, DNF
“Congratulations to Seb and the team for our second podium of the season, everyone in the team has been working so hard and I am happy for them. On my side, it is really frustrating to have to retire so early in the race. Once the incident at the front of the field happened, I took the line to the inside to try and avoid making contact, but I locked up under braking.
"As soon as that happened, I knew I would not make the corner because it was so slippery and tricky out there. I did all I could to avoid contact but, unfortunately, my race was over. We will take the break to regroup and we want to come back stronger in Belgium.”
MercedesLewis Hamilton, 3rd
"First of all, I want to say a quick congratulations to the Alpine Team and to Esteban - he's been a shining star for some time now so it's been a long time coming and I'm really, really happy for him. It's great to see Aston Martin up there with their best result so far and I know there's more to come from them. We've had an amazing crowd this weekend and I'm grateful for the support.
"Today was definitely tough, it's crazy to think we were the only ones on the grid at the start, but these things happen in an unpredictable race, and we will learn any lessons that need to be learnt. I gave it everything today and I had nothing left at the end. I came into this weekend not knowing how we would perform and considering the circumstances today, I'll take P3!"Valtteri Bottas, DNF
"I had a poor start with lots of wheelspin off the line, lost a couple of places and then into turn one, I was right on the gearbox of Lando and locked the wheels. I misjudged the braking point - it's always difficult starting a race in those conditions, you're always 'guesstimating' grip levels and today I got it wrong. I've spoken to Lando and Checo to apologise, it was my bad today and sometimes you have to hold your hands up."
FerrariCharles Leclerc, DNF
"A hugely frustrating Sunday for me. I had a strong start and was in a good position, fighting for second or third. I knew that I had an opportunity today, so I took it easy and moved with caution. I was taking the first corner and no way was I expecting anyone to make that kind of move on me. Getting caught out like this is just a shame. The damage was so big that once I arrived at the braking point for the next corner, I spun straight away. Not the way we wanted to head into the summer break, but that’s how it is."Carlos Sainz, 4th
"What a crazy race. After starting P15 we actually had a good chance of a podium. Losing positions to Williams and AlphaTauri after the first pit stop due to the traffic in the pit lane cost us dearly. We were in the hunt for the win at that point, but instead we lost any real chance of fighting for it. In the first stint on slicks, once I was in clean air, the pace was super strong and I overcut Latifi and Tsunoda.
"Unfortunately in the last few laps I couldn’t do much to defend from Hamilton, as I was on very old hard tyres, having to look after the fuel and also coming up behind the McLaren at the end of the main straight which made it impossible to defend that podium position. I feel for Charles today because he was taken out through no fault of his own and I’m sure we could’ve scored more points with both cars.
“Overall, the first half of this first season with Ferrari has been positive. We still need to continue to understand the car in every type of corner and condition, but I think we are definitely on the right path. We’ll keep pushing and come back recharged after the summer break."
McLarenDaniel Ricciardo, 12th
"These races are fun for the fans because there’s always chaos. Wet starts are never boring and it’s very tricky for us. I was halfway around Turn 1 and I thought I’d escaped the mess. I could see one car in front and thought ‘I’m P2! This is amazing!’ and just as I exited the corner, I saw Charles [Leclerc] come into me, but I’d suspected someone went into him, because he caught me really late in the corner.
"There were a few other drivers making mistakes into the first corner and it cost a lot of us a race. Valtteri [Bottas] obviously cost Lando his race and Lance [Stroll] cost me mine. So, there wasn’t much more we could do after that, despite us trying. There were parts where I could hang n to the cars ahead, but with the car damage we had, and the difficulty overtaking here, it really just limited our race.
“In the end, the tyres were gone, and it was just about trying to hang on for dear life, but I couldn’t hang on to the points. I tried to hold on to Max, and to be honest I thought I did okay! I don’t know how many laps I held him off, but once he was past, the race was done, which is a shame. It looked very promising, but now, when you look at the race and the chaotic results, you realise you could’ve been up there, but unfortunately not. We were one of the many that just got unlucky today through no fault of our own.
“After a race like that we’re all looking forward to the holidays, but we’ll push on for a few more days of testing and then I’m very much looking forward to taking a break and just switching off, recharging the batteries and coming back stronger in Belgium."Lando Norris, DNF
"Not much to say, it was a short race! I only really made it to Turn 1. Until then, it was extremely good – I was into third place but then I got taken out and was just a passenger. The boys did a great job trying to get the car fixed and get me back out during the red flag, but it was impossible as there was just too much damage. It's a huge shame, but it wasn’t our fault. We still had a good weekend, and everything was going well until then, so we can be satisfied with our performances and look forward to the next one.
"I hope everyone can have a well-deserved rest now. The whole team here and back at the factory has done an awesome job this season. We’ll come back more energised and ready to retake what we lost out on this weekend."
AlphaTauriPierre Gasly, 6th
“To be honest, I don’t really know what to think. We started P5, which is probably the best position we can hope for, but then I was almost taken out in the first corner incident and had to make my way back through the field to finish in P6. It’s good obviously to be finishing where we did, with everything that happened in the race, but I think it definitely could’ve been better.
“We were best of the rest in quali and I was happy with the car, so there’s lots of positives to takeaway from this weekend but obviously we’ve lost a lot of points in the championship which is disappointing. However, I think we’ve come away with the best possible outcome given today’s circumstances. A big congrats to Esteban for the win – I think they did the right think with the strategy and he deserves it.”Yuki Tsunoda, 7th
“After the first lap I managed to jump up to P5, which I was really pleased with. I’ve really struggled with the car the whole weekend, but the pace was okay during the race and I managed to bring home some good points for the team today. For me, this has been a really difficult weekend, up until the race, so I need to go away, reset over the summer break and look at what I need to work on ahead of Spa, so I can continue to consistently score points in the second half of the season.”
"I’m so happy for everyone and I’m a bit lost for words. It was an incredible race. My final stint was probably the best of my whole career as I was fighting like crazy, fending off Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. I’m just so pleased for everyone because it’s been a big slog over the last two-and-a-half years for me, and three-and-a-half years for the team, so these points are really deserved. Really well done to Nicholas too, he made an amazing start and drove a really great race. Finishing eighth and ninth, we couldn’t really have done much more today."
Nicholas Latifi, 8th "It is an amazing result for the team, and I am so happy for us. The team has been knocking on the door of points for a few races now, so to get both cars in the points and to move up to P8 in the championship is amazing. The race from my side was very tough to manage, obviously the start in the first corner was what sealed it for me. We struggled in qualifying yesterday, so to come away with a result like this is better than anything we could have hoped for. Overall, it is a really nice way to head into the summer break."
Alfa RomeoKimi Raikkonen, 11th
“The start of the race was a bit what you would expect in these conditions, with a hectic first lap and lots of things happening. We looked quite okay until the penalty, which pretty much compromised our race: there was an issue with the traffic light release system and we ended up colliding with Mazepin. Up until the penalty, we were deep in the points, but making it back from the bottom was just too much.”Antonio Giovinazzi, 14th
“It just wasn’t our day. It was a race where we had the chance to bring home a good result and we didn’t, but it is what it is. With the penalty after the restart, our race was pretty much compromised: it’s hard to say how much pace we really had as I spent a lot of time in traffic, but when in clean air we were pretty good so it’s disappointing not to finish in the points. Let’s focus on recharging our batteries in this break and then come back stronger in Spa. There are still many races to come after the holidays and we will not give up.”
HaasMick Schumacher, 13th
“Finishing in front of an Alfa is something that we weren’t anticipating and starting from last and finishing P13 is quite a decent result for us. We were keen on having a point but frankly we don’t have the car at the moment to do so but nonetheless this was great experience as I’ve been able to battle with the top guys and the championship leader. For me personally, from a growth point of view, it was very good.
"We always knew it was going to be tough but today was a very nice day and after having a disappointing day yesterday, we came back on a high. Ending this first half of the season on a high is very positive for everybody - the team and myself - and being able to battle with the top guys brought me so much experience and knowing that I can throw out my elbows, I’m glad I got that opportunity.”Nikita Mazepin, DNF
“That’s one race I really wanted to be in. Not only for me, but this race offers lots of opportunities and my team really needs those opportunities. I saw the carnage in T1 and thought this is our day, and then I drove over debris and the team informed me I had a left-front puncture, I boxed and lost my track position and then boxed again and you saw what happened.
"That’s seriously not the way I wanted to go into the summer break because you want to give it your all and at least leave this weekend tired, with a sore body and sore neck. It’s a lack of laps and a lack of result, it’s very annoying. I’m sure this is just one of those day that is just rewarded later on.”