Lewis Hamilton enjoyed a smooth and unchallenged race to win the Hungarian Grand Prix, followed by Max Verstappen in the Red Bull and Valtteri Bottas in the second Mercedes. Hamilton’s win was his eighth in Hungary, equalling Michael Schumacher’s record of 8 Grand Prix wins at the same circuit.
It was a faultless drive from Hamilton, who didn’t put a foot wrong and sped off into an uncatchable lead in his black Mercedes. Even a quick recovery drive from Verstappen and a late challenge from Bottas did nothing to stop Hamilton.
Max Verstappen finished in a previously unthinkable second place, following a disappointing qualifying session that saw him start down in seventh. He very nearly failed to even make the start, as an embarrassing crash on his way to the grid almost took him out of contention. He lost control of the Red Bull and went into the barriers, breaking the left front track rod end and front wing, but an incredible repair job by the Red Bull mechanics saw him start and enjoy a strong race to take his second podium of the season.
Valtteri Bottas found himself under scrutiny early on, as it appeared he had jumped the start. He escaped a penalty, however, as he only jolted forward slightly before sopping quickly and taking the start normally. It cost him a few positions and he found himself out of the top five at turn two. He fought back to third by the end of the race, but it saw him lose the championship lead to Hamilton on a weekend when he never seemed to match his teammates sublime pace.
Racing Point, who started 3rd and 4th with Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez respectively, couldn’t hold on and score their first podium of the season, but although Perez dropped down the order, Stroll held on to finish in 4th in what was a good race for the young Canadian. Racing Point still find themselves under an investigation due to the legality of certain parts of their car, but their form is still very good and they’ll be looking to capitalise on any mistakes the teams around them make.
Haas scored their first points of the year, courtesy of Kevin Magnussen finishing 9th for the American outfit. An inspired strategy saw both drivers come into the pits at the end of the formation lap to fit dry tyres, as they had started with Magnussen on full wet tyres and teammate Romain Grosjean on intermediates. They found themselves in the top five for quite a few laps and although Grosjean faded during the race, Magnussen held on in the inferior Haas car and ensured Haas achieved their first points.
McLaren’s Carlos Sainz finished in 10th to grab the final point, ahead of Ferrari’s Charles LeClerc. Sebastian Vettel finished 6th for Ferrari ahead of Perez in the Racing Point. 8th went to Daniel Ricciardo in the Renault. Alex Albon finished a solid 5th after a disappointing qualifying left him down in 13th.
Weather had been unpredictable in the lead up to the race, with all drivers opting to start on the intermediate tyres apart from Magnussen on the wets. Several drivers, including both Haas cars, came into the pits at the end of the formation lap to fit dry tyres as the rain had stopped but left the track slightly greasy. The rain never returned, and soon all drivers were on the dry compounds.
It certainly wasn’t the most exciting race, with there being no battle for the lead. Hamilton got a good start and soon disappeared off into the distance, with the action unfolding behind him. Drivers were fighting up and down the order, but there was very little, if any, contact, and we were treated to some good overtaking manoeuvres. It is a shame that there is rarely a wheel to wheel battle for the lead between teams. Of course, the Mercedes drivers are often fighting each other, but it would be nice to see other teams more regularly in the hunt, not just Mercedes and Red Bull. I hope that Ferrari can sort out their problematic SF1000 and that other teams like Racing Point can close the gap to the podium places.
There was only one retirement in the race, which belonged to Pierre Gasly in the AlphaTauri. The car decided it could take no more and peeled off into the pit lane with smoke billowing out of the back end.
Heading into the race, Williams would have been full of optimism. They managed to get both cars into the second part of qualifying since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix, with Nicholas Latifi starting 15th and George Russell lining up 12th, ahead of Alex Albon in the Red Bull. The race didn’t go to plan for the British team however, with Russell getting a poor start and dropping down the order and Latifi being released into the path of Carlos Sainz in the pit, with the Spaniard’s McLaren making contact with the back of Latifi’s Williams. It gave him a puncture and put him into a spin, and then to make matters worse, he was handed a 5 second time penalty for the unsafe release in the pits. He suffered another spin later in the race and finished dead last, multiple laps down. Russell only finished 18th in what was a disappointing race for the Williams team.
As I say, it wasn’t the most exciting race, with the lead never really being in doubt, but hopefully, the next round will be more entertaining. Not to say this one didn’t have it’s drama and entertainment, however; Verstappen crashing before the race even started and the good racing up and down the field did keep me intrigued.
Lewis Hamilton now leads the championship from Bottas, with Verstappen third, Lando Norris fourth and Alex Albon fifth. Haas move up to ninth in the Constructors championship thanks to their good race, leaving Williams as the only team yet to score so far this season.
The next round takes place in two weeks’ time, for the first of two back to back races in Silverstone. It’s a circuit that often provides exciting races, and the two-week break will give the teams some time to work on any faults and flaws with their cars. I’m mainly thinking of you here, Ferrari. You have some catching up to do!
Thanks very much for reading, I hope you enjoyed the race (well, tried to.. I know it wasn’t the most exciting) and I look forward to writing my next piece! Take care.