Hamilton quickest in Hungary on Day One
Lewis Hamilton, who has made the Hungarian Grand Prix his own territory over the last seven years with no fewer than four wins, was fastest at the end of Friday’s two practice sessions.
The tricky Hungaroring, a short distance from Hungary’s capital city Budapest, is a notoriously difficult circuit on which to overtake so pole position for Sunday’s race is crucial to any driver with ambitions of a race victory. Fourteen points adrift of championship rival and team mate Nico Rosberg, Hamilton is therefore focused on placing his Mercedes on pole for the race. The Englishman traded fastest laps with Rosberg before sealing the quickest time just under two hundredths of a second quicker.
The Ferrari twins of Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso were third and fourth with Sebastian Vettel fifth. Kevin Magnussen was sixth and his McLaren team-mate Jenson Button ninth. Surprisingly the two Williams of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas were slower than expected in tenth and fourteenth respectively. Williams have been working on race pace and the podium finishes of Bottas in the last two Grands Prix, suggests that the exercise is working. An improved performance could again see the pair near the front in qualifying.
Without overegging the point, pole position is vital in Hungary as the narrow and twisty track presents few overtaking opportunities. Therefore, prepare for a frantic qualifying on Saturday and an even more frantic dash for the first corner on Sunday!
Day Two Hungarian GP – Rosberg on pole and Hamilton at the back (again).
Lewis Hamilton’s championship aspirations suffered a serious dent this afternoon at the Hungaroring ahead of tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix. Having dominated every session at a circuit that he loves and has won the Grand Prix on no fewer than four occasions, the Englishman’s plans went up in smoke as a fuel leak led to a fire that engulfed the rear of his Mercedes minutes into the first part of Qualifying.
On a track where overtaking is so difficult, Hamilton will face a massive task to force his way back to the head of the field by the time the race finishes. He must already be resigning himself to the fact that he will leave Budapest with a bigger deficit to his team-mate than the current 14 points that separate them.
As Hamilton’s qualifying turned to disaster his team-mate Rosberg enjoyed the best of changing conditions to post a superlative pole and will starts tomorrow’s race ahead of Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) and Valtteri Bottas (Williams).
A brief rain storm at the start of the final qualifying session brought out a red flag as McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen aquaplaned off in turn one and clouted the barriers. He took no further part in the proceedings and will start tenth.
Starting fourth will be Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo, fifth Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso (team-mate Kimi Raikkonen failed to make it through Qualifying One after a misjudgement by the team and will start 17th), Felipe Massa sixth and Jenson Button seventh.
Day Three – Sensational race in Hungary with the ever-smiling Ricciardo taking victory
Daniel Ricciardo scored his second Formula One victory at the Hungaroring on Sunday in a sensational finish to an enthralling race. The Australian overtook both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso in the closing laps to win a race flushed with excitement throughout 70 laps of the Hungaroring.
By finishing third behind a delighted and relieved Fernando Alonso, who’s Ferrari he hounded for the lead over the last ten laps, Lewis Hamilton captured the headlines after an extraordinary drive from last and starting from the pit lane. Lewis, like Ricciardo and Alonso, made the most of the wet conditions in the early stages along with a number of safety car periods to produce yet another sensational performance to put himself back in contention for championship honours. His third place, with championship leader Rosberg fourth, closes the gap to eleven points.
Heading into Sunday afternoon’s race Hamilton’s chances of leaving Budapest having reduced his points deficit to Rosberg were slim, almost non-existent. But a drive straight out of the textbooks, filled with gritty determination and some platinum moments made this one of Lewis’ greatest comebacks. If he goes on to win the Championship it will certainly have been done the hard way!
Rosberg was eclipsed by his team-mate after starting from pole and his race was characterised by radio winging rather than getting on with the job in hand. He was, nevertheless, right up Hamilton’s exhaust pipes at the finish. Felipe Massa was fifth for Williams and Kimi Raikkonen completed a good weekend for the under-fire Ferrari team with seventh after starting ten places further back on the grid.
Sebastian Vettel was eighth, enduring a massive spin in the process exiting the last turn and narrowly missing a massive altercation with the pit wall. Valtteri Bottas, who started third but was undone by the elements and the safety car, was eight with Jenson Button ninth and Adrian Sutil getting valuable points for Sauber in tenth.
The Hungarian Grand Prix was one of those races that put the life and spirit back into F1 and we look forward to more such races this season that see the final result going right down to the wire.
Formula One now takes a summer break but Yallabahrain and Sutton-Images will bring you the up-dates and stories as they happen when the championship reengages again at the legendary Spa Francorchamps track in Belgium on August 24th.