Fans of Formula 1 have complained that the top tier motorsports series has become entirely too predictable, but no one could have guessed the final result of Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring. Ferrari and Sebastien Vettel fittingly took the win in a race which paid tribute to Jules Bianchi, the team’s former reserve driver who recently succumbed to injuries sustained at last year’s Japanese GP, and there wasn’t a Silver Arrow in sight on the podium.
When the lights went out, it was immediately clear the Hungarian GP was going to be a race unlike any other so far this year. Both Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg got off to a poor start, with the former running off track into the sand and dropping back to 10th position on Lap 1. This gave the Ferraris an early jump, with Vettel out front and Kimi Raikkonen taking second in Turn 2.
Halfway through the race, Ferrari looked poised to take a 1-2 finish, with both of the teams’ drivers leading Rosberg, who was now 11.8 seconds behind. Hamilton had managed to work his way up to fourth by this point and caught a lucky break as a safety car was put out after Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India went off track following a front wing failure.
This bit of luck was short lived for the Briton, though. Under a green flag, Hamilton was battling for position with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo and lost traction, taking out his front wing. Race stewards handed Hamilton a drive through penalty for the incident, which relegated him back to 12th position. Despite Vettel’s strong track position, Ferrari wasn’t having too much luck either, having to retire Raikonnen’s car after the Fin experienced problems with his MGU-K system. This bumped Rosberg up to third, putting him in Ricciardo’s crosshairs as the race began to wind down.
Now on soft rubber, Ricciardo was able to easily trade blows with Rosberg’s Mercedes, which was on mediums. With just five laps to go, Ricciardo dove down on the inside of Rosberg on Turn 1, their two cars making contact on the exit. This punctured Rosberg’s left rear tire and damaged Ricciardo’s front wing, forcing both cars to pit.
Ricciardo and Rosberg’s misfortune bumped Red Bull’s Danil Kyvat up to second and gave the Russian his first-ever podium. The result was unforeseen for both Kyvat and the Red Bull team, considering his race was put in jeopardy earlier with a flat spotted tire. Ricciardo followed his teammate in third, giving the struggling Red Bull-Renault team much needed constructors’ points.
Vettel and Ferrari dedicated their win at Hungary to Bianchi, and will surely keep the late Frenchman in their thoughts as they attempt to close the gap between them and Mercedes in the constructors’ and drivers’ championships.
Photo via Facebook.com/ScuderiaFerrari