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Hamilton Implodes as Vettel Takes Victory

Lewis Hamilton said he had "a bad day at the office" as he slumped to a 6th place finish after a poor showing at the Hungarian GP, which was won brilliantly by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel. Dani Kvyat scored his first ever podium finish in 2nd, followed by the 2014 winner, Daniel Ricciardo. Fernando Alonso scored McLaren’s best finish of the season, coming home in 5th ahead of Hamilton’s Mercedes. It was a fantastic race from start to finish with action all over the circuit; but the major talking point from the race was Hamilton’s poor performance. For the first time that I can remember, he looked like a distinctly average racing driver. All season, fans have seen him drive like a true champion, with all those years of experience under his belt. His performance in Hungary however was littered with errors throughout; from his first excursion across the gravel which saw him drop to 10th early on, to his collision with Daniel Ricciardo, which resulted in front wing damage for Hamilton. Hamilton’s afternoon got worse before it got better, as he received a drive through penalty for the incident with Ricciardo. Only a puncture for team mate Nico Rosberg near the end of the race, again after a collision with Ricciardo, meant Hamilton finished ahead of his championship rival and extended his championship lead to 21 points going into the summer break.

Whilst all of this was happening, Vettel scored his second victory of the season after a truly brilliant drive from the second the lights went out. His start was fantastic and he was leading the race into the first corner, and never really looked in trouble from there. He has often been questioned over the last 18 months about his ability in a car that isn’t the most dominant on the grid, like the ones he had during his time at Red Bull, but for me his performance in Hungary should silence those critics.

Red Bull stood out for all the right reasons during the race, with their cars coming home 2nd and 3rd. Both drivers put in brilliant performances after poor starts. Kvyat dropped as low as 13th at one point and looked like he was going nowhere. Ricciardo also dropped from a 4th place start down into 9th as well. The Red Bull package worked really well around the tight and twisty Hungaroring, where the engine power output isn’t as important as it is at other circuits. This can’t take anything away from either driver as Kvyat’s drive was brilliantly clean coming through the field, and Ricciardo’s speed was evident throughout as he was putting in fastest laps and closing down both Mercedes at one point. His bravery on the brakes at turn one was also something to admire. He was coming from such a long way back for some of his overtakes and making them stick superbly. Granted, his collision with Rosberg came from one of these gutsy attempts, but it didn’t stop him from claiming another podium in Hungary.


Kimi’s Poor Luck Continues

It was a tale of two stories for Ferrari at the Hungarian GP, as Kimi Raikkonen had another disappointing weekend as the pressure mounts on the Finn for 2016. All season, it has been Vettel scoring the big points for Ferrari with two victories and a few more podiums. Raikkonen on the other hand has had an indifferent time this year. He has scored podiums yes, but the consistency that Vettel has been delivering hasn’t been there from Kimi, something that is putting doubts over Kimi’s drive at the team next year.

Raikkonen was having a strong weekend in general in Hungary, even leading the race at certain stages through pit stops ahead of him. The team were nailed on for a one-two finish as Kimi looked reasonably untroubled in second place before a technical issue caused him to fall back through the field, eventually causing him to retire from the race. His bad luck streak has hit a hat-trick now after his accident in Austria, which saw him retire and a bad tyre call in Britain. For Kimi to stay at Ferrari next season, his luck has to change after the summer break and he will have dug extremely deep and shown the talent which saw him win the 2007 World Championship.

How Many More Chances For Maldonado?

The Hungarian GP saw Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado receive a hat-trick of penalties during the race. The penalties were for pit lane speeding, overtaking under the safety car and a collision with Sergio Perez. Maldonado may be a race winner in F1 but for me, he has had way too many chances in the sport, and I think it is high time that he was replaced at Lotus. His career has been overshadowed by incidences and high profile collisions, most notably with Lewis Hamilton at Monaco in 2011 and in Valencia 2012. His crash at Bahrain last year with Esteban Gutierrez, where he managed to flip the Sauber, was another incident that stood out. He has retired from 6 out of the 10 races this season which in all fairness, not all were down to him crashing the car. A hat-trick of penalties in one race though is a bit extreme, and for incidents that he as an elite racing driver shouldn’t be incurring. Pit lane speeding and overtaking under the safety car is something you would expect to see from a rookie, not a driver with 4 seasons under his belt. Personally, I believe if he didn’t have his oil money backing, Maldonado wouldn’t have been in F1 long enough to win a race let alone be in the sport for 4 full seasons.

F1 Says Farewell to Jules Bianchi

I couldn’t write this without mentioning the untimely passing of Jules Bianchi and the tribute that was paid to the young Frenchman at the Hungarian GP. It had been a very difficult week for everyone involved with the sport and it was clear to see from the start of the weekend. The minutes silence that was held before the start of the race was a fantastic touch from everyone involved. The scene of all twenty drivers stood round in a circle with their racing helmets in the middle with Jules’ taking centre stage is something that will stay in my mind for many years to come. It was fitting tribute to Jules that the race was such a fantastic spectacle for the fans and all the teams and people involved. #CiaoJules

Report courtesy of Simon Gray

Read more on Simon's blog here

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