Hamilton eases to eighth Hungarian win

Michelle Foster
Lewis Hamilton no1

Lewis Hamilton no1

Lewis Hamilton matched Michael Schumacher’s record of eight wins at one grand prix, winning the Hungarian GP as his rivals made it easy for him.

Sunday morning’s action at the Hungaroring saw a wet Formula race, a dry Formula 2, and the prospect of changing conditions for Formula 1.

There was drama on the way to the grid with the drivers out on intermediate tyres on a damp slippery circuit. Max Verstappen got it wrong on the kerbs and crashed nose first into the barrier. He lost his front wing, prompting a mad dash from Red Bull to get all the parts – including a nose and a push-rod – needed to repair his car to the grid.

Incredibly the Red Bull mechanics were able to get the repair work completed with 20 seconds to spare and the Dutchman took his place, P7, on the grid. “Incredible work guys, that’s unbelievable, thank you very much,” he thanked Red Bull.

The formation lap 70-lap Hungarian GP began on a damp and greasy circuit with Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas on the front row of the grid ahead of the Racing Points, Ferraris, Verstappen, Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz and Pierre Gasly, who had a new engine, turbo and MGU-H after his Saturday troubles.

With the field starting on intermediate tyres, except Kevin Magnussen on the full wets, it meant the rule that says drivers have to use two compounds during the grand prix went out as the umbrellas went up. However, almost immediately Daniil Kvyat asked AlphaTauri if he could pit for slicks. He pitted on the formation lap and started from the pit lane.

Hamilton made a great start in the damp with Stroll up to second ahead of Verstappen, Vettel and Leclerc. It wasn’t a good first lap for Bottas who jumped the start, stopped, and from there on made a slow get away with Perez down from fourth to seventh. Sainz looked right, looked left, but couldn’t find a way to improve as the field blocked the track into the first corner. He was P8 ahead of Daniel Ricciardo and Nicholas Latifi.

At the end of Lap 2 Leclerc and Bottas were both into the pits for soft and medium tyres, falling to 18th and 19th with only Kvyat behind them on the track. Hamilton, Stroll and Vettel all pitted at the end of Lap 3 as did Perez, Sainz, Alex Albon, Latifi, Gasly and Kimi Raikkonen. More followed suit. Vettel was the big loser in all that as he couldn’t leave his Ferrari box because of traffic and lost about seven seconds. Verstappen, who only a stopped a lap after Hamilton, was the next in followed by Esteban Ocon, George Russell and Norris.

Raikkonen was handed a five-second time penalty for being out of position on the grid while Latifi’s swap to slicks proved a trying one for the Williams driver as he suffered a puncture as he left the pits, released into Norris’ path and making slight contact. Latifi was also handed a time penalty for an unsafe release.

After a rather confusing six laps Hamilton was leading by seven seconds ahead of Verstappen, who paid a price for stopping a lap later, Kevin Magnussen and Romain Grosjean who changed onto medium tyres on the formation lap, Stroll, Leclerc, Bottas, Vettel, Albon and Perez.

Stroll made short work of Grosjean while Bottas overtook first Vettel and then Leclerc to run P6. “These soft tyres are rubbish,” Leclerc reports. Vettel was also struggling and ran wide at Turn 12, allowing Albon to pass him. Back at the front Hamilton led Verstappen by 10 seconds after 13 laps with Stroll up to third three laps later as he took the position off Magnussen.

Having taken eighth off Vettel, Albon found himself in the midst of a Ferrari sandwich. He tried several times to overtake Leclerc but, while he could bring his front wheels in line with the Ferrari’s rears, that’s as far as that went. Vettel sat behind the Thai driver waiting to pounce but so too was Perez, Ricciardo and Sainz. The six drivers separate by three seconds.

Albon made his move on Lap 18, finally passing Leclerc with Vettel trying to follow him through. Leclerc shut the door. A lap later Vettel made it stick at Turn 2. Ferrari finally put Leclerc out of his misery on Lap 21, pitting him for hard tyres. He fell to P15.

With his lead up to 13s, Mercedes told Hamilton to go “ICE position 9” and he asks “what number is that”. Moments later he told the team he felt his medium tyres were wearing. Verstappen and Vettel had similar tyre complaints. However, such was Hamilton’s pace that he lapped Leclerc, Norris and Ocon – the top 13 – by lap 26.

30 laps in: Hamilton, Verstappen, Stroll, Bottas, Magnussen, Albon, Grosjean, Vettel, Perez and Ricciardo. Vettel stopped a lap later, swapping to the hard tyres, and falling to P12 and the latest driver to be lapped by Hamilton. The Brit, though, had only stopped once.

Leclerc and Norris had a brief tussle over what was 13th place with the two youngsters wheel to wheel. He made the move stick through Turns 2 and 3.

Bottas was the first of the top six to stop for a second time, falling from third to fourth. That call handed the Finn the undercut over Stroll, who came out behind the Mercedes driver. Magnussen pitted from P5 for his first stop of the race, falling to eighth. Verstappen was the next in, swapping onto the hard tyres as a few drops of rain fell in the pit lane. Verstappen was P2, came out P2. Hamilton stopped a lap later for mediums, pitting from first and rejoining in first.

50 laps in: Hamilton, Verstappen, Bottas, Stroll, Vettel, Albon, Perez, Magnussen, Ricciardo and Leclerc. Ricciardo and Leclerc were a lap down. Bottas was right on Verstappen’s rear wing.

while questions about Bottas’ jumped started continued with no word from the stewards, they did announce that Red Bull had been summoned to answer to a report of grid drying. Teams are not allowed to alter the conditions of the grid.

Ricciardo took eighth off Magnussen, Leclerc took ninth off the Haas driver, and Verstappen asked where Bottas was. “How far behind is Bottas?” Verstappen asks. “He’s right behind you.” Shortly after Bottas pitted, swapping to shinny new reds. He dropped 22s behind Verstappen with Mercedes seeming to think the Dutchman would also need to pit, or that his tyres would fall off and Bottas could catch him. Stroll stopped, pitting from fourth and returning to the track in fourth, just ahead of Vettel and Albon.

Further back Sainz hunted down his 2021 team-mate, Leclerc, in the battle for P10. The McLaren driver dogged leclerc, one lap within DRS range, the next just outside. Ferrari’s outgoing driver, Vettel, was the next to be lapped by Hamilton. Despite running P5, the race leader stormed past the Ferrari on lap 58.

Sainz took 1t0h off Leclerc, the two wheel to wheel and oh so very close to crashing but they kept it clear and Sainz moved ahead of his 2021 team-mate at Turn 1 while, with a free pit stop in hand, Hamilton came in on lap 66 for a new set of tyres to go for the fastest lap point. He again pitted from the lead and came back out in the lead.

A mistake from Vettel late in the race handed Albon fifth place with the Ferrari driver running wide at Turn 2. Perez looked as if he too would pounce but the German fended him off to run sixth.

Hamilton crossed the line in first place, 9 seconds ahead of Verstappen, to take the victory at the Hungaroring. It was Hamilton’s eighth Hungarian GP win, equalling Schumacher’s record for most wins at a single grand prix. Hamilton also scored a point for fastest lap.

Bottas was third ahead of Stroll, Albon, Vettel and Perez. Hamilton lapped everyone up to and include sixth placed Vetel.

Ricciardo, Magnussen and Sainz completed the points with Magnussen’s two points Haas’ first of the championship.

Williams was unable to turn its qualifying showing into points, Russell P18 and Latifi P19.

But, several hours after the race, Magnussen’s two points became one after he was slapped with a 10-second penalty by the FIA stewards for a driver aid breach. Grosjean was hit with the same penalty and dropped him from P15 to P16.

The FIA took no further action against Alex Albon for suspected drying of the grid box by his team prior to the race.

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 8.702s
3 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 9.452s
4 Lance Stroll Racing Point 57.579s
5 Alex Albon Red Bull 77.211
6 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 1 LAP
7 Sergio Perez Racing Point 1 LAP
8 Daniel Ricciardo Renault 1 LAP
9 Carlos Sainz McLaren 1 LAP
10 Kevin Magnussen Haas 1 LAP
11 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 1 LAP
12 Daniil Kvyat AlphaTauri 1 LAP
13 Lando Norris McLaren 1 LAP
14 Esteban Ocon Renault 1 LAP
15 Kimi Raikkonen Alfa Romeo Racing 1 LAP
16 Romain Grosjean Haas 1 LAP
17 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo Racing 1 LAP
18 George Russell Williams 1 LAP
19 Nicholas Latifi Williams 5 LAPS

Did not finish
Pierre Gasly Honda lap 16 engine

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