Lewis Hamilton had the measure of Nico Rosberg when it mattered most and F1’s regulations need some serious rethinking…
Lewis Hamilton ‘owned it’
Lewis Hamilton put in a measured drive with an engine that may be his last before penalties come, as he claimed a record-breaking fifth Hungarian GP victory.
Although Hamilton was told to “pick up the pace” and at one stage found himself just 0.4s ahead of Nico Rosberg as they navigated the traffic of Esteban Gutierrez, there was never the impression that Rosberg would – or could – attack.
Conspiracy theorists will be questioning whether team orders were at play or whether Hamilton was trying to back Rosberg up into the chasers.
However, the one thing is certain, the World Champion “owned it”, and now also owns the lead in the Drivers’ standings for the first time this season.
Best of the rest heats up
Sebastian Vettel hunted down Daniel Ricciardo in the closing stages of the Hungarian GP while Kimi Raikkonen had a fantastic battle – at least for the spectators’ perspective – with Max Verstappen.
After 70 laps Ricciardo beat Vettel by 0.674s and Verstappen was 0.385s ahead of Raikkonen.
Vettel put it down to the nature of the track, saying “it was clear that if you are ahead you can be fairly aggressive.”
What is really clear, though, is that aside from Raikkonen’s fastest lap time of the grand prix, the other three were lapping within three-tenths of each other.
The Red Bull and Ferrari drivers are now locked into a four-way fight for best of the rest, Ricciardo leading by one point ahead of Raikkonen with Vettel a further four of the pace and Verstappen, who only joined Red Bull after round four, 15 points behind his team-mate.
The title race may be a Mercedes-only tussle, but P3 at least is heating up.
Radio rules are dangerous
Ahead of the Hungarian GP weekend, the FIA issued clarification on the extensive restrictions on radio communications. What they failed to do in that directive was use any common sense.
Sergio Perez crashed in Austria as Force India were not allowed to inform him of a pending brake failure.
One race later Nico Rosberg was penalised for receiving information on how to avoid a repeat of his gearbox problem, a problem that could have resulted in his retirement but would not have caused a crash. PF1’s gets it, we don’t agree, but we do understand.
Moving onto Hungary, Jenson Button reports that the “pedal is stuck to the floor.” He was told by the McLaren pit wall: “Do not shift, we have lost hydraulic pressure.”
The Brit was able to continue only to be slapped with a drive-through penalty.
His response: “The brake pedal going to the floor isn’t classed as a safety issue? Interesting.”
We’d call it daft.
F1 rules must be enforced
The irony in Formula 1 is that even when there are rules that make sense, they are not always enforced.
This past weekend Nico Rosberg slowed marginally for double waved yellows, the same flags that an FIA report claimed Jules Bianchi had not slowed sufficiently for resulting in the catastrophic brain injuries from which he would never recover.
Rosberg claimed pole position with that lap, with Lewis Hamilton and others calling for clarification of the regulations.
There was more controversy in qualifying as 11 drivers fell short of the 107% limit, yet all were permitted to continue with the weekend.
And lastly there was Max Verstappen’s driving during the 70-lap grand prix when he came under pressure from Kimi Raikkonen.
It was clear that Verstappen moved more than once and yet he was not penalised.
“For me, he moved once to the right, I decided to go left and the other car moved left,” explained Raikkonen, who caught his front wing on Verstappen’s car as the teenager made his second move.
That, though, was not Verstappen’s only transgression as the duo almost touched laps later as he moved to block Raikkonen.
Why have rules if you aren’t going to enforce them?