Sebastian Vettel has taken his second win as a Ferrari driver, fending off Nico Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo in an unpredictable Hungarian Grand Prix. A late race Safety Car cut Vettel's twenty-second lead to nothing and he had over twenty laps to hold off two determined challengers.
Neither of those challengers was Lewis Hamilton - he threw his weekend away in a series of mistakes that began with a poor start and ended with a lowly sixth place. He got lucky towards the end of the race when Rosberg fell out of second after clashing with Ricciardo.
PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING
The weekend started on a quiet note with the paddock mourning the death of Jules Bianchi who never regained consciousness after the terrible crash at last year's Japanese Grand Prix.
Sergio Perez livened up FP1, but not the way he would have liked. His rear suspension broke, pitching him into the barrier. He then went over on to his roll hoop when a wheel jammed underneath the front of the car. Perez escaped uninjured and the team sat out FP2 while they worked out what had happened.
Raikkonen had the first of a number of problems for the weekend, his front wing failing at turn 12.
Red Bull made an unexpected and welcome appearance towards the front, both Bulls splitting the Mercedes cars. Normal transmission resumed on Saturday with Mercedes fronting FP3. Ferrari had a scare with Raikkonen's car springing a leak, but it was fixed for qualifying.
As expected, the Mercedes locked out the front row, with Hamilton soundly beating Rosberg to the top spot. Daniel Ricciardo delivered on the promise of the competitive practice times, splitting Vettel in third and Raikkonen in fifth.
McLaren's promise evaporated when Button failed to get out of Q1 (ERS didn't work) and Alonso's car died in Q2 (after his team said it probably wouldn't), pushing it into pitlane to the cheers of the crowd.
Race day was sunny and warm, but without the gusty winds of Saturday. Massa caused an aborted start by being out of position and copped a five second time penalty for his trouble.
Vettel and Raikkonen got off the line beautifully. Hamilton did not and was swamped by the two red cars and his own teammate. Ricciardo's start was awful, falling to seventh after a heart-stopping wheel-bang with Bottas.
Hamilton chucked it off the road trying to pass Rosberg, sending the Briton through the gravel and back to tenth. He claimed Rosberg had made two defensive moves but Lewis' move was perhaps far too optimistic.
Bottas was a big winner on the opening lap, moving to fourth ahead of Hulkenberg who had made up six places off the start.
Ricciardo was soon on the radio to tell the pitwall that Kvyat was in trouble, the response being to tell the young Russian not to hold up his teammate. He relented on lap eight and allowed the Australian past, who romped away to attack the Force India.
Ricciardo made good his release from behind his teammate and sliced past Hulkenberg at turn one to take fifth place. Not far behind, Lewis Hamilton went around the outside of Massa; their rear tyres just touching.
Hamilton's next pass was down the inside of a helpless Perez, a much easier move to allow him to go after Kvyat, who was complaining of vibrating tyres. He soon pitted behind the recently-vanquished Bottas.
The Williams driver had been the victim of a trademark dive-bomb from Ricciardo at turn one, a method the Australian had used to great effect on his way to victory in 2010. His stop was slow, with a sticking left front wheel leaving him vulnerable to Pastor Maldonado as he left the pits.
Massa pitted and lost his place to Grosjean. The Lotus driver was later given a penalty for an unsafe release with the two cars running down pitlane side-by-side.
Hamilton got some clear air and started to work on the gap to Rosberg - the victory was already gone and he had to chase down his teammate to limit the damage in the championship.
Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari shed a camera fitting as he clattered over a kerb - the team wasn't sure what had come off until the replay showed the substantial chunk of carbon fibre flying off and away, harmlessly in the end.
Sergio Perez's crashy weekend continued as he tried to dive around the outside of Pastor Maldonado. Maldonado's Lotus understeered into Perez's sidepod and the Force India popped into the air. The Mexican then spun the car around and nearly collected the following cars, Maldonado copped a penalty for causing the collision.
Vettel stopped on lap 22 for a new set of softs, a lightning stop putting him back out in double-quick time. Hamilton also pitted and took on softs as well as a small front wing adjustment.
Having both stopped, Hamilton and Ricciardo were together on lap 23, making the Mercedes driver work for his fourth place. The Mercedes hadn't seemed to turn on the soft tyre while the Red Bull was using the harder prime tyre to great effect. Ricciardo's engineer knew it too, encouraging his man to keep Hamilton behind and compromise his tyres.
Hamilton finally got by on lap 30, around the outside at turn one, although Ricciardo had got it sideways out of the final turn to give Hamilton something to attack. The next something was Rosberg, who was on the prime tyre - Hamilton kept taking chunks out of Rosberg's lead, making the most of the softer tyres.
Fernando Alonso's uneventful race was interrupted by an unscheduled pit stop for a right rear puncture. He had been running in ninth - on merit - the stop dropping him to tenth.
The two Ferraris were ten seconds apart with a further 16 seconds back to Rosberg who was struggling on the prime tyre. His engineer told him that Hamilton would soon be switching to the harder tyre and, mystifyingly, Rosberg asked if he could run again on the slipperier rubber. The team weren't keen on it and told him he'd have to find some more speed.
Someone who wished for more speed was Raikkonen - he reported a strange noise and loss of power. The team later told him it was the MGU-K; the generator unit. The problem was so serious, Alonso was able to sail past. It would later spell the end of Raikkonen's race, the team even trying to reboot the problem.
Nico Hulkenberg's eighth place ended in the barriers at turn one - his front wing was gone and his front tyres smoking as he tried to pull the car up. The Virtual Safety Car came out and in came half the field to change tyres.
The actual Safety Car came out as there was an enormous amount of carbon fibre debris to be cleared, some of it probably rattling around Kvyat's cockpit. The Russian had been directly behind the Force India when the front wing spontaneously came off. The field was taken through the pits by the safety car to allow for the clean up to be conducted safely.
Force India pitted Perez and changed the nose to the older, nostril-free design, presumably worried it was the new design that caused the problem.
The Safety Car came in at the end of lap 48 and Vettel took off while Rosberg attacked the stricken Raikkonen. Lewis Hamilton got it wrong defending Ricciardo, breaking a chunk from his front wing after understeering into the Red Bull. He then lost a place to Bottas who in turn got a puncture from Verstappen's front wing.
Vettel had a lead of 1.2 seconds over Rosberg at the beginning of lap 51 while Ricciardo stepped on to the podium by passing Raikkonen. Hamilton pitted on lap 52 for a new wing and a set of soft tyres, and was in again a few laps later for a drive-through penalty.
Raikkonen pitted on lap 52 and shut down the engine - the team restarted him after short delay, hoping it rebooted the generator. He was also under investigation for speeding in the pits, as was Vetstappen and Maldonado. It didn't matter in the end, he retired.
With thirteen laps to go, Ricciardo was a second behind Rosberg who was just over a second behind Vettel. The Red Bull driver was the only one of the three on soft tyres.
Rosberg's race came undone on lap 64. Daniel Ricciardo tried one of his huge turn one moves, all locked up but he made the corner. Sadly Rosberg was too keen to force Ricciardo wide and cut his left rear against Ricciardo's front wing. The collision was investigated but no action taken.
This brought Kvyat into second place, despite a ten second time penalty for overtaking while off the track.
Vettel crossed the line having not made a single mistake all afternoon and surviving the immense pressure caused by the Safety Car intervention. The German's radio message gave him the opportunity to remember Jules Bianchi. Kvyat took his first podium and Ricciardo took third.
Formula 1 will return after the summer break for the Belgian Grand Prix.
2015 Hungarian F1 GP Results
- Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari - 1h46m09.985s
- Daniil Kvyat - Red Bull/Renault - +15.748s
- Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull/Renault - +25.084s
- Max Verstappen - Toro Rosso/Renault - +44.251s
- Fernando Alonso - McLaren/Honda - +49.079s
- Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes - +52.025s
- Romain Grosjean - Lotus/Mercedes - +58.578s
- Nico Rosberg - Mercedes - +58.876s
- Jenson Button - McLaren/Honda - +1m07.028s
- Marcus Ericsson - Sauber/Ferrari - +1m09.130s
- Felipe Nasr - Sauber/Ferrari - +1m13.458s
- Felipe Massa - Williams/Mercedes - +1m14.278s
- Valtteri Bottas - Williams/Mercedes - +1m20.228s
- Pastor Maldonado - Lotus/Mercedes - +1m25.142s
- Roberto Merhi - Marussia/Ferrari - +2 Laps
Will Stevens - Marussia/Ferrari - Vibration
Carlos Sainz - Toro Rosso/Renault - Power Unit
Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari - Power Unit
Sergio Perez - Force India/Mercedes - Brakes
Nico Hulkenberg - Force India/Mercedes - Wing
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