Hamilton increases championship lead with dominant Hungarian GP win

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton heads into the F1 summer break with a 24 point lead as he wins the Hungarian GP ahead of the Ferrari’s of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen as Valterri Bottas finishes 5th after making contact with Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo.

29/07/18

Grid Formation

1.Hamilton  2.Bottas  3.Raikkonen  4.Vettel  5.Sainz  6.Gasly  7.Verstappen  8.Hartley  9.Magnussen  10.Grosjean 11.Alonso  12.Ricciardo  13.Hulkenberg  14.Ericsson  15.Vandoorne  16.Leclerc  17.Ocon  18.Perez  19.Sirotkin  20.Stroll*

Stroll* will start from the pit-lane after Williams had to change his front wing after it was damaged in Qualifying.

Race

How will today’s race fold out? Can Ferrari challenge Mercedes for the win? Where can Daniel Ricciardo finish from 12th and where can Fernando Alonso finish on his 37th birthday?

Lewis Hamilton, Valterri Bottas, Kimi Raikkonen, Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez, Romain Grosjean, Brendon Hartley, Kevin Magnussen and Pierre Gasly will start on the Ultrasoft tyre. Lance Stroll will start on the Medium tyre with the rest of the drivers starting on the Soft tyre.

The lights go out and it’s a good start by Lewis Hamilton and Valterri Bottas as they led into turn 1. Kimi Raikkonen behind hassles the Mercedes drivers as Sebastian Vettel goes round the out-side of his team-mate through turn 2 to take 3rd. Max Verstappen is now 5th with Pierre Gasly holding down 6th. Kevin Magnussen has jumped up to 8th with Carlos Sainz back in 8th.

Lap 2, Charles Leclerc has pulled over on the pit-straight and is out. Daniel Ricciardo reports minor damage to his front wing and tyre. The replay of the start shows that Sebastian Vettel did not get the best of starts and was even challenged by Carlos Sainz. Onboard with Ricciardo at the start shows that Marcus Ericsson hit the left front tyre as the Swede braked a tad to late. Lap 5, Lewis Hamilton’s gap has grown to 3.4 seconds ahead of team-mate Valterri Bottas. Vettel in 3rd is now 4.8 seconds behind Hamilton. Lap 6, Ricciardo overtakes Stoffel Vandoorne for 13th into turn 1 as Max Verstappen slows. The Dutchman pulls over just before turn 7 and is furious. The VSC is called out.

Lap 7, the VSC ends and racing returns to normal. Lap 9, Lewis Hamilton’s gap has grown to 4 seconds over Valterri Bottas as Daniel Ricciardo overtakes Fernando Alonso for 11th down into turn 1. The Spaniard fights back but Ricciardo holds 11th. Lap 11, Kimi Raikkonen radio’s his Ferrari team to tell them if he can drink. Oops, Ferrari forgot to connect the drinks bottle so Raikkonen won’t be able to drink for the full 70 laps.

Behind the top 4, Pierre Gasly is holding down 5th, 7 seconds ahead of Kevin Magnussen in 6th who is 4.5 seconds ahead of Carlos Sainz in 7th. Brendon Hartley is in 8th with Daniel Ricciardo now in 9th after overtaking Nico Hulkenberg. Lap 13, Lewis Hamilton’s gap has grown to 5.6 seconds over Valterri Bottas with Sebastian Vettel under 2 seconds behind the Finn in 3rd. Lap 14, Ricciardo overtakes Hartley for 8th into turn 1. The target for Ricciardo today is to finish in 5th.

Lap 15, Kimi Raikkonen pits. The slow stop for the Ferrari team releases the Finnish driver in 6th on the Soft tyre. Lap 16, Valterri Bottas pits. The Mercedes driver rejoins on the Soft tyre and in 4th as Daniel Ricciardo overtakes Carlos Sainz for 7th into turn 1. Lewis Hamilton leads ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly. All three haven’t pitted as Raikkonen overtakes Kevin Magnussen for 5th into turn 1. Lap 18, Bottas overtakes Gasly for 3rd down into turn 1. Lap 21, Ricciardo lunges again down the inside of Magnussen. The Dane holds on so Ricciardo goes round the outside of turn 2 to get the move completed. He is now 6th.

Lap 22, Ferrari tell Sebastian Vettel that they have moved to “Plan C as Kimi Raikkonen overtakes Pierre Gasly for 4th down into turn 1. Lewis Hamilton’s Ultrasoft tyres are starting to fade away and now the advantage swings to Vettel who is on the more durable Soft tyre. Although, a mistake by the German driver into turn 12 lets Hamilton increase his lead by 1 second. Lap 25, Nico Hulkenberg pits. The Renault driver goes onto the Medium tyre and rejoins in 14th.

Lap 26, Lewis Hamilton pits from the lead. He goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 3rd. Sebastian Vettel inherits the lead albeit not having pitted yet. Lap 28, Mercedes tell Valterri Bottas in 3rd that Vettel will be going a bit longer and will emerge around him after his pit-stop. Lap 33, Kimi Raikkonen is closing in on Bottas. The gap between the Finn’s is just over a second. Daniel Ricciardo holds 5th having not stopped with Pierre Gasly in 6th who has pitted. Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne who are on the Soft tyre haven’t pitted yet and are in 7th and 8th.

Lap 36, Sebastian Vettel is now encountering traffic and that has not helped the German’s pace. The Gap was around 13 seconds and now it is just under 10 seconds. Lap 39, Kimi Raikkonen pits confirming that his is on a two-stop. The Finn goes onto a set of Soft tyres and is back out in 5th. Lap 40, Vettel pits. Again, it’s a slow pit-stop by Ferrari. He is on the Ultrasoft tyre and rejoins in 3rd and behind Valterri Bottas. Lap 41, Fernando Alonso pits and rejoins in 8th. Lap 42, Stoffel Vandoorne follows Alonso into the pits and rejoins in 9th. Good showing by the McLaren pair.

If Sebastian Vettel wants to challenge Lewis Hamilton for the win, he has to overtake Valterri Bottas as soon as possible. Only Daniel Ricciardo and Lance Stroll are yet to make their pit-stops with 44 laps completed. Lap 45, Ricciardo pits. The Australian goes onto a set of Ultrasoft tyres and rejoins in 5th, the position Red Bull expected him to finish in. Lap 51, Stoffel Vandoorne is going slowly. It looks like a gearbox failure. The Belgian is out and gutted. What rotten luck as he was on to score his first points since Baku. The VSC is out.

The VSC ends and racing returns to normal. Under the VSC, Nico Hulkenberg pitted with the Renault driver going onto the Ultrasoft tyre. He is in 14th and not far behind the Force India’s of Esteban Ocon and Sergio Perez. Lap 57, Sebastian Vettel has gotten the gap down to Valterri Bottas to just over a second. The German has struggled to catch up with the Finn with the twisty nature of the Hungaroring not helping the Ferrari driver. Kimi Raikkonen is gaining on the pair in 4th and is just 2 seconds behind. Bottas should start to struggled soon as his Soft tyres have been on since lap 15.

Lap 61, Valterri Bottas, Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen are covered by just 1.6 seconds. Will Ferrari allow Raikkonen through to challenge Bottas? Lap 65, Vettel challenges Bottas round the outside of turn 1. Vettel gets better traction and beats Bottas to turn 2. Bottas hits the rear of Vettel after trying to get back at the Ferrari driver. Vettel is now 2nd with Raikkonen 3rd. Bottas has front wing damage and if he pits, he will drop behind Daniel Ricciardo.

Lap 68, Daniel Ricciardo and Valterri Bottas go side-by-side down into turn 1 but with the understeer that Bottas has with the front wing damage, contact is made. Ricciardo has dropped back as the Stewards have noted the incident between  Bottas and Ricciardo. Mercedes tell Bottas to give back the position to Ricciardo. Lap 70, Ricciardo overtakes Bottas on the exit of turn 1 for 4th. Lewis Hamilton wins the Hungarian GP ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen.

After the race, Bottas was given a 10 second time penalty and 2 penalty points added to his license by the Stewards after the Ricciardo incident.

Race Result

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 70 Laps
  2. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +17.123s
  3. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, +20.101s
  4. Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, +46.419s (Fans Driver of the Day & DHL Fastest Lap Award)
  5. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +60.000s
  6. Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, +73.273s
  7. Kevin Magnussen, Haas, + 1 Lap
  8. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, + 1 Lap
  9. Carlos Sainz Jr, Renault, + 1 Lap
  10. Romain Grosjean, Haas, + 1 Lap
  11. Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, + 1 Lap
  12. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, + 1 Lap
  13. Esteban Ocon, Force India, + 1 Lap
  14. Sergio Perez, Force India, + 1 Lap
  15. Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, + 2 Laps
  16. Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, + 2 Laps
  17. Lance Stroll, Williams, + 2 Laps
  • Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, DNF
  • Charles Leclerc, Sauber, DNF
  • Max Verstappen, Red Bull, DNF

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