F1 2019: Leclerc takes emotional maiden win in Belgium as Ferrari win in 2019

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc takes an emotional maiden win in the sport after the death of friend Anthoine Hubert who died a day earlier during the F2 Feature Race. After a late-challenge, Mercedes Lewis Hamilton takes 2nd place ahead of team-mate Valterri Bottas as Red Bull’s Alexander Albon finishes 5th on his promotion to the team.

01/09/19

Race

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc emotional victory started the right way as a great start saw the young Monegasque led as the fast-starting Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton jumped Sebastian Vettel on the run-down to turn 1. Valterri Bottas retained 4th as Red Bull’s Max Verstappen went down the inside of Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen into La Source which resulted in contact and saw the Finn being tilted on two wheels. With broken suspension and dodgy steering, Verstappen’s race came to an end as the Dutchman got to the middle of the run up to the Camel straight ploughing into the barrier. Up front, Leclerc led as Vettel blasted past Hamilton for 2nd to make it a Ferrari 1-2.

The stricken Red Bull resulted in the Safety Car being deployed which also saw the retirement of the McLaren of Carlos Sainz Jr who had power issues. The other McLaren of Lando Norris had now found himself in 5th ahead of the Haas drivers of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen. Racing resumed on lap 4 where a excellent restart by Leclerc saw him unchallenged by his team-mate who made a mistake by locking-up into La Source. This saw the pressure put on Vettel as Hamilton and Bottas behind however by using the Ferrari’s straight line speed, the four time world champion wasn’t the one under pressure. Newly re-signed for 2020, Bottas challenged Hamilton into turn 5 but the championship leader stayed ahead and would remain for the rest of the race.

The top four pulled away from the rest of the pack who were still headed by Norris who had pulled a good gap to Grosjean behind. A queue of drivers started to form behind Magnussen who started to fall back after being overtaken by the likes of the Racing Point drivers of Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll and then by the Toro Rosso of Daniil Kvyat. Having started in 17th, Alexander Albon knew he was going to have to work hard to score decent points on his promotion to the senior team of Red Bull and started to carve his way through the pack by firstly overtaking the struggling Magnussen for 11th on lap 15.

Come lap 19, focus shifted from the racing and to the fans who all stood up around the track to pay tribute to Anthoine Hubert who lost his life during the F2 Feature Race. His race number was #19 and this fan-inspired standing ovation paid tribute to the promising young Frenchman who tragically died after a horrific crash.

After pitting earlier, Vettel managed to take the lead whilst Leclerc, Hamilton and Bottas made their pit-stops albeit longer in the race to make sure that they had enough tyre wear to make it to the end of the race. Leclerc rapidly made up for lost time and was eased by Vettel as the German played the team game. He knew that the charging Hamilton would put pressure on Leclerc in the final laps so would now try to hold Hamilton behind for as long as he could to ensure Leclerc claimed victory. Using the upgraded Ferrari power unit, Vettel kept Hamilton back for four crucial laps until the Brit, using DRS, found a way past and up into 2nd.

With Vettel playing the team game, Leclerc’s lead had built up to 7 and a half seconds. After making a second stop for tyres, Vettel rejoined in 4th albeit 18 seconds behind Bottas. Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo had complemented whether to race on Sunday due to the weekend’s tragic events and after contact at the start, the Australian, having pitted at the start of the race, began to struggle. He was first overtaken by Kvyat and then hounded by Albon. Albon tried to go round the outside of turn 8 but used the cut-back move to go round the outside of Ricciardo into turn 9 –  a move you don’t see very often.

Before the first round of pit-stops, Grosjean was running in 6th and having so far a good race at a track where he both likes and dislikes, more notably for causing a first corner pile-up in 2012 and then finishing in 3rd in 2015 with the struggling Lotus team. But he vented his frustration over team raido at being unable to overtake due to the lack of power coming from his engine compared to his rivals.

With only a few laps to go, Hamilton has closed the gap to Leclerc to only a few seconds as the leaders navigated their way through the traffic. Albon’s second half of the race had been more punchy as he became more confident in the car and was catching Perez ahead. Alfa Romeo’s Antonio Giovinazzi started 18th after a power unit failure in qualifying sent him to the rear of the grid but that didn’t restrain the Italian from making up places to run in 9th with a handful of laps to go. Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg had also had a quiet race on a weekend where he learnt that he wouldn’t be staying with the team come next season.

After driving an excellent race and set to finish in 5th, Norris’s McLaren gave up and cruelly, the Brit pulled up just after the finish line on the last lap. All of his hard work was gone and for the first time since Canada, McLaren failed to score any points. Giovinazzi’s hard work was also undone as the Italian lost the rear of his Alfa and crashed into the barriers at turn 11. This promoted Hulkenberg into 8th, Stroll into 9th and Pierre Gasly into 10th.

Nothing phased the man upfront as Leclerc stayed ahead of Hamilton to take his first win in the sport and Ferrari’s first win of the season. On such a difficult weekend for the motorsport community, Leclerc dedicated his win to his late friend. Bottas never really had the pace to challenge the top 2 and finished in 3rd and lost three more points to Hamilton who extends his lead to 65 points. Vettel finished 4th and after a bold move on Perez along with Camel Straight, Albon, having briefly dipped the right-hand side wheels on the grass to get past the Mexican, finished a career best 5th.

Perez therefore, having survived post-race investigation, took 6th for the fourth time in five years ahead of Kvyat, who moves into 8th in the championship, Hulkenberg, Gasly and Stroll. Having not managed to complete the last lap, Norris was classified in 11th ahead of the Haas duo of Magnussen and Grosjean with Ricciardo in 13th.

With a damaged floor from the lap 1 incident with Verstappen and coupled with a leg injury sustained from the summer break, Raikkonen struggled on and eventually split the Williams drivers of George Russell and Robert Kubica to finish in 16th.

Formula One now heads to Monza for the Italian GP and the home of Ferrari. Building on the momentum, can Ferrari produce a repeat of today’s events? Will more reliability issues plague teams up and down the field? Will racing at home boost Giovinazzi’s hopes? And can Hamilton be caught before it’s too late?

Race Result

  1. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 44 Laps
  2. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, +0.981s
  3. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, +12.585s
  4. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +26.422s
  5. Alexander Albon, Red Bull Racing Honda, +81.325s
  6. Sergio Perez, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, +84.448s
  7. Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, +89.657s
  8. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, +106.639s
  9. Pierre Gasly, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, +109.168s
  10. Lance Stroll, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, +109.838s
  11. Lando Norris, McLaren Renault, DNF
  12. Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  13. Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  14. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, + 1 Lap
  15. George Russell, Williams Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  16. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  17. Robert Kubica, Williams Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  18. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, DNF
  • Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren Renault, DNF
  • Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, DNF

F1 2019: Bottas stays, Ocon returns and Spain secure for 2020

The Thursday before the Belgian GP, the first race back after the summer break, is always a day for announcements and that’s what two teams did. Firstly, Mercedes confirmed that Valtteri Bottas would stay for 2020 and then Renault announced that Esteban Ocon would rejoin the sport with the French outfit.

30/08/19

Mercedes keeps “status quo” for 2020

Mercedes kicked-off the day by announcing that Valterri Bottas will remain with the team to partner Lewis Hamilton for next season despite reports that the Finn would be pushed aside. Having improved his form this season against Hamilton having earned him the second seat at the Reigning World Champions for next season.

“For 2019, we set Valtteri the challenge of coming back even stronger than we saw him in the first part of 2018 – and he has achieved that, with some really impressive performances in the early races this year.

Toto Wolff, Mercedes F1 Team Boss

Mercedes Team Principal, Toto Wolff and Mercedes management went into the summer break with a conundrum by either keeping Bottas or signing reserve driver, Esteban Ocon. Bottas’s unfortunate run of results, a retirement in Germany followed by an 8th place finish at the Hungarian GP after contact with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc on the opening lap meant that the Finn endured a recovery drive, was potentially the end of the road for the Williams driver but that wasn’t to be. Bottas trails Hamilton in the championship by 62 points and is only 7 points ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Ocon’s French return

Esteban Ocon will return to racing next season with Renault to partner Daniel Ricciardo meaning that Nico Hulkenberg will have to find an alternate seat at another F1 team. After a year as Mercedes reserve driver, Ocon had been in serious talks in racing for the German outfit for next season but with Mercedes confirming Bottas for 2020, Ocon has found himself back where he started at Renault.

Having been the team’s reserve drive in 2016 before grabbing a race seat with Force India for 2017, Ocon has signed a 2 year deal and will partner former Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo. Ocon’s arrival means that Nico Hulkenberg has lost his seat at the French team.

This is the ideal fit for Renault. The French team now have a proven race winner in Ricciardo and now a French driver in Ocon for the French team.

F1 reveals record-breaking calendar

On Thursday, Formula One announced the draft calendar of the 2020 Season with a record-breaking 22 races across the globe. Ahead of F1’s 70th season, there’ll be two new additions with a return to Zandvoort for the Dutch GP and a new race in Vietnam.

Famous F1 races such as the British, Spanish and Mexican GP’s have all be included on the calendar with the German GP dropping out while the contract for the Italian GP is currently being finalised.

What now for Hulkenberg?

Nico Hulkenberg now finds himself out of a drive for next season and will now be searching for a new seat at a different team for next season.

“I had a hint – like a couple of weeks already through the summer break, I knew”.

Nico Hulkenberg speaking on the announcement that he had lost his seat at Renault for 2020

F1 2019: Hulkenberg’s F1 future in doubt?

For 2020, Hulkenberg now has a range of options. The most viable and predicted move could be to Haas F1 Team. The American outfit is understood to have reached their patience with current driver Romain Grosjean and is understood to be very interested in Hulkenberg for a race seat alongside Kevin Magnussen for 2020.

Other options for Hulkenberg include a seat at either Red Bull, Racing Point, Alfa Romeo, Toro Rosso or Williams.

 

F1 2019: Hulkenberg’s F1 future in doubt?

Now a veteran of 168 races and haven driven for the likes of Williams and Sauber, Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg has yet to stand on the F1 podium. Now 31 years old, the German’s F1 future is in doubt in whether he will be on the grid for the 2020 F1 Season.

19/08/19

Since debuting for Williams in 2010, Hulkenberg has remained in F1 since 2012 and has proved to be a consistent and quick mid-field driver who has shown what he is capable off.

His first glimpse of pure pace was in Brazil when he’d taken Pole Position in a rain-affected qualifying session. Since he’s scored 491 points and taken 2 Fastest Laps with a career best of 4th achieved at the 2012 Belgian GP, 2013 Korean GP and the 2016 Belgian GPs.

He’s been with current team Renault F1 since 2017 and has scored 129 of the teams 218 points. His results this season, compared to team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, have been mixed. He’s out-raced the Australian 5 times but trails him by 5 points in what has been a difficult first half of the season for the French outfit.

Plausible 2020 options

Renault: This is the more likely option but interestingly, it depends on what happens at Mercedes. Mercedes management are currently deciding whether to replace Valterri Bottas with Esteban Ocon or to keep the status quo. Now, Renault have been interested in Ocon for a long time, the young Frenchman was a reserve with the team. This would be the ideal fit for Renault but not for Hulkenberg as the German would be dropped in favour of Ocon. On the other hand, Hulkenberg has been with the team since 2017 and has been a major factor in the team’s upward trend in the past few years.

Haas: This has been speculated in the past few races. With Romain Grosjean struggling alongside Kevin Magnussen, the rumours are that Hulkenberg, if he is muscled out of Renault, will go to Haas and join Magnussen. However, Hulkenberg and Magnussen have history, with the pair having their differences on track and discussing them publicly. I think Hulkenberg would suit the Haas overalls but his relationship with Magnussen will play into the minds of Haas management. Would Hulkenberg go to a team that are currently behind lagging behind the team he’s with now?

Red Bull: This rumour started around the Azerbaijan/Spanish GP and was/still is fuelled by the poor performances by Pierre Gasly. The struggling Frenchman has found it hard living up to the standard of Max Verstappen and struggles to have a consistent weekend. I think Hulkenberg would be a great No.2 alongside Verstappen and I’d personally would quite like to see him in Red Bull overalls. Plus, this would be the move he’s desired, a move to a top, competitive team.

Formula E: Now, if you don’t follow Formula E, you wouldn’t have known that Porsche are joining as a manufacturer for Season 6 which starts later this year. Hulkenberg has connections with Porsche through his Le Mans winning-title in 2015. Although Porsche has already decided on it’s two drivers for Season 6 of Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer, it wouldn’t be a bad idea if Hulkenberg were to join the series in preparation for a Season 7 assault with the German team. This is the more obscure option Hulkenberg has but it cannot be ruled out either.

Verdict?

Honestly, it all depends on what happens at Mercedes. If not, Hulkenberg should be retained at Renault it’s because it’s the obvious choice. The pairing of Ricciardo and Hulkenberg work well – there’s no friction, there’re good friends and they work together on track.

Voters on Twitter actually thought that Hulkenberg will be at Red Bull for 2020 – but this was before the mid-season switch at the team between Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon.

https://rhonansf1blog.com/2019/08/19/f1-2019-gasly-out-albon-in-at-red-bull-for-reminder-of-season/

If anything should happen, expect Hulkenberg to keep an eye on the F1 paddock and to maybe be in another racing series.

 

 

F1 2019: Gasly out, Albon in at Red Bull for reminder of season

Just a few weeks after Red Bull saying that Pierre Gasly’s seat for the reminder of the season would be safe, turns out to be false as the team demote the Frenchman back to Toro Rosso with Alexander Albon named to drive alongside Max Verstappen for the rest of the season.

19/08/19

They’ve done it once and now they’ve done it again. Red Bull have made the ruthless decision to drop Pierre Gasly for the rest of the season and in his place to promote rookie Alexander Albon to partner Max Verstappen for the rest of the F1 2019 campaign.

Gasly’s struggles provide Albon opportunity

After being promoted after an impressive at Toro Rosso due to Daniel Ricciardo departing for Renault, Gasly was the obvious choice for Red Bull to be promoted for 2019 to partner Verstappen.

Red Bull came into the season expecting to have a learning season due to being partnered with Honda for the first time, so teething problems were expected and fingers were crossed to have a championship assault come 2020. However, starting the season, the team seemed to have more of a problem with their chassis rather than the Honda engine. Since, the team have taken 2 victories in the hands of Verstappen along with 3 other podiums. In complete contrast, Gasly has struggled.

While Verstappen took his first career pole, Gasly qualified in 6th a shockingly 8 tenths behind and then in the race, he was lapped by eventual race winner, Lewis Hamilton and Verstappen, who’d finished in 2nd. After the Hungarian GP, Gasly lies in 6th in the championship on 63 points, only 5 points ahead the resurgent McLaren team headed by Carlos Sainz Jr, but 118 points behind 3rd place Verstappen.

The stats don’t make Gasly’s life any easier. He’s only out-qualified Verstappen once in 12 races and he’s only out-raced the Dutchman once in 12 races.

Why did Red Bull make this decision?

As mentioned before, Red Bull did not expect to have such a good season in that they were preparing for a championship challenge come 2020. However, the team’s progress and with the mighty Honda power have made Red Bull a challenger for this year’s championship instead. Red Bull sit 44 points behind Ferrari in 3rd and Verstappen’s recent performance in the past 4 races have Red Bull realise what an opportunity they now have.

The target for the second half of the season is to now out-score and beat Pre-Season favourites, Ferrari. Red Bull ultimately made the decision based on the new target set and with Gasly under-performing, it would have left Verstappen to take the fight to the Ferrari drivers. Hopefully, with two drivers taking the most out of the car, Red Bull can fight for 2nd.

Albon set-up to fail?

Back in 2016, Kvyat and Ricciardo made-up the Red Bull pairing but inconsistent results along with a crash with Sebastian Vettel in Russia, gave Red Bull the golden opportunity to demote Kvyat to Toro Rosso thus giving Verstappen a chance to shine. Verstappen debuted for Red Bull in Spain, a race he’d go onto win and both parties haven’t looked back since.

Runner-up in last year’s F2 Championship, Thai-Brit Albon has scored on 5 occasions with a best of 6th at the German GP in his rookie season. Early potential was easy to spot at the 3rd round of the championship in China where in qualifying, Albon crashed heavily meaning he’d start the race from the back. He put in an impressive drive to finish in 9th claiming his second F1 points finish after leaving Bahrain with a 10th place finish.

‘The team will use the next nine races to evaluate Alex’s performance in order to make an informed decision as to who will drive alongside Max in 2020.”

Red Bull Statement

It be a tough job going up against Verstappen – a driver who equally been the most impressive driver this season alongside Hamilton and has been simply sensational since last year’s Japanese GP.

This is it. Albon has the rest of the season, 9 races in total, to impress Red Bull Management that he’s the right choice to partner Verstappen come 2020.

 

F1 2019: Mexico GP saved as part of new extended deal

The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit will host the Mexican GP until at least 2022 as part of a new deal to keep the popular race on the calendar for three more years.

10/08/19

On Thursday, it was revealed that a ‘new funding model’ featuring private investment had secured the race’s short-term future after public speculation had revealed that the race might drop off of the calendar.

Since returning to the F1 calendar in 2015 after a 23 year hiatus, the popular race revamped race has been a highlight on the calendar and has been the setting for Mercedes Lewis Hamilton’s most recent championship victories in 2017 and in 2018.

Home-favourite, Sergio Perez, who drives for Racing Point, has finished his home-race 3 times with a highest finish of 7th achieved in 2017.

F1 set for record season?

With new races taking place in Vietnam and the Netherlands in 2020, Formula One is set for a record 22 race calendar, the most the sport has ever seen.

Coming into this year, five of F1’s most oldest races, Spain, Germany, Italy, UK and Mexico were on the last year of their current contracts. Since, it’s been confirmed that the British GP will stay on the calendar as part of a new 5 year deal and now the news that Mexico is staying for 3 more years.

F1 2019: Silverstone to remain host of British GP as part of new deal

A deal has been set but there’s no confirmation as of yet of the Italian GP – Ferrari’s home race. Discussions between F1 and Catalan officials have been ongoing with the race at Barcelona being saved.

But it looks like F1 is set to lose Germany after the sport’s most dramatic and frantic races in recent history with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen taking victory.

F1 2019: Verstappen wins dramatic wet/dry German GP as Vettel recovers to 2nd

 

F1 2019: Mid-Season Stats

The Hungarian GP marked the start of the F1 Mid-Season break with drivers and teams getting much deserved time-off. Here are some stats from the 12 races that have been and gone so far.

07/08/19

Most Wins

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 8 wins
  2. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 2 wins
  3. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, 2 wins

Most Pole Positions

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 4 Poles
  2. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 4 Poles
  3. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 2 Poles
  4. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1 Pole
  5. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, 1 Pole

Most Podiums

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 10 Podiums
  2. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 9 Podiums
  3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 6 Podiums
  4. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, 5 Podiums
  5. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 5 Podiums
  6. Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, 1 Podium

Most Fastest Laps

  1. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, 3 Fastest Laps
  2. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 2 Fastest Laps
  3. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 2 Fastest Laps
  4. Pierre Gasly, Red Bull Racing Honda, 2 Fastest Laps
  5. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 2 Fastest Laps
  6. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 1 Fastest Lap

Most Top 10 Finishes

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 12 Finishes
  2. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, 12 Finishes
  3. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, 11 Finishes
  4. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, 11 Finishes
  5. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 10 Finishes
  6. Pierre Gasly, Red Bull Racing Honda, 9 Finishes
  7. Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren Renault, 8 Finishes
  8. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, 8 Finishes
  9. Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, 5 Finishes
  10. Lando Norris, McLaren Renault, 5 Finishes

Most Retirements

  1. Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, 6 Retirements
  2. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, 4 Retirements
  3. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, 3 Retirements
  4. Lando Norris, McLaren Renault, 3 Retirements
  5. Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren Renault, 2 Retirements
  6. Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, 2 Retirements
  7. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, 2 Retirements
  • Valterri Bottas, Pierre Gasly, Lance Stroll, Sergio Perez, Alexander Albon, Kevin Magnussen and Antonio Giovinazzi have 1 Retirement each.

F1 2019: Hamilton beats Verstappen to a 7th Hungarian GP win

Mercedes Lewis Hamilton denies Red Bull’s Max Verstappen of victory after a race-long battle with an excellent strategy choice by Mercedes to have an upper-hand come the end of the race on fresher tyres. Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel rounds out the podium in 3rd.

04/08/19

Starting Grid

1.Verstappen  2.Bottas  3.Hamilton  4.Leclerc  5.Vettel  6.Gasly  7.Norris  8.Sainz Jr  9.Grosjean  10.Raikkonen  1.Hulkenberg  12.Albon  13.Kvyat  14.Magnussen  15.Russell  16.Perez  17.Giovinazzi*  18.Stroll  19.Kubica  20.Ricciardo*

  • Giovinazzi* incurs a 3 place grid penalty after impeding Lance Stroll in Q1.
  • Ricciardo* takes new power unit elements.

Tyre Choice

Lando Norris, Carlos Sainz Jr, Romain Grosjean and Kimi Raikkonen will start on the Soft tyre with Daniel Ricciardo starting on the Hard tyre. Everyone else will start on the Medium tyre.

Race

The lights go out and it’s a good start by Max Verstappen who moves to the right to cover Valtteri Bottas. Verstappen stays to the inside to defend turn 1 as Bottas and Lewis Hamilton draw alongside Verstappen. Bottas locks-up and leaves him under pressure from Hamilton on the run down to turn 2. They go side-by-side with Hamilton muscling ahead with Bottas taking to the run-off and is under pressure from Charles Leclerc. Leclerc pulls alongside and moves over and there’s a little bit of contact to Bottas’s right hand-side of his front wing.

So Verstappen leads ahead of Hamilton, Leclerc, Bottas and Vettel. Carlos Sainz has overtaken team-mate Lando Norris. Onto lap 2, with front wing damage, Bottas is easy prey for Vettel as the German goes down the inside of turn 1 for 4th. It’s been a poor start by Pierre Gasly who is now 9th while Sergio Perez is up to 12th after starting in 16th.

Onto lap 3, Max Verstappen leads by 2 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton as Valterri Bottas is losing a huge amount of time and is expected to be pitting soon. At the end of lap 5, Bottas pits for a new front wing and new tyres. He goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 20th. He can now effectively go to the end of the race on these set of tyres. Lap 7, Ferrari tell Charles Leclerc to push. There’s a 5 second gap to Hamilton in front with Sebastian Vettel only a couple of seconds behind Leclerc in 4th.

Now at the back of the field, Valterri Bottas is now 49 seconds behind race leader Max Verstappen but has already made his pit-stop. The Soft tyre runners will be coming in soon. Daniel Ricciardo is making his way up the field and is now in 17th after overtaking Antonio Giovinazzi into turn 1. Mercedes tell Bottas that a P6 finish is viable for the end of the race. Verstappen’s lead is still around 2 seconds with Charles Leclerc now 10 seconds behind Verstappen. Ricciardo makes a fantastic move round the outside of Lance Stroll into turn 2 for 16th place.

Onto lap 13, there is some deliberation on the team radio at Ferrari on which strategy each of their two drivers will run. Valterri Bottas is making is way up the field after overtaking Robert Kubica and Antonio Giovinazzi in the last few laps for 18th place. Bottas is now 16th come lap 16 after overtaking George Russell and the driver now ahead of Bottas is Ricciardo in 15th. Lance Stroll, Russell and Giovinazzi have now made their first pit-stops onto the Hard tyre. Onto lap 18, Daniil Kvyat and team-mate Alexander Albon scrap for 12th place with the pair going side-by-side through turns 2,3 and 4 with Kvyat muscling ahead.

Onto lap 19, Max Verstappen’s lead is down to 1.4 seconds as Sergio Perez pits. Perez rejoins in 16th as Verstappen is now starting to lose grip on his tyres. Romain Grosjean pits from 9th and rejoins in 16th, behind Perez. Lap 23, the gap at the front is down to just over a second between Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. Lap 24, Verstappen is now getting agitated on the radio as he is now complaining about tyre wear. If Verstappen and Hamilton pit now, both would come out behind the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc in 3rd.

Lap 26, Max Verstappen pits from the lead as Mercedes tell Lewis Hamilton to push. Verstappen rejoins ahead of Charles Leclerc in 2nd and on the Hard tyre. Mercedes tell Hamilton to try and extend this stint as Verstappen is going very well on his new tyres. Lap 28, Leclerc pits from 3rd. He goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 4th. Meanwhile, Valterri Bottas is still stuck behind Daniel Ricciardo who is still stuck behind Kevin Magnussen. Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly and both rejoin in 11th and 8th with a slow pit-stop for Norris.

Lap 31, Lewis Hamilton pits, goes onto the Hard tyre and rejoins in 2nd behind Max Verstappen as Lando Norris overtakes Daniel Ricciardo for 10th into turn 1. Onto lap 32, Pierre Gasly overtake Nico Hulkenberg for 6th place. Gasly, in the pit-stops has overtaken Norris and Kimi Raikkonen who were all ahead of him before the pit-stops. Valterri Bottas now overtakes Ricciardo for 11th as Norris overtakes Kevin Magnussen round the outside for 9th out of turn 1. With fresh tyres, Hamilton has closed the gap from 6 seconds to now just 1.5 seconds to Verstappen. Onto lap 35, Bottas overtakes Magnussen for 10th as Hamilton hunts Verstappen.

Lap 36, Max Verstappen covers off an attack from Lewis Hamilton into turn 1 and then into turn 2. Verstappen is wary of Hamilton behind and he will be most vulnerable in the run down to turn 1 and then the run to turn 2. Onto lap 39, Verstappen and Hamilton are lapping back-markers and down into turn 1, Hamilton has a pop. Verstappen holds on through turns 1 and 2 but then Hamilton manages to get alongside Verstappen at turn 4 but runs wide and gives the place back. Lap 40, Sebastian Vettel pits. He goes onto the Soft tyre and rejoins in 4th after a slowish pit-stop.

Max Verstappen leads ahead of Lewis Hamilton, Charles Leclerc, Sebastian Vettel, Carlos Sainz Jr, Pierre Gasly, Kimi Raikkonen, Lando Norris, Valterri Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo, who hasn’t pitted yet. Lap 48, Bottas pits, rejoins on the Medium tyre and rejoins in 12th as Ricciardo pits and rejoins in 15th. Pit-stops for Bottas and Ricciardo has promoted Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat into the points as Hamilton pits! Hamilton goes onto the Medium tyre and rejoins in 2nd. Will Red Bull pit Verstappen?

Max Verstappen, if he pits, will rejoin behind Lewis Hamilton as the pit-lane loss time is more than the gap Verstappen has to Hamilton. Lap 50, Valterri Bottas overtakes Alexander Albon for 11th into turn 1. Onto lap 51, Bottas now overtakes Daniil Kvyat for 10th. With 18 laps to go, the gap between Hamilton and Verstappen is 17.5 seconds as Haas retire Romain Grosjean. Bottas now overtakes Sergio Perez for 9th into turn 1.

Onto lap 57, Max Verstappen leads by 15.6 seconds ahead of Lewis Hamilton. Both drivers are now encountering back-markers. Onto lap 59, the gap is now down to 13 seconds between Verstappen and Hamilton. As Hamilton catches Verstappen, Sebastian Vettel is catching is Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc in 3rd and 4th. Lap 60, Kevin Magnussen is defending his 14th place hard against Daniel Ricciardo. Fastest lap after fastest lap, Hamilton is catching with only 9 laps to go.

Lap 62, the gap is now 8 seconds between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton as it is only 5 seconds between Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc. Lap 64, on team radio, Verstappen reports that “tyres are dead”. Valterri Bottas overtakes Lando Norris for 8th as the gap at the front is down to 3.5 seconds. Lap 65, the gap now 1.6 seconds. Onto lap 66, Hamilton is just over a second behind.

Onto lap 67, the gap between Max Verstappen is under 1 second and with DRS, Lewis Hamilton goes round the outside of turn 1 to take the lead! A defenceless Verstappen loses out but it’s not over, he pits at the end of lap 67, for a new set of tyres and a shot at the fastest lap. Meanwhile, the gap between Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc is under a second for the final podium spot with Vettel going down the inside of turn 1 for 3rd.

Alexander Albon has overtaken Sergio Perez for 10th as Valterri Bottas puts fellow countryman, Kimi Raikkonen under pressure for 7th. Onto the final lap, Lewis Hamilton is on course to win for the 7th time round the Hungaroring, rounds the final corner to win ahead of Max Verstappen and Sebastian Vettel as Verstappen takes the bonus point for the fastest lap.

Race Result

  1. Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, 70 Laps
  2. Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing Honda, +17.796s
  3. Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, +61.433s
  4. Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, +65.250s
  5. Carlos Sainz Jr, McLaren Renault, + 1 Lap
  6. Pierre Gasly, Red Bull Racing Honda, + 1 Lap
  7. Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  8. Valterri Bottas, Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  9. Lando Norris, McLaren Renault, + 1 Lap
  10. Alexander Albon, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, + 1 Lap
  11. Sergio Perez, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, + 1 Lap
  12. Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, + 1 Lap
  13. Kevin Magnussen, Haas Ferrari, + 1 Lap
  14. Daniel Ricciardo, Renault, + 1 Lap
  15. Daniil Kvyat, Scuderia Toro Rosso Honda, + 2 Laps
  16. George Russell, Williams Mercedes, + 2 Laps
  17. Lance Stroll, Racing Point BWT Mercedes, + 2 Laps
  18. Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo Racing Ferrari, + 2 Laps
  19. Robert Kubica, Williams Mercedes, + 3 Laps
  • Romain Grosjean, Haas Ferrari, DNF