Alpine driver Esteban Ocon shocked the Formula One world this morning when he managed to secure his first-ever win at the Hungarian Grand Prix — and it all came down to a chaotic start that saw countless drivers knocked out of contention.
Just before the race began, the skies opened up and rain began to fall, making for a damp start to the race. Lewis Hamilton led the field on the start to the race, and the wet conditions immediately saw chaos strike. Valtteri Bottas had a poor start heading into the first turn and rammed into the rear of Lando Norris’ McLaren, which punted Norris into Max Verstappen and Bottas into Sergio Perez. Charles Leclerc was knocked out in the fray by Lando Norris, and Daniel Ricciardo spun, but both Red Bulls attempted to continue. On Red Bull tried to pit but lost pieces of his bodywork as it entered the track, and Verstappen was alerted the he had lost half of his barge board. It was a bit of an uninspiring denouement to the back-and-forth war of words between Red Bull Racing and Mercedes that has raged since Silverstone two weeks ago.
It was a boon for drivers like Esteban Ocon and Sebastian Vettel, who managed to nab second and third place in the fray. Williams driver Nicholas Latifi had secured sixth place, while Carlos Sainz Jr. flew from 15th to fourth.
Soon after, a red flag flew to clear the massive amounts of debris scattered over the track.
By the time the cars hit the track again, the surface appeared to rapidly be drying, and the FIA determined that it was possible to put together a standing start.
In a wild move, Hamilton decided to start the race on wet tires while the rest of the field chose to pit and therefore had to start the race from pit lane. That meant we were awarded with a wild running order with George Russell in second place. Hamilton was asked to pit while George Russell was passed by much of the field in what was thought to be a puncture before it was announced the stewards had required him to drop back two places to make up for the ones he gained on pit road. Alpine’s Esteban Ocon took the led while Hamilton returned to the track in 14th, just one place over the last running car.
On lap 14, Verstappen attempted to pass Haas’ Mick Schumacher, the latter of whom gave him a difficult time. Schumacher ran Verstappen off the track, and the two eventually made a little contact before Verstappen took the position. That put him into the points. Meanwhile, Hamilton was still languishing away in 13th.
Hamilton quickly made up positions, but Hamilton pitted his Mercedes on lap 20 for hard tires, ending up back in 12th. Verstappen pitted the next lap, but he returned to the track behind Hamilton, the latter of whom had a clear track in front of him to gain positions while Verstappen would have to contend with Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren.
The lead drivers pitted, with Vettel having a significantly slower stop that put him exactly that time behind Ocon.
Verstappen pitted on lap 41; with the car out of the points, he was trying new tires as a last ditch effort to pick up the pace.
Hamilton and Alonso kicked up a serious battle for fourth place, with Hamilton frequently trying to pass and Alonso blocking the British driver from taking a higher position for several laps. It wasn’t until Alonso locked up his tires on lap 65 of 70 that Hamilton was finally able to make the pass.
He quickly approached the third-place Ferrari of Carlos Sainz Jr.; both drivers passed lapped Daniel Ricciardo at the same time, with Hamilton pushing Sainz wide and taking third place on lap 67.
While Hamilton did quickly knock out the gap between himself and second-place Vettel, there weren’t enough laps left for Hamilton to make the pass. The race ended with Ocon taking the checkered flag.
Also worth noting: both Williams drivers scored points during this race, making it the first points either driver scored in F1.
Additionally, Lewis Hamilton has now regained the lead of the World Championship.
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
- Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari)
- Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
- George Russell (Williams)
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull)