Hamilton displayed an impeccable performance at the Hungaroring taking his second consecutive victory and fifth of the season. The British champion starts his holidays leading the standings by 24 points ahead of Vettel.
There is more to his Hungarian victory, however than his undoubted skill at the wheel, in a day in which according to many, he didn’t even have the fastest car. His team-mate Bottas played a decisive role on the race’s final outcome by becoming the “perfect wingman”, As Toto Wolff clumsily declared after the race.
As for the rest of the grid, it is worth mentioning the withdrawal of a furious Verstappen after suffering another mechanical failure; the brilliant sixth place of Gasly (Toro Rosso); and the Spaniards’ Alonso (McLaren) and Sainz (Renault) eighth and ninth place respectively.
How the race unfolded
After a brilliant start from pole, Hamilton progressively opened up his distance with Bottas and Vettel, who held the second and third positions respectively for two-thirds of the race. During that time the Finnish driver managed to keep both Ferraris at bay, leaving his team-mate free to gain ground undisturbed.
By the fifth lap, Hamilton had already accrued a 3.5-second distance, and by the 15th lap, he was 8.6 seconds away from everyone. It was at that, rather early point in the race, that Bottas was sent to boxes in a somehow dubious strategic move by the Mercedes team. In theory, this was Vettel’s golden opportunity to get ahead but a spot of dense traffic plus a slow pit stop meant he emerged from boxes on lap 40 just behind Bottas once more.
The controversial crash
On lap 65, when Botta’s tyres were already showing signs of wear, Vettel finally was able to overtake him. The Finn however, was not ready to give up his position without a fight and in a reckless manoeuvre, to say the least, he attempted to take him on the inside, crashing into his rear side.
Luckily for everyone, Vettel’s race was unaffected by the crash and he sped away from Bottas followed by Raikkonen, to claim the second and third positions respectively. Australian driver Ricciardo came in fifth with Bottas ending in sixth place.
Bottas’ crash is particularly significant considering Wolff and Hamilton’s suggestions regarding the intentionality of the two crashes from a Ferrari to a Mercedes at the German and French GPs. The dangerous manoeuvre of the Finn came to nothing on this occasion, but only because there were no consequences. If there had been, Bottas would have had to face sanctions without a doubt.
In any case, the summer break is here and it is time for everyone to take a well-deserved break. Next race: Sunday 26th of August at the Belgian circuit of Spa-Francorchamps. See you there!
By T.C. | Photo: www.formula1.com