Sebastian Vettel took his second victory of the season at the Hungaroring after an action-filled Hungarian Grand Prix as both Mercedes drivers finished off the podium for the first time in 2015.
It was Vettel’s 41st career victory, equalling the tally of legendary Ayrton Senna, before dedicating the victory to the memory of Jules Bianchi.
He was joined on the podium by Infiniti Red Bull Racing duo Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo, who both had adventurous afternoons in Hungary.
Vettel jumped into the lead at the start after a slow start by Lewis Hamilton and a lacklustre getaway by Nico Rosberg, and was never headed after that, whilst all the action seemed to happen behind the Scuderia Ferrari driver.
The start had already been delayed after Williams Martini Racing driver Felipe Massa was out of position on the grid, earning the Brazilian a five-second penalty as a result, but when the race got away properly, Vettel jumped into the lead, while team-mate Kimi Raikkonen climbed from fifth on the grid to slip into second.
Rosberg also got ahead of pole sitter Hamilton into the first turn, while Hamilton’s nightmare opening lap continued when he ran across the gravel trap at the chicane at the back of the circuit to drop to the end of the top ten.
Hamilton managed to climb back up to fourth and was catching Rosberg ahead of him when the complexion of the race changed completely. Firstly Raikkonen’s Ferrari developed a MGU-K issue that saw the Finn struggling for straight-line speed, but a crash for Nico Hulkenberg on the main straight, when the front wing of his Sahara Force India failed in spectacular fashion, first saw the introduction of the virtual safety car before the real thing was dispatched on track to clear up the debris.
On the restart, Vettel continued to lead, but Rosberg jumped ahead of the ailing Raikkonen, but Hamilton’s race was further compromised after clashing with Ricciardo, damaging his front wing and earning himself a drive-through penalty for causing a collision.
It was an eventful few laps, with Kvyat earning himself a ten-second time penalty for passing Hamilton whilst off the circuit at turn four, but ultimately this did not cost him his maiden Formula 1 podium finish as Rosberg and Ricciardo themselves collided with less than ten laps remaining.
Ricciardo attempted an overtake on the Mercedes driver heading into turn one, but ran wide, while Rosberg retook his line thinking the Red Bull driver was out of position, only for his rear when to hit the front wing of Ricciardo’s car. Rosberg was forced to pit with a puncture, while Ricciardo also hit pit lane to replace his wing.
Ricciardo was able to retain third place for his first podium of the season, while Rosberg rejoined the race down in tenth, but climbed up into eighth by the chequered flag.
Max Verstappen took a career-best finish with fourth for Scuderia Toro Rosso, despite suffering a drive-through penalty for making contact with the Williams of Valtteri Bottas, while Fernando Alonso took a seasons-best fifth for the beleaguered McLaren-Honda team.
Hamilton recovered to sixth to extend his championship lead over Rosberg by four points after being on course to lose the lead to his team-mate before the German’s puncture.
Romain Grosjean was seventh for the Lotus F1 Team despite a penalty for an unsafe release during his pit stop, when he was released into the path of Massa’s Williams. The Frenchman was grateful the race ended when it did, with Rosberg right on his tail and searching for a way past.
Jenson Button made it two McLaren’s in the top ten with a ninth place finish, while Marcus Ericsson salvaged a point for the Sauber F1 Team despite a very under-whelming weekend up to then, finishing just ahead of team-mate Felipe Nasr.
Neither Williams scored a point, with Massa twelfth and Bottas thirteenth after the collision with Verstappen gave the Finn a puncture, while Pastor Maldonado ended fourteenth in the second Lotus despite suffering three separate penalties, one for causing a collision with the Force India of Sergio Perez, and then two more for speeding in the pits and for overtaking behind the safety car.
Both Manor F1 Team drivers were classified at the end of a difficult weekend for the team following Jules Bianchi’s tragic death the week before. Roberto Merhi saw the chequered flag in fifteenth, while Will Stevens retired with the end in sight but was classified sixteenth.
A power unit problem ended Carlos Sainz Jr’s race while the Spaniard was fighting inside the top ten, while Raikkonen’s problematic afternoon ended when he was losing too much time with his MGU-K issue. Perez’s afternoon also ended prematurely when he was retired as a safety precaution while the team looked into the wing failure that accounted for Hulkenberg.
Hungaroring Race Result
|1||5||Sebastian Vettel||GER||Ferrari||69 Laps|
|2||26||Daniil Kvyat||RUS||Red Bull-Renault||+15.748s|
|3||3||Daniel Ricciardo||AUS||Red Bull-Renault||+25.084s|
|4||33||Max Verstappen||NED||Toro Rosso-Renault||+44.251s|
|15||98||Roberto Merhi||ESP||Manor-Ferrari||+2 Laps|
|16/RET||28||Will Stevens||GBR||Manor-Ferrari||+4 Laps|
|RET||55||Carlos Sainz Jr||ESP||Toro Rosso-Renault||Retired|
|RET||11||Sergio Perez||MEX||Force India-Mercedes||Retired|
|RET||27||Nico Hulkenberg||GER||Force India-Mercedes||Retired|