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2019 Hungarian Grand Prix: The Rookie Report

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Race start - Formula 1 - 2019 Hungarian GP
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

The 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix saw an epic battle at the Hungaroring, where the new face and old guard of Formula 1 battled in the final laps for race victory.

F1’s rookies had mixed weekends, with Lando Norris and Alex Albon both in the points while George Russell and Antonio Giovinazzi came away with nothing to show for their efforts.



Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

After the disappointment of Germany, Norris was back in the points after a solid – if unspectacular – weekend’s work.

Qualifying saw Norris back in Q3, outqualifying Carlos Sainz Jr. by just 0.052 seconds to snatch seventh on the grid and cement himself as the best placed of the four rookies.

At the start, Norris lost seventh to team-mate Sainz, before moving up to sixth courtesy of Valtteri Bottas having to pit for front wing repairs after contact with Charles Leclerc.

After Norris had completed his stop, the Brit fell to tenth and ahead of Daniel Ricciardo – who was yet to make his first stop on the hard compound tyres.

Norris then went toe-to-toe with F1’s resident ‘enfant terrible’ Kevin Magnussen, going around the outside of the Dane into Turn 1 to take ninth.

The Brit was briefly in eighth before Bottas boxed for fresh medium tyres and made a simple manoeuvre on the exit of Turn 1 to leave Norris in ninth and a lap down at the chequered flag.

Norris leaves for the summer break ninth in the Drivers’ standings, the highest of the rookies.



Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

After the euphoria of Hockenheim, which saw Alex Albon score his best result in F1 to date, Hungary brought the Thai driver back to reality with a point after a hard-fought weekend.

Albon suffered a bang on Friday with a nasty crash at Turn 14, after he lazily put a wheel on the grass sending his Scuderia Toro Rosso car into the tyre barrier and bringing out the red flag.

Saturday would be a mixed day for Albon, who missed out on Q3 for the tenth time this season, but he did outqualify team-mate Daniil Kvyat for the sixth time this season.

In the race itself Albon had a mediocre start, with the Toro Rossos struggling for track position, forcing Albon to spend a portion of the race lounging in twelfth and thirteenth.

Despite their lack of pace, both Toro Rosso drivers did have a race between themselves, with both drivers going into wheel to wheel combat throughout the first sector of the Hungaroring. The end result saw Kvyat declared the victor of the dual.

But, Albon won the war and courtesy of a one-stop strategy, saw him finish in the points for the fifth time this season to head into summer in fifteenth in the championship.



Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Things are starting to brighten up for both Williams Racing and Russell after a trying first half of the season.

The Mercedes AMG Motorsport junior put in a storming lap in Q1, but was knocked out by Romain Grosjean by a mere 0.053s – with Russell saying on the team radio at the completion of qualifying that his final lap “was everything” he could muster. Russell received a boost as Giovinazzi was penalised three places for blocking Lance Stroll, meaning Russell would now start fifteenth on the grid having already secured the best qualifying result of his F1 career.

But the race would be a case of business as usual for Russell as his race pace fell like a stone, and he was unable to make ground on his promising qualifying efforts with the end product being a distant sixteenth place finish two laps down on the leaders.

Russell ends the first half of the season as the only driver yet to score a point in F1 this season, and is stuck at the foot of the drivers championship table in a deceiving twentieth.



Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

It was heartbreak for Giovinazzi at Hockenheim after having his best ever result taken away in the stewards’ room, and Hungary made an already miserable first half of the season even more downcast.

Qualifying saw Giovinazzi make a trip to the steward’s office, this time for blocking Lance Stroll in Q1 with the verdict being a three-place grid penalty for the Italian where he would start seventeenth after originally qualifying fourteenth.

Raceday saw Giovinazzi have a dull race, with the Italian unable to make a challenge for the points. Giovinazzi finished eighteenth, two laps down, to bookend a disappointing first half of the season – one that leaves the Italian languishing in eighteenth in the Drivers’s standings.

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