Esteban Ocon and the Alpine F1 Team took their first victory in Formula 1 at a chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix, which caused confusion for Pirelli.
The race began with all bar one driver on the green intermediate compound tyre with rain having soaked the circuit. However all the drivers except Lewis Hamilton gambled at the race restart and switched to the medium tyres after multiple crashes on the opening lap saw the race red flagged.
The red flag period allowed the track to dry, which it did rapidly allowing the entirety of the remaining racers to move ahead of Hamilton who restarted still on the intermediate tyres, which quickly became the wrong tyre to be on.
From the moment Hamilton pitted for slick tyres Esteban Ocon took the lead and technically never gave it up. The Frenchman who restarted the race on the medium tyres pitted for a set of hard C2 tyres on lap thirty-seven and went onto claim his first ever Formula 1 victory.
Head of F1 and Car Racing at Pirelli Mario Isola, was quick to congratulate Ocon and Alpine on their victory in what was an unpredictable grand prix.
“Even before the race start it was hard to make any predictions, so the race began as a complete step into the unknown today, with the drivers having no reference point for the conditions they faced this afternoon. The amount of water meant that the intermediates were the clear choice to originally start the race with, but with the track drying rapidly following the red flag delay, it effectively became a dry race after the re-start.
“If we just consider this as the ‘real’ race, some drivers selected a medium-hard one-stopper while others like Hamilton and Verstappen – who were running out of position due to the unusual race circumstances – went for a two-stop ‘sprint’ strategy. Congratulations to Esteban Ocon and Alpine for their first win.”