MOGYOROD, Hungary – Sunday’s Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix couldn’t have gone any better for Sebastian Vettel. The same, however, couldn’t be said for Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.
In scoring his second win with Ferrari and his first at the Hungaroring, Vettel tied the legendary Ayrton Senna with his 41st F-1 victory. The German also honored the late Jules Bianchi, who was considered a favorite to be his teammate next year before his untimely death on July 17 due to injuries sustained in last year’s Japanese Grand Prix.
“It’s for all of us very difficult, so this one is for Jules,” Vettel said. “We knew sooner or later, he would’ve been part of our team and part of our family.
“We had a great start, and obviously it was crucial to get in the lead straight away. Today, it just came together.”
Vettel assumed control of the race from the beginning, when polesitter Hamilton went off into the gravel on lap one. Hamilton rallied from the mistake, but suffered damage when battling with Daniel Ricciardo after a safety car deployment bunched up the field. The championship leader was forced to pit, but made his way to sixth at the finish.
“I definitely had a bad day at the office, a very bad day at the office,” Hamilton said. “Thanks to the team for repairing the car.”
Rosberg appeared to have a podium position locked up – tightening the points race in the process – until a late-race fight for second with Ricciardo left Ricciardo with a damaged wing and Rosberg with a punctured left-rear tire. The German surrendered more ground to Hamilton after having to pit to change the tire.
The accident occurred after Ricciardo over-drove turn one, slid in front of Rosberg and appeared to have the spot before Rosberg crossed over and regained it. In doing so, however, he hadn’t fully cleared Ricciardo and the two made costly contact.
“I saw a gap and I went for it,” Ricciardo said. “At that stage, the move was clean but I guess I didn’t have enough room when Nico came across. It was close. It’s disappointing. We obviously ruined our chances of winning, but I left it all out there.”
Rosberg wasn’t pleased with his result.
“I assumed it was my corner because I took the ideal line,” he said. “He just went straight on because he braked very late, but the FIA found no issue so I guess it was no one’s fault.”
Ricciardo’s Red Bull held on for third behind teammate Daniil Kvyat, who scored his first career podium finish.
There were surprises throughout much of the top 10.
Teenaged Toro Rosso driver Max Verstappen scored a career-best fourth, while McLaren-Honda’s Fernando Alonso wound up an impressive fifth – easily the best run of the season for the British outfit.
After Hamilton in sixth, Romain Grosjean’s Lotus was seventh ahead of Rosberg in eighth.
Jenson Button’s McLaren-Honda was ninth, while Marcus Ericsson’s Sauber rounded out the points finishers in 10th.