2016 Hungarian Grand Prix Race Review

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On Saturday, we saw Nico Rosberg taking Pole Position for the Hungarian Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo.

The start of the Hungarian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The start of the Hungarian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

The Hungarian Grand Prix is underway! Lewis Hamilton gets a great start as does Nico Rosberg. Daniel Ricciardo also gets a good start and is now in second place. But Rosberg tries to repass Ricciardo into Turn 2 and he manages to regain the position back. Jenson Button is now in eighth place.

Lewis Hamilton leads the early laps of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton leads the early laps of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 2 sees Hamilton leading Rosberg by just over a second. The battle at this stage of the race is Kimi Raikkonen making his way up the grid after a disappointing qualifying session on Saturday. By Lap 5, Button’s good work at the start was undone after he was passed into Turn 1 by Valtteri Bottas and Nico Hulkenberg and is now in eleventh place.

At this stage of the race, Button says to his team via team radio that the “pedal is to the floor” and it appears that he could be suffering from a brake issue in his McLaren-Honda which saw saw him drop from eighth to last in one lap.

The McLaren-Honda team identified a hydraulic issue on his car and told Button not to change gear (a radio call that resulted in a drive-through penalty for breaching team radio restrictions). He eventually managed to get back up to speed and was running in nineteenth place when a belch of smoke from his Honda power unit signalled the end of his race.

As Button’s problems continued to get worse, the battle for third place between Ricciardo, Verstappen and Vettel was building up nicely. By Lap 10, Raikkonen was catching Grosjean for tenth place and looked to be building up to take the Frenchman sooner rather than later.

Lap 16 still sees Hamilton leading Rosberg by just over 2 seconds. Bottas, Ricciardo and Vettel are trying their best to get past the Williams of Bottas who hasn’t stopped for new tyres as of yet. At the end of Lap 16, Hamilton pits for new tyres and hands the lead of the race to Rosberg.

Kimi Raikkonen catching Max Verstappen on Lap 17. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Kimi Raikkonen catching Max Verstappen on Lap 17. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lap 17 sees Raikkonen passing Verstappen for fifth place with a superb move where both drivers raced wheel to wheel going from Turns 1 to 3 and respected each other. At the end of Lap 17, Rosberg pits for new tyres and hands the lead back to his team mate Hamilton.

By Lap 25, Hamilton still leads his team mate Rosberg by just over a second. Further down the grid, Massa is holding up drivers such as Kvyat and Hulkenberg but pits at the end of the lap.

Lewis Hamilton being caught by Nico Rosberg in the second half of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton being caught by Nico Rosberg in the second half of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

In the middle of the race, Hamilton looked vulnerable and Mercedes even threatened to put Rosberg on a better strategy if the British driver backed his teammate into Ricciardo. Hamilton then responded via team radio with “I’m driving to the best of my ability,” who then managed a surge to put 2.8s between himself and Rosberg.

Max Verstappen catching Kimi Raikkonen on Lap.

Max Verstappen catching Kimi Raikkonen on Lap 29. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

It was then announced on Lap 29 that Daniil Kvyat has gained a time penalty for speeding in the pitlane. But the battle between Raikkonen and Verstappen for fifth place is still ongoing with the Dutch driver catching the Finnish driver.

Jolyon Palmer running just out of the points in the second half of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Jolyon Palmer running just out of the points in the second half of the race. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Eight laps later, Wehrlein, Ericsson and Massa are battling at the back of the grid for track position and it appears that Massa is really struggling with the balance of his Williams car. By Lap 40, Palmer is catching Hulkenberg for track position but with both drivers pitting at the same time; Palmer manages to pass Hulkenberg in the pits but this was down to Hulkenberg having a problem at this pit stop.

Lap sees Palmer going into Turn 4 taking too much speed into the corner and loses the back of his Renault car and has a half spin. This then means that he has lost his chance of gaining his first points in the sport as a result of that incident.

On Lap 53, Hamilton was held up by the Haas of Esteban Gutierrez (earning the Mexican a middle-finger salute from the Briton when he finally passed and a five-second time penalty for ignoring blue flags) which allowed Rosberg closed the gap to 0.6 seconds.

But a late lock up at Turn 12 saw Rosberg close to within 0.6s with seven laps remaining, but again Hamilton’s car was wide enough to defend his position and had the pace to build up a buffer of over a second on the following lap.

Kimi Raikkonen in the race before the incident with Max Verstappen on Lap

Kimi Raikkonen in the race before the incident with Max Verstappen on Lap 56. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

On lap 56, Raikkonen made contact with Verstappen as he attempted to pass into Turn 2 but only saw Verstappen close the door and a piece of his front wing disappear into the scenery. Three laps from the end Raikkonen had another attempt at Turn 1 but bailed out at the last minute as Verstappen positioned his car in the middle of the track.

Raikkonen felt he had been hard done by and he made his anger clear over the Ferrari team radio — but the stewards saw no need to investigate either incident.

Lewis Hamilton leading the final stages of the Hungarian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

Lewis Hamilton leading the final stages of the Hungarian GP. All rights reserved to Sutton Images.

By Lap 62, Hamilton still leads Rosberg by 1.3 seconds. Button officially retires from the race after a disappointing race for the British driver.

Lewis Hamilton wins the Hungarian GP ahead of Nico Rosberg in second place and Daniel Ricciardo in third place.

Lewis Hamilton wins the Hungarian GP ahead of Nico Rosberg in second place and Daniel Ricciardo in third place.

But Hamilton leads Rosberg on the final lap of the race by 1.9 seconds and wins the Hungarian GP which is his fifth win of the 2016 season, his fifth win at the event which is a fantastic achievement.

Rosberg is a credible second 1.9 seconds behind Hamilton, Ricciardo finished in third place 27.5 seconds behind Hamilton, Vettel was a credible fourth 28.2 seconds behind Hamilton and Verstappen finished fifth 48.5 seconds behind Hamilton.

Raikkonen was sixth 49 seconds behind Hamilton, Alonso was a brilliant seventh 1 lap behind Hamilton, Sainz Jr was eighth 1 lap behind Hamilton, Bottas was ninth 1 lap behind Hamilton and Hulkenberg was tenth 1 lap behind Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton now leads the Driver’s Championship with 192 points, Nico Rosberg is in second place with 186 points, Daniel Ricciardo is in third place with 115 points, Kimi Raikkonen is in fourth place with 114 points, Sebastian Vettel is in fifth place with 110 points, Max Verstappen is in sixth place with 100 points, Valtteri Bottas is in seventh place with 56 points, Sergio Perez is in eighth place with 47 points, Felipe Massa is in ninth place with 38 points and Carlos Sainz Jr is in tenth place with 30 points.

Mercedes still lead the Constructors Championship with 378 points, Ferrari is in second place with 224 points, Red Bull is in third place with 223 points, Williams is in fourth place with 94 points, Force India is in fifth place with 74 points, Toro Rosso is in sixth place with 45 points, McLaren is in seventh place with 38 points, Haas is in eighth place with 28 points, Renault is in ninth place with 6 points and Manor are tenth with 1 point.

Conclusion

With Alonso having a solid drive to seventh place and gaining good solid points for the team, it was a shame to see Button retiring from the race with problems with his Honda engine. But it was the best that Fernando could do with the strategy he was on even though he would have wanted more from the weekend after the last two races haven’t been too kind for him but never the less, he managed to pick up much needed points for the Constructors.

I feel that McLaren have had an average weekend and have shown that despite their best efforts that the McLaren team have a lot of work to do in order to try and extract performance from their car but they are making small gains that are paying off for them in the last few races and they need to use this as inspiration for Hockenheim in a few days time.

Hulkenberg had a battle to finish in tenth place today. He battled with Palmer and Perez for most of the race and he deserved to get a point for his efforts today and it will help his confidence for the next few races as a result.

Bottas did an okay job to get ninth place and had a great battle to get there after battling with Hulkenberg for most of the race. This point for himself and Williams are vital and only shows just much of a driver Bottas is despite not having the car underneath him to challenge for a better result this weekend.

Sainz Jr battled his way through to get eighth place today.  He battled his way through the field and created some great overtaking moves to get there. Sainz Jr may not have had the weekend that he wanted with Toro Rosso this weekend but he did the best that he could do and picked up some more points for the team and also started his season well.

Raikkonen had a bit of an action packed yet defensive race to finish sixth today, but he scored more points for the Ferrari team who seem to be extracting a little bit more pace and performance out of their package. But there is still a lot of work to be done but the fact that Raikkonen scored points again shows that he can deliver on the track.

Verstappen did a good job to get fifth place today and deserves a mention. He drove a solid race  despite winning the battle with Raikkonen and he did a great job to secure some much needed points for his team after a good performance this weekend and it is clear that the car was working well for them as a result. This will only help him prepare for the rest of the 2016 season.

Vettel had a credible race to finish in fourth today. It is a result that Vettel needed after a tough few races and he should be happy; especially gaining the position during the race. But in a race where many expected him to finish and to maintain the momentum he has so far, he has managed to gain some points for the team and put himself in good stead for the rest of the 2016 season.

Ricciardo deserves a mention and has to be my biggest surprise of the day. He drove a solid race to third place and battled his way through to get these points. Just a fantastic weekend for him and the Red Bull team and showing that he is a potential talent of the future if the call for a better seat was available to him.

Rosberg drove a solid race to finish second today. He may not have had the race he wanted; and didn’t have a chance to try and get past but he did a great job to secure a podium today. And once again, luck helped him achieve this but he was in the position to make hey. But what a fantastic job from him all weekend and this will only give him a slight satisfaction heading into the next race in Germany in a few days time.

All that is left to say about this race is that Hamilton deserved to win at Hungary and he needed to in order to show that he cannot be discounted as a driver.  His driving was brilliant and controlled throughout the race. Mercedes has built on the results that they have gained so far since pre-season testing and have shown that they are still the best team on the grid at the moment. All credit to Lewis for doing a superb job this weekend and winning his fifth race of the season and taking the championship lead as well.

With the German GP in a few days time, if this season will be Rosberg’s at last or can Hamilton, Ricciardo or Vettel challenge him for wins along the way. But what is for certain is that Formula One is building up rather nicely.

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