F1 – HUNGARIAN GP – RACE
Szia, MiniFans! We went into the race with a wet weather forecast and Max Verstappen sliding on the track, his car colliding with the barriers and sending his mechanics into a frenzy to try and repair it before the lights went out. Yesterday’s tyre strategy didn’t matter that much anymore, as no one dared to deviate from the green coloured ones with water on track, with the exception of Magnussen, who bet on the extreme tyres yet soon realised his mistake, and Kvyat, who asked for slicks during the formation lap but wouldn’t get them until the first lap. Both Haas changed to medium tyres, which would prove fruitful even if it made them start form the pit lane, at least in the beginning stages of the race.
All eyes were on Verstappen during the formation lap, but the gaze turned to everyone at the start. A handful of drivers lost an awful amount of places, among which were Bottas, Pérez and Norris, with the Finnish driver risking a penalty. A quick first lap pit stop for Haas saw them climbing up the timing tower, the team seeing that the wet tyres weren’t the best choice. Leclerc and Bottas soon bet on the slicks as well, using softs and mediums respectively. Everyone soon followed and the next couple of laps were frenzy, as cars pitted and rejoined the track to rid themselves of the wet tyres. The race settled down slightly, with a couple of overtakes here and there, but everyone’s eyes were on the radar, as rain was still looming on the horizon.
After losing almost four seconds per lap to the leaders, Leclerc almost begged his team to let him pit due to his dead left front and he was given a set of hards to nurse to the end, should the rain, which kept being pushed back, finally not make an appearance. The entertainment at this point in the race fell onto Leclerc and Norris who, despite fighting for 14th, put on a great show with back and forth overtakes until the Ferrari driver cemented his superiority. Water did start to fall down, but not nearly enough to even wet the track, much less to sack the slicks, and just about enough to see a few droplets on the cameras.
Without the prospect of rain, the race settled once again and the attention turned to the tyres. Some had chosen hards early on to try and make it to the end, while others took a chance on mediums. Some drivers had free pit stops and scattered them across a few laps for fresher tyres. To sink Ferrari further in its misery, Hamilton lapped Vettel, who was 5th at the time, and Sainz kicked Leclerc out of the points. Verstappen and Bottas went to the line for second place, but the difficulty to overtake in Hungaroring helped the Red Bull driver, who clinched second despite all the struggles his team has gone through this season.
With this race in Hungary, we’ve seen Racing Point cementing their place as “best of the rest” yet still not able to score a podium with the second fastest car, Ferrari falling down even further if possible and Haas trying to go against the grain and their bet half working, as Magnussen did finish in the points but Grosjean dropped down to 15th, all while Verstappen fought other cars as well as his own to finish on the second step on the podium. Mercedes’ advantage over the rest was crystal clear and we can only hope for that gap to reduce itself, but it’s just wishful thinking from fans and rivals alike. It’s now time for some rest before we come back at full speed In Silverstone.