M.Several hours after the crazy horsepower thriller in the Puszta, the memorable Hungarian Grand Prix took another crazy turn. Sebastian Vettel was disqualified on Sunday evening because of insufficient fuel in his Aston Martin. The 34-year-old native of Heppenheim was already on his way home when the race stewards announced the momentous decision on the Hungaroring.
Instead of a “bit” of disappointment about the missed first Grand Prix victory in almost two years, the Formula 1 holidays for Vettel should have started with huge frustration. 0.3 liters were found during the examination by the Technical Delegate in Vettel’s car – at least 1.0 liters are required. Aston Martin immediately filed a letter of intent with the stewards for a protest. Vettel’s car was then sealed.
In the unsuccessful attempt to catch the 24-year-old sensation winner Esteban Ocon in the Alpine, Vettel had consumed too much. And that also had consequences for the World Cup ranking. Because behind Ocon and Vettel, Lewis Hamilton raced to third place in the rousing eleventh race of the season with a mass crash in the rain and lots of action. The seven-time world champion had started from pole for the 101st time in the Silver Arrow, but in the meantime slipped to last place before he had started an exhausting race to catch up.
“There is nothing in me anymore. I’m pumped out, “said Hamilton, and that’s how he looked on the podium – next to and with Vettel. Second place gave the Briton 18 instead of 15 points. His lead in the recaptured World Championship lead grew to eight points over Max Verstappen. The Dutchman was one of the victims of the opening crash, his team-mate Sergio Perez had to give up completely. “This is another bad experience for us,” said Red Bull team boss Chris Horner. “That is really brutal.”
Interestingly enough, two weeks after Verstappen retired at Silverstone due to a contact with the Hamilton Mercedes, now triggered by Valtteri Bottas in the second Silver Arrow. With the damaged Red Bull, Verstappen dragged himself to the finish line in tenth place. “The last two races totally sucked,” he said. The fact that he climbed to ninth place due to Vettel’s disqualification should not have comforted him. Mick Schumacher was even able to look forward to twelfth place in the Haas.
What a finale in the first half of the season! On race day the rain came and with it the spectacle came right in the first corner. Trigger Bottas caught a snail start from position two and crashed into the rear of Lando Norris, who had passed the Finn in his McLaren. “I should have braked earlier, it was my mistake,” said Bottas, who also apologized to his rivals.
Turn one on the 4.381-kilometer circuit near Budapest was like a field of rubble – parked racing cars and depressed drivers. The safety car had to go out, the race was interrupted and the Red Bull mechanics in particular tried to repair some of the considerable damage to Verstappen’s car with adhesive tape. They had a quarter of an hour, then it was back to the formation lap and the starting grid according to the order of the interruption.
The track was now dry and almost everyone came into the pits to switch to dry tires. Only one not: Hamilton. He stood there alone with his mixed tires and drove off. The rest followed from the pit lane. Hamilton seemed to have been responsible for why Mercedes hadn’t changed the tires directly.
He came in after one lap and came out last. “Sorry, guys,” Hamilton radioed to the pits. Almost 20 seconds separated him from first place, on which Ocon was now driving, Vettel was behind, while Nicholas Latifi was first in the Williams on three. Mick Schumacher initially finished tenth in the points – ahead of Verstappen, who initially struggled to get past.
At the next tire change, Hamilton and Mercedes were spot on and made up two places in the pits alone. And the 36-year-old Briton, who has already won eight times in Hungary, remained in the mood to attack, the World Championship lead came closer with every successful overtaking maneuver, while Verstappen had to struggle more with his demolished Red Bull than with the competition.
From the leading trio, Vettel came in first for the next tire change, but his stop lasted a second longer than Ocon’s one lap later. Hamilton also came back and went all out. “Lewis, you can win that,” team boss Toto Wolff intervened on the pit radio. At Alonso, however, it was over for the time being, the former teammates at McLaren fought a rock-hard duel before Hamilton got past four laps before the end of the race. Hamilton should not have expected that he would overtake again several hours later.