Sunday, 27 July 2014

Hungarian Grand Prix: Mercedes rivalry simmers again.

There were fireworks in the final dozen laps, rather than at the start, in Hungary. There was plenty to consider, but one gripe I have is with Lewis Hamilton's antics. Yes, he had a fantastic race, to start from the pit lane and finish third, but it was at the expense of the team and his teammate. The problem, once again, is Lewis Hamilton's sense of entitlement. He has had a very unlucky few weeks and managed to salvage very reasonable results, but to have the attitude that he is entitled to take the result, at the expense of his team and his team mate, is undisciplined.

Don't get me wrong, Lewis was right to stay ahead of Nico, in the middle of the Grand Prix, because Rosberg simply wasn't close enough. Hamilton couldn't have been expected to virtually stop, just to let a slow Rosberg cruise through, on well-worn tyres. However, on the final lap, when Nico had hurtled up behind a Lewis Hamilton who was now struggling on used up tyres, Hamilton was far too aggressive. His defensive move, pushing Nico on to the grass, was ludicrous. It could be argued that he cost Mercedes the second place, since Rosberg might have been able to take Alonso. However, he also put both of their races at risk, by being so aggressive. But hey! Lewis has had a lot of bad luck lately, so surely he's entitled to a decent result?!

We really should talk about Daniel Ricciardo, who had a fantastic finish to the race. Granted he had much fresher tyres, and was racing Alonso and Hamilton, who were both on very old rubber. But his moves on those two former world champions were still colossal and in a car that has struggled to keep pace with the Mercedes powered cars, all season. That's why Daniel Ricciardo receives my Driver of The Day accolade. Sebastian Vettel will be disappointed not to have matched his team mate's performance, but he was very lucky indeed not wreck his car, just like Perez had a little earlier, against the pit wall.

The Hungarian Grand Prix was unusual in that it felt like two separate races, mainly due to the two safety cars. Those safety car periods created chaos, in terms of the race order, with pit stops throwing things in to further disarray and making it impossible to work out each driver's strategy, or whether they had made good decisions or bad ones. Fortunately things unfolded in a way which gave us a massively intense end to the race, timed perfectly, so that all of the big hitters found themselves on the same bit of track, at the same time. The result was highly unexpected, but it was refreshing not to see a Mercedes driver, on the top step of the podium again.

Somebody who shone for me was Jean-Eric Vergne. He had a short period in the lead and also took the fight to Alonso, after the second safety car period. It was pretty impressive when they showed the onboard of JEV, as he weaved behind Fernando, got very very close, and looked like he was trying to intimidate the Spanish World Champion. Williams were quiet again today, which poses the question, are they consistent enough to realistically challenge the Mercedes team. I guess, we'll find out after the three week break.

Check out The F1 Spectator's Hungarian GP podcast and listen to The F1 Spectator himself.
The Result:
13Daniel RicciardoRed Bull Racing-Renault701:53:05.058425
214Fernando AlonsoFerrari70+5.2 secs518
344Lewis HamiltonMercedes70+5.8 secs2215
46Nico RosbergMercedes70+6.3 secs112
519Felipe MassaWilliams-Mercedes70+29.8 secs610
67Kimi RäikkönenFerrari70+31.4 secs168
71Sebastian VettelRed Bull Racing-Renault70+40.9 secs26
877Valtteri BottasWilliams-Mercedes70+41.3 secs34
925Jean-Eric VergneSTR-Renault70+58.5 secs82
1022Jenson ButtonMcLaren-Mercedes70+67.2 secs71
1199Adrian SutilSauber-Ferrari70+68.1 secs11
1220Kevin MagnussenMcLaren-Mercedes70+78.4 secs21
1313Pastor MaldonadoLotus-Renault70+84.0 secs20
1426Daniil KvyatSTR-Renault69+1 Lap10
1517Jules BianchiMarussia-Ferrari69+1 Lap15
164Max ChiltonMarussia-Ferrari69+1 Lap18
Ret21Esteban GutierrezSauber-Ferrari32+38 Laps13
Ret10Kamui KobayashiCaterham-Renault24+46 Laps17
Ret11Sergio PerezForce India-Mercedes22Accident12
Ret27Nico HulkenbergForce India-Mercedes14Accident9
Ret8Romain GrosjeanLotus-Renault10Accident14
Ret9Marcus EricssonCaterham-Renault7Accident19