F1 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix result: Hamilton sixth as Vettel wins for Ferrari
PUBLISHED: 15:04 26 July 2015 | UPDATED: 19:08 26 July 2015
Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton could only finish sixth as Sebastian Vettel won a dramatic 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit near Budapest.
The 30-year-old Mercedes AMG Petronas driver from Hertfordshire suffered a nightmare opening lap, slipping from pole to 10th.
He was later hit with a drive-through penalty for contact with Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull and eventually crossed the finish line sixth.
“I was all over the place,” admitted Hamilton afterwards. “It was a really bad performance, mistakes all over the place.”
Sebastian Vettel, who took the lead at the first corner on lap one, won the race for Ferrari for his 41st F1 victory, with no Mercedes on the podium for the first time this season.
Red Bull’s Daniil Kvyat crossed the line second for his first F1 podium, with Aussie team-mate Daniel Ricciardo finishing third in the provisional results.
Teenager Max Verstappen was fourth for Toro Rosso with McLaren’s Fernando Alonso fifth.
Then came Hamilton, who extended his world championship lead over Nico Rosberg to 21 points after his Silver Arrows colleague finished eighth behind Romain Grosjean’s Lotus.
Hamilton said: “That was a very tough afternoon. The team did everything right and the car clearly had the pace – I just had a very bad day at the office.
“It was one of the worst races I think I’ve had and I don’t really have any explanation for it at the moment.
“All I can do is apologise to the team and work hard to make amends at the next race.”
Rosberg looked on course for a podium until a late puncture following a collision with Ricciardo sent him into the pits for fresh rubber on lap 64.
Rosberg said: “I had a decent start, if not the best. But I still didn’t have a great balance on the Option tyre so the Ferraris were pulling away quite quickly at the beginning.
“It went better on the Prime and the race was going well for me until lap 64.
“Racing is very tough sometimes. It’s an awful feeling to lose it at the end.”
Jenson Button finished ninth as both McLarens finished in the points, with Marcus Ericsson completing the top 10 for Sauber.
After Saturday’s dreadful qualifying session, nobody expected the McLaren-Honda team to score as many points as the Silver Arrows on race day.
Before a crazy, incident-packed race, the drivers gathered on the grid to remember Jules Bianchi in an emotional tribute to the Frenchman.
The start was aborted when Felipe Massa’s car was out of position and the drivers had to complete a second formation lap, reducing the race distance by one lap.
When the grand prix finally started Hamilton made another sluggish getaway from pole position and both Mercedes drivers were overtaken on the outside by the fast-starting Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel on the run to the first corner.
Vettel’s Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen then moved into second place ahead of Nico Rosberg with Hamilton in fourth.
“The team did everything right and the car clearly had the pace – I just had a very bad day at the office.”
Hamilton’s woes continued when he went off the track into the gravel while attempting to pass his team-mate and he found himself down in 10th place after the opening lap.
He was still stuck behind Felipe Massa’s Williams after nine laps of the race’s 69 laps.
Hamilton finally took Massa’s car on the outside around Turn One with a gutsy move, and climbed into eighth place after 12 laps when be pulled clear of Sergio Perez’s Force India, again into Turn One.
Hitting clean air, Hamilton slammed in a personal best as the first drivers started to pit.
The early stoppers lifted the Stevenage-born F1 racer into the top five behind Vettel, Raikkonen, Rosberg and Daniel Ricciardo’s Red Bull.
Hamilton pitted for new Option tyres on lap 19 and rejoined the race in fifth place, just squeezing out Valtteri Bottas’ Williams.
Rosberg pitted a lap later than his Silver Arrows team-mate and switched to Primes, leaving the Mercedes drivers on different race strategies.
Chasing Ricciardo for fourth place, Hamilton ran a little wide at the top of the hill and dropped back a bit.
He soon recovered and finally took Ricciardo for fourth place after 29 laps with another stunning move around the outside at Turn One – with Rosberg next in his sights.
At this stage Rosberg was the only driver in the top four on the Prime (medium) tyre, with both Ferraris and Hamilton having to run the slower tyre in the final phase.
“We had two bad starts – and then things went from bad to worse.”
Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport
Hamilton chipped away at Rosberg’s 15.6-second advantage over the following laps.
With the German hitting traffic and Lewis’ blistering pace, the gap was cut to just five seconds by lap 38.
Ahead of the Silver Arrows duo, Raikkonen reported a power unit problem with his Ferrari, reviving Mercedes’ hopes of a possible double podium.
As it was, neither Silver Arrows finished in the top three and it was Red Bull with two men surprisingly on the podium at the end of the race.
The virtual safety car was deployed when Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India smacked into the tyre wall after going straight on at the first corner after his front wing failed in spectacular fashion, with debris strewn across the main straight.
Both Mercedes drivers pitted for Prime (medium) tyres, with the Silver Arrows crew doing a great job to double stack the stops.
The appearance of the Safety Car for real on lap 42 brought the field back together, wiping out Vettel’s comfortable lead.
All the drivers followed the Safety Car through the pit lane in formation while debris was cleared from the start / finish straight.
When the Safety Car came in a few laps later, Rosberg cleared Raikkonen’s struggling Ferrari for second place. Raikkonen later retired.
Hamilton suffered damage to his front wing after understeering into Ricciardo’s Red Bull while defending through Turn One following the restart.
2015 Hungarian Grand Prix result
1 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
2 Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull)
3 Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)
4 Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso)
5 Fernando Alonso (McLaren)
6 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
7 Romain Grosjean (Lotus)
8 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
9 Jenson Button (McLaren)
10 Marcus Ericsson (Sauber)
He slipped down to sixth place as a result, and eventually had to pit for a nose change and tyre switch to Options, dropping the Mercedes down to 12th.
Things went from bad to worse for Hamilton when race stewards also handed him a drive-through penalty for his collision with Ricciardo. Hamilton served the penalty on lap 54 after contact with Ricciardo on lap 49.
Back down in P15 with 14 laps to go, Hamilton said over the radio: “I’m so sorry guys.”
His engineer replied: “Let’s see what we can do: 20s from the points, let’s go get ‘em.”
Hamilton kept pushing and took Nasr’s Sauber for 10th place – and at least a point.
2015 F1 World Drivers’ Championship
Top 8 drivers after Hungarian Grand Prix
1 Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) 202 points
2 Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)181
3 Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 160
4 Valtteri Bottas (Williams) 77
5 Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 76
6 Felipe Massa (Williams) 74
7 Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) 51
8 Daniil Kvyat (Red Bull) 45
He passed the Sauber of Ericsson for ninth and then stormed ahead of Button’s McLaren for eighth.
There was further drama at the front of the field when Ricciardo and Rosberg collided, the Red Bull driver needing a new front wing, and the Mercedes man limping back to the pits for fresh rubber after suffering a costly puncture.
That sent Rosberg back down to 10th place – behind title rival Hamilton.
Rosberg said: “For me, the incident with Daniel was pretty clear. I was on the ideal line, he braked too late and went wide.
“I then stayed on the racing line, so it was my corner, but he still had his front wing there and hit me and I got a puncture.
“That destroyed my race, which is a real shame as I could have gained a lot of points on Lewis.
“At the moment I’m not looking forward to the summer break. I just want to be back in the car and racing again tomorrow.”
Hamilton motored into the top six when he passed Romain Grosjean’s Lotus, extending his lead over Rosberg in the championship race to 21 points after an exciting grand prix.
He now tops the drivers’ standings by 21 points going into the short summer break, with Vettel 42 points behind.
Looking back at the race, Hamilton said: “My start wasn’t ideal and the Ferraris were really quick off the line, so suddenly I was under attack from both sides.
“It was tight with Nico later in the lap where I locked up and went off, then of course there was the incident with Daniel.
“It wasn’t deliberate but it was my fault. He took a tight line around the outside and I just lost grip, ran out of road and understeered into him.
“That meant a drive through which dropped me right back again after all that work to make it back through.
“From there I just had to tell myself to calm down and not give up so I could fight back for some points.
“You could see in that phase that the pace of the car was really strong and the pace was really there all weekend.
“I just made too many mistakes today. In the end, it’s damage limitation in terms of points for the Championship so I just need to take the positives into the summer and bounce back in Spa.”
Toto Wolff, head of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport, admitted it was a bad day at the office, with the race giving him “a few more grey hairs”.
He said: “We had two bad starts – and then things went from bad to worse.
“Lewis ran off track on lap one, then came the incident with Ricciardo, the nose change and the drive-through – and somehow still managed to get back to P6.
“As for Nico, he didn’t have the pace to match the Ferraris in the first stint but was running strongly for a podium finish.
“When the Virtual Safety Car came out, it was close for him to get into the pits – but he managed it.
“However, the default set of tyres was the Prime, as we still had around 30 laps to go in the race under normal conditions – and that was the only set we were able to fit to the car in time.
“In hindsight, the Option tyre would have been ideal to attack Sebastian, who was forced to run the Prime, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
“He [Rosberg] nevertheless did a great job to salvage P8 and score a few more points today.”
Wolff added: “For us, this was a really frustrating day and it just goes to show that our success so far this year has been the result of fantastic attention to detail and teamwork, getting everything right to deliver the results we have had.
“Now we need to analyse the race and learn our lessons, then recharge the batteries and come back fighting in Spa.”
The team’s technical executive director, Paddy Lowe, conceded it wasn’t “a great day” for Mercedes after both drivers started on the front row.
Lowe said: “It began with two rather mediocre race starts. With Lewis, we suspect it was an overheating clutch after the second formation lap.
“And for Nico, it looked like there was just very little grip from his grid position.
“We apologise to both drivers for not being able to give them the platform for the start they needed.
“That put both drivers behind the Ferraris and Lewis then lost further position attempting to pass Nico later on the first lap.
“So, at that point it was already looking like a difficult afternoon with one driver in third and the other back in tenth.
“We persevered with our race strategy to attempt to get both cars onto the podium and perhaps even the top step – but it soon became clear that Ferrari were very quick here today and we didn’t have enough of a pace advantage to make that happen.”
Lowe added: “There were then a number of events including minor collisions and penalties which eventually consigned us to sixth and eighth.
“A bad day without doubt – but as they say, you can’t win them all and it’s still points on the board.”
While Mercedes performed below expectations in Hungary, McLaren-Honda recorded its best result of the season so far, winning an extremely welcome 12 constructors’ world championship points.
Both McLaren drivers got away cleanly, and Alonso ran solidly inside the top 10 after the first round of pit-stops.
Then, as the race started to fragment chaotically after the virtual and actual Safety Car period, the McLaren drivers held on more resolutely than most.
Having fitted fresh rubber only a handful of laps before the Safety Car had been deployed, the team opted to keep both drivers out.
That meant Button faced an uphill struggle to prevent faster cars from passing him in the closing laps.
As for Alonso, however, his brake temperatures began to soar after his second pit-stop, and the team made a call to clear debris from his brake ducts – a stray tear-off visor was once again discovered – and fit a set of Option tyres.
As a clutch of drivers were issued with penalties for pit-lane speeding, and a handful more conspired to tangle with each other, McLaren claimed its first double points finish of the year.
After starting 15th, Alonso said: “This was a very good race, and fifth position at the finish is a nice little present for the whole team, particularly as we’re not as competitive as we’d like right now.
“On the calendar, there are a handful of circuits where we expected our performance to be better – Monaco, Singapore, and here in Hungary, so we knew we needed to make the most of today.
“Critically, we did just that: it was a chaotic race, and we took advantage of every opportunity that came our way.
“These points are a good way to send the whole team into the summer break, but we need to further maximise our chances in the second half of the season.”
Team-mate Button said: “Fernando did a great job today. Fitting the Option tyre for the final stint was the right decision for him.
“I didn’t stop for tyres under the Safety Car whereas pretty much everyone around me did. That decision made it very difficult for me, because my used Primes were pretty old by the end of the race, and there were plenty of faster cars around me running fresher Options.
“Still, it was a fun race, and it’s great to get points ahead of the summer break. The accidents and penalties certainly helped us, but we still did a good job out there today.”
The 2015 F1 season will resume on Sunday, August 23 with the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.
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