Vettel wins thrilling Hungarian Grand Prix

Ferrari Hungarian GP 2015

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel achieved his 41st career victory in a thrilling and drama-filled Hungarian Grand Prix.

The Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg suffered a terrible race despite dominating qualifying.

This was Sebastian’s first win at the Hungaroring and his second this season, bringing the four-time world champion on par with the great, late Ayrton Senna of 41 race victories.

It was also the first time since the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix, a run of 29 races, where Mercedes failed to score a podium finish with either car with Hamilton sixth and Rosberg eighth.

This was a messy race for Lewis Hamilton. A poor start from pole position. Running wide at the chicane on the first lap when he felt Rosberg crossed his line and then losing time when he pitted for a new wing and then having to a drive-through penalty after colliding with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo.

But in defending second with a few laps to go, Rosberg clashed with Ricciardo at Turn 1, giving the Mercedes a puncture and damaging Ricciardo’s front wing.

Rosberg was forced to pit and rejoined in eighth, two positions behind Hamilton who had fought his way back through the field to increase his championship lead to 21 points.

Hamilton and Rosberg got away poorly from the front row at the start, allowing Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen to get ahead, with Rosberg running third ahead of Hamilton.

Ferrari looked on course for its first one-two since the 2010 German Grand Prix before a MGU-K problem cost The Iceman’s power. Raikkonen eventually retired after the team were unable to fix it.

The virtual safety car was called into action when Nico Hulkenberg’s Force India suffered a front wing failure, pitching the German head-on into the tyre barrier at Turn 1.

When it became clear there was too much debris on the track, the real safety car was sent out, bunching the field up and reducing Vettel’s sizeable lead – setting up a thrilling finale.

Daniil Kvyat scored a career-best second, to become the youngest driver to score a podium since Vettel in the 2008 Italian Grand Prix, the Russian benefitting from Ricciardo’s clash with Rosberg late on.

Ricciardo survived the contact, which the race stewards decided to take no further action on, with Rosberg to give Red Bull a double podium with third.

Toro Rosso’s Max Verstappen, who had a drive-through penalty for making contact with Valtteri Bottas, battled his way up to a career-best fourth place.

The drama in the second-half of the race allowed Fernando Alonso to finish fifth, scoring McLaren-Honda’s best result of the season, with Jenson Button finishing ninth.

Romain Grosjean was seventh in the Lotus while Marcus Ericsson gave Sauber an unlikely point with tenth, a few seconds clear of team-mate Felipe Nasr.

Williams failed to score for only the second time this season, with Massa – who was given a time-penalty for being out of position on the grid and forcing an aborted start – P12 and Bottas P13.

So a dramatic race with Ferrari and Sebastian Vettel. Winning the Hungarian Grand Prix in honour of Jules Bianchi, who sadly passed away last week after losing his fight for survival.

Red Bull Racing scored their first podium finishes with Daniil Kvyat and Daniel Ricciardo. While McLaren-Honda achieved a double points finish in the hands of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button.

Despite a troubled race, Mercedes were able to score points to maintain the lead in the championship.

The sport goes into the summer break and yet it will be fascinating if anyone can catch and challenge the Silver Arrows in the second half of the season.

Vettel Ferrari Hungarian GP 2015

Hungarian Grand Prix, race result after 69 laps:

1    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1h46m09.985s
2    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    69    +15.748s
3    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    69    +25.084s
4    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    69    +44.251s
5    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    69    +49.079s
6    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    69    +52.025s
7    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    69    +58.578s
8    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    69    +58.876s
9    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    69    +67.028s
10    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    69    +69.130s
11    Felipe Nasr       Sauber-Ferrari    69    +73.458s
12    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    69    +74.278s
13    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    69    +80.228s
14    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    69    +85.142ss
15    Roberto Merhi    Marussia-Ferrari    67    +2 Laps
16    Will Stevens    Marussia-Ferrari    65    Retirement
–    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    60    Retirement
–    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    55    Power Unit
–    Sergio Perez    Force India/Mercedes    53    Retirement
–    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India/Mercedes    41    Retirement

Drivers’ standings:

1 Lewis Hamiton 202
2 Nico Rosberg  181
3 Sebastian Vettel 160
4 Valtteri Bottas 77
5 Kimi Raikkonen 76
6 Felipe Massa 74
7 Daniel Ricciardo 51
8 Daniil Kvyat 45
9 Nico Hulkenberg 24
10 Romain Grosjean 23
11 Max Verstappen 22
12 Felipe Nasr 16
13 Sergio Perez 15
14 Pastor Maldonado 12
15 Fernando Alonso 11
16 Carlos Sainz 9
17 Jenson Button 6
18 Marcus Ericsson 6
19 Roberto Merhi 0
20 Will Stevens 0

Constructors’ standings:

1 Mercedes 383
2 Ferrari 236
3 Williams-Mercedes 151
4 Red Bull-Renault 96
5 Force India-Mercedes 39
6 Lotus-Mercedes 35
7 Toro Rosso-Renault 31
8 Sauber-Ferrari 22
9 McLaren-Honda 17
10 Marussia-Ferrari 0

Next race: Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps. August 21-23.

Dominant Hamilton achieves pole at the Hungaroring

Hamilton Hungary 2015

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton achieved his 47th career pole position in Formula 1 with a commanding performance at the Hungering. Fastest in every session to take his fifth P1 at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

His Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg struggled to match his rival’s pace and had to settle with second position. But half a second adrift is a major defeat.

Rosberg complained about the handling of his car throughout the different stages of qualifying and couldn’t recover sufficiently to put up much of a fight.

Hamilton and Rosberg were separated by 0.358 seconds after the first runs in Q3, and the German ended up over half a second adrift of Hamilton, who set the fastest lap of the weekend so far on his final effort to claim his fifth career pole in Hungary.

The expected close fight for best of the rest behind Mercedes materialised, as less than half a second covered Ferrari, Red Bull and Williams in Q2.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel ended up taking third on the grid, but was just 0.035 seconds clear of his former team-mate Daniel Ricciardo in the Red Bull.

Kimi Raikkonen finished up 0.246 seconds further back in fifth, while Valtteri Bottas took sixth for Williams.

Daniil Kvyat lines up on row four with Felipe Massa, just ahead of Max Verstappen’s Toro Rosso, which only made one run in Q3.

Romain Grosjean’s Lotus rounded out the top ten, over half a second adrift of the next fastest car.

Neither Force India made it through to the top ten shootout, along with Carlos Sainz and Pastor Maldonado.

Hulkenberg and Sainz were less than a tenth away from Grosjean’s tenth position Lotus in Q2, while Perez was almost six tenths further back in P13.

McLaren headed into qualifying hoping to challenge for a place in the top ten, but could do no better than P15 and P16 after both drivers encountered technical trouble.

Fernando Alonso made it through to Q2, but stopped at the entry to the pitlane during his first run, bringing out the red flags and ending his session early.

As for his team-mate Jenson Button, an issue with the ERS deployment meant the McLaren driver missing out on the Q2 cut by lapping just over a tenth of a second shy of Sainz’s Toro Rosso.

Button estimated his problem cost him 0.3 seconds on his final flying lap.

The 2009 world champion joined the Saubers and Manors in dropping out during the first phase of qualifying.

Felipe Nasr felt he “lost it in the last two corners” and finished up 0.154 seconds adrift of Sauber team-mate Marcus Ericsson, who felt he drove a good final flying lap in the C34.

Roberto Merhi comfortably out-qualified his team-mate Will Stevens by 0.533 seconds, as the Manor cars filled their usual place on the final row of the grid.

So another front row lock-out for Mercedes. Five pole positions in a row from Lewis Hamilton at this twisty, tight circuit. The championship leader is super fast around the Hungaroring and is the favourite to take victory come race day.

Mercedes Hungary 2015

Hungarian Grand Prix, qualifying positions:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m22.020s
2    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m22.595s
3    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m22.739s
4    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m22.774s
5    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m23.020s
6    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m23.222s
7    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1m23.332s
8    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m23.537s
9    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m23.679s
10    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    1m24.181s
11    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m23.826s
12    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m23.869s
13    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m24.461s
14    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    1m24.609s
15    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m24.563s
16    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m24.739s
17    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m24.843s
18    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m24.997s
19    Roberto Merhi    Marussia-Ferrari    1m27.416s
20    Will Stevens    Marussia-Ferrari    1m27.949s

Hamilton achieves hat-trick of British Grand Prix wins

Hamilton British GP 2015 winner

Home crowd favourite Lewis Hamilton achieved his hat-track of British Grand Prix wins after a thrilling race at Silverstone.

The Mercedes driver recovered from a poor start, gave chase to the Williams duo and made the perfect strategy call on the intermediate tyre to win this race in front of his passionate fans.

Nico Rosberg finished second and was able to pass both Valtteri Bottas and then Felipe Massa, who struggled in the wet conditions after leading the first stint for Williams.

The points gap between the Silver Arrows drivers is now 17.

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel benefited from an early switch to the intermediates to leapfrog both Williams as the rain intensified to finish third.

Massa made a superb start from third on the grid, slicing through the middle of the slow-starting Mercedes to take the lead into Abbey, with Bottas slotting into second ahead of Hamilton and Rosberg.

Hamilton reclaimed second with a pass on Bottas into Village, but the race was then neutralised when the safety car was called into action following collisions in the midfield.

The Lotus of Romain Grosjean appeared to tangle with the Red Bull of Daniel Ricciardo, which speared into his team-mate Pastor Maldonado, putting both out of the race.

That incident caused a secondary accident behind with Fernando Alonso taking avoiding action and hitting his McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, which put the 2009 champion out of the race and left Alonso needing to pit for a new nose.

At the restart, Hamilton launched an attack on Massa into Club, but ran wide as the Williams defended the lead.

That desperate move allowed Bottas to slip through and take second, with Hamilton having to fend off Rosberg.

Bottas closed on Massa and while the team initially told both drivers to work together, it then allowed Bottas to attack but he could not find a way through.

Hamilton was the first to pit, crucially rejoining in front of the longer-running Force India of Sergio Perez, with Massa and Rosberg pitting together the next time around.

Massa exited his pitbox alongside Rosberg and kept his nose in front on the exit but by then, Hamilton had gone through.

Bottas then pitted and rejoined between Massa and Rosberg, meaning Hamilton inherited the lead. Setting a record of  leading for the 18th race in succession to break Sir Jackie Stewart’s 45-year-old achievement.

The rain added a further headache later, but gave Rosberg a chance to fight pass both Bottas and Massa before closing on Hamilton.

The leader then timed his switch to intermediates perfectly and re-established a gap over Rosberg, who came in one lap later and had to settle for second.

Williams missed the opportunity as the race unravelled when the rain came, with Massa and Bottas struggling for pace and ending up fourth and fifth, jumped by Vettel as Ferrari made an earlier dive for intermediates and then pulled clear.

Red Bull Racing’s Daniil Kvyat was sixth and nearly caught Bottas at the end.

Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez ensured Force India’s B-spec car had a double-points haul on its debut by finishing seventh and ninth respectively, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen splitting the duo, The Iceman losing ground by taking intermediates too soon.

Alonso, who was one of several cars who pitted for intermediate tyres early, scored his first point of the season – after four successive retirements – with tenth for McLaren Honda.

It was a disastrous race for Toro Rosso, which had showed such strong pace early in the British Grand Prix weekend.

Max Verstappen’s weekend ended in the gravel when he spun off on cold tyres after the early safety car came in.

Carlos Sainz Jr was running ninth when he stopped out on track at the final corner, banging the steering wheel in disbelief, with the virtual safety car being called into action briefly as a result.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, who ran in the points for much of the race, struggled in the wet conditions and dropped to P11 with Manor’s Roberto Merhi and Will Stevens – who required a late nose change after an off in the wet – the last of the finishers in P12 and P13 respectively.

Ricciardo retired his Red Bull before the half-distance with an electrical problem.

Felipe Nasr did not make the start after the Sauber stopped at Hanger Straight during the reconnaissance laps on the way to the grid. The team was unable to fix his problem in time.

So a dramatic and exciting British Grand Prix. The rain certainly spiced up the action and yet the familiar drivers ends up on the podium with Hamilton winning, Rosberg in runner-up spot and Vettel scoring more points.

Mercedes British GP 2015 winner

British Grand Prix, race result after 52 laps:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1h31m27.729s
2    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    10.956s
3    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    25.443s
4    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    36.839s
5    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m03.194s
6    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1m03.955s
7    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m18.744s
8    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1 Lap
9    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1 Lap
10    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1 Lap
11    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1 Lap
12    Roberto Merhi    Marussia-Ferrari    3 Laps
13    Will Stevens    Marussia-Ferrari    3 Laps
–    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    Retirement
–    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    Retirement
–    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    Spun off
–    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    Collision
–    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    Collision
–    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    Collision
–    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    Not started

Drivers’ standings:

1    Lewis Hamilton    194
2    Nico Rosberg    177
3    Sebastian Vettel    135
4    Valtteri Bottas    77
5    Kimi Raikkonen    76
6    Felipe Massa    74
7    Daniel Ricciardo    36
8    Daniil Kvyat    27
9    Nico Hulkenberg    24
10    Romain Grosjean    17
11    Felipe Nasr    16
12    Sergio Perez    15
13    Pastor Maldonado    12
14    Max Verstappen    10
15    Carlos Sainz    9
16    Marcus Ericsson    5
17    Jenson Button    4
18    Fernando Alonso    1
19    Roberto Merhi    0
20    Will Stevens    0

Constructors’ standings:

1    Mercedes    371
2    Ferrari    211
3    Williams-Mercedes    151
4    Red Bull-Renault    63
5    Force India-Mercedes    39
6    Lotus-Mercedes    29
7    Sauber-Ferrari    21
8    Toro Rosso-Renault    19
9    McLaren-Honda    5
10    Marussia-Ferrari    0

Next race: Hungarian Grand Prix, Hungaroring. July 24-26.

Crowd favourite Hamilton takes Silverstone pole

Hamilton British GP 2015

Championship leader and home crowd favourite Lewis Hamilton achieved his 46th career pole position at the fast and challenging Silverstone circuit.

Nico Rosberg had to settle with second place after leading the way through the first two segments of qualifying, but Hamilton had the advantage thanks to his first runs in Q3, which proved enough to take pole by 0.113 seconds when neither improved later on.

Mercedes ended up with a clear seven-tenth gap to the rest of the field, as Williams got the better of Ferrari to be best-of-the-rest at Silverstone.

Williams locked out the second row of the grid, with Felipe Massa improving on his second Q3 run to edge out team-mate Valtteri Bottas by less than a tenth.

Kimi Raikkonen outqualified Ferrari team-mate Sebastian Vettel for only the second time this season by setting the fifth quickest time.

Vettel dropped time in the final sector on his first Q3 run and was then held up in traffic on his final effort so was unable to improve.

Red Bull Racing’s Daniil Kvyat edged out the sister team of Toro Rosso as driven by Carlos Sainz Jr by just 0.013 seconds to take seventh.

As for team-mate Daniel Ricciardo, the honey badger wound up slowest of the top ten runners after losing his best lap in Q3 to a track-limits offence at Copse corner and a late improvement on his single new-tyre run by Nico Hulkenberg in the Force India.

The second revised VJM08 of Sergio Perez missed out on a chance to make the top ten shootout after running wide at Copse on his best lap.

Perez ended up in P11, just a few tenths clear of Romain Grosjean, until the Lotus driver had his best time deleted for a track limits offence.

Fortunately for Grosjean, his second best lap was still good enough for P12, ahead of a frustrated Max Verstappen.

The Toro Rosso rookie complained about a lack of rear grip throughout qualifying, which ended disappointingly after the STR10 showed strong form throughout free practice.

Verstappen was close to dropping out in Q1 after having his best time deleted for exceeding track limits at Copse, then struggled to P13 in Q2.

Pastor Maldonado was also penalised for exceeding track limits in Q1 and Q2 and wound up P14, fractionally slower than Verstappen but over three tenths clear of Marcus Ericsson.

Sauber team-mate Felipe Nasr, the McLaren-Hondas of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button, and both Manor Marussias filled the bottom five places on the timesheet.

Both Nasr and Alonso agonisingly missed the Q2 cut by less than a tenth of a second, thanks to Maldonado having his best time scrubbed for running off the track at Copse.

So another front row grid slot for Mercedes and a popular qualifying result for the British crowd favourite Lewis Hamilton.

Can the reigning world champion score a win at his home race on Sunday? He looks at ease in the W06 Hybrid all season and race victory at Silverstone will certainly be a highlight.

British GP 2015

Qualifying positions, Silverstone:

1    Lewis Hamilton    Mercedes    1m32.248s
2    Nico Rosberg    Mercedes    1m32.361s
3    Felipe Massa    Williams-Mercedes    1m33.085s
4    Valtteri Bottas    Williams-Mercedes    1m33.149s
5    Kimi Raikkonen    Ferrari    1m33.379s
6    Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari    1m33.547s
7    Daniil Kvyat    Red Bull-Renault    1m33.636s
8    Carlos Sainz    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m33.649s
9    Nico Hulkenberg    Force India-Mercedes    1m33.673s
10    Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull-Renault    1m33.943s
11    Sergio Perez    Force India-Mercedes    1m34.268s
12    Romain Grosjean    Lotus-Mercedes    1m34.430s
13    Max Verstappen    Toro Rosso-Renault    1m34.502s
14    Pastor Maldonado    Lotus-Mercedes    1m34.511s
15    Marcus Ericsson    Sauber-Ferrari    1m34.868s
16    Felipe Nasr    Sauber-Ferrari    1m34.888s
17    Fernando Alonso    McLaren-Honda    1m34.959s
18    Jenson Button    McLaren-Honda    1m35.207s
19    Will Stevens    Marussia-Ferrari    1m37.364s
20    Roberto Merhi    Marussia-Ferrari    1m39.377s