Formula One ventured to the Hungaroring for round 3 of the revised 2020 calendar. From the minute the teams arrived, it was clear Lewis Hamilton was the driver to beat.
He didn’t disappoint.
Scoring his 90th career pole yesterday, the Brit put on an absolute clinic, winning the Hungarian Grand Prix by 8.7 seconds over second place. The win is Hamilton’s 86th of his career, catapulting him past teammate Valtteri Bottas atop the points chase.
Following an embarrassing crash during a warm up lap, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen was able to come home second after his team hustled to fix the damage before the start. All Valtteri Bottas would need was just one more lap and he would’ve caught Verstappen. But alas, the Fin would have to settle for third as time ran out.
In an incredible weekend for Canadian Lance Stroll, the Racing Point driver would come home P4 after running up front all day and qualifying third earlier in the weekend. The top five would be completed by Red Bull’s Alexander Albon, who post race was summoned to see the stewards for an alleged track drying infraction.
Sebastian Vettel would nurse his Ferrari to a sixth place finish, one lap down, after struggling to find pace until midway through the 70 lap event. Sergio Perez would come home seventh with Daniel Ricciardo behind in eighth.
Carlos Sainz would finish in P9.
Guenther Steiner and Haas F1 made a gutsy to call to pit both cars at the race start for dry tyres. The gamble paid off for Kevin Magnussen who would score the team’s first point of 2020 in tenth.
With weather on the horizon, Hamilton wasted no time jumping to an insurmountable lead after nearly three corners. Meanwhile Bottas, who nearly jumped the start, would get bogged down and lose several positions. Stroll would run in second for the early going before being passed by Verstappen.
As cars began pitting for drys, the two Haas cars would run P3 and P4 for nearly 15 laps before the tire wear would catch up to them. During this set of stops the race would se its only on track incident, contact between Nicholas Latifi and Sainz would cause the Canadian’s tires to blow entering turn 1. Latifi, who was running in 10th, would get some added insult to injury as the stewards plastered him with a 5 second penalty for an unsafe release.
A few laps later, the experimental Honda engine on Pierre Gasly’s AlphaTauri would let go, making him the only DNF of the race.
The action would pickup with two to go, as Bottas finally reeled in Verstappen. However, despite lapped traffic getting in the way, Verstappen would hold off the hard-charging Silver Arrow. The runner-up performance is his best of the season to date.
Meanwhile, at the front of the field, it was a masterclass for Hamilton.
Pole position, check. Fastest lap, check. Race win, check and mate.
A perfect weekend from the six-time F1 champion leaves him both in victory lane and atop the points standings after Hungary.
- With this victory Lewis Hamilton equals Michael Schumacher for the most wins at a single track with eight. While Hamilton has set his record at the Hungaroring, Schumacher set his at the former site of the French Grand Prix in Magny-Cours. It’s safe to say Hamilton has entered beast mode heading into the double header in his home country in August.
- Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen looked like they would join Romain Grosjean in the “DNF’d before the race” club. However, the team would buckle down and get the Dutchman onto the grid and into P2 by the checkered. For Verstappen, he was elated and called this P2 “basically a win” after the uncertainly of the race to begin with.
- Lance Stroll put on a show for the Racing Point team. Qualifying P3, the Canadian showed why he is worthy of an F1 seat and not just some pay driver. The P4 in Hungary marks Stroll best finish since the 2019 German Grand Prix. Racing Point is a team that is up and coming, and look for them to only get better
- Last but not least, it was a strong day for the Haas F1 Team. It seems that Haas has only been in the news for bad things. Crashes, bad reliability, falling pace, the possibility of folding, you name it. However, Haas had a trick up their sleeve for the Hungarian Grand Prix, making a brilliant strategy call to pit both cars at the race start. While the gamble didn’t pay off for Grosjean, Magnussen brought the team their first point of 2020 in a heart warming P10 finish, after being assed a time penalty.
- Who can beat Mercedes? While this might seem like a dumb question, the first three races has basically put the Mercedes team in a league of their own. Nobody has been able to touch them once they get into clean air, and this season seems more mismatched than ever with Ferrari sliding down the grid. While frustrating for anyone who isn’t a Mercedes fan to watch, the rest of the teams need to give themselves a kick in pants. Without innovation the Mercedes’s team is going keep using their nearly half a billion pounds of sponsorship money to keep getting better and better.
- How good can Racing Point get? The newly nicknamed “Pink Mercedes” team over at Racing Point has been the feel good story of 2020. Lawrence Stroll’s team seems to be getting faster and faster each week, and it’s safe to say they slot in around third on the grid hierarchy, behind Red Bull but above Ferrari. The sky is the limit for the team, who will be rebranded at Aston Martin Racing in 2021. The possibility of the team bringing in Sebastian Vettel to partner Lance Stroll, will keep fans on the edge of their seat to see how good they can get.
The F1 circuit will take some time off before venturing to Britain on August 2nd for a double header with the British Grand Prix and then the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix the week after. No surprise here but Lewis Hamilton enters as the favourite to sweep.