Daniel Ricciardo took the step of the podium at the Hungaroring in a race that came alive during the last few laps, but whose result was dictated by the strategic decisions taken after two early safety car periods.
Damp conditions at the start of the race caught a number of drivers, necessitating two safety cars during first 30 laps of the race. Race winner Daniel Ricciardo pitted under both of them, signalling a three stop strategy on a track that is notoriously difficult for overtaking.
But the Australian quickly caught two-stoppers Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton after his final visit to the pits and passed both of them with three laps to go to take his second career victory, in a manner very similar to his first one.
Fernando Alonso defended hard on tyres that he had been on for almost half of the race to take second place - his best result of the season.
Lewis Hamilton paved his way from the pitlane to take the final spot on the podium after a chaotic weekend. The Brit’s race nearly came to an end on the opening lap when he kissed the barriers at turn 2 . But the 29 year old carried on and charged his way up the grid in his #44 Mercedes. However, it wasn’t without controversies. During the second half of the race, Hamilton was asked by his team to let teammate Rosberg through as he was on a completely different strategy. Hamilton, in turn, argued that Rosberg wasn’t closed enough and the pair never swapped positions.
Pole sitter Nico Rosberg was put in this awkward position after the first safety car came at the worst possible time for the German. The four leading drivers headed by Rosberg had to complete an extra lap under safety car speeds while those behind, aware of Marcus Ericsson’s incident and the subsequent safety car, quickly pitted and found them at an advantage vis-a-vis the leaders.
Nevertheless, the 29 year old finished the race in fourth place, less than a second behind teammate and title rival Lewis Hamilton who forced him wide at turn 2 on the final lap.
Behind this quadruple came the Williams of Felipe Massa who stayed clear of any first lap incident for the first time in three races.
Kimi Raikkonen drove superbly from 16th on the grid to take sixth at the chequered flag in what was probably his best race of the season. Finn’s result is, however, likely to be overshadowed by Alonso who secured team’s only second podium finish of the season.
Seventh on the road was Sebastian Vettel who was also compromised by the timing of the first safety car. He himself had a major moment when he clipped the kerbs at the final corner and nearly hit the wall at the pit straight. But unlike Sergio Perez, luck was on his side and he carried on to to add six points to his tally.
Valtteri Bottas finished in a disappointing eighth after starting third on the grid.
Meanwhile, Jean Eric Vergne finished in a strong ninth place ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button. The British team gambled on putting the intermediate tyre on both their drivers after the first pit stop, praying for more rain. However, the weather gods weren’t at their side and the Woking based squad walked away from the race with just one point.
Adrian Sutil missed his and his team’s first points of the season by just one second, having been in top 10 for much of the race.
His former team Force India endured their worst weekend of the season with Nico Hulkenberg colliding with teammate Sergio Perez and ending his race and the latter having a major shunt at the pit straight.