The action-packed Hungarian Grand Prix saw a mixed up classifications sheet, with Sebastian Vettel winning the race with a faultless drive from third on the grid. The two Red Bulls occupied the remaining two spots on the podium, while Max Verstappen finished fourth for Toro Rosso. McLaren's Fernando Alonso also looked strong on a track where outright engine power is not of paramount performance as he netted team's best result of the season.
Sebastian Vettel’s rocketing start in Hungary laid the foundation of his second victory for Scuderia, but it was his drive after the safety car period that drew more applause. With his 10 second gap over Rosberg vanished, Vettel had a difficult task in hand to defend from the German, who had taken little time to overtake the troubled Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen.
But Vettel pitched his car beautifully to keep Rosberg at bay until he slipped into the clutches of Daniel Ricciardo. When the pair collided and were forced to make unscheduled pitstops, Vettel could cruise to the finish line and achieve Ferrari’s two race victories target at the midway point of the season.
Having been given the permission to 'overtake' teammate Daniil Kvyat, Daniel Ricciardo charged past Hulkenberg’s Force India and inherited fourth after Valtteri Bottas made an early pitstop.
After the safety car period, Ricciardo was hit by a defensive Lewis Hamilton, that damaged his car partly. The Australian, however, continued his charge on option tyres - with rivals ahead on slower medium tyres - quickly closing in on the lead Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.
However, a brief contact at the opening corner sent both to the pitlane for unscheduled stops, leaving Ricciardo in third place.
Max Verstappen may have beaten Force India’s Nico Hulkenberg in qualifying to book a spot in the Q3, the start of the race saw a reversal of fortunes. Verstappen saw himself down in 13th place in the packing order, with plenty of faster cars ahead.
However, a decision to stop for option tyres during the safety car period paid dividends, with the Dutch driver eventually finishing in fourth place.
The only downside of his drive was breaking the speed limit during the safety car period and the resultant drive through penalty, something that prevented him from becoming F1’s youngest ever podium finisher.
A fifth place result was unthinkable of for McLaren-Honda, given their early season woes. And although Alonso himself admitted that luck played its part, the MP4-30/Honda package looked formidable on a track where outright power is not of paramount performance.
Alonso moved up to 12th place by the end of the 1st lap and was in points-scoring position well before the safety car was deployed. The following chaotic laps allowed the Spaniard to move up the field, with the end result giving some satisfaction to a driver who pushed his car in qualifying with bare heads after its engine had stopped.
Although Daniil Kvyat’s performance wasn’t spectacular, he stayed out of trouble on a day when a certain world champion made a string of errors.
Kvyat wasn’t as quick as Ricciardo and rebuffed orders from the team to let him through initially. From there on, he drove a calm and composed race with a career best second place finish being the reward.
This result might go some way in releasing the enormous pressure put on him for driving for an under-performing top team in only his second season in Formula 1.