The biggest challenge we’ve had this season is trying to sum up the Hungarian Grand Prix in 100 words. Where do we even start? Tensions were high following the British Grand Prix. But nobody could prepare us for the halftime show to end all halftime shows this weekend in Hungary.
With chaos from the start, a brand spanking new Grand Prix winner, inspired driving, and a few moments that left everyone with a lump in their throats, Budapest was something else. Let’s take a look at the key takeaways from F1 this weekend.
The biggest benefactors of the first lap madness and subsequent race restart were Esteban Ocon and Sebastian Vettel. They became the most unlikely leading duo in recent memory. With Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton way down the field, a brand new Grand Prix winner looked very much on the cards.
The battle between Seb and Esteban lasted all race long but the twisty nature of the Hungaroring meant a proper fight ultimately wasn’t possible. There was heartbreak after the race, though, as Vettel was disqualified for not having an adequate fuel sample in his Aston Martin.
But it was Esteban Ocon’s day in the end and what a way for the Frenchman to end his recent streak of bad luck! He becomes the first French driver to win a Grand Prix in a French car with a French engine since Alain Prost in 1986. Madness!
Championship Battle and Post Race Drama
Overtakes are seldom seen in Hungary but it would appear that Lewis Hamilton didn’t get that particular memo. Following the race restart, Hamilton was down the back of the grid in plum last. But he isn’t a seven-time World Champion for nothing.
In the end, he dragged himself back up to second place, reclaiming both the Driver’s Title lead for himself and the Constructor’s Championship lead for Mercedes. It clearly took it out of him as could be seen on the podium afterwards. But his drive in Budapest is exactly why you should never count Hamilton out.
Lewis starting the race restart as the only car on the grid was also one of the most bizarre things we’ve ever witnessed in F1 – and a first for the sport. There’s another record that Hamilton’s now broken!
If you thought nobody could be happier than Alpine, you’d quite possibly be wrong. Williams scored their first points in Formula 1 since 2018 in spectacular style.
Nicholas Latifi was in third for a portion of the race! Yes, you’re reading that correctly. Both cars ended up finishing inside the top ten and secured themselves ten beautiful championship points. This places them ahead of both Haas and Alfa Romeo.
It was a magical moment that meant so much to everyone in the team, especially after so much hard work and so many near misses so far this season. This right here, is why we love Formula 1.
This article wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t mention the legend that is Fernando Alonso. Many doubted his capabilities ahead of the season but I think it’s fair to say now that Alonso is back. The Spaniard put on a blistering performance to halt Hamilton’s progress up through the field.
For GP Grandstand’s Jacob Phillips, this was the battle we’ve been craving for all season long and is his highlight of the race. If it weren’t for Fernando, Hamilton would have denied Ocon the victory for sure. Superb teamwork and proof that age is just a number and youth is no guarantee of superiority in F1.
Finally, a special shout out has to go to Mick Schumacher. After the lap one kafuffle, the German found himself up into tenth place – the echelons of Formula 1 that have been alien to him so far.
Whilst he finished outside the top ten in the end, he did put on an excellent fight for it. Max Verstappen struggled to get past him and even when he eventually did, it wasn’t as straightforward as many would have thought. He drove the wheels off that Haas and showed why he deserves a better car underneath him in the future. Brilliant stuff Mick.
As the season heads into the summer break, we hope you readers can catch up on some much-needed rest! A handful of points separate Lewis and Max as well as Mercedes and Red Bull. As Toto said in Silverstone, these championships are far from over.
Lewis also typically gets a second wind post Spa so we feel that the pendulum had swung back towards the Brit again. All we know for certain is that you won’t want to miss the second half of the 2021 Formula 1 season.