Hungarian Grand Prix: Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen hold off Mercedes pressure
By: S. Harding, Xiro Xone News July 30, 2017 Updated: 10:11 PM
HUNGARORING Mogyoród, Hungary -- Ferrari driver Sebastian Vettel took his 46th career victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix with Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen hanging tough to hold off pressure from Mercedes to make a Ferrari 1-2 finish. However, this victory was no walk in the park for the Scuderia as Vettel was dealing with a steering problem.
“I developed a problem with the steering wheel and I don’t know why yet. We need to avoid it happening again of course, but during the race I didn’t have an option. It’s not like parking the car, check if everything’s all right and then fix the problem. It was quite annoying because it was a strange feeling. But then, at some point, I forgot about it and just tried to get used to it, which was tricky because it just kept changing and getting worse. However, in the end the pace was still there,” said Vettel.
Valtteri Bottas took third after yielding position to his teammate Lewis Hamilton, who was showing better pace, so the team decided to let Hamilton have a crack at Raikkonen in the closing laps.
Hamilton finished fourth after doing his best to go after Raikkonen, which proved to be a difficult task as the team was experiencing comms issues ultimately leaving Hamilton flying blind as he was unable to communicate with the team. This resulted in the team pitting Hamilton too early as he was heard on the radio saying there was still more life in the tires.
“I tried my best out there. It's tough when you push so hard and you work so hard and you end up in the same place that you started. When the radio didn't work, I was thinking that the team was worried about the tyres not going the distance. So maybe they were going slow so that they could speed up later. I was pushing and I had all this pace, but I was stuck behind Valtteri and I couldn't tell the team because of the radio. But in the final laps, I kept my word. I said that if I couldn’t pass Kimi then I would let Valtteri back,” said Hamilton.
After the first handful of laps, Hamilton was heard on the radio asking if he should give the position back to his teammate, at which point the team gave Hamilton additional laps to attack Raikkonen. At the final turn Hamilton graciously returned position back to Bottas.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finished fifth after receiving a ten-second time penalty in the pits for making heavy contact with teammate Daniel Ricciardo which forced Ricciardo to retire.
“I would have loved to race today and now I have four weeks to wait until I can get in the car again. It’s a shame to finish the first half of the season and head into the summer break in this way,” said Ricciardo.
Fernando Alonso’s birthday weekend ended with him finishing with the fastest lap of the race in sixth for McLaren-Honda. Seventh went to Toro Rosso driver Carlos Sainz. Sergio Perez finished eighth with teammate Esteban Ocon in ninth. Alonso’s teammate Stoffel Vandoorne goes into the summer break scoring his first point of the season in tenth.
The lower half of the order saw Daniil Kvyat finishing 11th in the second Toro Rosso followed by Renault’s Jolyon Palmer in 12th.
Thirteenth went to Kevin Magnussen who received a 5 second time penalty for forcing Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg off the track. Hulkenberg would later retire on the last lap of the race but still finish the race.
Williams F1 rookie Lance Stroll took 14th. Pascal Wehrlein finished in 15th while teammate Marcus Ericsson finished 16th. Nico Hulkenberg finished the grid in 17th.
With Vettel’s victory he now extends his lead over Lewis Hamilton in the drivers' championship to 14 points with Valtteri Bottas behind by only 19 points his teammate Hamilton. Formula One now enters it’s summer break and will resume at Spa-Francorchamps in three weeks time.