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Featured Hungarian GP Debrief: Hamilton Snatches Championship Lead in Budapest

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Ben Stevens, Jul 25, 2016.

  1. Ben Stevens

    Ben Stevens
    Premium Member

    Leapfrogging Nico Rosberg both on-track and in the standings, Lewis Hamilton couldn’t have asked for a better Sunday at the Hungaroring

    From 43 points down after Sochi, the comeback is no longer on for Lewis Hamilton – it’s complete.

    Getting the best of a three-way fight into the first corner, Hamilton was able to keep pole-sitter Nico Rosberg at bay all the way to the chequered flag and take his fifth career victory in Hungary. His fifth win in six races, he leaves Budapest six points clear with his first championship lead of the 2016 season.

    As is the case often at the Hungaroring, passing opportunities were at a premium over the course of the race, with Rosberg just one of several drivers able to close a gap, but never overcome it. Case-in-point were the battles behind the Mercedes pair, with Daniel Ricciardo leaving Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel similarly frustrated on his way to third, while his teammate Max Verstappen did the same to Kimi Raikkonen in a controversial fight for fifth.

    The first win for Mercedes in Budapest since their run of dominance began in 2014, Sunday’s race was a return to normal for the team as much as it was their leading driver. Read on for a look at the big talking points from the 2016 Hungarian Grand Prix.

    hamflaghun.JPG Hamilton back on top in Hungary

    For the first time in 2016, Lewis Hamilton leads the driver’s championship.

    Overcoming a 43-point deficit with one race to go before the summer break, Hamilton made it look easy in putting together one of the more controlled drives of his season.

    As routine as a race at the Hungaroring can get, the sub-two second gap from Hamilton to Rosberg at race-end is a poor indicator of how safe Hamilton really was after winning the run to the first corner. While Rosberg was forced to cover a hard-charging Daniel Ricciardo, Hamilton slipped down the inside, taking the lead and never looking back on his way to victory.

    The rest of the race was an exercise in pace management, as while Hamilton was given several radio messages about his pace, the truth was he was never under threat from Rosberg. Several times the German closed to well-within DRS range, only to see Hamilton immediately extend his lead again – at a track like this, with equal machinery and identical strategy Rosberg was left hoping for a mistake that would never come.

    Even after conceding pole to Rosberg in a controversial Saturday qualifying, it’s clear that right now, Hamilton has the measure of his Mercedes teammate. Since his first win in Monaco, the Brit has taken three poles and five wins to Rosberg’s two and one respectively. Aside from breaking out a celebratory dab several months after it stopped being relevant, Hamilton has hardly put a foot wrong recently, and the standings now reflect that. If it was true of Rosberg over the end of 2015 and start of 2016, the same is now true of Hamilton – he’s simply better.

    P-20160724-00355_News.jpg Verstappen tests boundaries in duel with Raikkonen

    Young versus old. It’s a battle as ancient as time itself. On Sunday, we got to see the F1 equivalent as Max Verstappen refused to get off Kimi Raikkonen’s lawn.

    Locked in a dogfight for 29 laps to the chequered flag, the 18-year-old Verstappen deployed some perhaps dubious defensive measures in order to keep the twice-his-age Raikkonen behind him. Most notably as the pair came into the only real passing spot on the circuit at turn two, where on lap 57 Verstappen eased his car off the racing line before commencing corner turn-in, taking one of Raikkonen’s front-wing endplates as the Finn moved to take him around the outside. Unsurprisingly, Raikkonen was none too pleased by the Dutchman’s purported double-move while conversely, the stewards remained uninterested.

    Regardless of whether it was legal or not, it’s strange the stewards felt the incident didn’t even warrant an investigation, as it seems they simply didn’t know what to make of it. While the rules are pretty clear in terms of what a defending driver making one move only, what Verstappen was doing could almost be termed counter-attacking instead, drifting off-line, but waiting for Raikkonen to show his hand before making an actual move. Sky commentator Martin Brundle seemed thrown by it, so maybe the stewards were too.

    In a way, it’s actually kind of impressive Verstappen found a way to skirt what should be a fairly straightforward rule, and it’s hard to fault him for trying it. As in life, so it is in F1 – with youth comes a willingness to test the boundaries. Could he have been penalised? Absolutely. Should he have been? Apparently not. When it comes to defending at the front of the grid, there’s as much an unwritten understanding of what a driver can do as there is an explicit one, and learning that comes with experience he simply doesn’t have. For now, Verstappen remains one of the most exciting drivers on the grid, not just because he can match the Raikkonens of the sport, but because he’s able to leave his own very unique stamp in doing so. Whether through future penalties or incidents, he’ll learn where the limit is but until then, expect him to keep pushing it.

    buttonhunpdk.jpg Radio ban takes another turn for the worse

    How the hell are we still talking about this?

    Three races after it became an issue, two weeks after it became farcical, and the radio ban has somehow gotten worse, this time penalising McLaren’s Jenson Button for receiving assistance for a malfunctioning brake pedal.

    Already relegated to last by the issue, Button was forced to serve a drive-through penalty for the discussion with his race engineer. There’s nothing new to be said here – this is a problem that Button can’t possibly be expected to fix on his own, and surely needed to be rectified ASAP if not for his own race, then certainly the safety of others. Something is seriously off when this gets a penalty while actual collisions aren’t even put under investigation – although maybe the reason the Raikkonen-Verstappen incident was ignored was because the stewards were too busy high-fiving each other for enforcing this inane rule on Button.

    If it wasn’t clear already, it is now – the FIA have no idea what they’re doing with the radio rules. Speaking post-race, Red Bull boss Christian Horner called for the introduction of a “common sense rule” for such matters, and with a meeting of the F1 Strategy Group on Thursday, hopefully he and the other team principals can finally get things sorted. Who they’re trying to appeal to with the current course of the rules is anyone’s guess – the teams don’t want it, the drivers don’t want it, and neither do the fans. It’s about damn time it got sorted.

    Is the championship now Hamilton's to lose? Should Verstappen have been penalised? Will common sense eventually prevail with the radio rules? Let us know your thoughts on the race in the comments below.
    • Like Like x 6
  2. Can't believe Verstappen double move was not penalized
    • Agree Agree x 9
  3. Tim.E

    Premium Member

    Damn I'm starting to get fed up with the whole "reality-serie" Nico and Lewis are setting up. Every week it's something else. Not good for the sport imo. Race-wise it was very dull, not much really happened apart from pitstops which also didn't change that much apart from Vettel and Max.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  4. Rosberg should defend his starting position into turn 1 with much more determination then he actually was. Sometimes I really do feel like he lack of some... cojones. :unsure:
    We all know, and will agree, that Lewis would. Just as he did every time.
    From then on it was just plain boring. And biggest "adrenalin rush" was when Lewis lapping Gutierrez.
    Only rain (or even better changeable condition) could save Hungary, like it did in the past.
    But unfortunately, unlike on saturday... it never materialised.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  5. fortyfivekev

    Premium Member

    Highlights of this race = Everyone had to drive at 8/10's to save the tyres and someone *maybe* blocked someone :(

    Highlights of WEC race on at same time = Multiple passes for the leading positions and on the limit racing in all classes for the best part of 6 hours :)
    • Like Like x 4
    • Agree Agree x 4
  6. Dull race, if I were Nico I would of chopped off Lewis's line at the start and made him go around the outside, far to gentlemanly, after you sir....no, no.............
  7. Not gentlemanly. Just doesn't think as quickly.

    Massive stroke of luck on Saturday for Nico. Everyone gets good luck sometimes but it's what you make of it that counts.
  8. I thought British "invent" gentlemenhood. But I was wrong, it was Germans after all.
    Wait a minute... I believe I just invent a brand new word. Quite appropriate for Nico.
  9. Nico confirmed in an interview that there were Mercedes orders about not chopping the driver alongside, or near alongside.
  10. Well what a great news that's it !
    They just need now that Toto and Niki each take remote control of those two... nameless placeholders aka "drivers" cars and we're set for some fun of our lifetimes. :thumbsup: :geek:

    Not. :devilish:
  11. Chris

    Ted Kravitz Appreciation Society Staff Member Premium Member

    On the contrary, I think it's fantastic for the sport.
    • Haha Haha x 1
  12. GTSpeedster


    Am I the only one sick and tired of those blatantly fake characters with their PR taught smiles and artificial and acted hand-waving to non existent entities supposedly in the far back.

    In victory "Oh, Oh! First of all, want to thank the fans! You guys are awesome! Couldn't have done without you" and in defeat "I'm mostly sorry for the fans you know?! They came from so far away blablabla"... "Look how sensible and thoughtful I am". Every single race...

    "OHHHH! (*waves while being interviewed*) There was a little kid... I'm a F1 driver and I've never seen one before! I care so much about those little human creatures!".

    What a bunch of croc.

    Miss the time when proper drivers with authentic personalities were more prominent in F1.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. Skipped out on this race, I wish WEC was broadcasted in our area...
  14. I personally think some actual racing would be great for the sport.
    • Agree Agree x 4
  15. fortyfivekev

    Premium Member

    The idea of the Team Principals racing got me thinking. Toto isn't a bad driver and we know about Niki plus Christian Horner raced in F3000 after all. Not sure about Mr. Hair Gel at Ferrari but Italians can usually drive. Probably more entertaining than what we have now. :)
  16. Chris

    Ted Kravitz Appreciation Society Staff Member Premium Member

    Too many people expect Brazil 2012 for every single race. Let's face facts, some races are going to be boring. The same way that some football matches are boring. Not every race is going to be an edge of the seat thriller.

    The racing this season has been by and large, very good. Far better than 2015. One less exciting race does not mean that all of a sudden the sport is terrible.
    • Agree Agree x 3
  17. fortyfivekev

    Premium Member

    Only two things they need to change. Get some tyres that can actually be raced hard for a stint (Michelin know how to make these) and remove the fuel flow/capacity limits. F1 should not be a fuel formula that is what endurance racing is for. F1 cars/drivers should be on the limit the whole race which is what they would be with better tyres and moar powh.

    PS: All football matches are boring.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  18. Totally agree, it is sad to see drivers lapping two seconds slower than they could just to save tires or fuel.
    Racing should be flat-out.
    Last year in Spain Hamilton had to change his strategy changing to hard tires and going flat-out, we saw him lapping two seconds faster than with the softs.
    Lapping less than flat-out seems like some kind of representation and not real racing.
  19. Chris

    Ted Kravitz Appreciation Society Staff Member Premium Member

    I completely agree with you that we should not be seeing drivers unable to attack because they fear their tyres will go off, but are you really saying that Pirelli don't know how to make tyres that last? You do realise that they've been asked by the FIA to make tyres that are designed to degrade, right? It's far more difficult to design a tyre for high levels of degradation than it is to design a tyre that will go all day. They produce tyres for teams in the WRC and WEC, tyres that need to be durable, they know perfectly well what it takes to make a good race tyre.

    Secondly, it's not that the tyres are not durable, as the rubber compounds are comparable to that of the Bridgestone era. The issue behind drivers having to drive to a delta time is not down to the compounds being too soft, it's due to the minuscule optimal temperature window. Thankfully for 2017 Pirelli will be making tyres that have a much larger optimal temperature range that will enable the drivers to push flat-out, and because they'll be wider, the cars will produce much more mechanical grip. :)
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Yea but compared to other series the relative peak of legit exciting racing is pretty anemic and not helped or fouled by the awesome talent on hand, which is underutilized by the existing paradigm.

    I think F1 won't be very good until FOM stops being run by idiots who make late era CART look professional and they bring back mechanical grip as a factor over pass spoiling aero and maybe some ground effect to boot so we can keep crazy corner speeds.

    Until then F1's best is barely measurable next to an average Indy road race or pretty much any respected endurance race.
    • Agree Agree x 2