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Featured Hungarian GP Debrief: Vettel eases through the turmoil

Discussion in 'Formula 1' started by Ben Stevens, Jul 27, 2015.

  1. Ben Stevens

    Ben Stevens

    150049-ungh.jpg Proving impervious to the mayhem around him, Sebastian Vettel snatched his second victory for 2015 at the Hungaroring

    Three weeks after a wild afternoon at Silverstone, Formula 1 went and outdid itself in Hungary.

    Off the back of an unintentionally-long break with the cancellation of the German Grand Prix, Sunday’s race proved to be well worth the wait, delivering arguably the most tumultuous race of the decade – certainly since the 2011 Canadian Grand Prix.

    It was a race with just about everything an F1 fan could hope for. A surprising podium, frontrunners forced to come through the field, incidents, controversy and a late safety car, not to mention Pastor Maldonado reaching his final form – seriously, the guy got a penalty while serving a penalty!

    Through it all the only constant was the man at the front, Sebastian Vettel, who got the best of the Mercedes off the line and took full advantage as fireworks went off left and right. A sombre weekend in the wake of Jules Bianchi’s passing, it was an appropriate way to celebrate the Frenchman and the sport he was such a dear part of.

    As such, let’s have a closer look at the stories to come from this truly memorable Hungarian Grand Prix.

    150050-ungh.jpg Vettel avoids the drama to make it two in 2015

    Having targeted two race victories in 2015, Maurizio Arrivabene can now rest easy.

    The Scuderia’s hero in Malaysia, Sebastian Vettel was once again able to successfully take on all comers, confirming both his and his team principal’s first year on the job as a resounding success.

    However, while the timing sheets show Vettel leading for 65 of the race’s 69 laps, that does little to illustrate just how eventful things were for the German, whose race might best be likened to the boulder scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark.

    Jumping from third to first as Mercedes’ recent start woes continued, Vettel and teammate Kimi Raikkonen wasted no time establishing a gap over third-placed Nico Rosberg. Continuing to streak away at the front, it seemed the four-time world champion was the only one of the Mercedes-Ferrari quartet not to feel the weight of calamity.

    Pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton got the worst of an exchange with Rosberg and had to fight back from P10, Raikkonen had problems with his front wing, while Rosberg didn’t have the pace to keep close. By lap 38 – doing what he is known to do best – Vettel had taken advantage of the clean air afforded him to establish a 23-second gap over Rosberg.

    However, where Vettel truly earned the plaudits for his victory was in the wake of a lap 48 safety car that completely nullified his advantage. Being on the slower medium tyre, with a soon-retiring Raikkonen (once again the victim of brutal luck, this time an ERS failure) the only buffer between Rosberg and an option-shod Ricciardo right behind him, Ferrari fans had every right to feel nervous. However, Vettel simply continued to drive his race, proving a match for Rosberg who struggled to keep inside the 1-second DRS zone. It wasn’t long before the Mercedes driver had to switch his attention to defending against Ricciardo, and once he collided with the lunging Red Bull in turn 1, Vettel had played the two off perfectly to turn an unpredictable result into a foregone conclusion.

    Delivering an assured drive from start to finish, Vettel had gone pre-race from having almost no chance of winning, to a raging favourite, down to a 50/50 proposition and back up again. Throughout it all he didn’t put a foot wrong, and made what has been an already very good year for the Scuderia even better.

    Also, it would be remiss not to mention Vettel’s touching words for the late Jules Bianchi in his post-race message on team radio. In the first race since his passing, it was only fitting the team he called home for many years was able to pay him tribute from the top step of the podium.

    P-20150726-00364_News.jpg Is Red Bull’s resurgence for real?

    Taking their first double podium since Singapore 2014, Hungary marked a bright spot in an otherwise bleak 2015 for Red Bull Racing.

    Finishing four-hundreds off the third-placed Sebastian Vettel in qualifying, Daniel Ricciardo brought the team within shouting distance of a stunning victory at the Hungaroring that has to send the quadruple-world champions into the summer break on a high.

    The question now is: was this a one off, or a sign of things to come?

    The obvious point to be made is that despite their success in Hungary, Red Bull had two factors decidedly in their favour. Namely, the Hungaroring’s winding course highlights their car’s strengths in fast corners without punishing them for their lack of power on straights and, Mercedes were their own worst enemy on Sunday. Had they not endured their poor start, the Red Bull pair would have had to contend with the far more comfortable-in-Hungary Lewis Hamilton, and had Rosberg opted for the soft tyre at his second stop, P3 was probably the best they could’ve hoped for.

    Those factors aside, the RB11 clearly could contend for the title of “best of the rest” in Hungary based on Ricciardo’s Saturday performance. Furthermore, during the race Ricciardo was able to keep in touch with the leaders throughout his middle stint on the mediums, and after sustaining damage in his incident with Hamilton, he still set some blistering times on the softs, as did teammate Daniil Kvyat.

    The beneficiaries of much of the drama on Sunday, Red Bull are well placed to claim legitimate improvement regardless. Unfortunately for them, the next two races at Spa and Monza will not be kind to their underpowered Renault engine, but combine their historically good pace in the Asian races with the fact their suppliers have more development tokens to spend than their rivals, and they might have a realistic shot at a Ferrari-style upset.

    _sbl7365.jpg Alon5o, leapfrogging Mercedes, ultimate Maldonado send F1 into break on a high

    Podium finishers aside, let’s take a moment to appreciate just how stupendously fun this race was.

    From Hamilton and Rosberg playing tag for the world championship, to a poetically-rewarding fifth for McLaren’s Fernando Alonso, to the aforementioned antics of Maldonado, F1 finds itself on a bit of a hot streak heading into its summer break.

    For two straight races, we’ve been given resounding proof that F1 is far from broken. Despite all the complaints to the contrary, we’ve seen exactly what we want in the sport – the best drivers going wheel-to-wheel in the best cars, with a result that isn’t a foregone conclusion. If there is one argument that is helped by Sunday’s race, it’s that perhaps the cars need to be harder to drive. Undeniably, this was a race coloured by mistakes we don’t usually expect top drivers to make – or in the case of Maldonado, not as often. Does it offer a way forward for the sport’s decision makers as they look to make changes for 2017? It’s an idea that is bound to gain traction in the coming weeks and months, as it was the very human moments that made this race exciting, and certainly the best of 2015.

    What stood out for you at the Hungarian Grand Prix? Thoughts on Vettel’s victory? Where can Red Bull go from here? Should the cars be harder to drive? Let us know in the comments!
    • Like Like x 6
  2. I used to love the fast and dangerous tracks in F1 until the 90s. Since we won't have those again and I find it very hard to make the cars more difficult to drive without creating tons of new rules, here are my 2 humble solutions:

    1) No more hybrid cars that sound like vacuum cleaners.
    2) More technical tracks and less big straights, then a chicane, then a straight and then a hairpin and everything all over again...

    About #1: They should change this and don't change the engine rules for at least 5 years. Changing rules always create a dominant monster like Mercedes for a few years.

    #2: Hungaroring is a very hard and slow track to drive. I think these drivers are getting used to drive in tracks that look the same. All these new asians tracks are terrible, they lack personality and are made in a way that drivers only overtake at the end of straights going to a hairpin or chicane. Only Singapore and Susuka should be Formula 1 tracks.
    • Agree Agree x 2
  3. Chark


    I don't usually comment on race reports, but this one was by far the best one we've had this year.

    The only complain I would have is that we need (irrelevant) penalties, (way to many) punctures, and (some) foolhardy moves to get some spectacle. I think I would appreciate more clean and contactless racing, like the amazing start for example. But overall, I think I was on the edge of my seat all race long, apart for a few uneventful laps.

    I know a lot of people would disagree, but as amazing as the racing talent of Hamilton is, he acts like a spoilt brat too much. Blaming Rosberg for ending up in the sandbox was not really mature. Locking up and collaring Ricciardo was definitely not something I like to see either. Anyways, in the end, I must admit he had a much better pace than his teammate, and ending where he did considering all the incidents he had is quite amazing.

    Too bad that Kimi couldn't fin(n)ish the race, he had a good pace, that would have been an even more wonderful and promising weekend for Ferrari. Nice to see Kvyat on his first podium. Ricciardo was shaken from everywhere today, impressed to see him go that quickly with what they say is a very important aero element being broken... Finally, I'm happy to see both McLarens in the points. And no Mercedes on the podium for a change is good for the sport. I think no one could have ever bet on that top ten!

    And now, the most important in my opinion. I'll be honest with you, I used to dislike Vettel a lot, from his time at Red Bull, especially because his team made him a tool to their success more than an actual driver. But since he joined Ferrari, he definitely has matured a lot, and I must confess that I start to like the way he is, and the way he acts on track. Anyways, my point is that I think he deserves a lot of esteem for his post-race radio transmission. In a perfect French, "Merci Jules, cette victoire est pour toi" (which means "Thanks Jules, this win is for you"). This is top class. Congratulations for that as much as for the race win, Mr. Vettel.
    • Agree Agree x 5
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  4. Yeah, Hamilton doesn`t know how to behave when he is behind slow cars, he starts to make mistakes for himself and others. I remember that overtake that Massa did in Montreal this season, clean and right on time.
  5. monsieurjackb


    Am I the only one who find these new hybrids amazing? I mean, I find the fact that they use a third, a whole 50 kilos of fuel less per race yet lap only a second or two slower and even that is due to reduced downforce. Imagine what that will mean for road cars, buses and lorries etc in the future. I don't know, I just find it pretty cool but then I am a bit of a nerd.

    I think for a rebuilding phase, F1 has to look at Moto GP. Now I might be a bit biased since bikes have always been my thing and I've loved Moto GP for as long as I can remember but in 2008 they had 16-17 bikes on the grid and only a few that were competitive and on the whole, it began to get a bit boring. And losing names like Suzuki, Kawasaki and (arguably) Ducati really hurt the sport. It went through a rebuilding phase of a two tier system (which I hate) but fast forward to now and also looking towards 2017, that two tier system will be wiped out with Suzuki, Ducati and Aprillia back with factory teams and a price freeze on the engine manufacturers with concessions for satellite teams. Effectively levelling the playing field. The key to it all is 'concessions'. Why can't elements of this translate to F1. Of course, it's not an immediate solution and moto gp is very different to F1 but quite obviously the dog-eat-dog economics of F1 are not working. All that aside, we'll continue to get an F1 that never quite reaches our expectations, an F1 with poor drivers like Max Chilton and an F1 that continues to visit these sh**ty tracks in oil nations because at the end of the day, Bernie is quite content to sit by and line his pockets with more money than he knows what to do with :whistling:

    Maybe it's a little of topic because Hungary was an incredible race, I was extremely happy for Kvyat who I rate highly and it was a beautiful tribute to Jules by all the drivers but in particular Vettel. And regardless of it's current state, I do love F1 but I've never seen anyone mention Moto GP's extremely successful revival in relation to F1. I'll leave it at this, we always refer to the golden age in f1 being the 70s and 80s right? Well the consensus is that the golden age in moto gp is now :D:D
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Yeah, I surely find these hybrids amazing (I am a bit of a nerd too... hehehehe), but we have Formula E and we can have other championships using and developing all that hybrid/electric amazingness. I just think that we cannot change the soul of a legendary motorsport just because we need to develop technology to use in our street cars.
    But my point of view taken from the Hungary GP is that is not just a matter of regulating and politics, ultimately we have 3 elements in a race: the driver, the car and the track. If we have good drivers, good cars and good tracks we have a good race.
    Like you said, visiting those sh**ty tracks just gives us a wrong perception of the actual status of F1.
    At Hungaroring we saw the best drivers thriving but struggling as well, we even saw Alonso finishing at the 5th postion despite his not so good car. They just have to balance that equation and don't let an amazing car surpass all the others aspects of a race in every GP.
    • Like Like x 2
    • Winner Winner x 1
  7. monsieurjackb


    Yep, totally agree. The sad part though is that it always boils down to politics. The car element is politics because of big teams and small teams. Big teams need incentives to invest (which unfortunately means dominant teams for us) but smaller teams need incentives and opportunity too. The track by its nature is all about politics i.e look at India for example and arguably drivers are too because small teams can only function financially through pay drivers. Sometimes though, the three all come together and the result is spectacular. My problem though, is that it doesn't happen often enough :)
    • Like Like x 1
  8. No power steering.

    Done. :D
  9. What also needs to be done is bring back the old camera angles, you know from
    the mid 2000's. The cars look as if they are very slow on track when they actually
    aren't. It would look much more ferocious as a sport if we had them back....
  10. I'm personally a big fan of the sidecar camera angle from the 80s and 90s. It gave a much better view of what the driver himself is looking at.