The Ferrari Owners’ Club
of Great Britain

GRAND PRIX: Hungary: Ricciardo Adds His Second Win

18-08-2014

report by Steve Lawson-Dickinson (@SteveF1_458

Notorious for its tight, low grip circuit Budapest has in the past been one of those races that could be described as a parade due to the fairly limited opportunity to pass anywhere. Not this time.

You just know it’s been a good race when you realise that without knowing you’ve moved from the comfort of the settee to a prone position on your knees in front of the TV. What a race, in fact what a weekend.

If you thought things couldn’t get any worse for Lewis Hamilton you would have been mistaken. Lewis loves this circuit and pre-race was very positive about making ground on Nico Rosberg before the summer break. Seeing his Mercedes bursting into flames five minutes into Q 1 was obviously devastating for him. A high pressure fuel hose failure wasd the culprit. With no spare T car available these days the Mercedes team did an amazing job building him a car with new parts, replacing all but the front suspension, in little over 10 hours.

With Rosberg on pole and Lewis starting from the pit lane even damage limitation seemed impossible on such a tight circuit. Alonso qualified a respectable 5th but Raikkonen suffered a terrible team decision leaving him in the pits and being knocked out of Q1 to start in an unthinkable16th place.

The race itself was sensational – intermediate tyres to start with start, changeable conditions and safety cars really throw several tactical options into the mix. Hamilton spun off on lap 1 due to cold brakes but by lap 8 had amazingly sliced his way through the pack from last to 13th.

Hamilton drove an exceptional race, hanging on to third place ahead of team mate Rosberg. Hamilton did ignore team orders to allow Rosberg to pass at one point in the race. That refusal may well have changed the driver who ended up on the podium, but to be fair to Hamilton they were racing so his surprise at that call is understandable.

Strategy with the correct tyre changes at the right time was always going to dictate the success of any driver on this circuit, and Ferrari finally did good. Alonso stayed out on older tyres giving the Ferrari team their second podium of the year. Alonso (2nd) ran a brilliant race and a Ferrari finished ahead of Mercedes for the first time in 2014.

Leading with five laps to go, Alonso was overtaken by the charging Ricciardo, who, running on fresher tires, won his second Grand Prix. And deservedly so.

Alonso’s teammate Kimi Raikkonen had his best run of the year and finished 6th. This made the Hungarian Grand Prix the most successful race of the year for Ferrari in team points.

Red Bull has totally dominated the championship for the past four seasons with four drivers championships for Sebastian Vettel and four constructors championships. 2014 has been a different story. Vettel has not found the winners podium in 11 races now. Ricciardo is third in points and technically speaking is still keeping Red Bull within striking distance for the constructors championship if they can put together a strong second half.

After all is said, Hamilton came from the pit lane to podium in a truly amazing race today. He deserved to be on the podium. Whatever is going on at Mercedes, the rivalry seems to be fuelling success and non-executive chief Niki Lauda has to agree.

With most if not all of the teams still working on aero packages, Williams introduced a small wing section below the roll hoop-mounted onboard camera. Budapest has the second lowest average speed on the calendar and you really want to find a little extra downforce on this circuit in order to give the tyres more grip. The Williams is a very well balanced and efficient car, but does not have the highest downforce in the pit lane. Albeit being nothing new, this wing section will produce a small amount of downforce – estimated at around five kilos.

Rumours are as ever prominent in F1. With Kimi Raikkonen saying that he’ll “probably” retire when his current contract with Ferrari expires at the end of the 2015 season, the speculation of Vettel joining the Scuderia still remains.

Amongst the gossip fresh reports have emerged that McLaren have made a ‘tentative’ approach to Lewis Hamilton about a return to the team where his F1 career began. The result of this season will no doubt play a part of such decisions.

Nico Rosberg has apparently, and not surprisingly, extended his Mercedes deal, reportedly featuring a big pay-rise making his new three-year contract worth €55 million. Further reports are that Hamilton and his management are now pushing for a new €90 million deal for 2016, 2017 and 2018.

With the summer break upon us I think the following probably sums things up – Red Bull returns with Ricciardo, Ferrari has strongest result of the year… and The Mercedes rivalry grows. Roll on Belgium.