Hungarian GP Descended into Chaos as Ocon Wins First Grand Prix

Did the Hungarian GP happen, or was it all a dream? It was one of the most bewildering races of recent years. After much debate about whether we would have a wet race, the rain had the race in chaos within the first corner. With only single digits between the Championship rivals, the stakes couldn’t have been higher. Silverstone had raised the tensions, which bubbled over to Hungry. Ahead of the summer break, the Hungarian GP couldn’t have been more important.

A dramatic start

F1 is no stranger to dramatic starts – but this was one for the books. It was a lockout on the front row for Mercedes, with the two Red Bulls directly behind. After Perez’s disappointing race at Silverstone and Max’s crash with Hamilton, it couldn’t have been more important for Red Bull to get a good start.

It all went out the window at the first corner when the wet conditions led Bottas to lose control of his Mercedes, leading to one of the worst multi-care incidents of the season. After slamming into Lando Norris, the knock-on effect led to Perez, Stroll, Leclerc, and Bottas all ending up on the side of the track. Verstappen was also caught in the collision, tumbling down from 3rd to 13th. 

Unsurprisingly, the race was red-flagged, with Lando Norris retiring due to damage and the Red Bull pit crew racing against the clock to repair Verstappen’s damage. Mazepin would also require early on as the result of a pitlane incident due to an unsafe release from Raikkonen.

Hamilton v Verstappen

When the race restarted with a standing start, we had the dystopian scene of Hamilton’s Mercedes sitting alone at the grid. Every other driver jumped into the pits for a tyre change, leaving Hamilton out on his own to start the race. Hamilton then found himself at the back of the pack in last place.

You had to sympathise with the Red Bull pit wall, with it clear that Verstappen’s car was clearly carrying damage. Between Silverstone and Hungary, his 32-point lead has become an 8-point deficit after another unfortunate incident that was no fault of the Dutch driver. His Red Bull even struggled to overtake the Haas of Mick Schumacher. 

Hamilton travelled up the pack before being stalled behind Alonso in a showing that “wasn’t bad for an old man”. The Mercedes driver would finish in 3rd, with Verstappen ending the race within he points at P10. It switched the Championship away from Red Bull and to Mercedes ahead of the summer break. 

A changed podium

With the chaos of turn one, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon found himself in the unlikely place of leading the Hungarian GP. Ocon’s win is the first French driver in a French car with a French engine to win since Alain Prost in 1983. He even got congratulated by President Macron.

Although he placed second, Vettel has been disqualified from the race by the FIA due to a technical fuel issue. This change means that Hamilton finishes in 2nd, with Sainz moving up to 3rd.

Amongst all the chaos, the most heart-warming moment of the weekend was when both Williams cars finished in the points. At one stage, Latifi was in third place with Russell messaging over the radio to tell his team to focus on his teammate. His 9th place finish (upgraded to P8 after Vettel’s disqualification) is his first time earning points for Williams, causing the British driver to get emotional during a post-race interview.

Could we have had a more dramatic final race before the summer break? We have a few weeks to wait until F1 returns at the Belgian GP. It’s the perfect time to build your Turbo Attax Topps Trumps collection or show your team pride with a Red Bull Team T-Shirt, Hamilton 44 Driver Cap or Alpine Ocon Driver Cap