Alpine’s Esteban Ocon has claimed his maiden Formula 1 victory in what was without doubt one of the most thrilling Hungarian Grands Prix of all time, ahead of Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel – while Lewis Hamilton recovered from being last at one point to claim P3, as Max Verstappen could only take 10th after Lap 1 contact in a crash that triggered a red flag.
However, there was drama late in the day after the race as Vettel was disqualified when race officials could not extract the necessary fuel sample from his car, promoting Carlos Sainz to the podium and bumping the rest of the field up one spot each.
A wild and wet start to the Hungarian Grand Prix saw five drivers eliminated on the first lap, as Valtteri Bottas locked up and wiped out Lando Norris and Sergio Perez – as well as hitting Verstappen – while Lance Stroll also locked up and hit Charles Leclerc, who spun around Daniel Ricciardo, with Bottas, Perez, Norris, Stroll and Leclerc all forced into retirement as the race was red flagged.
Polesitter Hamilton had made it through unscathed, but Mercedes misjudged track conditions at the race restart, keeping Hamilton out for the standing start on intermediates as the entire rest of the field pitted for mediums, Hamilton forced to pit a lap later and dropping to the back of the pack.
That allowed Ocon to take a lead that he’d hold for almost all the 70 laps at the Hungaroring, holding off the race-long advances of Vettel to take his first single seater win since 2015, as Vettel secured his second P2 of the season after a fine drive.
FORMULA 1 ROLEX MAGYAR NAGYDÍJ 2021
|1 Esteban OCON Alpine||2:04:43.199||25|
|66666 Sebastian VETTEL Aston Martin||+1.859s||0|
|2 Lewis HAMILTON Mercedes||+2.736s||0|
|3 Carlos SAINZ Ferrari||+15.018s||0|
|4 Fernando ALONSO Alpine||+15.651s||0|
A fantastic comeback from Hamilton saw him make what was effectively a two-stop race work to recover from P14 to third by the chequered flag, while Verstappen could only take P10, with damage from that Lap 1 collision hobbling his recovery, and allowing Hamilton to take the lead in the title race heading into the summer break.
Carlos Sainz had held P3 for much of the race but was forced to succumb to Hamilton three laps from the end, as he took fourth for Ferrari, ahead of Fernando Alonso in P5 to cap an incredible day for Alpine.
Pierre Gasly was sixth for AlphaTauri, ahead of team mate Yuki Tsunoda – while in a day of heart-warming stories, Williams claimed their first points since the 2019 German Grand Prix, Nicholas Latifi having enjoyed an awesome Lap 1 before taking P8 ahead of George Russell in P9, with Verstappen rounding out the order, at the end of one of the most epic Grands Prix in recent memory.