Esteban Ocon wins a breathtaking Hungarian Grand Prix thanks to a chaotic first lap and a heroic performance of teammate Fernando Alonso. Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton filled the podium.
The race started in the most chaotic way possible. Under pouring rain and on a slippery track, Valtteri Bottas did not manage to stop his car at the approach of turn 1 and punted the single-seater of Lando Norris. The Briton collided with Max Verstappen and a massive domino effect was launched. Lance Stroll also had a difficult start, failing to stop his car and colliding with Charles Leclerc. The safety car was deployed quickly but massive damages were already to be deplored. The amount of debris left on the track forced the Marshals to wave the red flag after 3 laps of racing.
This first lap incident caused 5 DNFs before the red flag was deployed: Norris, Leclerc, Stroll, Sergio Perez, and Bottas. Nevertheless, some amazing performances were also to be noted thanks to these chaotic events.
Ocon managed to put his name on the second position of the ranking as Vettel took the third position. Verstappen suffered big damages and was relegated to P13. Both Williams were standing in the points zone as Tsunoda and Sainz also had an incredible take-off. The Ferrari driver was standing in fourth position and his Japanese counterpart was occupying the fifth one after respectively starting from P15 and P16. The luckiest driver of the race start was definitely Hamilton that managed to avoid all the collisions thanks to a very good impulsion at the lights out.
A standing start was given after all the debris were cleared. The race track had enough time to dry while the race was neutralized and all the drivers besides Hamilton decided to pit on their way to the grid. For the first time in the history of Formula One, one single driver took the restart on the grid.
Hamilton was then forced to pit after realizing how compromising his strategy was, being the only driver on intermediate tires while the rest of the grid was melting on the seven-time world champion thanks to more appropriate medium tires. The Briton was relegated to last position at the exit of the pitlane as championship rival Verstappen was occupying the eleventh position.
Verstappen and Hamilton were in a great struggle to make themselves a path up the rankings as both drivers had to deal with massive traffic on a circuit where overtaking is extremely tricky.
The strategic game started after 25 laps of racing. Ricciardo, Verstappen, and Hamilton decided to pit early but the British driver came out on top, making his undercut work. Ocon and Vettel were still leading as a pitstop of Latifi allowed Sainz to evolve in cleaner air and swallow important seconds over the two race leaders.
Right after the half-race mark, Vettel tried an undercut on Ocon. The German driver unfortunately had a bad pitstop, allowing Ocon to retain his leading position. Fifteen laps later, Hamilton, who had taken advantage of his early pitstop, was chasing Sainz and decided to dive in the pitlane for the second time of the race. The Briton now had one single objective in mind: the race win.
Hamilton started gaining precious seconds over the leading group each lap but the Mercedes strategist probably forgot one major obstacle that Hamilton knows so well: Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard remained in ambush during the whole race, ready to jump on a podium opportunity. After an amazing battle, the 40-year-old finally had to concede the position to Hamilton with 5 laps remaining. This battle however allowed teammate Ocon to fly away with Vettel, giving them a solid opportunity to take the win home.
Finally, after an epic 70 laps battle combining daring strategies and driving masterclasses, Esteban Ocon took his first Formula One race winner trophy home. Sebastian Vettel also showcased his skills today finishing in second position while Hamilton filled the podium. An amazing performance of Latifi and Russell are also to be noted as both drivers finished in the points zone.