Hamilton grabs the championship lead – Hungarian GP 2016

This year’s Hungarian GP was sadly under-whelming with Hamilton grabbing the championship lead with little challenge.

The Top-10:

  1. Lewis Hamilton – Lewis passed Rosberg at the start and ran off into the horizon.
  2. Nico Rosberg – Rosberg has now officially lost his championship lead. He’s gotta really fight back even if the score difference between him and his team-mate is negligible.
  3. Daniel Ricciardo – Ricciardo was all smiles today, grabbing his second podium of the season and thus grasping 3rd in the championship as well (albeit by one point). Danny didn’t give into pressure from his ex-team mate, so his result was quite impressive.
  4. Sebastian Vettel – Despite a good start to the race and catching up to Ricciardo, Vettel didn’t manage to overtake. Still, I’m sure Ferrari is glad just to have both cars on points for a change.
  5. Max Verstappen – The most action today was seen between Verstappen and Räikkönen. Although Max received a few warnings for not respecting track limits, he fended off against Räikkönen admirably.
  6. Kimi Räikkönen – Räikkönen put up a hell of a fight after getting screwed by the bad weather in the qualifying. He was slightly frazzled when a piece of his front wing was lost to a very light contact with Verstappen’s rear wheel, but beyond that, Kimi did all he could to rise from 14th.
  7. Fernando Alonso – McLaren had a mixed day for sure with both drivers starting from the top-10 but only Alonso scoring points today. The team is closing in on Toro Rosso in the points and Alonso can pat himself on the back for a good race finish. But the team’s biggest problem right now seems to be bringing both cars home on points.
  8. Carlos Sainz Jr – Fell behind a bit from the start but drove an otherwise passable race.
  9. Valtteri Bottas – I suppose I should be happy about Bottas scoring points at all, but looking at Williams these past few races, I’m beginning to feel that Valtteri really should find another team to race for.
  10. Nico Hülkenberg – The Hülk brought a point to Force India today, but this result feels very underwhelming considering the team’s excellent performance in the past few races. If it’s any consolation, his team-mate didn’t fair much better.

Golden Pineapple Award: Sergio Perez, Force India

Perez returns to the Pineapple standing. For some reason Force India were not up to pace in Hungary, though Perez also suffered a flubbed pit-stop which may partly explain his poor performance. Better luck in Germany this following weekend.

Drop-out count: 1

Only one retirement and he too pulled out way later than I expected. Almost at the very start of the race Jenson Button‘s car lost hydraulic pressure and the British ex-champion was ready to call it quits. Instead, McLaren kept him out and tried to fix the problem with an early pit-stop. Unfortunately, the stewards in their infinite wisdom decided that the team telling Button he had a breaking issue (which he was clearly aware of based on his radio conversation) warranted a drive-through penalty as well. So, Button who was already behind everyone else, having slowed down when he thought he was going to retire, had to suffer the indignity of a drive-through penalty which set him back even further.

Worst of all, Button then did retire eventually, making McLaren’s efforts even more pointless than they seemed before the penalty. Button had an understandably irate comment to say to the TV viewing audience about the stewards’ conduct and I agree with him 100%. The entire radio assistance rule has been rendered a complete and utter joke, when its only utility in the Hungarian Grand Prix was to kick a man when he was already down.

Back of the Lot News:

Jolyon Palmer must be kicking himself as he came very close to scoring points before spinning out late in the race and landing 12th as a result. Kevin Magnussen also wasn’t able to do much good with his piss poor 15th place finish, making this another forgettable result from Renault.

Haas clearly had some issues on Hungaroring with Romain Grosjean dropping from eleventh in the start to 14th in the finish, but its his team-mate I’m more disappointed in. Esteban Gutierrez was driving eleventh for a really long time before both Force Indias passed him. As if this wasn’t bad enough Gutierrez even took a 5 second penalty for ignoring blue flags (a rookie foul if there ever was one). Even if Haas’s car may not work on every circuit, I’m constantly surprised at Esteban’s lack of fight on track, which today only brought him a 13th place ahead of his team-mate and, still, not a single point.

Daniil Kvyat’s purgatory at Toro Rosso continued today with 16th place finish after gaining a 5 second penalty for speeding on the pitlane.

Felipe Massa managed a rather paltry 18th, but considering he was having problems even getting on track today, it’s clear he had some sort of issue with his car (which doesn’t help me gain any more confidence in Williams). Pascal Wehrlein didn’t really shine much today, at 19th he only beat one Sauber and his team-mate.

Sauber can be glad that they’ve managed to sell their team to new owners for next season because with results like these they don’t look likely to gain much financial support from the FIA at the end of the season. Felipe Nasr did again whatever it is he does during race weekends and landed 17th. Marcus Ericsson, who crashed in the qualifying, started from the pits and was 20th and second-to-last.

Dead Last: Rio Haryanto – Haryanto’s poor performance today is more embarrassing considering that Sauber had to start one car from the pits.