Hungarian Grand Prix: Five things we learned

Richard Hazeldine Richard Hazeldine

Lewis Hamilton goes into the F1 summer break with a 24-point lead over rival Sebastian Vettel after he sealed a comfortable win in Hungary in a race where he was expected to struggle.

FOX Sports Asia takes a look at five talking points from events at the Hungaroring.

Bottas put in his place
Sunday was most definitely not a good day for Valtteri Bottas. From a seemingly nailed on second place, the Finn ended up in fifth after a hasty tactics switch saw him struggling on failing tyres as he tried to fend off the Ferrari of Sebastian Vettel. In the end he was lucky to even finish after recklessly coming into contact with both Vettel and a surging Daniel Ricciardo. His lowly finish probably saving him from a penalty.
To add insult to injury, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff then made it crystal clear to anyone that wasn’t already aware how exactly they view Bottas’ role in the team when he called the Finn Hamilton’s “wingman”. And despite Wolff’s later effort at firefighting and a Bottas tweet to the same effect it’s pretty obvious to anyone that the four-time world champion is and will remain Mercedes’ number one, despite any messages to contrary. Deep down Bottas must already know that.

Hamilton lucks out – again
Just like last time out in Germany, Lewis Hamilton went into this weekend expecting the worst, but once again the weather conspired to turn everything on its head to his advantage. Just as rain had put paid to Vettel’s hopes in Germany, a shower during qualifying enabled the Brit to storm to a pole position that had looked impossible before the heavens opened and from that moment he never looked back.
One stunning drive later and he now holds a 24-point lead over his rival heading into the summer break and although it is far from unassailable, it is a very handy advantage to have, especially when two weeks ago most experts would have predicted the exact opposite.
As he has shown in the past on many an occasion, you give Lewis Hamilton a chance and you can bet your bottom dollar he will seize it with both hands.

Ferrari to rue missed opportunity
Ferrari and Mercedes are both fully aware that the Prancing Horses have the fastest car, but somehow things are still going the way of the Silver Arrows – for the time being.
The Italians were no doubt upset about Vettel’s costly mistake in Germany, but in Hungary most of the blame for Ferrari’s failure to capitalise on its speed advantage lay squarely on the shoulders of Vettel’s support team. The failure to pit for fresh tyres before he hit traffic cost the German driver vital seconds, while the botched pit stop then saw him emerge behind Bottas when he needed to be out in front of the Finn.
Just like in the second half of last season, Ferrari seem to be imploding when things should be going in their favour.

Promising for Gasly
Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly shocked quite a few people – quite possibly himself included – at the Hungaroring with a superb drive to clinch sixth place. The young French man claimed sixth place on the grid on Saturday, putting him ahead of both Red Bulls, and he continued to impress during the race proper as he held onto sixth spot to clinch his second top-six finish of the season.
The 22-year old rookie has done well with the tools at his disposal and is now up to 13th in the drivers championship. An equally impressive second half to the season and the former GP2 series winner could find himself in demand when teams start filling up the vacancies for next season.

Welcome Break?
Following events in Hungary the month-long break from the F1 season will be welcomed by some more than others.
Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton will head into the four-week holiday happy that they have their noses in front in their respective championships given they expected to be treading water or worse in Germany and Hungary, while Ferrari and Vettel will be left to stew over the fact that that silly mistakes have cost them dearly in two races they were expected to do well in.
While the drivers may get to enjoy some time in the sun, staff in both Brackley and Maranello will be working desperately hard around the clock in the next few weeks to ensure that they do better upon their return in Belgium in four weeks time.

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