Shock winner as crash mars chaotic Hungarian GP

Frenchman Esteban Ocon won a chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday, while an exhausted Lewis Hamilton finished third to take the Formula One championship lead from Max Verstappen by six points heading into the mid-season break – and was then promoted.

Second-placed Sebastian Vettel, of Aston Martin, was sensationally disqualified after the race because officials were unable to take the required fuel sample from his car.

Technical regulations state that one litre of fuel must be available to be taken from the car at any time during a grand prix. Officials could get just 0.3 litres from Vettel’s car, so he was disqualified and all drivers below him were promoted one place.

Hamilton needed a check from the Mercedes team doctor after the race.

“Had really big dizziness and everything got a bit blurry,” he said. “I have been fighting all year really with the health, staying healthy after what happened at the end of last year (with coronavirus).”

Verstappen placed ninth after being taken out early in the race by Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas in a first-lap crash that caused him and four others to retire.

Esteban Ocon drives his Alpine A521 Renault during the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary. (Getty)

It was only the 24-year-old Ocon’s second podium, following a second-place finish at the Sakhir GP in Bahrain late last year. The Alpine driver finished ahead of Vettel, with Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz ultimately third ahead of Ocon’s teammate Fernando Alonso. Daniel Ricciardo was 11th, having been affected by the early drama.

“What a moment, feels so good,” Ocon said, patting his heart.

Race winner Esteban Ocon of France and Alpine F1 Team celebrates on the podium next to second placed Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Aston Martin F1 Team and third placed Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes. (Getty)

The crash in the rain was caused by Bottas, who retired as a result.

The race restarted in absurd fashion with only Hamilton on the grid, while others were changing their tyres because the track had dried. Hamilton did the same a lap later and came out in last place, a couple of spots behind Verstappen.

But a clever second tyre change by Mercedes for hard tyres on Lap 20 outwitted Red Bull and Hamilton moved ahead of Verstappen after he came in for new tires.

With 30 laps to go, the top four was Ocon-Vettel-Sainz-Hamilton.

To give Hamilton a shot at victory, Mercedes made a third tyre change with a little more than 20 laps remaining.

But he had to get ahead of the 40-year-old Alonso first, a driver with 32 wins and 97 podiums, and among the most talented of his generation.

Alonso held off a first attack on Lap 55 and blocked him two more times on Lap 57 with stellar defending on the inside.

Alonso’s nous was enough to repel two more attacks.

“He is one of hardest drivers but fair,” Hamilton said. “I would say today was a little bit on the limit, but I totally get it and I would do it for my team.”

Race winner Esteban Ocon of France and Alpine F1 Team, with Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton on the podium after the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary. (Getty)

When Hamilton finally got past there were only five laps left and Sainz just ahead. He overtook him but by then the front two were too far ahead.

Hamilton’s bid for a 100th win resumes on August 29 at the Belgian GP in Spa, where Bottas will start that race with a five-place grid penalty.

Alonso’s brilliant defensive driving helped Ocon secure the victory and they hugged after the race, with Alonso lifting him up in the air.

“We are forming a great team and pushing the team in the right direction,” Ocon said.

Hamilton was again loudly jeered by sections of the crowd, as he was after taking pole position on Saturday. He won the British GP two weeks ago despite a 10-second penalty for taking Verstappen out on the first lap.

The car of Valtteri Bottas is removed from the track during the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary. (Getty)

Heavy rain fell shortly before Sunday’s race and the track was soaked. Hamilton got away from pole but Verstappen shot ahead of Bottas into second.

McLaren’s Lando Norris also overtook Bottas, who bumped into the back of him — sending Norris sliding into Verstappen and both off track. Bottas went into a tire wall and took out Verstappen’s teammate Sergio Perez on his way.

Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc was jammed between Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and McLaren’s Ricciardo. After a red flag halted the race to allow stewards to clear the wrecked cars, Leclerc, Stroll, Norris and Perez also retired.

When the race restarted, Hamilton was alone on the grid while others were ditching their wet-weather tyres to suit the now drying track.

Hamilton had to do the same on the next lap and came out in last place with Verstappen 11th, while Ocon led from Vettel. Nikita Mazepin was the sixth to retire after colliding with 2007 F1 champion Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo in the pit lane.

The sinewy and tight 4.4km Hungaroring circuit is arguably the hardest track to overtake on after Monaco.

“I can’t get close to people,” said Hamilton, who fell short of winning the race for a record-extending ninth time.

Ocon was once part of the Mercedes development program and the team’s reserve driver two years ago after losing his F1 seat.

He showed the talent Mercedes saw in him with a composed drive under pressure from Vettel, a four-time F1 champion with 53 wins.

“Esteban didn’t make a single mistake,” Vettel said. “It’s his day and his moment.”

Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen drive during the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary. (Getty)

VERSTAPPEN FUMES AT LOUSY LUCK

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen was quick to express his frustration after being taken out on the first lap of a Formula One race for the second straight time and losing the championship lead.

“Again, taken out by a Mercedes,” Verstappen said after Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix. “I was missing the whole side of my car. And the floor was damaged as well, so almost impossible to drive.”

He was actually nudged off track by McLaren’s Lando Norris when in second place and he finished 10th; before being elevated to ninth due to Vettel’s disqualification. It meant that he conceded significant points and the overall lead to Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton heading into the midseason break.

But Norris was not at fault, since he had been hit from behind by Hamilton’s teammate Valtteri Bottas and lurched into Verstappen — who was knocked off track at the British GP two weeks ago by Hamilton and scored no points in that race.

From being 33 points ahead of Hamilton and on pole position at Silverstone, Verstappen now trails him by six points — 192-186 — after Hamilton finished second in a chaotic Hungarian GP.

“I still tried my very best and I still got one point. It’s at least something but it’s not what you want,” Verstappen said, before adding on Twitter. “Disappointing to have two races in a row (with) so much bad luck.”

Norris also appeared to blame Bottas, who lost position quickly despite starting from second behind Hamilton.

“All of us are in Formula 1 for a reason, because we’re good drivers and we know where to brake, where to judge braking zones and so on. Especially when it’s wet, especially on the first lap,” Norris said. “But obviously some misjudged it completely. That’s the annoying thing, you expect a little bit more when you’re racing those top guys at the front of the field.”

Norris is third in the standings and five points ahead of Bottas in fourth.

The season resumes at the Belgian GP in Spa on August 29th.

“I know that when we go again after the break, I will be there again and I will try my very best,” said Verstappen, who leads Hamilton this season 5-4 in wins, 5-3 for pole positions and 4-3 for fastest laps.

But Hamilton now has the momentum as he bids for a record eighth F1 title.

Max Verstappen makes a pitstop during the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary. (Getty)

F1 HUNGARIAN GP RESULTS (starting spot)

1. (8) Esteban Ocon, France, Alpine, 70 laps, 1:32:54.762.

2. (1) Lewis Hamilton, Great Britain, Mercedes, 70, +2.736.

3. (15) Carlos Sainz Jr, Spain, Ferrari, 70, +15.018.

4. (9) Fernando Alonso, Spain, Alpine, 70, +15.651.

5. (5) Pierre Gasly, France, Alphatauri, 70, +1:03.614.

6. (16) Yuki Tsunoda, Japan, Alphatauri, 70, +1:15.803.

7. (18) Nicholas Latifi, Canada, Williams, 70, +1:17.910.

8. (17) George Russell, Great Britain, Williams, 70, +1:19.094.

9. (3) Max Verstappen, Netherlands, Red Bull Racing, 70, +1:20.244.

10. (13) Kimi Raikkonen, Finland, Alfa Romeo Racing, 69, +1 lap.

11. (11) Daniel Ricciardo, Australia, McLaren, 69, +1 lap.

12. (20) Mick Schumacher, Germany, Haas F1 Team, 69, +1 lap.

13. (14) Antonio Giovinazzi, Italy, Alfa Romeo Racing, 69, +1 lap.

14. (19) Nikita Mazepin, Russia, Haas F1 Team, did not finish, 3.

15. (6) Lando Norris, Great Britain, McLaren, did not finish, 2.

16. (4) Sergio Perez, Mexico, Red Bull Racing, did not finish.

17. (2) Valtteri Bottas, Finland, Mercedes, did not finish.

18. (7) Charles Leclerc, Monaco, Ferrari, did not finish.

19. (12) Lance Stroll, Canada, Aston Martin, did not finish.

20. (10) Sebastian Vettel, Germany, Aston Martin, 70, disqualified

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