Alpine’s Esteban Ocon clinched a maiden F1 victory in an epic 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix ahead of Lewis Hamilton who reclaimed the title lead as Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel was disqualified from second.
Hamilton led from lights out at the original start but Valtteri Bottas made a slow getaway as he ploughed into Lando Norris who struck Max Verstappen, whilst Bottas wiped Sergio Perez out with Norris also retiring with damage.
Just behind the pair, Lance Stroll and Charles Leclerc collided with both drivers also retiring on the opening lap with too much damage, as stewards waved a red flag on lap two due to several pieces of debris strewn across the track.
Track conditions dried during the stoppage which caused a chaotic restart as everyone but Hamilton pitted for slick tyres, which ultimately left Ocon in the lead from Sebastian Vettel as the pair battled for victory throughout with the Frenchman eventually emerging victorious to take his maiden F1 win.
Vettel however was later disqualified due to providing a fuel sample of just 0.3 litres post-race after stopping on track, which meant that Hamilton was elevated to second on a comeback three stop strategy ahead of Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso, as Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda finished fifth and sixth for AlphaTauri.
Williams meanwhile enjoyed their best performance since 2018 Italian Grand Prix as Nicholas Latifi finished seventh ahead of George Russell in eighth with Max Verstappen and Kimi Raikkonen rounding out the top ten following Vettel’s disqualification.
In the driver standings, Hamilton regained the lead for the first time since the Spanish GP in May as he enters the summer break with an eight point lead ahead of Verstappen.
Ocon meanwhile improved two positions to 11th as a result of his victory regardless of Vettel’s disqualification, due to the German’s larger points advantage pre-race.
Mercedes meanwhile sit top of the constructor standings by 12 points from Red Bull as Ferrari displaced McLaren in third on countback by virtue of having two second-placed finishes, after Daniel Ricciardo finished 11th here for McLaren.
Alpine benefitted from a haul of 37 points to leapfrog AlphaTauri into fifth by ten points as Aston Martin slipped to seventh following Vettel’s disqualification, having initially also moved above AlphaTauri prior to the official classification.
Williams climbed to eighth above Alfa Romeo by virtue of their ten points haul whereas Alfa Romeo only netted one point, putting a seven point gap between both teams as Haas remain the only team without points this season.
Despite unpredictable weather forecasts throughout the week, rain arrived 30 minutes before the start of the race with everyone starting the formation lap on the intermediates but only Antonio Giovinazzi pitted for wet tyres as everyone else ventured to grid for the race start.
At lights out, Hamilton got a clean start to lead as Verstappen leapfrogged Bottas as Norris went round the outside, only for Bottas to plough into Norris at Turn One who tagged Verstappen whilst Bottas wiped Perez out.
Stewards consequently handed Bottas a five place grid penalty for the Belgian GP after the summer break, having adjudged him as ‘fully to blame’ for the incident.
Further behind the pair, Lance Stroll made an optimistic inside move and got up the side of Leclerc’s Ferrari eliminating both drivers, as McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo got tagged by the Monegasque but was able to continue.
Stroll also was hit with a five place grid penalty for the next race for stewards adjudged the Canadian as ‘fully to blame’ for his collision with Leclerc.
Debris from both collisions were left strewn across the first corner which forced stewards to red flag the race for 25 minutes with McLaren electing to retire Norris during the stoppage, as a result of sustaining too much damage sustained from his incident with Bottas and Verstappen.
Verstappen meanwhile found himself 16th and last on the restart after Red Bull repaired his car after he lost several pieces, whilst Hamilton led Esteban Ocon and Sebastian Vettel on the restart under the Safety Car for a standing start on lap four.
Everyone but Hamilton however opted to pit at end of the formation lap because track conditions had improved enough for slick tyres, as a result of the rain stopping during the red flag.
George Russell emerged in second ahead of Ocon and Vettel but was told by stewards to drop to seventh after gaining second by virtue of Williams’ pit box being at end of the pit lane, whilst Hamilton took the standing start and led until he pitted at the end of that lap.
Ocon thereafter inherited the lead and fought off a fierce challenge from Vettel who attempted the undercut by pitting at end of lap 36, with Ocon following suit a lap later to give Alonso the lead for the first time since 2014 Hungarian GP.
Elsewhere, Russell selflessly instructed Williams to prioritise Latifi’s strategy over his with the Canadian running in third until he was undercut by Tsunoda on lap 24.
Verstappen meanwhile struggled to make inroads with his damaged Red Bull as he fought his way past Mick Schumacher on lap 14, having been held up for a lengthy period of time beforehand.
Hamilton meanwhile rapidly caught the rear pack after his stop but struggled to break his way through and chose to pit for hard tyres on lap 20, which saw him undercut Verstappen and Ricciardo before working his way up to fourth once everyone pitted despite passing Latifi and Tsunoda on track.
Up front, Alonso pitted at the end of lap 39 which unleashed Ocon and Vettel who tussled for victory until the flag, with the Frenchman ultimately becoming the 111th different F1 race winner after fending off the four-time world champion who rarely dropped below 1.2 seconds behind him for much of the closing laps.
Hamilton meanwhile made a third stop on lap 48 for mediums and found himself 9.6s off Ocon on lap 59 despite sitting fifth, yet struggled to pass Alonso until the Spaniard outbraked himself at Turn One on lap 65, which allowed the Brit through to take third from Sainz two laps later.
Vettel meanwhile dropped away from Ocon in the final two laps but clung on to finish second on the road ahead of Hamilton, who had to settle for third and the championship lead despite Pierre Gasly snatching fastest lap on the final lap.
A crazy cool down lap saw Vettel and Russell stop trackside with fuel issues, although it would be the latter who was able to provide a full 1 litre fuel sample, whereas Vettel provided just 0.3 litres which caused the German to be disqualified for a breach of fuel regulations.
Aston Martin however served the stewards with a notice of their intention to appeal and FIA consequently sealed and impounded Vettel’s car until a notice of appeal is received or FIA International Court of Appeal make any appropriate decisions with no compromises placed upon evidence.
Ocon meanwhile was handed a reprimand after failing to park his car in parc ferme at the end of the cool down lap, instead going round the final corner and pulled over near the pit exit upon realisation of his error. with stewards accepting his apology despite failing to obey race director’s post-race notes.
|1||Esteban Ocon||Alpine||70||2h 4m 43.200|
|2||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes||70||+ 2.736|
|3||Carlos Sainz||Ferrari||70||+ 15.018|
|4||Fernando Alonso||Alpine||70||+ 15.651|
|5||Pierre Gasly||AlphaTauri||70||+ 63.614|
|6||Yuki Tsunoda||AlphaTauri||70||+ 75.803|
|7||Nicholas Latifi||Williams||70||+ 77.910|
|8||George Russell||Williams||70||+ 79.084|
|9||Max Verstappen||Red Bull||70||+ 80.244|
|10||Kimi Raikkonen||Alfa Romeo||69||+ 1 Lap|
|11||Daniel Ricciardo||McLaren||69||+ 1 Lap|
|12||Mick Schumacher||Haas||69||+ 1 Lap|
|13||Antonio Giovinazzi||Alfa Romeo||69||+ 1 Lap|
|DSQ||Sebastian Vettel||Aston Martin|
|RET||Sergio Perez||Red Bull||0||Collision|
|RET||Lance Stroll||Aston Martin||0||Collision|