Well we learned (and saw) that Vunderkid Max Verstappen has yet to learn that you do not win the race on the first lap – you only lose the race on the first lap. His hamfisted barge into his team mate was described by Ricciardo, the aggrieved Red Bull team mate, as “amateur”. He was correct. To acknowledge the bungling, the FIA stewards hit Verstappen with a 10 second stop-go penalty. A certain degree of maturity is needed in the professional F1 jungle. Verstappen will have a big accident on the road to maturation.
The star of the show, and it was just that, a ‘show’, was Ferrari team leader Sebastian Vettel who led most of the 70 laps at the Hungaroring circuit. This was despite a steering problem which slowed him up towards the end. It was also facilitated by instructions from the Ferrari pit wall stopping the Ferrari number 2, Kimi Raikkonen, from attacking Vettel. Raikkonen mentioning that they are supposed to be racing drivers. Do not be surprised if Kimi walks away from Ferrari at the end of the year.
After being soundly trounced in Qualifying, Mercedes remained beaten in the race with Bottas in front of Hamilton, until Hamilton pulled rank and asked that Bottas move over and let him through to have a crack at Raikkonen. This did not work, even with the permission to turn the engine up, resulting in Hamilton handing the third place back to Bottas on the last lap. Good results by the team but thumbing the nose to the spectators. F1 really has become an entertainment event and that is all.
Verstappen drove well, when not involved in jousting, and finished fifth and within striking distance (pun intended) of the two Mercedes drivers. He will become a top driver when he matures.
Sixth and my driver of the day went to Fernando Alonso (McLaren) with the underpowered Honda engine. Hungaroring rewards chassis development and not engine, which is how Alonso managed to even get into the top 10. He is currently the best all-round driver in F1. Ponder on Raikkonen and Alonso swapping seats in 2018. A move that I believe Vettel would veto.
The seventh place went to the other Spaniard Carlos Sainz (jnr) who shows plenty of skill and aggression in his Toro Rosso, but was outfumbled by Alonso.
Eighth and ninth were claimed by the squabbling Force India twins Perez and Ocon who spent the entire race trying to unsettle each other.
The final driver in the points in 10th place was VanDoorne (McLaren), not a bad result until you look at what Alonso could achieve.
The make-weights had their own little battles with current bad boy and staying in after class Daniel Kvyat (Toro Rosso) managing to avoid collisions and Jonathan Palmer in the second Renault actually finishing a race but too late to avoid being dropped at the end of the year.
Another driver who drove exceptionally well was Paul diResta (Williams) who had not driven an F1 car for four years, and with no qualifying laps jumped in at the last minute, kept his nose clean and was unlucky to have to retire with an oil leak.
1 S Vettel Ferrari
2 K Raikkonen Ferrari
3 V Bottas Mercedes
4 L Hamilton Mercedes
5 M Verstappen Red Bull
6 F Alonso McLaren
7 C Sainz Toro Rosso
8 S Perez Force India
9 E Ocon Force India
10 S Vandoorne McLaren
11 D Kvyat Toro Rosso
12 J Palmer Renault
13 K Magnussen Haas
14 L Stroll Williams
15 P Wehrlein Sauber
16 M Ericsson Sauber
N Hulkenberg Renault Gearbox
di Resta Williams Oil leak
R Grosjean Haas Loose wheel
D Ricciardo Red Bull Accident