• Katie Humphris

Esteban Ocon claims maiden F1 win in dramatic Hungarian GP

Lewis Hamilton leads the drivers championship for the first time since May after battling down from the back to claim a third-place finish with title rival Max Verstappen only finishing P10, but Hamilton was unable to complete the comeback, allowing Esteban Ocon to claim his maiden victory in Formula1. Sebastian Vettel completed the top 3 finishing P2 but was then later disqualified due to ‘the race stewards unable to take the required amount of fuel for sampling following the race’.

How The Race Unfolded

It looked to be a ‘wet race’ as a heavy down pour, lead to every driver starting on the intermediate tyres. Hamilton started on pole position for the 101st time in his career, with teammate Valtteri Bottas in P2, and Verstappen in P3. The five lights went out and Hamilton got the better start with Bottas dropping down the order, being overtaken by Lando Norris and the two Red Bull drivers. It took just the first corner for the first upset of the race with Valtteri Bottas crashing into the back of the Mclaren of Lando Norris who then collected Max Verstappen who had nowhere to go as his teammate Sergio Perez also getting caught up in no fault of his own, with Pierre Gasly having to run very wide to avoid any contact to his Alpha Tauri. Further back, Lance Stroll found his way on the inside of it all but ended up crashing into to the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc, then sending Daniel Ricciardo into a spin and eventually bringing out the red flag. With Valtteri Bottas, Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc, Lance Stroll and then Lando Norris forced to retire during the red flag, the race restart looked set to be an exciting one. Even though Max Verstappen had damage to his car, the mechanics were able to get the car back out on track ready for the restart, but the car did have some faults that were not ready in time.

After a lengthy red flag, all the remaining cars made their way back on track ready for a standing start. During the formation lap it was clear that the track had dried meaning leading to every car forced to change their tyres to the dryer ones, except for Lewis Hamilton who believed the track was still wet and that the intermediates were the best option and leaving him to do the standing start on his own, and everyone else starting from the pits. After the first lap of the restart, Hamilton radio messaged his team saying, ‘the track is dry’ leading him to pit on the following lap and dropping down to the back. Esteban Ocon then took the lead on lap 14, with the Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel in second and Nicholas Latifi in P3.

It wasn’t plain sailing in the pits for all the drivers as Kimi Raikkonen’s unsafe release caused him to collide with rookie driver Nikita Mazepin who then had to retire from the race. Raikkonen was then handed a 10 second time penalty that he would serve during the race.

During the race there was lots of exciting battles between drivers, with Mick Schumacher doing his best to hold of both Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo as well as 7-time world champion, Lewis Hamilton but eventually all three cars would pass the Haas, but the rookie driver didn’t go down without a fight. Hamilton came back from P14 to pass Latifi and was able to do an undercut on both Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo and eventually making his way through the field to meet with Fernando Alonso. It was arguably the battle of the season as the Alpine driver defended for his life to avoid Hamilton getting pass him but after laps of defending, Hamilton did eventually pass the former World Champion to P4, and then eventually showed his pace to pass Carlos Sainz in the Ferrari.

After being able to hold off Sebastain Vettel for the remainder of the race after taking the lead on lap 14, Esteban Ocon crossed the line to earn his first victory in Formula 1 and the first under the re branded Alpine, Sebastian Vettel finishing P2 and Lewis Hamilton in P3, Carlos Sainz P4 and Fernando Alonso completed the top 5 and earned driver of the day. It was a pretty quiet race for Williams but for the first time since 2019 they earned points and to top it off it was both drivers who earned those important points with Nicholas Latifi in P8 and an emotional Geroge Russell, finishing in P9 with Verstappen to take the final point position after fighting of Daniel Ricciardo. Both Alpha Tauri finished in the points Pierre Gasly in P6 and earning the fastest lap and Yuki Tsunoda in P7. But the day belonged to Estaban Ocon as he made his way to the top step of the podium at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel‘s disqualification led to Carlos Sainz earning a 3rd place finish and Lewis Hamilton jumping up to P2, with every other driver who completed the race gaining and extra position.