HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX – 30TH JULY 2017
“The mind is more cut-throat and ‘every point counts and this is do or die.’ But my heart tells me the right thing to do is to let him by.” (Lewis Hamilton)
1. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
2. Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari)
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes)
4. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
5. Max Verstappen (Red Bull)
6. Fernando Alonso (McLaren-Honda)
7. Carlos Sainz Jnr (Toro Rosso)
8. Sergio Perez (Force India)
9. Esteban Ocon (Force India)
10. Felipe Massa (Williams)
More on the F1 teams of 2017
Budapest, the last race before the summer break and the scene of a moral dilemma.
Hamilton Keeps His Word
Lewis Hamilton ended the race by surrendering 3rd place to Valtteri Bottas. Bottas had let Hamilton pass on Lap 46, in order to give him the opportunity to catch and pass the Ferraris – on the proviso that if he couldn’t get past, then he would give 3rd back to Bottas. Hamilton kept his word.
Vettel, on the other hand – was struggling with pace – but Ferrari wouldn’t let team-mate Raikkonen pass him. Instead they used the Finn as a buffer between Vettel and the 2 Mercedes cars.
It was only during the 2nd half of the race, following the pits, that Mercedes began to close the gap between them and the Ferraris.
Mercedes had struggled with issues with their radio and at one point there was no radio communication between themselves and the drivers, no TV feed or data available. When the radio came back on, Hamilton was heard to say: “I’ve got a lot of pace. You’ve got to let me use it.”
Within 3 laps of being allowed passed Bottas, Hamilton he had caught up with both Ferraris. Mercedes had initially given him just 5 laps to challenge and pass the Ferraris – but he was eventually given longer for the attempt – on a track that is infamous for being difficult to overtake on.
At the start of the last lap, as it became evident that he would not be able to overtake the Ferraris and Hamilton made the decision to keep his word. As he was 7 seconds ahead of Bottas, he needed to consciously slow down to let him pass.
Was giving up the 3 points at this stage – worth it for keeping his word, boosting team relations and hoping to improve his karma? According to Hamilton:
“In life, if you do good things, good things come back to you….I don’t know what I would say then if (I lose the championship) by three points or in that vicinity. But as I said I want to win it the right way.”
Mercedes Boss Talks About Doing The Right Thing
Mercedes Toto Wolff, certainly puts a high price on doing the ‘right thing’, even if it doesn’t necessarily make him happy,
“standing by what you say and standing by your values is going to make us win more championships…I am not in a happy place at the moment, but if you are not fast enough at least you are sportsmanlike.”
If Hamilton is going to win this championship, he needs to aim for a better consistency in qualifying, rather than rely on his ability to overtake and hope for others to struggle.
Red Bull had a difficult moment when Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo collided at the 2nd corner. Verstappen ‘locked up’ and slid into Ricciardo – putting him out of the race. The Australian was, understandably, not amused:
“He doesn’t like when a team-mate gets in front. It was a very poor mistake. Inexperience is too kind. That was just immaturity.”
Verstappen has since apologised, “it is always very good (our relationship) and we can always have a laugh, so this is not nice. So, I apologise to Daniel and the team.”
Has Fernando Alonso’s luck changed? Today, he achieved the fastest lap in one of the slowest cars taking part and finished a personal best for this season in 6th place. Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come. Vandoore also finished in the points in 10th, giving McClaren their best race of the season so far – scoring 9 points.
Enjoy the summer, Alonso is off to lie on his sun lounger…..see you in Belgium on the 27th!