#F1 Race Review: #HungarianGP 2015 – Penalties, collisions and remembrance

Brought to you by Adam Macdonald (@adamac39)

RaceReview

The race that had it all as the Hungaroring delivered an absolute thriller before the summer break.  A Ferrari win in the first race after Jules departed was just, but one nobody could have predicted.  Moreover, the double podium for the Red Bulls was extraordinary given the extra pit stop for Daniel Ricciardo and penalty for Daniil Kvyat.

Prelude

Cooler conditions than we had previously seen this weekend, with higher winds that upset the balance on many a car.  As we would soon find out, it was the Ferraris that would benefit from the changed environment.  The 30th edition of this race was going to be far from routine.

Felipe Massa, on an occasion that must have been difficult to contain his emotions, stopped short of his grid position and, consequently, caused an aborted start.  One more formation lap meant a 69 lap race.

Opening

A poor start from Lewis Hamilton meant he emerged from the 610m run into the first corner in fourth place, his teammate Rosberg third and the two Ferrari drivers, Vettel and Raikkonen, 1-2 respectively.  Ricciardo started poorly and found himself clashing with Bottas at the exit of the first corner, allowing his teammate through as well as the fast starting Nico Hulkenberg.

Behind that it was pretty much status quo and as you would expect, with the notable inclusion of Pastor Maldonado playing bumper cars with those around him. Felipe Nasr damaged his front wing and body which would hamper him for the rest of the afternoon.

As Hulkenberg made it through the much slower Kvyat the team orders from Red Bull soon ensued; lap 7 saw Ricciardo waved through the Russian.  It was a similar story at the sister team, as a poor start from Verstappen meant he found himself behind Sainz.  The young Dutchman clearly feeling he could have been going much quicker.  He was not afforded the same privilege so opted to dive for the pits, as did Bottas and Kvyat on lap 14.

The Settling

As everyone else soon followed suit and ditched the race boots they had started on special mention must be made to Marcus Ericsson, who managed his soft tyres well to still find life from them 16 laps in.  With staying out he was running as high as 7th, the first time that high for a while, but points would not evade the Swede as we would find out later.

The settling period soon followed as the drivers got to grips with their new tyres, but not before a familiar face sent pulses racing in the Force India garage.  Perez and Maldonado collided as the Venezuelan refused to give up on his position into the first corner.  The bump sent Perez into a spin and damaged the right rear floor of the Lotus.  Maldonado was penalised for causing a collision, but both drivers paid the price by losing track position eventually.

Hamilton pitted on lap 20 after charging back through the field, still some way off his teammate though who was now running in third place.  On lap 21 it was the turn of Rosberg, who opted for the alternative strategy of running the medium (prime) tyre during his middle stint – different to the traditional strategy of continuing on the soft (option) tyre which Raikkonen and Vettel ahead elected for.

Penalties Galore

An afternoon which will be remembered for the remarkably busy stewards as sanctions were given out like they were going out of fashion.  The three week break clearly affecting the judgement of drivers and pit crews alike, as Grosjean was handed a 5 second penalty for an unsafe release – though this did allow him to duel with and better Massa through his pit exit.

Vettel now on fresh rubber was flying, as he set the fastest lap 23 into the race.  For the next few laps Lewis Hamilton struggled to make it past Daniel Ricciardo. He was made to wait until lap 29 to take fourth place with a move around the outside at turn 1

Felipe Massa’s horror race continued, after his penalty for causing the aborted start and poor getaway he battled with the Saubers for 15th position, eventually losing out to Ericsson, but fending off Nasr.

Hamilton now in clear air set about reducing the deficit further to Rosberg, who was struggling on the slower tyres.  By lap 34 the gap was down to just 10 seconds, though the great unknown was just how much life Hamilton had been taking out of his tyres.  In the end, we were left ignorant to this as first Rosberg encountered traffic, then Hamilton followed in slower pursuit.

Ever the unlucky driver Kimi Raikonen then saw his race and podium chances effectively taken away as he reported a strange sound from the powertrain.  His fate was sealed when his race engineer reported it was an MGU-K failure, leaving him down on power for the rest of the race and making him a sitting duck on the long home straight.

Shake Up Shards

The reliability of the VJM-07.5ish was once again called into question as the front wing of Hulkenberg’s Force India disintegrated near the braking zone for turn 1.  The 2015 Le Mans Champion sent into the barriers with a trail of brake smoke behind him, Daniil Kvyat having to enduring a shower of carbon fibre.  This on lap 42, there was still a long way to go in the race.

This first brought out the Virtual Safety Car, which sent the entire field into the pits, then a full safety car as the drivers needed to be guided via the pit lane in order to clear the dirtied track.  Lap 46 saw the lapped cars unlap themselves which, though some are not a fan of, proved to enhance the racing when the safety car came in two laps later.

Carmen Jorda made the obligatory FOM appearance before Daniel Ricciardo made a scintillating restart, getting extremely close to Hamilton in front.  The ensuing overtake damaged the Aussie’s floor and Hamilton’s front wing.  Two laps later the Briton was forced to pit and return to soft tyres.  Max Verstappen the next to be penalised, this time the infraction was speeding under the safety car.

With Hamilton now a pit stop down, the ensuing drive-through penalty for causing the collision left him 20 seconds away from the top 10.  His quest for points was aided though by the retirement of Kimi Raikkonen, as well as Sergio Perez being forced into retiring his car.  Fernando Alonso now flying as he found himself in an unexpected 6th.

The Final Twist

Another penalty for Max Verstappen, as he was given a drive through after catching Valtteri Bottas’ rear wheel with his wing.  This, as Lewis Hamilton set about charging through the field setting the fastest lap on his fifty-seventh tour.  A penalty for Pastor Maldonado as he had been speeding in the pit lane.

Jenson Button rose to 8th position as he passed the ailing Toro Rosso of Carlos Sainz.  The Spaniard forced into retiring two laps later, as Pastor Maldonado completed the hat-trick of penalties as he had passed under the safety car.

Just when we all felt the race was calming to a low-key close, with Ricciardo seemingly looking stuck behind Nico Rosberg, there was one final twist in the tale.  The German now in second place looked like he could be taking a lead in the World Drivers’ Championship into the summer break.  This all changed with a daring lunge down the inside of turn 1 from Ricciardo which forced the Aussie to run wide on the inside of Rosberg.  The Mercedes driver took a much tighter line and cut back ahead he clipped the wing of Ricciardo – perhaps slightly too aggressively, though the stewards adjudged it a racing incident.

A punctured left-rear on the Silver Arrow and a broken front wing meant both would need to visit the pits once more, though Rosberg’s return was far slower.  This elevated Kvyat into second place, where he stayed until the end of the race to become the second youngest podium finisher ever – even though he was awarded a 5 second penalty as well.

Rosberg managed to pass both Saubers and Button, but was held off by Grosjean.  The two points this cost could prove vital at the end of year!

The final lap saw Will Stevens retire, though he remains classified after completing over 90% of the race.  The final act of the day was Daniel Ricciardo taking the fastest lap in clean air – it pretty much summed up Red Bull’s day.

1 Sebastian Vettel – Ferrari 1:46.09.985
2 Daniil Kvyat – Red Bull     +15.7
3 Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull +25.0
4 Max Verstappen – Toro Rosso +44.2
5 Fernando Alonso – McLaren +49.0
6 Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes +52.0
7 Romain Grosjean – Lotus     +58.5
8 Nico Rosberg – Mercedes     +58.8
9 Jenson Button – McLaren     +67.0
10 Marcus Ericsson – Sauber +69.1
11 Felipe Nasr – Sauber +73.4
12 Felipe Massa – Williams +74.2
13 Pastor Maldonado – Lotus +85.1
14 Valtteri Bottas – Williams +80.2
15 Roberto Merhi – Manor +2 laps
16 Will Stevens – Manor +4 laps
R Carlos Sainz – Toro Rosso 9 laps
R Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari 14 laps
R Sergio Perez – Force India 16 laps
R Nico Hulkenberg – Force India 28 laps

Winner and Losers

Vettel, Kvyat, Verstappen and Alonso will leave Budapest in jovial spirits after gaining results they probably did not expect.  Jenson Button will also be pleased by the points finish, even if his teammate stole the limelight today.

Williams will not be happy with their day which involved both misfortune and driver error.  Sauber will be disappointed with their performance on a day when points were definitely there for the taking; they now have McLaren breathing down their necks.

Force India will leave knowing there is still a lot of work to do.  They may have a quick car now, there is nothing to show until you complete the racing on Sunday.

The real loser this week was evident – the sport and community of Formula One.  If this was his farewell then what a way to remember him by – how fitting that it was a Ferrari win.

2015 Drivers' Championship Hungary

2015 Constructors' Championship Hungary

 

38 responses to “#F1 Race Review: #HungarianGP 2015 – Penalties, collisions and remembrance

  1. Max got a penalty for speeding behind SC, Also got 3! licensepoints, where as both HAM and MAL only got 2 for causing a collision, Care to explain?

    • Because behind the safety car is a controlled environment and drivers are fully aware that they should adhere to the SC rules and delta time.

      Causing a collision can occur through many different factors.

      • Particularly after a weekend of remembrance for a driver who just died due to speeding being ignored because of lax policing of trackside safety rules

      • Max actually said that he was told by the pit wall that the timing reset between the VSC and the safety car, so that he could drive faster a bit. Which apparently was not the case. So clearly the driver nor the pit wall were not ‘fully aware’ of the actual rules.

  2. Personally I think Riccardo drove like a ‘bull in a china shop today’. How he did not get a penalty whilst being involved in 3 crashes I don’t know. He damaged Lewis race and ruined Rosberg’s day. I used to like Riccardo but I think he believes the hype written about him. He will never be a WDC IMO

    • Not sure he can be blamed for the Rosberg incident, but the first two maybe

    • Yeah, I think that was all on Rosberg… Ricciardo was past and stayed on track… Rosberg tried to run him wide on a cut back and ended up giving himself a puncture

      • how very true. ricciardo was hit by rosberg. watch the footage. rosberg forced him wide. as for the other incidents, well the stewards got those right as well. these guys are racers not wimps.

        • My feeling on the Rosberg/Ricciardo shunt was that it was simply a case of two drivers on different racing lines which unfortunately both needed the same piece of track at the same time. Neither had anywhere to go and neither to be honest could probably tell until it was too late which of them would have right of position when they got there. So I think “racing incident” was a fair call.

          Which said, the fact Ricciardo was on that line in the first place was because he’d perhaps been a bit over-aggressive on his late braking!

      • Agreed. For Ricciaro to avoid it he’d have to have driven off the track. I was amazed Hamilton got a penalty for his collision but not Rosberg. On a restart on tyres that had cooled down, Hamilton locked the front carrying the brakes into the corner trying to defend and understeered into Ricciardo in the middle of the corner. Rosberg on the other hand had nearly all the track to play with considering Ricciardo’s move sent him right to the track edge. But on exit he decides to try squeeze Ricciardo for no good reason and just drives straight across his front wing. It seemed to me he could easily have taken the position back if he’d just kept it clean and stayed a bit tighter. Ricciardo would have had a compromised exit anyway, and has a power unit that could be challenged by the foot-power of the Flintstones.

  3. Could anyone explain why half of the field was not there when the SC left the track and race was re-started?

    • Half the pack was a lap down. They never let those guys get back to the leaders as it would take to long. As soon as the debris is gone and the backmarkers have a safe margin to the leaders its go time.

      • There was a SC for quite a few laps, they were all behind it in random order. Why let the lapped drivers go past the SC that late?

        • Shows how good race control is.. at race control lol. Let them by earlier but away from the incident zones.. I think they are still under delta at that point. Or later on remove the deltas as the track is now clear.

  4. Conclusions from Hungary:

    1. When Mercedes are not 1st into first corner, they are in trouble. Maybe not in such a big trouble than everyone else, but still.

    2. Rosberg possibly lost (at least a chance to win) WDC today. If he would take soft tyres at the 2nd pit stop, he would have fought with Vettel – not Ricciardo – and would have a chance to win the race – and take the lead in WDC.

    3. Give Vettel the lead of the the race and he will keep it until the finish line, more often than not.
    He drove brilliantly today. He had Mercedes covered since lap 1. Driver of the day for me.

    4. Great day for Red Bull (or Marko’s) boys, they took first 4 places today: Vettel, Kvyat, Ricciardo, Verstappen.

    5. Great to see both McLaren drivers in the points, experience kept them away from trouble I guess.

    6. Kimi has no luck.

    Main question for Spa:

    What will new rules with less driver aids bring? More trouble for Mercedes’ starts?

    • 7. Any time Hamilton has troubles, he blames everyone else and cries like a little girl on the radio.

      • Quite an ironic comment to make after that race. Hamilton sounded like he was heart broken when he came onto the radio to apologise to the team. Hamiltons driving was 2011esk at times, fortunately his mentality has long changed from then.

      • Yeah the call on the Rosberg incident early on was a bit of a stretch, but I also recall him apologising to the team over the radio. Post-race he went further and said he was apologising for his whole race being fairly rubbish. Hardly sounds like what you’re talking about.

        • Hamilton just needs to shut up and race. He reminds me of a child in class that keeps raising his hand so he can tattle on other kids. Deal with all of it after the race.

  5. Nico raced with the opportunism of a sitting duck on the day Lewis had a collection of mistakes.

    He’d remain racing in anonymity if Mercedes weren’t so dominant. Like a Trulli os sorts.

    • To be fair, there are some times when he isn’t too far off the mark but I do agree that on Sunday he was poor. Even if he’d not had the coming together with Danny Ric he’d probably have lost out to him overall.

      Really, his only chance of getting the WDC is to be there to collect when Lewis loses the plot. He shouldn’t have been in a position where a misjudgement cost him lots of points, he should have been hounding Vettel for the win.

    • Thank you Erico! I don’t recall Rosberg ever being mentioned as a driver for an open seat with a top team. Now, thanks to Merc’s newly-found dominance he’s become a WDC- challenger, media darling.

      I do wish people would journey back to Rosberg’s early years in F1 and listen to the comments made about him during races. Most weren’t close to flattering.

  6. Great drive by Sebastian Vettel. Nice to see the Red Bulls on the podium and a double points finish for McLaren.

    Toto needs to learn some humility. The pit wall was annoyed after Malaysia too. There is a sense of entitlement that has developed at Mercedes and it’s not good to see. The cars have flaws and they are probably not going to win every GP until the end of the season. Their starts aren’t good either.

  7. If you are blaming Nico for the incident with mosher Ricciardo, then I hope you are going to attribute the same blame to Lewis for his involvement in the coming together at spa lat year.

    • Ricciardo was past/ahead, and on track, of another teams driver, late in the race, when he was in a position where the points he had would benefit him WDC wise (expecially given how up until then he was mister cautious). Rosberg went for the cut back and tried to cut across to run him wide, ergo certainly not Ricciardos fault as he did everything required of him by the rules, and it was an unnessecary risk from Nico, he had the drive to just scamper off without running wide… he paid dearly. .

      Spa: Nico was passing Lewis, he barely got halfway alongside, on the the outside, at the start of the damn race, on a team mates car… Lewis kept to his line… he paid dearly. No fault, Whilst it was Hamiltons corner, he would have been smarter to let him have room, Nico probably aught to have realised it wasn’t on either way.

      Different incidents and circumstances, so it isn’t an apples for apples comparison… though in neither was Nicos judgement amazing.

      • Nico had regained 2nd position by the time there was contact so I’m baffled as to how you can say Ricciardo was past/ahead. A front wing connecting with a rear wheel certainly suggests that Ricciardo was behind Nico At that point. Nico had the better drive out of the corner and was following the racing line whereas Ricciardo was attempting to get back on the racing line.

        There was no move from Nico to force Ricciardo wide. Nico’s line exiting that corner looked perfectly normal. Dan was trying to put his car in a space that was always going to disappear.

        It isn’t an apples for apples but it is a case of left rear vs right front wing so you can understand the slight comparison, surely?

        I like Ricciardo but that was the most wreckless performance I’ve seen from him in a long time. The lock up in that incident is the kind of thing I’d expect from Pastor, not Ricciardo. The comment about him driving like a bull in a china shop is absolutely spot on.

        • I don’t think Danny actually left the track, therefore Nico was overtaking him on the exit of the corner. He hadn’t completed the move when he pulled in, therefore his fault – he didn’t leave a car-width.

          That said, I suspect he thought Danny had gone off-track – if he had then it would have been his fault for not re-joining in a safe manner.

          Just taking a different tangent, would the 18″ wheels proposed by Michelin reduce the chance of punctures in cases such as this? Bottas also had the slimmest of contact with a wing and got a puncture as well.

        • It was a clumsy move that looked reckless I’ll agree, but the fact is Ricciardo got past, without touching Nico, and whilst leaving him a cars width, and he stayed on the track himself. He wasn’t putting his car in that place… he had put it there already. What this did though (staying on track and braking so late) is compromise his exit, which meant he was slow as hell.

          However, Nico then had to re-pass him, and this was the crucial point, he was passing, not being passed. I think that because it was on the very exit of the corner with the overtaken car reovertaking, makes this quite different to Spa. Coming from behind and then hitting someone from behind (ala Spa) means you didn’t actually do anything really, and had no right to anything… had Nico got fully ahead into the first le combs, and then Lewis pulled across him into the second it would be similar. In this instance Ricciardo was past (however temporarily), Nose first into the corner, and thus was entitled to his sliver of track/racing line he was on, and the awful exit he earned from it.

          Nico pulled over like Grosjean and Stevens at Canada (again lapping a back marker there, so not an apples for apples either), but the point is he was simply pulling across too soon and making contact, not leaving enough room, which was unnessecary.

          Definately racing incident stuff to me because Ricciard made a clumsy (but clean) lunge in rather than sit behind that merc for the rest of the race and on the inevitable repass Rosberg just cut him off unnessarily. If they had have penalised Rosberg I’d have thought harsh, but seen why, but if they had penalised Ricciardo I’d have not understood… he didn’t hit anyone.

          He was clumsy and reckless, but he was a bit last year too… it is Hungary, its that or watch a train.. I know which I’d prefer. There were two driver types at Hungary, clumsy ones, and ones who stayed where they were all race 😛

  8. Actually, with everything going on in the race, could Vettel have lapped the entire grid without the safety car? lol

  9. As far as I know the incident between Bottas and Verstappen in the closing stages was never scrutinised by the stewards nor was Verstappen given a second drive through penalty.Verstappen was only penalised for speeding while the safety car was deployed with a drive through and 3 points added to his tally. Or did I miss something?

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