Miracles and Magic at the Hungary GP

We all turned into weather forecasters this weekend as big, dark clouds loomed over the track and threatened rain across both days. Twitter was full of excitement at the thought of a wet race but although the team radios were counting us down to the drizzle, we didn’t see any water dramatic enough to hinder our favourite drivers.

Incredibly, both Williams teammates made it through to Q2 on Saturday with George Russell putting in a great lap time for the underdogs, but Haas had a disappointing result as their drivers failed to make it into Q2.

Racing Point impressed us all for the third weekend in a row by qualifying 3rd and 4th , which probably put fuel on Renault’s fire after they contested the legality of the pink cars last weekend. I have to say that I wasn’t surprised to see Racing Point doing so well again but I was definitely surprised to learn about this grudge which Renault are holding. I know that the French team are doing everything they can to keep up with the point leaders but I wonder how far this will go. I suppose I would be pretty annoyed if I thought that another team was getting an unfair advantage, and even though I don’t understand the technicalities of the issue, I’m looking forward to seeing what the FIA has to say about it all.

Lewis Hamilton yet again made us question whether he’s some kind of pre-programmed racing robot, in fact I’m surprised no one has claimed he’s got some sort of strange biological advantage on everyone. He dominated the track with his 90th pole position since the start of his F1 career (plus an outstanding win and fastest lap on Sunday) and has also been dominating the headlines because of his unwavering support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. I have been scared to comment on the politics side of F1 as such a newcomer to the sport, but I will say that if you’re going to do something, do it properly. It was almost cringe-worthy watching the drivers arrive late to take the knee and not appear to know what they were doing. Then the national anthem playing straight away while Lewis looked crestfallen. It was an absolute shambles. However, the fact that I was apprehensive
to write anything about the drivers taking the knee for fear of saying the wrong thing, but now I (and others) am writing about the topic because I can’t “ignore” it for a third weekend, shows that Hamilton’s persistence is paying off.

Talking about persistence, for the first time in I’m not sure how long Haas were lapping up the glory of having two drivers in the top 5 on race day. Without sounding too horrible I’m sure this was mainly because of everybody pitting for tyres, but after watching Guenther’s emotional rollercoaster on Drive to Survive I was so happy for him to at least be having that moment. By lap 11 Magnussen was in 3 rd place and Grosjean was in 5th , but I watched them slowly trickle back down the timings board. What a shame…because it was definitely refreshing and bizarre to see them in the top tier. So close yet so far.

If I were to summarise what I took away or learnt from Hungary it would be how absolutely vital strategy and precision are with unpredictable weather conditions. It was very hard to keep up with the tyre changes and the reasoning behind those decisions, as well as what effect they could have on the bigger picture. I was impressed by the tyre performance graphics which appeared for Hamilton and Max displaying the remaining percentage of each tyre, and how quickly the drivers could recognise they had an under-performing car. It was a real shame that this mass-pit-stopping caused traffic in the pit lane and effected drivers such as Vettel, but I guess it changed things up a bit.

Let’s end this blog post with a bang (pun intended) by talking about a certain Max Verstappen. One minute he was almost lining up for the race and the next minute he was in the barrier with the entire F1 community watching with their mouths wide open. As far as I understand, the front wing fell off completely and the nose was damaged, but there’s definitely more things on the list of whoopsie’s than that. It seemed that as soon as I was accepting Max would have to retire… he was off the starting line. It was absolutely unbelievable watching those mechanics working like
ants around the car on the GRID, frantically trying to get their champ back into the race. It was probably one of the most amazing pieces of teamwork I’ve seen and it was all done in the blink of an eye. I’m really happy that Max held on to his spot at number 2 because although I think he made a huge mistake, the team deserved that win.

Honestly there are so many talking points from the Hungary GP which I haven’t even covered like the incident between Latifi/Sainz or Albon struggling for power whilst in a Ferrari sandwich, Gasly retiring, Norris quite frankly disappearing, a Kimi penalty and Bottas getting away with a jump start. Is there always this much controversy in F1?

Perhaps I’ll have to wait a few years for the answer to that one but for now it looks like I might have just written my first (very simplified and probably boring) race report instead of just saying I’m confused with everything. Maybe it’s a sign that I’m feeling less overwhelmed by the racing and simply enjoying it more. Or maybe it’s because my fellow Out Lap F1 pals kindly explained some more rules for me in depth.

I’ve got a lot more time to learn this week with no grid action happening but I hope you all don’t feel too lost without your favourite sport. Thank you so much for sticking with me this far.

– Sophie Middleton @‪MotorsportSoph

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