Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

sunnuntai 30. heinäkuuta 2017

Hungarian GP: Amazing 1-2 for Ferrari despite Sebastian´s steering problems!

The race day turned out the hottest day of the GP weekend, the temperature being 30 degrees Celsius. When the lights went out, both Ferraris took an excellent start. Sebastian held on to his lead, with Kimi right behind his teammate. Verstappen took a stunning start from P5, and the flying Dutchman made his way past both Silver Arrows drivers. Also teammate Ricciardo managed to overtake Hamilton going into Turn 1. However, Turn 2 was a different story. Verstappen had gone wide in Turn 1, and teammate Ricciardo saw his opportunity to get past his teammate. The Australian was already slightly ahead of Max. However, Max was stubborn to hold on to his 3rd place and braked way too late into Turn 2. This caused a lock-up, and Max´s RB13 ended up crashing into the sister Red Bull of Ricciardo. The impact caused terminal damage to Ricciardo´s RB13, and the Australian was out of the race. Safety car was deployed. This was definitely the worst case scenario for the Red Bull teammates! It was a mistake from Max, who had been too passionate to defend his position by any means necessary. Some laps late the stewards handed him a 10-second time penalty for causing the collision.

Safety car came in on lap 5, and the race got underway again. The Ferrari duo´s pace seemed dominant, and the Silver Arrows were unable to match the red cars´ performance. However, soon after the re-start Sebastian started to suffer from steering problems, which seemed to get worse, as the race evolved. Hamilton, on the other hand, had problems with his team radio, which wasn´t working properly.

Bottas was the first top driver to pit for a fresh set of soft Pirellis. The Finn´s pit stop left a little to hope for, but it was good enough to keep the Finn ahead of his teammate Hamilton, who pitted a lap later. Ferrari reacted to Mercedes´ strategy, and they called Sebastian in on the very next lap. Kimi was leading the race, and the Iceman kept banging fastest lap times. There would still have been life left in Kimi´s tyres, but the Finn was called in shortly after Sebastian´s pit stop. Kimi re-joined the track right behind his teammate. Had Kimi stayed out a couple of laps longer, he would have benefitted from the overcut and got ahead of Sebastian.

Verstappen, who hadn´t pitted yet, was leading the race. Mercedes´ second stint on the yellow-marked soft rubber made the Silver Arrows utterly alive. Hamilton had rapidly closed the gap to teammate Bottas. It also seemed to be only a matter of time, when the Mercedes pilots were about to attack the Ferraris in the lead. Kimi was questioning on the team radio, whether Sebastian was driving on full throttle. Sebastian´s pace was affected significantly by the steering issues. He was told on the team radio to avoid kerbing, which made his driving very challenging indeed.

Verstappen pitted as late as lap 42. Due to his 10-second penalty, he re-joined the track in P5. With almost 30 laps to go, the top four -Sebastian, Kimi, Bottas and Hamilton- was separated by a few seconds only! As Hamilton clearly seemed to have more pace than his teammate Bottas, the team asked the Finn to let Hamilton through. If the Briton turned out unable to challenge the Ferraris, he would give the position back to Bottas. Valtteri proved to be a true team player and let Hamilton pass him. Immediately the Briton pulled away from his teammate and started hunting down the Ferraris.

Kimi was right at his teammate´s tail, the Iceman being clearly faster than Sebastian. Kimi kept asking on the team radio, whether this was the right strategy from the team, as Hamilton was closing frighteningly fast and started putting serious pressure on the Finn. But there were no team orders at Ferrari; Sebastian really needed the victory to extend his lead in the drivers´ championship standings!

Towards the closing laps of the race, there was hair-raising battle between Sebastian, Kimi and Hamilton, who were all within DRS distance from each other. But overtaking at Hungaroring was almost impossible, unless you made a big mistake. Verstappen had also closed the gap to Bottas, but not even the flying Dutchman was able to make an overtaking move this time. There were about five seconds separating the Mercedes teammates when starting the final lap, so I was very sceptical about Hamilton giving the position back to Bottas. But in the last sector of the very final lap the Briton clearly slowed down and let Bottas past going into start finish straight! This was a very sportsmanlike move from the triple world champion. So it was amazing 1-2 for the Italian-based team, and Bottas made it two Finns on the podium! Kimi has now been on the podium in Hungary for the massive eight times in his career! No wonder Kimi was voted as the Driver of the Day, which was very well deserved!

All in all, the team spirit varied a lot from team to team. Red Bull faced the catastrophy of the teammates colliding with each other. However, I was happy to see, that Max admitted his mistake after the race, which hasn´t always been the case. I´m sure he learned a lession today. In terms of Mercedes, I was impressed with their team effort today. I´m convinced this wouldn´t have worked out last year! Had Rosberg been asked to let Hamilton through, no way Nico would have obeyed the team order! It seems, that Finns are perfect teammates; where there´s a Finn in the team, there´s harmony inside the team! Ferrari, on the other hand, wanted to secure the maximum points for Sebastian, who really needs every point possible to extend his lead in the championship standings. Thanks to his victory, the margin to Hamilton is now 14 points.

I was so happy to see such a dominant Ferrari today. Both Sebastian and Kimi made me over the moon with their phenomenal 1-2! This was the perfect way to start the summer break of four weeks. Gosh, I´m going to miss Formula 1 action in the upcoming weeks! Sebastian and Kimi, have a fantastic summer holiday! Enjoy your time off, you have definitely deserved it! But before the summer break... Hope you have a heck of a party tonight!

2 kommenttia:

  1. Wow, great article! Thank you for sharing this with others! Keep up the good work man!

    1. Thanks a lot for your positive feedback! I appreciate it very much :)