Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

Kimi Räikkönen & Sebastian Vettel

tiistai 31. heinäkuuta 2018

Hungarian GP: Both Sebastian and Kimi on the podium!

There was an emotional one-minute silence before the race start. The F1 community paid its respects to the late CEO of Ferrari, Sergio Marchionne, who had passed away last Wednesday at the age of 66. Then the engines were started, and the drivers lined up on the grid. All other top ten drivers were starting to the race on the ultra-soft compound, except Sebastian in P4 and Renault's Sainz in P5, who were opting for the yellow-marked middle compound. The lights went out, and pole-sitter Hamilton held on to his lead, with his teammate Bottas second. Sebastian made it in the outside of Kimi, and managed to get past his teammate, going into Turn 2. Red Bull's Verstappen, who had started to the race from P7, had gained two positions right away, and was now fifth in the race. Teammate Ricciardo, on the other hand, got into trouble at the start. Sauber's Ericsson hit the Australian's RB14 on the opening lap, which dropped the Honey Badger down to P16.

Hamilton was self-confidently pulling away from his teammate, rapidly building a three-second gap to Bottas. Meanwhile, Red Bull was once again hit with a reliability issue. Verstappen, who was driving an excellent race, suddenly lost power on lap 6. There was nothing he could do, except stop his RB14 on the track. We heard an extremely angry Verstappen on the team radio, who had it difficult to accept, that a technical failure had destroyed his race -and definitely not for the first time this season! It must have been so frustrating for the super-talented Red Bull ace. Verstappen's retirement brought out the virtual safety car, but for a short moment only.

The temperature at Hungaroring was scorching 30 degrees Celsius, and Kimi was told on the team radio, that there had been a mistake by the team, and Kimi was unable to use his drinking bottle during the race. Not the best race to have problems with a drinking bottle! Ferrari called the Iceman in on lap 15. Pirelli had predicted, that the top drivers would switch to the medium rubber for their second stint, but Kimi opted for a fresh set of soft Pirellis. Unfortunately there was a small delay in Kimi's pit stop, as the team had to remove rubber from the cooling system of the Finn's SF71-H. The Iceman re-joined the track in P6. Ferrari's call made Mercedes react, and Bottas was called in on the following lap. He, too opted for a fresh set of softs.

Ricciardo, who had also started to the race on the soft rubber, was driving a staggering race. On lap 21, going into Turn 2, the Australian went to the outside of Haas' Magnussen, passing the Dane by a spectacular move. Now Ricciardo was already sixth in the race. Kimi, too showed, that he has what it takes to overtake. The Iceman had passed the Danish Haas driver earlier, and on lap 33 Kimi made a move on Toro Rosso's Gasly, claiming P4.

Hamilton pitted from the lead on lap 25, also for a fresh set of soft Pirellis. Sebastian took the lead, and Hamilton re-joined the track in P2. There were 13 seconds separating the title rivals. Sebastian's tyres were still in a good shape, and the German kept setting competitive lap times. On lap 39 Ferrari called Kimi in for the second time. This time the pit stop went smoothly, and the Iceman re-joined the track on another fresh set of softs. Kimi dropped down to P5 during his pit stop. Sebastian was hitting traffic, and Hamilton had managed to decrease the gap to 10 seconds. Sebastian was called in, but there was a small issue with his front-left tyre. Because of the delay, Bottas managed to get ahead of Sebastian, as the German re-joined the track on a fresh set of ultra-soft Pirellis.

Ricciardo drove an extremely long first stint on the softs; the Honey Badger pitted not only on lap 45. He, too opted for the ultra-softs and re-joined the track in P5, behind Kimi. With 15 laps to go, Bottas' tyres were significantly out-worn, and the Finn was having serious trouble with the grip. Sebastian had made it into DRS distance from the Finn and was putting as much pressure on him as possible. Meanwhile, Kimi had been absolutely flying on his fresh tyres, and the Iceman had chased down the duo of Bottas and Sebastian. The Ferrari duo was clearly faster than Bottas, but it seemed so difficult to overtake! The tension intensified lap by lap. Five laps before the chequered flag Sebastian braked late and made his move in Turn 1, making it past the Finn! Sebastian was clearly ahead going into Turn 2, but Bottas ended up hitting Sebastian's SF71-H! Sebastian got away from the collision with no damage to his car, but Bottas' front wing got some serious damage. Hamilton was cruising to the victory, with Sebastian second and Kimi third. Bottas stayed out and decided to make everything he could to bring his W09 to the chequered flag, scoring as many points as possible.

Bottas was in massive trouble with his dying tyres and severely damaged front wing. Ricciardo was challenging the Finn for P4. And there was more drama to come! Usually Bottas hasn't been the driver to cause drama, but yesterday he made a big mistake. With only two laps to go, Ricciardo had decided to attack the vulnerable Bottas. The Australian made his move, going into Turn 1. Bottas braked way too late, considering his dying tyres and damaged front wing, and Valtteri ended up crashing into Ricciardo's Red Bull! Ricciardo, too got some damage to his RB14. The stewards took the incident into investigation, and the team told Bottas to give the position back to Ricciardo. The Australian passed Valtteri on the penultimate lap. Hamilton was the dominant race winner, but to my delight, the red-suited drivers completed the podium! Ricciardo claimed P4, and the struggling Bottas had to settle for P5. Toro Rosso's Gasly was convincing 6th, and Magnussen was 7th for Haas. Alonso brought valuable points for McLaren by finishing 8th, and Renault's Sainz and Haas' Grosjean rounded out the top ten. After the race Bottas was given a 10-second time penalty for causing the collision with Ricciardo, but the penalty didn't change the race result.

Now it's time for a 4-week summer break. It has definitely been an intense and exciting F1 summer, as there have been five races in six weeks! And unbelievably, Kimi has been on the podium in four of them! Hamilton is going on a holiday with a 24-point lead in the drivers' championship standings. There are now 43 points separating the Ferrari aces in P2 and P3. Mercedes have a 10-point lead to Ferrari in the constructors' standings.  So the Red Team have homework to do... I hope Sebastian, Kimi and the whole team will have a relaxing summer break, so that they are able to charge their batteries for the second half of the season!

When the F1 circus moves to Spa, Belgium after the summer break, my son's cancer treatments should be over, and I hope I'll be able to watch all the remaining races at home instead of hospital! Forza Ferrari!

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