Going into turn one, a right-hand corner, the track is slightly sloped. Grip levels were anything but ideal. And every single one of the 20 drivers on the starting grid wanted a piece of the action. Valtteri Bottas struggled with wheelspin going off the line. Moments later he locked the brakes and collided with Lando Norris. But that was not the end of it as multiple cars got involved in the accident.
That effectively meant the end of the race for Valtteri Bottas, Sergio Perez, Charles Leclerc, and Lance Stroll. With debris all over, the race was red-flagged. McLaren also announced that Lando Norris would not be able to continue due to the damage his car sustained. Charles Leclerc perfectly described the situation by writing “Nice bowling game. So frustrating”. You’re bound to watch the replay of the moment several times without being able to get to grips with it.
Of course, there was a lot of backlash on Social Media, with some people pointing fingers at Valtteri Bottas and Team Mercedes for the incident. With Sergio Perez out of the way, and Max Verstappen being forced to run with some damage on his car, the coast was clear for Lewis Hamilton to make his move. But the drama was far from being over, as Hamilton was the only driver to perform the restart without changing tires.
I’ve never seen a Formula 1 race start before with just one driver on the grid. Everyone else decided to pit as the track seemed to be drying out. But one lap later Lewis had to pit as well, a move which had him fall back from 1st place to 14th on the grid. I believe I did mention that this was no ordinary F1 race, but you’ll have to see it with your own eyes to understand just how insane everything was.
In a move that reminded me of Marc Marquez, Lewis Hamilton started overtaking opponent after opponent. With 10 laps to go till the end of the race, he was already in 5th place. A stubborn Fernando Alonso was blocking his way, and it took some time for the Mercedes-AMG driver to move into 4th. But he wasn’t going to settle for that, as he overtook Carlos Sainz as well, finishing the race in 3rd place.
Hamilton’s heroic efforts only added to the excitement of this race, as French fans were cheering for Esteban Ocon. The young Alpine driver was in the lead, on his way to his first-ever F1 victory, but Sebastian Vettel was hot on his tail. The two battled it out extensively, and Aston Martin supporters were looking forward to a podium finish. And while Sebastian did finish in 2nd place, he was later disqualified because the race officials were unable to extract the required fuel sample from his car.
That meant that Lewis Hamilton moved up to 2nd place, with Carlos Sainz advancing to third, although he didn’t get to step on the podium. Going into the Hungarian GP, Max Verstappen was leading the championship, but now he is down to second place, 6 points behind his arch-rival, Lewis Hamilton.
Lando Norris, Valtteri Bottas, and Sergio Perez are quite far behind, in 3rd ,4th and 5th, but still close to one and other. Mercedes is 12 points ahead of Red Bull Racing in the Constructor Standings, while Ferrari and McLaren Mercedes are tied for 3rd. The next race is scheduled for the last weekend of August, in Belgium.