Hungary proved to be a fantastic race despite many believing that it was going to be a bore.
Rain had fallen at the circuit before the race had started, and due to the track still being damp in parts, the entire grid were forced to start on the intermediate tyre.
However, no more rain fell and with a dry line beginning to form around the Hungaroring in the race’s early stages, the intermediates began to wear quickly and a set of slicks would be in order.
Before the first set of pit stops Nico Rosberg had already pulled out a healthy six second lead over Valteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel. As such, it was business as usual for Mercedes despite Lewis Hamilton starting from the pit lane.
That was until Marcus Ericsson demolished his car off of corner four which subsequently brought out a safety car.
Unfortunately for the top four runners (Rosberg, Bottas, Vettel and Fernando Alonso), the safety car came out too late as they had already passed the pit lane entry by the time the call was made to bring it out. Yet Daniel Ricciardo, Jenson Button and many others were able to take full advantage of the safety car’s release and came in for a new set of tyres.
The top four did pit a lap later, yet by the time they had all exited the pits a portion of those drivers which had come in a lap earlier had already passed them, now leaving Ricciardo in the lead.
With only ten laps passed and the entire grid being shaken up, the Hungarian grand prix was shaping up to be something special.
Hamilton, with a far superior car and a lucky pit stop, cut through the pack easily enough to find himself ahead of his team mate, Rosberg.
However, Rosberg was quick and was soon riding the gearbox of his team mate’s Silver Arrow which in time saw the team telling him to let Rosberg pass.
Hamilton never gave Rosberg the courtesy pass the team demanded as he chose to ignore the order and instead decided to focus on passing Alonso, who was now leading the race after Ricciardo had pitted on lap 54.
Rosberg’s tyres were degrading faster and faster with each passing lap and it was obvious he would need to pit again before the end of the 70 lap race.
Mercedes made the call to pit the current championship leader as Ricciardo came up behind the leading pair with fresher tyres attached to his Red Bull.
The top three, Alonso, Hamilton and Ricciardo, were all within a second of each other in the final laps and it was anyone’s guess who would take the win. Yet whilst the top three battled away with one another, a much quicker Rosberg was once again catching the front runners by over three seconds a lap.
No doubt Ricciardo had been told this and knew his Red Bull would be no match for Rosberg’s Mercedes on fresher tyres. So with three laps left, he made a daring pass on Hamilton stick which was quickly followed by a pass on Alonso by the first corner on the following lap.
Ricciardo sped away to take his second victory, leaving both Hamilton and Alonso to deal with Rosberg who had arrived at their tales.
Proving once again that he’s the maestro of Formula 1, Alonso was able to successfully fend off Hamilton on worn tyres to take second whilst Hamilton himself was able to hold third place despite Rosberg having an obvious speed advantage.
A win for Riccirado and a second place for Alonso going into the mid-season break will be a great moral booster for both Red Bull and Ferrari. Mercedes, however, will be asking themselves how an almost certain race victory slipped through their fingers.
Though a pit-lane to podium finish for Hamilton was fantastic, Mercedes won’t forget that Hamilton’s defiance may have costed Rosberg, and the team, the race win.