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Esteban Ocon takes Alpine’s maiden Grand Prix win after a chaotic wet start in Hungary

Esteban Ocon has won the Hungarian Grand Prix  to take Alpine’s maiden win after a chaotic wet start and a red flag eliminated much of the front of the grid.

The Alpine driver led a controlled race in front of the Aston Martin of Sebastian Vettel, who took his second podium of the season, after the grid was shaken up following a first lap incident where Valtteri Bottas collided with the Red Bull’s and Lando Norris.

The remainder of the race was a story of the midfield fighting at the top as Ocon defended from Vettel behind to win the Hungarian Grand Prix while Hamilton fought back after Mercedes made mistakes on the restart. Williams also picked up their first points of the season with Nicolas Latifi and George Russell finishing P8 and P9.

A Start followed by a red-flag

Hamilton had a strong start off the line, unlike his teammate Valtteri Bottas, the number 77 car was under pressure from the McLaren of Lando Norris on the charge as well as Max Verstappen to his left.

Bottas locked up on the oily surface into Turn 1, sending his car into the rear of Norris who then collected Verstappen as made his way around the first corner.  Bottas also took the Sergio Perez out of the race, going over his front wing, as he went straight on into the runoff with front end damage.

The incident left Norris’ McLaren with right side floor damage and he retired from the race. Perez also retired and pulled to the side of the track minutes later.

Lance Stoll, also struggled to slow down his Aston Martin, cutting the corner at Turn 1 over the grass and lost control over the wet curb and sending his car into Charles Leclerc’s Ferrari. Resulting in the pair’s retirement from the race.

Verstappen pitted for a new front wing and tyres but as he made his way out of the pits and towards the back of the pack the full damage became clear “We have lost the bargeboard on the left-hand side” he was told on the radio.

The race was then red-flagged due to the debris on the track and in the pitlane exit. 

Credit: Formula 1 Media

The Pitlane Restart

The red-flag period handed the Red Bull garage a lifeline with the engineers going to work on fixing Verstappen’s car as much as they could but the car left the pitlane for the restart with obvious damage to  the right side of his RB16B.  

The new re-starting order emerged with notable advantages such as Sebastian Vettel P3, Yuki Tsunoda P5. Nicolas Latifi P6, and Mick Schumacher P10.

As the remaining drivers were on their out lap, it became apparent the track was too dry for inters, the entirety of the grid pitted aside from Hamilton meaning the lights went out with only Hamilton’s Mercedes on the starting line.

The pitlane race was won by Williams and George Russell who left the pits in P2 behind Hamilton, but he was told to give four places back by the stewards due to undertaking in the pitlane. This left Ocon in P1 with Vettel and Latifi behind as Hamilton finally pitted a lap later.

 The drama continued in the Pitlane as Kimi Raikkonen was released into the path of Nikita Mazepin, leaving the Haas out of the race. Speeding in the Pitlane was also investigated with Giovinazzi, receiving a penalty

Alpine and Aston Martin battle for the lead

Ocon led a strong race for the opening laps after the restart with Vettel hanging a second behind with the pair dropping the Williams of Latifi by nine seconds who had Tsunoda and Sainz on his tail.

The fight for the lead was alive as the pit window opened, Vettel lapping faster than Ocon and on his tail, but Alpine held the cards with Fernando Alonso in P4.

Vettel entered the pit lane on Lap 37 but a small problem cost the team around 1 second on the stop and as Ocon pitted the lap later he came out in front of the Aston Martin.

With his tyres up to temperature, Vettel closed down on the front runner. Ocon in the Alpine however, was able to stay in control and crucially ahead of the Aston Martin even as the experienced head of Vettel kept up the pressure.

But ultimately, Alpine controlled the race and with Alonso holding up Hamilton gave hope into the final laps of the Grand Prix that Ocon had the win in his hands.

Credit: Formula 1 Media

Hamilton on the fight back

Turn 1 gave us most of the overtaking with Verstappen moving first, battling past the Haas of Schumacher who put up a fight against the damaged Red Bull. 

Hamilton after being sent back to P14, the last of the remaining drivers, struggled to make his way up the order and passed Giovinazzi on Lap 11 and was able to pass Schumacher a lap later than the Red Bull.

Hamilton pitted once more on Lap 20 for the hard tyres with the hope to go to the end. This meant Red Bull had to respond, pitting Verstappen a lap later for the same tyre.

However, the undercut worked for Mercedes, passing Verstappen as he exited the pit lane. While Hamilton was able to make progress on the new hard tyres, making it passed Tsunoda in P5 on Lap 33, the damaged Red Bull struggled to overtake.

Verstappen, while only making it passed Schumacher, pitted once more on Lap 42 for a set of medium tyres.

Hamilton closed down on the podium positions, only six seconds off the lead by Lap 45, but three laps later the Brit pitted for medium tyres and re-joined the race in P5. It wasn’t long before he heard “Hammertime” over the radio and he started to set his sights on the win.

Alonso wasn’t making it easy for Mercedes however, defending and leaving Hamilton struggling to pass for much longer than he’d hoped. Into Turn 2, the pair raced wheel-to-wheel through the first sector and Hamilton spent five laps behind the Alpine.

The Mercedes was finally able to pass the Alpine and it wasn’t long until Hamilton was on the tail of Sainz and made the pass on the inside of Turn 1 on Lap 68 to take the last podium position.

F1 2021: Drivers that Need a Good Hungarian GP Later Today

The gloves are off, and we are back to the F1 battleground. The stage has shifted from Silverstone to the Hungaroring that holds much promise to offer another enticing Hamilton versus Verstappen duel.

With Sir Lewis Hamilton taking a record-breaking ninth career pole at the Hungaroring, the most by any driver at the venue, the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix is poised to be an exciting battle. Even more so since Max Verstappen, who’s authored a great challenge to the king of the throne thus far, has managed a third in qualifying.

And perhaps what only exacerbates Red Bull, aggrieved given their plea against Hamilton’s penalty at Silverstone wasn’t entertained by the FIA, is that none of their drivers start from the front grid, with Valtteri Bottas slated to begin second.

A lot of action and drama is poised to be unfurled at Round 11 of the 2021 World Championship, an event where there are a few drivers who’d be determined to up their game.

So let’s find out which drivers need to deliver a strong Hungarian GP?

Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz has ground to make up after his qualifying crash. Image: Ferrari

After sliding outside of the track in Q1, Ferrari newcomer Carlos Sainz Jr., who had been much quicker than Charles Leclerc for the better part of Friday. The talented Spaniard will be keen to pounce on the challenging midfield in the next few hours.

Starting today’s 70-lap challenge from fifteenth on the grid, Sainz will know that he’s got a car that’s nearly as quick as the McLaren. If not in terms of straight-line speed where, one has seen the other Ferrari of Leclerc being challenged, such as in events like Baku, where it didn’t take Hamilton and Mercedes long to pass the pole-sitter.

That being said, having been the better finisher among the two Ferraris, finishing above Leclerc in both rounds at Austria and having gathered a strong P6 at Silverstone, it’ll be brilliant for Sainz to collect a strong race finish at Hungary.

READ MORE: 2021 HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX – FP1 & FP2 REPORT: COULD BOTTAS UPSET THE TITLE FIGHT?

Yuki Tsunoda

Tsunoda has flattered to deceive after his incredible debut in Bahrain

The rookie Japanese driver, who collected points in his very first outing in Formula 1 has shown lukewarm form where the recent events stand. Although, where the last four Grands Prix are concerned, the Sagamihara-born driver managed to beat a more experienced teammate in Gasly on two occasions.

Picture the Steierkmark Grand Prix and the recent race at Silverstone saw Tsunoda finished ahead of Gasly.

Though, for Sunday’s Hungarian contest, Yuki begins from sixteenth on the grid, having failed to put together a strong lap in Q1, from which he was knocked out.

Knowing that he’s got a car perhaps slightly stronger than the Aston Martin and at par with Alpine Racing, Tsunoda should be in a position to contest the packed midfield shortly. But will he improve on his lowly starting position?

Max Verstappen

Verstappen will need to overtake at least one of the Mercedes to maintain his championship lead. Image: F1

Having crashed out in two important races now, one each at Baku and the next, at Silverstone, for no fault of his own, Verstappen, regardless of some of the way he’s been portrayed on social media, will be feeling crestfallen.

Someone who himself stopped the interviewers from hurling him questions related to the Silverstone saga, Max would know he has better things to focus on.

And right now, it’s to find a way to do better than what he managed during qualifying.

Aware that he’s starting from third on the grid and isn’t nearly as close to Hamilton as what he’d have liked in order to pose an early challenge, it will be an interesting sight to see the resilience of Hamilton being challenged by the aggression of a talented and fiery driver.

Moreover, for the sake of extending his lead over the world championship, instead of seeing it shrink, the chances of which are highly likely, Verstappen has to deliver a very fine Hungarian GP. Importantly, it also happens to be a venue where he’s never won a race before.

READ MORE: F1 BLAST FROM THE PAST: BUTTON ENDS LONG WAIT FOR FIRST FORMULA 1 VICTORY

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen’s season has yielded only one point so far

The Iceman with his thirteenth on the grid during Saturday’s qualifying provided a moment of reprieve to himself – provided he felt pressure in all this time- and to millions of fans who were rightly distraught at having seen a driver of such fine caliber having been knocked out in Q1 itself for the last four consecutive qualifying battles.

Starting P13, Raikkonen, given his penchant to move swiftly up the grid not long after the red lights turn green, would want to demonstrate a similar act, doing which he could land himself in a point-scoring chance.

Something that hasn’t happened for long, Baku being the last and only occasion where the sport’s most enigmatic and experienced driver scored a point and that too, a solitary one.

Having scored 9 of his 103 career podiums at Hungary, while a top-three finish is about as probable as is imagining the Adriatic sea minus water and fishes, Kimi’s task is clear and cut out- he’s to fight for points and make a possible race finish inside the top 10. Some would reckon even a P10 won’t hurt so much. But is it going to actually happen? We shall have to wait and see.

Grid Talk Podcast

If you want more reaction to yesterday’s qualifying session, the Grid Talk crew have you covered with their latest podcast. Ruby Price hosted Steve Jackson and Tom Downey in their 2021 Hungarian GP qualifying analysis. Audio and video versions of the show are both available below:

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix – Qualifying report: Tatics at play as Hamilton storms to pole!

It’s time for Qualifying. Bottas, Verstappen and Hamilton had all topped a practice session up to this point, so it was a real toss up on who would get pole. We were promised rain, and like all weather predictions in Formula One, it never came. Instead it was scorching heat with almost clear blue skies.

Pole here is very important, but only time would tell who would get it. Let’s get into the action

Q1

For fans of Mick Schumacher, it was worrying news as his crash in FP3 meant that it looked as though he would miss Q1 as they changed the gearbox.

Carlos Sainz coming very close to an AlphaTauri. Could it be a penalty? Credit:F1

Bottas was the first of the front-runners to set a flying lap and while it was a very solid lap from the Finn, Lewis was next over the line and went 2 tenths faster. But the battle wasn’t over as Max was the last over the line, going a further 2 tenths faster than Lewis.

Perez in the other Red Bull had not had the best of weekends up to this point and on his first run, he was slower than both Gasly in the AlphaTauri and Norris in the McLaren. He was over a second slower than Verstappen.

The Ferrari’s were patient and waited before setting their first flying laps. Sainz put his car on 4th, but he was released in the path of Pierre Gasly. He darted to the inside kerb to avoid, but still likely cost Gasly some time as he would have had to run wide at turn 1.

Leclerc in the other Ferrari was not able to replicate his team-mate’s pace and could only manged 7th, 4 tenths off Sainz.

As the drivers headed out for their final runs, Mr Saturday, George Russell, was in the drop zone and seemed to be in real danger of dropping out. Latifi was a few thousandths behind him. Tsunoda was also in trouble in 16th. After a poor weekend so far, he needed to avoid being eliminated.

Russell had 4 tenths to make up to get into Q2 and it proved too much as he missed out. It is the first time this season he was eliminated in Q1.

Despite Latifi also improving, he couldn’t beat George and would qualify in 18th. With Tsunoda also out, it was good news for Alfa Romeo who got both cars into Q2. A good showing from both Alfa drivers.

Eliminated: Tsunoda (16th), Russell (17th), Latifi (18th), Mazepin (19th), Schumacher (20th).

Q2

As expected both Mercedes and Red Bull cars emerged from the pit lane on Medium tyres. The best strategy is the one-stop and with the soft tyres burning up very quickly, it was important to get these laps perfect.

Sainz providing the drama again, but this time putting himself out of qualifying with a hefty impact. Credit: F1

Interestingly Perez opted for the Medium tyres despite his struggles around this track this weekend. Perez’s lap wasn’t amazing, but he was only 2 tenths off Bottas in 3rd who didn’t have a very good lap.

Lewis drove a blinder and was over 2 tenths faster than Verstappen in 2nd and half a second faster than Bottas.

But now it was the turn of the soft tyre runners. Vettel and Gasly were able to sperate Bottas and Perez from their team-mates, and then Fernando Alonso came out of nowhere to put his Alpine in 2nd.

Ferrari took their time again and Leclerc went faster than Verstappen to put his car in 2nd, however Sainz put his car in the wall at the final corner. This brought out the red flag with 6 minutes to go. Sainz was able to keep the car running but ran over his front wing and was forced to retire.

Bottas and Perez now faced a tough choice. They either sacrifice another set of Medium tyres or use the softs to try to make sure they get through to Q3. Norris and Stroll who showed great pace in Q1 were in the danger zone and would need a big lap to get them through to Q3.

Bottas did choose to run the medium tyres again so there was no room for error for the Finn. He put in a 1:16.7 which would see him comfortably into Q3.

Verstappen switched to the soft tyres and set the fastest lap on the soft tyres which could cause some issues in the race tomorrow.

Perez also switched to the softs and went 4th, behind Norris in 2nd and Gasly in 3rd. Ocon was able to get his first Q3 appearance this season with 9th. Vettel put in a mega lap to push Daniel Ricciardo out of Q2. His Team-mate Lance Stroll could only do as well as 12th.

Eliminated: Ricciardo (11th), Stroll (12th), Raikkonen (13th), Giovinazzi (14th), Sainz (15th).

Q3

It was clear from Q1 and Q2 that the track speed was get much faster so this was going to be very tactical to get the best lap possible.

Gasly put in a great effort to qualify 5th for tomorrow’s race. Credit: AlphaTauri

After the first run of lap, it was Hamilton who put his car on provisional pole. He was half a second faster than Verstappen in 3rd place. But, it was a Mercedes front row with Both red Bull cars behind.

Leclerc was best of the rest in 5th, but only 2 tenths of a second separated Leclerc in 5th and Norris in 9th. Norris used a a set of old soft tyres.

Vettel went out on his own to set his singular lap of the session and it put him in 8th for the time being.

Some strange games were going on between Lewis and Max. Lewis was very slow through the pit-lane and then he was holing him up throughout the out lap. Lewis was in no rush to get on with it, which would have been irritating for the red bull drivers stuck behind.

This meant that Perez could not get over the line in time and was stuck in 4th.

Neither Bottas, Hamilton or Verstappen could not improve their times which locked out the front row for Mercedes.

Gasly did an amazing lap to be best of the rest ahead of Lando Norris in 5th. A great lap for Lando as he got ahead of the Ferrari of Charles Leclerc.

But the race was now setup for Tomorrow. It was going to be very tough race for Red Bull who have a big challenge ahead of them.

Full Classification

Grid Talk Podcast

If you want more reaction to yesterday’s qualifying session, the Grid Talk crew have you covered with their latest podcast. Ruby Price hosted Steve Jackson and Tom Downey in their 2021 Hungarian GP qualifying analysis. Audio and video versions of the show are both available below:

Grid Talk Podcast

If you want more reaction to yesterday’s qualifying session, the Grid Talk crew have you covered with their latest podcast. Ruby Price hosted Steve Jackson and Tom Downey in their 2021 Hungarian GP qualifying analysis. Audio and video versions of the show are both available below:

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix – FP1 & FP2 report: Could Bottas upset the title fight?

After two weeks which has seemed to split the Formula One fanbase in two, it was nice to see some on-track action for a change. Lewis Hamilton is coming into this weekend hoping for his 9th win at the Hungaroring. But this track is nicknamed “Monaco without walls” and given the dominance shown by Red Bull in Monaco a few months ago, this could be another tense weekend.

Let’s get straight into the Friday action.

FP1

Max Verstappen was fast out of the gate and looking to get back at Mercedes right away. He set the initial pace on the hard tyres. Lewis Hamilton was not happy with the setup of his car. He complained of understeer and could not keep up with Max or Bottas throughout the session

Fernando Alonso turned 40 this weekend and proving that he’s still human behind the wheel. Credit: F1

The condition were very hot in Budapest and teams were hesitant to use the medium tyres. However, McLaren decided to avoid the hard tyres for Lando Norris and use the Medium tyres. An unusual move for McLaren but time will tell if this could pay off when Sunday arrives.

Kimi Raikkonen was absent from this session as Robert Kubica took over his seat. It’s always great to see Kubica behind the wheel of a Formula One car. He was responsible for much of Alfa Romeo’s running as Giovinazzi was stuck in the garage. Antonio was only able to complete five laps putting him on the back foot for the weekend.

Giovinazzi was not the only one who had trouble though as Fernando Alonso had a high-speed spin on the exit of turn 4 which saw him in the pits for a while.

But for Yuki Tsunoda his escapades at turn 4 were more session ending. With less than a third of the session remaining, Yuki got a bit greedy on the entry kerb into turn 4 which spun his car around and put him in the wall. This brought out the red flag.

After the car was cleared and the barrier was repaired, the drivers started to emerge on the soft tyres. Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen almost had a little moment in the pit-lane, coming out at the same time.

But at the end of the session, it was Max Verstappen who managed to pip Bottas to the top of the timing sheets by only 0.067 seconds. Hamilton was a further tenth behind in 3rd place.

FP2

The temperature climbed up even further for the afternoon session and the teams looked to make the most of it. 19 out of the 20 cars were all out on track within the first few minutes of the session. Most teams opted for the Medium tyres to gauge their qualifying and race potential.

Lewis Hamilton looked better in the afternoon session, but still lost out to Bottas on Quali runs. Credit: F1

But while Tsunoda was stuck in the garage after his crash, Gasly was out putting on a good show in the other AlphaTauri. He put his car in 5th place early in the session. Tsunoda’s car required a new gearbox and and whole new rear-end. It would be a push to get him out before the end of the session.

Out on track though, it was Lewis Hamilton who set the early pace. After some balance issues in the morning session, he looked to be a bit more comfortable.

Max was complaining that he was still having some balance issues from the morning session. But he wasn’t far off the Mercedes pair in third as the teams now switched the focus to qualifying runs.

Bottas came alive and managed to get ahead of Hamilton by 0.027 seconds. Verstappen waited a little longer to do his qualifying run, but Max’s run was far from clean. A clean last sector saw him nearly 3 tenths off Bottas and Hamilton. Far from ideal.

Esteban Ocon was showing some resurgence by putting his Alpine in 4th place, ahead of Sergio Perez, who didn’t look comfortable over both sessions, nearly half a second off Max Verstappen.

With only 2 minutes to go, Tsunoda left the garage and he would only be able to set a single flying lap. It was far from an impressive time, only managing to get his car in 17th place. It would be a big day for him tomorrow.

Why does Tsunoda keep crashing?

This is now the fourth time in 12 races that Yuki Tsunoda has brought out the red flag. With results not being the best as well, a lot of doubts are starting to dwell on Yuki’s place in Formula One.

Yuki hit the wall hard with his crash and meant it was a delayed start for him in FP2. Credit: F1

Of course, he is the youngest driver on the grid and this is his first season in Formula One, so you have to give him some leniency in his performance.

But while we mock Nikita Mazepin for some of his antics on tracks this season, Yuki has not been much better with his crashes.

Now, I do not believe that Yuki should be chucked out of his seat at AlphaTauri because he clearly has a lot of pace and potential, but he just needs to start being more consistent and keep his car out of the wall. The Summer break could be crucial for Yuki to reset and go again.

FP1 Full classification

FP2 Full classification

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content before the Hungarian Grand Prix this weekend? Check out the Grid Talk Hungarian Grand Prix Prixview! This week George Howson is joined by Philip Mathew, Jack Watson and Alex Booth. Both video and audio versions of the show are down below:

F1 Blast from the Past: Button Ends Long Wait for First Formula 1 Victory

Background

Round 13 of the 2006 Formula One World Championship was at the Hungaroring, near Budapest. Fernando Alonso continued to lead the driver’s standings coming into the weekend, but a recent drop in form coming off the back of Renault’s mass damper controversy had allowed the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher to close in. Three consecutive victories for the German had allowed him to close to the gap to Alonso to just 11 points.

Alonso and Schumacher’s title battle would define the 2006 season

Following the departure of Juan Pablo Montoya after the United States Grand Prix, another big name had left the sport before Hungary. Jacques Villeneuve was deemed unfit to drive following his crash at the German Grand Prix the previous week and was replaced by Poland’s Robert Kubica. However, the 1997 World Champion parted company with the BMW Sauber team permanently.

Qualifying

The weekend got off to a controversial start when championship leader Alonso felt that Red Bull’s third driver Robert Doornbos had impeded him during Friday’s second practice session. The Spaniard remonstrated furiously with the Dutchman and brake tested him. Alonso was handed a one-second time penalty for each part of qualifying.

To make matters worse, he incurred the same penalty for overtaking under waved yellow flags later in the session.

The only F1 race in Eastern Europe produced plenty of penalties for the top dogs. Image: ppm Hungary

The defending world champion wasn’t the only one in trouble, though. Jenson Button’s Honda engine failed in Saturday morning’s practice session, giving the Englishman a 10-place grid penalty.

However, the other championship contender also found himself in hot water. Kubica followed Alonso around the final corner as both slowed following the red flag, but Schumacher drove round the outside of both of them. Subsequently, the German also gained a two-second penalty for each part of qualifying.

Kimi Raikkonen avoided the controversy to take his second pole position in as many weeks. The Finn was ahead of the two Brazilians of Felipe Massa in the Ferrari and Rubens Barrichello’s Honda. While the penalties imposed resulted in Schumacher starting 11th, Button 14th and Alonso 15th.

Slip and slide at the start

For the first time in its history, the Hungarian Grand Prix started in wet conditions. The 70 laps got underway with Raikkonen holding his lead, but Massa made a poor getaway as Barrichello and the second McLaren of Pedro de la Rosa got ahead.

It was very much sink or swim at the start of the 2006 Hungarian GP. Image: The Checkered Flag

Further back, both Schumacher and Alonso made excellent starts. Schumacher was quickly up to fifth and by the end of the lap had disposed of Giancarlo Fisichella’s Renault for fourth. Alonso had surged through the field and was only two places behind in sixth after dismissing Massa’s Ferrari into the final corner.

Alonso then quickly got past his teammate Fisichella for fifth before hunting down Schumacher. Despite their grid penalties, unbelievably they were dicing for fourth after just a few laps.

READ MORE BLAST FROM THE PAST: SCHUMACHER AND ALONSO DUEL IN THE DESERT

On Lap Four, Alonso boldly passed Schumacher round the outside of Turn Five. Button also got the better of Schumacher on lap seven, the German had started on full wet tyres and as the track was briefly drying, the Ferrari was on the backfoot.

On Lap 17, Giancarlo Fisichella was battling with Schumacher when the German caught a snap of oversteer and tagged the Italian, damaging his front wing. Schumacher sunk to ninth, while Alonso found himself in the lead after both McLaren’s made their first pit-stops.

A race of attrition

The rain began to get heavier and on Lap 18, Fisichella spun off at Turn 8, the damage ended his race. Robert Kubica also spun at Turn Five and would head to the pits for a new nosecone. On Lap 26 the Safety Car was brought out after a terrifying incident which saw Raikkonen launch over the back of the Toro Rosso of Vitantonio Liuzzi.

The Italian had backed off to let the McLaren lap him, but Raikkonen was caught out by the deceleration and couldn’t avoid the Toro Rosso. Alonso used the opportunity to make his first pit-stop and retained his lead from Button and de la Rosa.

The race restarted on Lap 32 and Schumacher’s incident-packed race continued when he collided with David Coulthard’s Red Bull at Turn 2 and spun, but quickly recovered. Button was flying in the Honda as the track was drying out again, setting the fastest lap of the race thus far and closing in on Alonso. Kubica was also recovering well, catching Massa napping and moving into the points.

At the end of Lap 46, Button headed to the pits for his second fuel stop, he was followed soon after by Schumacher. Neither opted to change their tyres. Alonso then made his stop on Lap 51, relinquishing the lead to Button but the Englishman would have to pit again. However, the Renault had a problem exiting the pits, the driveshaft had failed leaving the Spaniard careering into the tyre barrier at Turn 2 and out of the race for the first time in 2006.

READ MORE BLAST FROM THE PAST: SCHUMACHER AND ALONSO DUEL AT IMOLA 2005

Button was then left with a comfortable lead, Schumacher was up to second but his gamble to stay on intermediates didn’t pay off as de la Rosa and Nick Heidfeld, both on dry tyres, began to catch him. With just six laps to go, de la Rosa made a move down the inside going into the chicane, Schumacher straight-lined the chicane and refused to concede the position to the Spaniard.

On the next lap, de la Rosa attempted the manoeuvre again, Schumacher cut the chicane for the second time but the McLaren made it through to second place. One lap later at the same spot, Heidfeld tried the same move, Schumacher refused to yield and there was contact, it was the Ferrari that came off worse with a broken right-front track rod. A frustrating weekend finally came to an end for Schumacher.

At the front, Jenson Button, in his 113th Grand Prix, finally scored his first victory after a brilliant drive from 14th on the grid. Pedro de la Rosa followed him home in second for his first career podium finish, and Nick Heidfeld took BMW Sauber’s first podium finish. There hadn’t been a happier podium for a long time.

Barrichello completed Honda’s day with fourth place ahead of Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher. Robert Kubica finished seventh on his debut but was excluded for an underweight car. Leaving Felipe Massa picking up two points and Michael Schumacher salvaging the final point after been classified two laps down.

It had been a long time coming but Jenson Button had answered his critics and had become a Grand Prix winner in one of the most entertaining races in modern Formula 1 history.

Grid Talk Podcast

If you want more content to preview your Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, the Grid Talk crew have you covered with their latest podcast. George Howson hosted Jack Watson, Alex Booth and Phil Mathew in their Hungarian GP Prixview. Both audio and video versions of the show are available below:

2021 British Grand Prix – Sprint Qualifying report: Max takes pole as Perez spins out

Ever since this was announced, we have eagerly waiting to see how this sprint qualifying would work. This was a best test for the drivers and Formula One.

It was a very strange to see the cars lining up on the grid, but as the “race” got closer, it was very exciting as this was a step into the unknown for Formula One.

This race would be only 17 laps long and will set the grid for the actual race tomorrow. The top three drivers will receive three, two and one points respectively.

So let’s get into the action for the very first sprint qualifying.

Split choice of the tyres

It was a scorching day at Silverstone and the sun was shining on a very hot track. I would have made sense to start the race on the medium tyres, but it was not the case for all driver. Bottas, both Alpines and Kimi Raikkonen decided to start on the soft tyres.

it would be a risk for Mercedes to put Bottas on the soft tyres but they needed to be aggressive to get ahead of Max Verstappen off the start.

It was the same case for the Alpine cars who would want both of their drivers as high up the order as possible to have the best chance of scoring points in tomorrow’s race.

A very punchy start

Max’s brakes were on fire and so was Max.

Mercedes’ gamble didn’t pay off at the start as Verstappen flew past Lewis Hamilton at the start. He had the lead by turn 1. he was under pressure from Bottas, but managed to keep his teammate behind as he started on his persuit of the lead.

Hamilton first looked to make a move down the Wellington straight, but Verstappen just managed to hold on. Lewis wasn’t finished there though. Lewis lined up his next move on the run up to Copse corner. He looked to the outside, but Max held the inside line and held onto the lead.

That was not the only drama on the opening lap. Carlos Sainz and George Russell had a coming together through Brooklands. This put Sainz all the way down in 19th place.

Mazepin also found himself facing the wrong way and he collided with his team-mate.

But not all drivers fell backwards. Vintage Fernando Alonso came back to life at the start and made up six places on the opening lap. He was in 5th place at the end of lap 1 with both McLarens and the Red Bull of Sergio Perez bearing down on him.

Alonso fought hard, but couldn’t hold on

People who worried about the lack of overtaking and action must have been delighted with Fernando Alonso.

Lando Norris was hounding the Spaniard, and despite Alonso weaving down the Hangar straight and did everything he could to keep Norris behind, Lando found his way past with a great move down the inside of turn 3.

Next was Daniel Ricciardo. Alonso did all he could to keep the Australian behind, but Ricciardo looked to make a move similar to his teammate going into turn 3. Alonso had the inside covered which forced Daniel to the outside. Daniel made the move stick into the loop and took 6th place. Alonso wasn’t done though. He had a go at Ricciardo going through Brooklands and Luffield, but Daniel held on.

Alonso was now under pressure from Sebastian Vettel in the the Aston Martin, but this time he did not buckle and held off Vettel to qualify in 6th place for tomorrow’s race.

Carlos Sainz makes a good recovery

Being 19th after lap 1 of the sprint race is never ideal, but he did a great job to get his Ferrari back up the order.

He was making some amazing moves as he battled through the field. A notable move from Carlos was overtaking Kimi Raikkonen around the outside of Copse corner. An incredibly brave move in a normal Grand Prix and it was more brave today given short the race is and how much is at stake.

His move on Gasly for 11th place was also impressive. He couldn’t make the move into Stowe, but piled on the pressure through the Vale chicane and got the cutback through Club and got the move done as they crossed the line.

Usually 11th place wouldn’t be the worst place to start the race as you would get free choice of tyres, but that isn’t the case this weekend as all drivers will get a free choice of tyres, so it’s going to be tougher for Carlos to make up those places.

Mixed bag for Red Bull

Well it was Max Verstappen who took control from lap 1 to take pole position for the race tomorrow. but the other Red Bull will be starting from the very back.

As Perez was chasing down Ricciardo and Alonso, he overcooked it on the throttle as he was going through chapel and spun out of the race. He was incredibly fortunate to just miss the barrier, but it put him all the way at the back of the field.

He did recover to 18th before he was forced to retire from the race with a single lap to go. It’s going to be a tall order for Perez to make his way through the field in tomorrow’s race.

As for Max, he now has a huge upper hand on the Mercedes. Lewis really struggled with blistering, and while Max’s tyres also blistered, they were in a better condition than Lewis’ at the end of the race.

with temperatures expected to rise again for the race, it looks to be advantage Max Verstappen. However, with Perez at the back, hw will be under threat from Hamilton and Bottas behind.

Full classification

F1 2021 British Grand Prix Preview: Will Hamilton Return to Winning Ways on Home Ground?

Two weeks is a long time without a race in Formula 1, especially after the triple-header we just experienced. Red Bull and Max Verstappen are in the ascendency after the Dutchman has claimed a hat-trick of wins in as many rounds.

Sir Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes have it all to do, but F1 and the world champions are coming home to Silverstone this weekend. Also thrown into the mix is the first of three sprint qualifying sessions that provides the biggest shakeup to a Grand Prix weekend in decades.

There’s a lot to talk about ahead of the 2021 British Grand Prix weekend, so let’s get into our preview!

Track Guide

Silverstone hosted the very first Formula 1 Grand Prix in 1950. While the circuit has changes over the years, it still remains one of the fastest tracks on the calendar. The high-speed corners of Abbey (1), Copse (9), Stowe (15) and the Maggots-Becketts-Chapel complex are some of the best corners in the world.

Image credit: Formula 1

Silverstone is an absolute fan-favourite and we will see a full-capacity crowd this weekend, meaning up to 150,000 will be cheering on Hamilton, Lando Norris, George Russell and co. on Sunday.

The British Grand Prix rewards a car that is both fast in a straight line and can corner rapidly without wearing the tyres out. The forecast is calling for dry, hot conditions throughout the weekend, so it’s doubtful we’ll see rain deluge the circuit.

Something else to note is that the pit-straight between the first and final corners is now named after Hamilton. So, he’ll be racing on a piece of track that’s dedicated to him.

Last time out

Verstappen won both of the Red Bull Ring rounds at a canter, as his driver’s championship tally is now 32 points higher than Hamilton. Red Bull also achieved their fifth win a row and show little sign of that ending anytime soon.

It was a classic light to flag victory for Verstappen, as he claimed pole and the fastest lap. This sealed his first-ever Grand Slam and he also became the youngest man to ever do so, as 23 years old.

Max Verstappen was untouchable in Austria and Styria. Image: Marca

Valtteri Bottas was a very distant second, as Norris continued his mesmeric season to claim another podium in third. Hamilton had damage caused by Austria’s harsh kerbs, but he still brought his Mercedes home in fourth place.

Carlos Sainz had a rousing drive to fifth, thanks to his mega stint on hard tyres at the start of the race. Sergio Perez finished fifth on the road, but his penalties for running Charles Leclerc off the circuit (twice) dropped him to sixth. Daniel Ricciardo recovered from another poor qualifying to classify seventh in the end.

Leclerc was a disappointing eighth on a day when McLaren scored big again. Pierre Gasly scored points again for AlphaTauri in ninth, with Fernando Alonso rounding off the top ten.

An honourable mention has to go to George Russell, who just missed out on his first points for Williams in eleventh.

Can Mercedes stop Red Bull’s winning streak?

Hamilton and Mercedes won three of the opening four rounds and it seemed as though both were heading for an eighth championship crown each. However, since the Monaco Grand Prix, the form book has completely turned, with Red Bull winning every race.

It’s Verstappen that has won four of those five as well and, truth be told, he would’ve won in Baku as well if it wasn’t for his puncture.

Sir Lewis won the 2020 British GP despite finishing on three tyres. Image: Top Gear

Historically, Silverstone is a very happy hunting ground for Mercedes, having won all but one British Grand Prix since 2013. Furthermore, no driver has won more British Grands Prix than Sir Lewis (7). If there’s one thing that 2021 has taught us though, it’s that history means nothing, as Red Bull appears unstoppable.

You do, however, have to go back to Mark Webber in 2012 for Red Bull’s last British GP win. You only have to go back eleven months for their last Silverstone victory though, as Verstappen won last year’s 70th anniversary GP.

Mercedes really struggled with tyre wear in Silverstone during both of last year’s races. Bottas and Hamilton both suffered punctures and while Lewis still won the race, he’ll do very well to have such a gap to lean on. Although, if you believe Toto Wolff, then Mercedes will win by 30 seconds thanks to their upgrades. Very bold words indeed.

Qualifying on Friday (yes, it’s on Friday this weekend) will tell us a lot, but there’s no indications that Verstappen and Red Bull will be letting up anytime soon.

Session Times

Practice 1: 16 July               14:30-15:30 (9:30-10:30 AM EST)

Qualifying: 16 July               18:00-19:00 (1:00-2:00 PM EST)

Practice 2: 17 July               12:00-13:00 (7:00-8:00 AM EST)

Sprint Qualifying: 17 July    16:30-17:00 (11:30 AM -12:00 PM EST)

Race: 18 July             15:00 (10:00 EST)

All times are in British Standard Time (BST), unless stated otherwise.

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content to preview your British Grand Prix weekend? The Grid Talk crew have you covered with their British GP Prixvew. Ruby Price hosted Owain Medford, Louis Edwards and Phil Mathew in the latest podcast. Both audio and video versions are linked below:

F1 2021 Austrian Grand Prix Qualifying report – Max takes pole, but Lando in 2nd!

It was a close battle between Max Verstappen and the two Mercedes, but for the second weekend in a row they would have to fight it around the Red Bull ring.

Coming into qualifying it was still unclear who would take pole. Mercedes had shown some great pace in Friday quali sims, but Max topped the time sheets in FP3 this morning.

Let’s get straight into how qualifying unfolded!

Q1

The Max Verstappen fans were out in full force as qualifying got underway. The track temperature was scorching so it would be a true test to keep the tyres in a good operating window.

Daniel Ricciardo was a long way off Norris once again as he scrapes into Q2. Credit: McLaren

Traffic was a cause for concern as Mercedes got right onto the FIA to make sure no one would hold up their cars through turns 9 and 10. The Haas cars wasted no time and got their laps done early. There was no point wasting time as they knew they would be out in this session.

As expected it was Verstappen who set the initial pace, 0.25 seconds ahead of Hamilton in second place. Behind the Mercedes it was very close between Sainz, Norris and Perez. All drivers fighting for fourth place.

Aston Martin and AlphaTauri took a different approach, doing their first lot of laps on the Medium tyres. It worked very well for Aston Martin as Sebastian Vettel put his car in 11th after his first flying lap. AlphaTauri were more worried as Gasly had his lap time removed and Tsunoda could only do as well as 14th.

The surprise of the session was when Fernando Alonso rocketed up the standings and sat in 3rd place. An amazing performance given Ocon was in the danger zone after the first lot of runs.

It only got worse for Ocon as he failed to get out of the bottom five and will start the race in in 17th. Also out were both Haas cars, Latifi and Kimi Raikkonen. Dnaiel Ricciardo scraped through to Q2 by the skin of his teeth while Lando Norris was 2nd fastest.

Eliminated: Raikkonen (16th), Ocon (17th), Latifi (18th), Schumacher (19th), Mazepin (20th)

Q2

The cars emerged for Q2 and it was unsurprising to see that the top teams headed out on the medium tyres.

Fernando Alonso onboard as he came across Sebastian Vettel in the final corner. Credit: F1.

It felt as though I was playing the F1 game as all the cars came out at the same time. When Lewis was setting his first lap time, he was met with four cars at turn 9. Luckily for Lewis, they kept out of the way. But his lap time was still not good enough to top the time sheets.

His lap time wasn’t good enough for 2nd place either. Lando Norris put his McLaren in 2nd , Perez was in third and Sebastian Vettel was in third. Granted, he was on the soft tyres, but it was a mighty effort from the four-time world champion.

Aston Martin had shown great pace with Stroll also in the top 10 after the first runs. That pace was worrying for Ferrari who could only do as well as 11th and 12th on the Medium tyres.

Ferrari would not be deterred as they persevered with the medium tyres for their final run. But it would be for nought as they couldn’t improve on their positions. They were beaten by George Russell who managed to get his Williams on the top 10, and most importantly, it was on the medium tyres. A brilliant job by George.

Fernando Alonso was looking to replicate his Q1 pace, but he was held up at the final corner by Sebastian Vettel. Alonso was furious and it denied him a place in Q3. This would be taken to the stewards.

Eliminated: Giovinazzi (15th), Alonso (14th), Ricciardo (13th), Leclerc (12th), Sainz (11th).

Q3

It was now time for the shoot-out!

Max Verstappen had been the pace setter for every session so far and it was no different after the first runs in Q3. The two Mercedes cars could not keep up and they couldn’t even go faster than Lando Norris who did an amazing job to put his McLaren in 2nd place.

George Russell qualified in 9th place, Mr Saturday indeed. Credit: Williams F1

Perez was behind the Mercedes in 5th followed by Gasly in 6th, replicating his qualifying position from last weekend. Vettel was in 7th after the first runs and the Ferrari drivers would want to keep an eye on where he would end up as his likely penalty could promote them to the top 10.

It was going to be a tense final run as Mercedes needed it to be perfect. But it would not be Mercedes who would make this session interesting.

Lando Norris found some great pace to go purple in the first sector. Max wasn’t improving and Lando was chipping away as Max’s lap time bit by bit. In the end it wouldn’t be enough for the young Brit as he missed out by half a tenth of a second.

Perez jumped both Mercedes to round out the top 3. Hamilton could only get 4th place and Bottas would line up behind him in 5th.

But I have to take off my hat to George Russell who jumped Stroll right at the end to qualify 9th place. With the potential for Vettel getting a penalty, he could start in 8th. We will not be jinxing him on this website

Full classification

2021 Austrian GP – Have Mercedes found an edge on Red Bull?- FP1 & FP2 report

Some may not see the point of doing another day of practice at a track that had held a Grand Prix only five days ago, but here we are for the second part of the Austrian double header.

It was a much tougher day than most expected with may drivers struggling to find their feet early on. The tyre compounds are a step softer this weekend compared to last so there was much still to figure out for a lot of team.

So, let’s get straight into the action.

FP1

Several teams had opted to run their test drivers in the morning session. Guanyu Zhou stepped in for Fernando Alonso for Alpine; Callum Ilott got his first outing this season as test driver for alfa Romeo; and Roy Nissany made his hundredth appearance in the Williams, stepping in for George Russell.

Stroll narrowly avoiding the wall on the exit of turn 10. Credit: F1.

Red bull continued from where they left off last weekend as Max Verstappen topped the timing charts. However, teams were running various programmes during first practice.

Mercedes looked as though they were focusing on long runs. But, when Mercedes did attempt to do some quicker runs, they were plagued by tyre issues. Lewis Hamilton complained that he could not get the tyres switched on. This saw both Lewis and Valterri running wide at turn 1 as they attempted a fast lap.

Mercedes were not the only ones struggling with the soft tyre though. Stroll had two big moments which saw him off the track. First, he dipped his tyre into the gravel on the exit of turn 6 which sent him into a spin. After some drifting on the grass, he got back going again.

The second time almost ended in disaster as he completely lost the rear coming out of the final corner. He was lucky to keep it out of the barrier, but it was far from encouraging for Stroll and Aston Martin.

But the common theme of this session was Nikita Mazepin. He couldn’t help himself by getting in the way of both Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton. Raikkonen almost ran into the back of Mazepin as he entered the pit-lane and made his feelings very clear with a hand gesture to the Russian.

As for Hamilton, Mazepin was crawling around turn 3 and almost turned in on the seven-time world champion. Quick reactions from Mazepin meant that he didn’t cause a crash.

But this would all be forgotten as the drivers focused on FP2.

FP2

There were reports of rain at the very start of the session, but it wasn’t anything to worry about as it was very light.

Many drivers chose to run Pirelli’s prototype tyres at the start of the second practice session. Pirelli were testing a new, tougher hard tyre with hopes to use them at Silverstone. Despite not taking the flak for the Baku blowouts, it’s clear they will be doing something about it.

Hamilton struggling in the damp conditions late on in the session. Credit: F1

Ferrari had some nagging issues in the morning session despite their quick times, and these issues crept up again in the afternoon. Leclerc had a scary moment at turn 9 in the early part of the session. His rear stepped out on him as he turned it. Luckily for the Monegasque he managed to catch it, but the Ferrari certainly looks a handful.

Half-way through the session and the attention turned away from long runs and into quali runs. It was the two Mercedes who took the top two steps with Verstappen two tenths off Hamilton’s time.

There were a few surprises as well as both Aston Martins looked very quick. Both AlphaTauri’s were showing the pace from last weekend as well.

As the session came into it’s final third, the rain started to pick up. It only came a week late. Their is a potential for rain during the race and drivers continued to run to get a good idea of how far they could run while the rain was coming down.

This did mean that we were not going to see anymore flashy laps as the teams sent of their drivers to gather data about the wet conditions.

But when you go out on a damp track on slick tyres, you can expect some drivers to find it difficult to keep their car on the track. Lewis Hamilton was the first victim of the damp conditions as he ran off the track on the exit of turn 4. After a trip through the gravel he was able to re-join the track and continue on his way.

Norris was the second victim as he lost the rear on the exit of turn 1. He managed to avoid the barrier and get his car facing the right way. His tyres were nicely flat spotted and with only a few minutes remaining, he was forced to change his tyres

Ferrari continued their strong form

Ferrari showed great race pace last weekend despite a poor qualifying. It looks like it could be the same again this weekend.

Charles Leclerc out on the Pirelli prototype tyres. Credit: Scuderia Ferrari

The long-run pace that they showed in FP1 was very impressive and even though the tyres are a step softer this weekend, Ferrari will be ones to watch in the race.

The quali simulations in FP2 only saw Sainz in 11th and Leclerc in 16th, but I expect that when Qualifying comes round tomorrow, the red cars won’t be that low down.

Ferrari are only 12 points behind McLaren in the constructors championship and if they can get another great result this weekend then they are going to be right with them. Ricciardo had another difficult day with McLaren and it looks as though it will be a long weekend for him.

Ferrari will need to pounce of this, and I think they could do it again this weekend.

FP1 Classification

Credit: F1

FP2 Classification

Grid Talk podcast

Want to get some more build up to the weekend? The Grid Talk crew previewed this weekend’s Grand Prix in their latest podcasted. This week Louis Edwards hosted Owain Medford, Garry Sloan and Tom Downey. Both the audio and video links are below so make sure to check it out.

F1 2021 Austrian Grand Prix Preview

Formula 1 fans outside of the U.K. have seldom found themselves hoping for a better turn of fortune for Mercedes during the hybrid era. Yet, here we are.

Max Verstappen is laying burnouts – quite literally – all over the competition. What started as a fight is turning into a demolition and the savagery is stunning.

At this point, it does not look like anything can stop Mad Max in 2021 – but is it too soon to count seven times champion Sir Lewis Hamilton out?

Track Guide

F1 cars in all their beauty will be singing their song in the Austrian Alps again this weekend.

While it’s always too early to dismiss Hamilton from a title fight, the long straights and wonderfully fast-flowing corners of the Red Bull Ring seems unlikely to be the place Mercedes mount a renewed charge.

We’re racing at the Red Bull Ring for the second weekend in a row. Image: F1

Few tracks on the calendar conjure up such easy images of magnificent surroundings and blindingly fast cars. While most of the passing happens at the hard-right turn three, the most daring drivers will make it stick around Turn 6.

The rest of the lap is where speed shines and the chase intensifies before bottoming out in Turn 10 and blazing towards the stopwatch at the line.

Last time out

The fact that this week has been spent discussing the safety of Verstappen’s race-ending celebratory burn out on the finish line (how awesome was that?) because he finished so far ahead of second place tells the story of last week’s Styrian Grand Prix completely.

Verstappen dominated wire-to-wire for Red Bull’s fourth consecutive win and only a slow pit stop prevented Sergio Perez from joining him on the podium.

Mercedes did well to salvage second and third place for big points in the Constructor’s standings but the Silver Arrows were never a threat to Verstappen’s win.

Thankfully, at least Valtteri Bottas looked Iike the solid second driver that Mercedes desperately need for the first time in a while.

Beyond the leading four, both Ferrari and McLaren had one driver finish out of position and are likely to correct those anomalies for this repeat race which should make the midfield just as exciting this weekend.

Rinse and Repeat

Hindsight being the all-conquering view that it is, only sudden reliability woes will stop Red Bull from having two drivers on the podium this Sunday.

Can Verstappen win three races in a row for the first time in his F1 career on Sunday?

Though Mercedes may yet mount a more sustained challenge to Verstappen, given the Dutchman’s dominant display last Sunday, it seems more likely they’re in for another soul-crushing defeat. And it’s about time that happened. 

The Austrian Grand Prix rounds out the first of F1’s 2021 triple-header weekends and will be roaring across your screen this weekend.

Session Times

Practice 1  –  2nd July      10:30 – 11:30

Practice 2 –  2nd July     14:00 – 15:00

Practice 3 – 3rd July    11:00 – 12:00

Qualifying – 3rd July    14:00 – 15:00

Race – 4th July                 14:00

*All times BST

Grid Talk Podcast

Want more content to preview your Austrian GP weekend? The Grid Talk crew previewed this weekend’s race in their latest podcast. Louis Edwards hosted Owain Medford, Garry Sloan and Tom Downey. Both video and audio versions of the show are linked below:

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