Esteban Ocon secured his, and Alpine’s, maiden win in Formula One after Mercedes made an unforced error on the restart which gifted the Frenchman the lead of the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix.
Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Charles Leclerc (Ferrari), Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) and Sergio Perez (Red Bull) all became the first casualties of the Hungarian GP as carnage ensued at the first corner.
After a dry lap to the grid, all of the drivers started on the intermediate tyres as rain fell as the teams sat on the grid in the build up to the Grand Prix.
Hamilton got a great getaway in the damp conditions as his championship rival, Verstappen, slotted in behind him. Bottas was swamped and overtaken by Lando Norris but as the field arrived to the first corner, Bottas locked up as a result of late braking and rear-ended the McLaren. As a result, Norris ran into the side of Verstappen as Bottas ran into the side of Red Bull’s Sergio Perez, destroying the Finn’s suspension in the process.
After the chaotic first corner, Bottas, Perez, Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) and Lance Stroll (Aston Martin) retired from the race on the first lap. However, due to the damage caused by Bottas and Verstappen, Norris became the fifth DNF as the McLaren pit wall confirmed Norris’ retirement to race control. Haas’ Nikita Mazepin became the race’s sixth and last DNF as Alfa Romeo’s Kimi Raikkonen was unsafely released into the path of the Russian’s Haas in the pit lane.
As a the sun reappeared out of the clouds, which caused the track to dry up quickly, Hamilton was the only driver to start the race on the grid on the intermediate tyres while the rest of the field started in the pit lane as they opted for dry, slick tyres. Hamilton pitted on the first lap of the restart and ended up filtering into the race at the back of the field, Ocon then inherited the race lead.
At the beginning of the 10th lap, Hamilton finally passed Antonio Giovinazzi at the first turn as the remaining Mercedes driver looked to fight his way back to the front. Giovinazzi was also given a 10-second stop/go penalty after the stewards found the Italian had sped in the the pit lane.
Hamilton pitted to swap his medium compound tyres for the hards, to provide the seven-time world champion a chance to run in some clear air. As a result, Red Bull reacted to Mercedes’ pit but Hamilton’s out lap was fast enough to undercut both Verstappen and McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo on the pit lane exit.
Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, pitted on lap 37 as the German changed his medium compounds for the hard compound. However, due to a slow 3 second stop, Ocon was able to venture into the pits a lap later and return to the track ahead of his German challenger.
In a bid to secure a top three position, or create a shock win, Hamilton pitted for fresh new medium compound tyres on lap 48. However, the seven-time world champion struggled to get past Alpine’s Fernando Alonso in the dying stages of the Hungarian Grand Prix but the former world champion locked up into turn one. That gave Hamilton a great run into the second corner and the defending champion finally secured P4 from Alonso, on lap 65. Two laps later, Hamilton secured the final podium position as he passed the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz into the first corner.
As Ocon secured his first maiden win, Williams finally scored their first set of championship points since Germany 2019 and Hamilton regained the lead of the drivers championship with 192 points, six more than his championship rival, Verstappen (186pts).
- Esteban Ocon (Alpine)
- Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)
- Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
Pierre Gasly, Alpha Tauri – 1:18.394