The Hungarian Grand Prix served up a different race after two rounds at the Red Bull, albeit with the same result – a Mercedes win.
Despite it not living up to the drama of the first two rounds, there are still plenty of talking points, with the Hungaroring in different character compared to Spielberg.
Here we look at the winners and losers of the race itself. If you want to find out more of what happened in the Grand Prix, you can read our race report here.
Winner – Lewis Hamilton
His eighth win at the Hungaroring equalled the record for the most wins at a single grand prix, and he’d be hard-pressed to do it in a more dominant style, having led comfortably for all but one lap, during the pitstops.
If he leads after the first lap it’s proving as strong a sign as can be that he’ll go on to take the chequered flag, and especially with Valtteri Bottas’ struggles off the line it was a simple race for Hamilton.
Loser – Everyone else
This seems a bit harsh as many other drivers had good races, but Hamilton’s dominance looks so ominous for the rest of the field. Mercedes have had the quickest car by a street on two different circuits in Hungary and Austria, and this weekend their closest challenger for pace was last year’s car run by Racing Point.
They’ll have to suffer serious reliability issues if any other team is to get into the top spots this season, and having seemingly fixed their gearbox sensor issues, that’s not looking likely either.
Also a loss for weather forecasters; the rain was imminent for the whole race but never arrived – according to sources it’s still imminent as you read this – and led to some bad strategy calls over the race.
Loser – Anti-racism
The driver’s stance on anti-racism is a mess at the moment, there seems to be no unification and the formal message given before the start of a Grand Prix drew heavy criticism, led by Hamilton.
The only black driver in the history of the sport, Hamilton said the lack of commitment to diversity from some teams was ’embarrassing’.
3% of Mercedes F1’s workforce are ethnic minorities and it’s unlikely any of the teams enjoy much more diversity, which is why Mercedes have branded themselves as the Black Arrows this season, but none of the teams have followed suit.
And if the sport can’t organise a symbolic anti-racism gesture before a race, it doesn’t bode well for F1 creating any meaningful change towards increasing diversity.
The comments of Jackie Stewart and Mario Andretti playing down the problem of racism in the sport haven’t helped either.
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Today I raced for everyone out there who is pushing to make positive change and fight inequality, however, sadly, as a sport we need to do so much more. It is embarrassing that many teams have not made any public commitment to diversity or that we couldn’t properly find time to make a symbolic gesture in support of ending racism before the race. Today felt rushed and massively lacked organisation and effort, which in turn dilutes the message and makes it seem like there was something more important. It doesn’t matter if you stand or kneel, but we should be showing the world that F1 is united in its commitment to equality and inclusivity. F1 and the FIA need to do more. There is no quick fix for racial inequality, but it is certainly something that we can’t just acknowledge once and then move on. We have to stay focussed, keep highlighting the problem and hold those with the power accountable. #BlackLivesMatter #EndRacism
Winner – Kevin Magnussen
Haas’ first points of the season, the decision to pit them after the formation lap paid dividends despite earning them a post-race penalty – in this case the ends of the tenth place justify the means.
Despite the team’s struggles, Magnussen was half a tenth off reaching Q2 and the point picked up could prove very valuable in the constructors’ championship at the end of the season.
He’s outperformed Romain Grosjean so far this season, and proved better able to take of their elevated position at the start of the race following the strategy gamble (although it looked like the Frenchman could’ve carried some wing damage).
Loser – Pierre Gasly
The Frenchman did a good job to reach Q3 despite engine woes that prevented him setting a time in that session, but the race proved 55 laps too far for his Honda power unit.
He pulled into the pits having completed just over a fifth of race distance, to score his second non-points finish of the season – that despite showing good pace at all the rounds so far.
He should be higher than his twelfth in the championship at this stage given he’s reached Q3 twice and the time he didn’t, he finished seventh.
His demise was also bad news for Honda, who really don’t need any questions over their engine reliability at this stage.
Winner – Red Bull
Many pundits gave an honorary ‘driver of the day’ award to the Red Bull mechanics, and they deserve all the praise coming their way. It looked as if Max Verstappen’s race was over when he slid off into the barrier on his parade lap and damaged his front left suspension.
But a phenomenal job from the team fixed his car with 25 seconds to spare, and the Dutchman didn’t look any worse for the wear once the race got underway.
Although he was never able to match Hamilton’s pace, he claimed a superb second place and showed fine race pace in the latter stages to hold off a charging Valtteri Bottas.
Mercedes employed the same stage strategy as last season and pitted the Finn onto fresher tyres to chase Verstappen but once burned, was able to hold on this time.
He said it felt like a victory and the way he celebrated with the team at the end certainly gave that feeling over the TV cameras. It was also a good race for Alex Albon after a difficult qualifying session.
He failed to get a clean run on his final lap of Q2 and only lined up 13th, but then put in a strong race performance to cross the fine fifth.
From pre-race crash to ready for lights out 💥 ➡️ 🚦
— Formula 1 (@F1) July 20, 2020
Loser – McLaren
After such strong performances at the Spielberg, this was a slight bump back to earth for the Woking team. They finished with just one point (although Carlos Sainz was later elevated to ninth), after finishing last of the runners to set a time in Q3.
Sainz was locked in a battle with next season’s teammate Charles Leclerc for much of the race and did eventually come out on top, but the team lost their lead over Racing Point in the constructors’ championship and their rivals just look like they’re getting better and better.
The slow-speed circuit clearly didn’t suit their car but at least they can take solace that the majority of circuits on the calendar this season are closer to the high-speed Red Bull Ring – and their home double-header at Silverstone will be the perfect place to make amends.
Winner – Sebastian Vettel
Sixth was a very good result for Vettel, especially given how Leclerc struggled. He probably should’ve had fifth too if it weren’t for an error at the end of the race and that would’ve equalled his best result since Mexico last year.
It’s not been the best start to the season for the German but his intra-team stock will have improved following the last two races. He’s out-qualified his teammate at Styria and Hungary, was clearly the dominant Ferrari this weekend and last weekend avoided any blame for the crash that put both Scuderias out of the race.
If it weren’t such a poor race for a whole host of drivers, Leclerc would’ve had his own slot here but as it is I’ve had to economise. He struggled with the car all race, and Ferrari’s decision to put him on the soft tyres once the track dried out hampered him.