All the front runners began the race on soft tires. Mercedes (Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg) locked down Row 1 again, followed by Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) and Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull). Felipe Massa (Williams) lined up out of place on the grid and aborted the first start, forcing another formation lap to avoid overheating and dropping the race distance from 70 laps to 69.
Hamilton dropped to P4 at the start, jumped by both his teammate and the two Ferraris (Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen). The Ferraris ran 1-2 after Turn 2, with Hamilton passing through one of the gravel traps before returning to the track in P10 behind Massa, 11.5 sec back of Vettel in the lead.
Vettel led Raikkonen (+2.3 sec) and Rosberg (+4.8) after 5 laps and Hamilton fell to 20 sec off the pace. Rosberg pitted during Lap 21, 10 sec behind the leader. Vettel came in from the lead one lap later, completing his stop in 3.2 sec. Ricciardo also pitted. Raikkonen made his stop during Lap 23.
Hamilton ran P5 behind Ricciardo after pit stops were completed. Vettel, Raikkonen, and Rosberg remained 1-3. The gap between Raikkonen and Rosberg was 11.6 sec during Lap 30. Hamilton had the race’s fastest lap at the halfway point. Rosberg asked to go onto primes when his teammate did, but was told he’d remain on options.
Vettel led Raikkonen by 8.8 sec during Lap 39. Three laps later Raikkonen reported odd sounds and that he thought he was losing power. He held a 15-sec lead on Rosberg. An MGU-K (kinetic power unit) issue was the problem. Nico Hulkenberg’s (Force India) front wing exploded and he went straight into the tires, bringing out the virtual safety car.
Rosberg pitted, followed by Vettel and Raikkonen one lap later. No work was done on the Finn’s car. The team told him the unit had failed and he would be running without it and its 150-160 hp. The actual safety car came out and the field circulated behind it during Lap 45, running through pit row to allow cleanup of wing debris on the main straight.
Vettel, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Hamilton, and Ricciardo (last year’s winner) ran 1-5 under the caution. The front four ran on prime tires, Ricciardo on the soft options. Racing resumed to start Lap 49. Hamilton hit Ricciardo’s side on the restart, losing the left edge of his front wing. Ricciardo made the pass, with Hamilton leaving the course moments later.
At the front meanwhile, Rosberg had made it past Raikkonen to run second. Ricciardo passed him for third during Lap 51. Hamilton came in to replace his nose the next lap, and was then given a drive-thru penalty for causing a collision.
The Top 3 ran within 3 sec during Lap 56. Raikkonen retired one lap later. Ricciardo made a pass during for second during Lap 64, but overheated the corner, locked it up, and surrendered the position back. Rosberg clipped Ricciardo’s front wing in the process, damaging it and cutting in the process, costing himself a large chunk of the points he stood to gain against his teammate.
The chaos moved Ricciardo’s teammate Daniil Kvyat into a podium position, 17-year old Max Verstappen (Toro Rosso) into fourth and had both McLaren-Hondas (Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button) solidly in the points. Vettel held on for the win—his first at Hungary and 41st overall, tying him with Ayrton Senna for third all-time—followed by Kvyat, Ricciardo, Verstappen, and Alonso.
Vettel memorialized former F1 driver Jules Bianchi, who died the previous weekend from injuries suffered during the 2014 Japan Grand Prix, during his victory lap. Kvyat’s finish was his first podium and the highest spot ever claimed by a Russian driver. Verstappen’s P4 moved Toro Rosso ahead of Sauber in the constructor standings.
Driver standings (Top 10)
Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain), Mercedes – 202
Nico Rosberg (Germany), Mercedes – 181
Sebastian Vettel (Germany), Ferrari - 160
Valtteri Bottas (Finland), Williams-Mercedes – 77
Kimi Raikkonen (Finland), Ferrari – 76
Felipe Massa (Brazil), Williams-Mercedes – 74
Daniel Ricciardo (Australia) Red Bull-Renault – 51
Daniil Kvyat (Russia) Red Bull-Renault – 45
Nico Hulkenberg (Germany) Force India-Mercedes - 24
Romain Grosjean (France) Lotus-Mercedes – 23
Mercedes (Rosberg, Hamilton) – 383
Ferrari (Vettel, Raikkonen) – 236
Williams-Mercedes (Massa, Bottas) – 151
Red Bull Racing-Renault (Ricciardo, Kvyat) – 96
Force India-Mercedes (Hulkenberg, Sergio Perez) – 39
Lotus-Mercedes (Grosjean, Pastor Maldonado) - 35
Toro Rosso-Renault (Carlos Sainz Jr., Max Verstappen) – 31
Sauber-Ferrari (Felipe Nasr, Marcus Ericsson) – 22
McLaren-Honda (Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso) - 17
Next event: Shell Belgian Grand Prix (Spa-Francorchamps) – Aug. 21-23, 2015