31 July 2017 – Sebastian Vettel overcame a steering issue to head a Ferrari 1-2 finish as the Red Bull drivers collided on the opening lap. GPUpdate.net presents its winners and losers from the Hungarian Grand Prix.Ferrari
had endured a string of defeats – both narrow and comprehensive – since that glorious May day in Monaco, but the Hungaroring layout was expected to suit the short-wheelbase SF70-H and such thoughts were realised. Ferrari controlled Q3 and in race trim breezed clear, only for its prospects to be put in doubt when Vettel reported a steering issue. The problem slowed Vettel as he grappled with the ever-changing nature of the setback, while preserving a slender lead over Kimi Räikkönen, who in turn became frustrated at having to run at a sub-optimal pace. At most other venues, Ferrari's stance to hold station could have backfired, but with 2017-spec cars at the Hungaroring, overtaking was always going to be a challenge. Vettel managed his troubles with professionalism while Räikkönen once again displayed his team player role with second. It is – and has been – abundantly clear where Ferrari's priorities lie, and it an understandable tactic – but Räikkönen certainly merits a victory at some stage this season.
For anyone who started watching Formula 1 in the last few years, Fernando Alonso
's legacy in their eyes may well be a deckchair rather than a catalogue of victories and a couple of titles, but both sides of Alonso were in evidence in Hungary. McLaren-Honda knew that the Hungaroring presented the team with its best opportunity of a strong finish and Alonso delivered throughout the weekend, the highlight a fine move around the outside of compatriot Carlos Sainz Jr. at Turn 2, which he completed into Turn 3. It was the perfect example of Alonso pouncing to extract the maximum possible, and his sixth place enabled McLaren to finally jump Sauber. Alonso also demonstrated his humour by lounging in a deckchair in parc ferme – in reference to his Brazil 2015 antics, jumped upon by Liberty Media – though it also emphasised the frustrating twist in his career, for while he played to the crowd, Vettel was spraying the champagne above…Carlos Sainz Jr.
had been in the headlines for the wrong reasons in July – after his misguided Austria comments and opening-lap Silverstone exit – but in Hungary he was brilliant. Sainz Jr. unexpectedly made it through to Q3, and was rewarded with ninth place on the grid. He surged forward at the start to slot into sixth place, and was so confident that he briefly considered an attack on Lewis Hamilton, before settling into a rhythm, in a bid to fend off Alonso. Sainz Jr. managed to keep his hero at bay over the first stint but in the immediate post-stop moments the McLaren driver launched a fine attack – and it was a lesson in how to overtake for the younger Spaniard. Sainz Jr. nonetheless had enough in hand to fend off Force India's Sergio Pérez and has now amassed 35 of the 39 points scored by Toro Rosso this season.LosersDaniel Ricciardo
ended Friday in a positive, confident mood, hopeful of challenging for pole position after leading the way through both practice sessions. 48 hours later and his RB13 sat stationary trackside, with a team-mate inflicted dent in the side, as he skulked back to the paddock to question Max Verstappen's "amateur" approach. This was a frustrating blow for Ricciardo before the summer break, having expected to be competitive at a venue where he won in 2014 and bagged a podium in 2015/16. Verstappen's subsequent pace, having closed up to Bottas despite his 10-second time penalty, also emphasised the importance of playing the long game, heightening Ricciardo's irritation at the Dutch teenager's petulance on the opening lap. Verstappen, to his credit, accepted full blame for causing the collision, but in terms of a result, it was little consolation for Ricciardo.Renault
targeted entering the break in sixth position and hoped to build on its Silverstone result, but a myriad of issues impacted its weekend. Nico Hülkenberg qualified seventh, but that became 12th due to a gearbox penalty, and he brushed wheels with Romain Grosjean at the start. Hülkenberg worked his way into points contention but a slow stop, due to a wheel gun issue, dropped him behind Kevin Magnussen and their battle duly promoted a war of words. Hülkenberg ultimately retired due to worsening brakes and gearbox issues, while Jolyon Palmer was unable to muster sufficient pace for a top 10 challenge. Palmer, following a dismal Friday crash, did well to avoid a spinning Ricciardo at Turn 3, but after allowing Hülkenberg through, he was unable to stick with his team-mate, and dropped back in alarming fashion.Haas
' weekend began terribly and barely improved. Romain Grosjean lightly hit the wall in FP1 before Antonio Giovinazzi had a proper accident, which compromised Kevin Magnussen's running when the car was returned to the Dane in a bin bag. Haas labelled Friday as its "worst day" since forming the team, with Grosjean also suffering from oversteer then understeer, all at sea with the balance of the VF-17. Qualifying pace was so-so, while Grosjean's race was done following Turn 1 contact, though he continued touring until a tyre issue prompted an early service, where the rear-left was not affixed properly due to a crossed wheel nut. Magnussen, meanwhile, circulated outside of the top 10 but stole the show with his pithy riposte to an animated Hülkenberg in the wake of their Turn 2 incident. As weekends go, this was a shocker for all concerned.