Daniel Ricciardo has won the Hungarian Grand Prix after overtaking Fernando Alonso late in the race. The Red Bull driver, who started P4 on the grid, was one of five drivers to lead the race but it was his lunge on Alonso in the closing handful of laps that proved to be important. He won by five seconds with Alonso wrestling his Ferrari over the line in second while Lewis Hamilton finished an impressive third place after starting in the pit-lane.
The race started with drivers on intermediate tyres due to a rain shower before hand. It was a tentative first couple of laps and there was an early safety car when Marcus Ericcson had a heavy crash in his Caterham. As cars streamed into the pit-lane all bar the McLarens put on either the option or prime tyres. Jenson Button opted for a new set of intermediates, being reassured that rain was on the radar while his team-mate Kevin Magnussen, who started the race from the pit-lane, stayed out on his intermediate tyres from the start of the race. The safety car was due to return to the pits at the end of lap 10 but was forced to stay out when Romain Grosjean dropped his car after trying to get some heat into his tyres. Nico Hulkenberg then became the next driver to retire after making contact with his team-mate. Another safety car was then deployed on lap 23 after Sergio Perez dipped his tyres onto the wet run-off and spun on the main straight, making heavy contact with the pit-wall. Sebastian Vettel later nearly had a similar incident but was lucky to avoid making contact after a spin.
It was an afternoon to forget for Caterham when Kamui Kobayashi became the fifth driver to retire from the race. Esteban Gutierrez joined him on the sidelines with a problem with his KERS. Hamilton nearly became an early casualty when he spun in the opening laps and made contact with the barrier, claiming that his breaks had just given up. He raced on with minor front wing damage and wasn’t hampered on his way to finishing third. There was once again tension within the Mercedes camp after the team asked Hamilton to let Rosberg through. Hamilton revealed that he would not be slowing for his team-mate but if he wanted to close up and pass him that was different. Rosberg had an additional pit-stop and closed on the top three who were close on the road. He finished five tenths off his team-mate with his lowest finish of the season.
Behind Rosberg it was Felipe Massa who would have relieved to finish after retiring without even completing a lap in the last two races. He held off former team-mate Kimi Raikkonen who recorded his highest finish of the year in sixth place. The Ferrari driver finished ahead of Vettel after some close fighting between the pair while Valtteri Bottas was eighth. Jean-Eric Vergne drove an impressive race, running in the top three at some stages, and defending from Hamilton. Button salvaged a point after the tyre mistake while team-mate Magnussen finished in twelfth. Adrian Sutil finished just 9 tenths off Sauber’s first points of the season and Pastor Maldonado, Daniil Kvyat, Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton were the other finishers.
There was close racing up and down the field and throughout the race, on a track which is notoriously difficult to overtake on. Ricciardo is the only driver who has been able to beat Mercedes in a race this year and Hungary was his second win of the season. Next up on the F1 calendar is the summer break and factory shut-down before returning to action at the Belgian Grand Prix in a month’s time. Rosberg goes into the break with an 11 point lead over his team-mate in the drivers championship.