Just in case you missed it yesterday, Formula 1, apart from a lot of its recent downfalls, was back to some excitable action at yesterday evening’s 2015 Hungarian GP.
To give you a slight recap, Sebastian Vettel won the race in his Ferrari after a sublime and faultless drive, the Mercedes-AMG F1 team were nowhere near the podium, and the McLaren-Honda team got up to fifth place!
But before it all got underway, race day’s proceedings began with a tribute to the fallen: Jules Bianchi, who lost the battle towards recovery following his unfortunate crash at the Japanese GP last year. Jules was the first F1 driver to die from a racing incident, since the late, great Ayrton Senna. As tragic a reminder of the dangers that surround motor racing, it was touching to see all the drivers circle around in memory of Jules.
Sebastian Vettel, on the top-step of the podium even pretty much declared (sombrely) in his post-race interview that everyone at the Scuderia Ferrari F1 team knew that Jules would one day be a part of their family.
The Scarlet-Red Parade
Back to the racing: Vettel was as cool as ice, and clearly well in touch with the form that led him to four Drivers’ World Championship titles with the Red Bull Racing team. Kimi Raikkonen, his team-mate who also made a great start to jump to second place, was due a second place finish as well, but fell short of power from his hybrid engine near the end of the race, and had to settle for a DNF.
Mercedes-AMG F1 Rivalries Intensify
The most excitement, we’d say, came courtesy of the season’s seeming runaway winners, the flawless Mercedes-AMG F1, and their healthily competitive drivers (ok, maybe not so healthily competitive).
Lewis Hamilton, starting the race on pole position, suffered a poor start that saw him drop to fourth place in almost an instant – much thanks to a close encounter with his team-mate, Nico Rosberg. Later on, his impatience got the better of him again, when contact with Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo left him with a drive-through penalty, and a need for a new front wing.
Joy of joys for team-mate Nico? Well, almost. Trailing in the distance behind the two leading Ferraris, Rosberg seemed keener to maintaining his position ahead of Lewis, rather than challenge for the win – who could blame him, almost, with Lewis storming up the grid after recovering from his earlier setbacks.
And just when Nico thought he had it in the bag (beating Lewis), his luck runs out with a puncture: a brave Ricciardo comes around to pass him, and the stubborn Nico (on worn rubbers) refuses to let him pass – they touch, Nico is forced to limp back to the pits, and rejoins the race in eight. His team-mate? Lewis was well past him and up to sixth, scoring more points by then. The Brit heads into the next-race (Spa) with a 21-point cushion in the title race.
Should Nico have been a little more accepting of letting the quicker Ricciardo pass (F1’s latest rulings make some things inevitable), he could instead have been the one to be headed for Spa with a points lead. Likewise, a hot-headed and impatient Lewis demonstrated early on why he’ll never be considered as great a driver as Fernando Alonso, for example, as he has always been lauded as. Great stuff for the non-biased spectator, though!
McLaren-Honda Back In The Game?
Are they? Probably not. But they’re most likely enjoying the moment all the same. Just ahead of Lewis in his Mercedes, was Fernando Alonso: the season’s highest-paid driver, who managed to get the McLaren-Honda it’s best points yet.
After a season of dismal results for the team with the new Japanese powertrain, the McLaren boys were relishing their moments of attacking Saubers and Force Indias, on top of all the retirements happening around them. At the end of the day, it was Alonso’s master-class in punching above his own weight that got him all the way up to fifth, with Jenson in ninth.
Can Someone Have A Word With The Lotus F1 Drivers?
It’s worth nothing that in today’s Formula 1, should you accumulate up to 12 penalty points over a 12-month period (2015), you’ll be banned from taking part in your following race. It’s a decent system, put in place to curb any over-enthusiasm getting the better of fair racing.
You may also be interested to know that both Lotus drivers, Pastor Maldonado and Romain Grosjean, are the only two drivers that are now half way towards facing this ban, with their tallies growing for incidents that took place in Budapest. Other drivers picked up bans too, but probably not in more attention-grabbing fashions. Here’s a look at Pastor’s incident with Sergio Perez.
Still Think Formula 1 Is Boring?
For the most part, yes, this season (and most of the last) has been a snore-fest. As an avid follower of the sport for more than half of my life now (began watching when Mika Hakkinen was in his prime and fighting Michael Schumacher), what Formula 1 is today, is far from being as exciting as what it used to be.
Single-team domination, cars that sound like vacuum cleaners, regulations that leave things a bit too predictable, engines that last forever, has, amongst other things, brought the sport to be the dull event it is most race weekends. I truly miss denying everyone the TV remote each time a race was on, and locking myself away with the TV and a laptop for live timings.
But last night was a bit special, as you can probably tell by now. Short of a fist-fight, the 2015 Hungarian GP was a great reminder of the good ol’ days with pit-lane drama, on-track overtaking and dog-fighting, World Championship standings exchanging hands, and fierce rivalries being fought out.
So yes, if you’ve long fallen out of favour with the sport for its predictable outcomes and lacking excitement and want it all back, you may want to catch last night’s race on replay. There’s a rerun of the entire thing showing on Fox Sports’ channel 812 on Astro at 4:30pm today, or get race highlights at 10:30pm, on the same channel.
Better still, if you don’t mind the cinema-like surrounding visual (you’ll see why), YouTube will let you watch it whenever: https://goo.gl/DWrioS