Hungarian Grand Prix- The Expensive Parade
"It was a race where you don't have to do more than you have to. You only have to do enough to win…” This was the response of Lewis Hamilton after the race on how hard he had to push to keep teammate Rosberg in his mirrors. Its a track that normally doesn't promote passing and this year the track was resurfaced making it smooth as marble and it provided seemingly unlimited grip and very little opportunity to pounce on driving errors. As a quick note to the FIA and F1 management. No matter how you tinker with the aerodynamics, the engines, or the tires, these things can not overcome a track with no character.
As is the norm these days, it was all over within the first few corners. Rosberg got pinched into turn 1 and Hamilton took the lead and never give it back. One can always tell when a race is not close as the overhead helicopter shots dominate the coverage in order to get more than one car in the frame.
Raikkonen & Verstappen:
Raikkonen fought from 14th position to finish in 6th and provided the best on-track battle as he fought with young Max Verstappen. The captivating part of the battle was that Verstappen is so similar to Kimi when he started his F1 career. Kimi started with Sauber-Petronas in 2001 and demonstrated blistering speed coupled with brilliant car control. He took no prisoners and was never intimidated by more experienced drivers. Verstappen started with a mid-level team in Toro Rosso, and then got the call up to bigs with Red Bull Racing. Raikkonen started at Sauber and got the call up to McLaren. Raikkonen has won a world championship and finished in the top 3 of the drivers championship several times. Watching Verstappen’s driving is like watching young Kimi all over again. It was a wonderful to watch…or the rest of the race was so boring that any action seemed amazing!
Ferrari & Red Bull:
Daniel Riccardo’s third place put him third in the drivers standings, one point ahead of Raikkonen. While Ferrari keeps promising results, it's Red Bull that has improved and delivered better performance. At this point it's a Mercedes on Mercedes battle for the rest of the season, and Ferrari appears to be struggling to claim the second spot. The Tifosi are nervous. The Tifosi are starting to be "over it."
Again, we always preface any praise of Hamilton with the caveat that we are not big fans. In spite of that, credit is given where credit is due. While it looked like Rosberg was in control of the championship with his early season dominance, Hamilton has now pulled ahead by 6 points to take the lead in the standings. He has chipped away at Rosberg both in points and in the psychological battle. In his post race interview he even implied that he toyed with Rosberg who pulled close near the end.
The FIA, in an effort to put all the responsibility on the drivers for racing, has instituted radio communication rules for the season that ban various team communications to the drivers. Radio communication is not just a vital part of modern F1 but is exciting for fans as they get to hear the ins and outs of team strategy. The news rules have left the airwaves dull and uneventful and in the last few races, with new restrictions, has become a ridiculous clown show. The FiA provided that teams could communicate with drivers when a safety issue is involved, but in Hungary these overly bureaucratic restrictions proved themselves hopeless.
Jenson Button had a braking issue where his brake peddle went to the floor. The team radioed to Jenson some instructions and then brought him into the pits as the FIA had said that if an issue arises the teams must bring the car into the pits to give instruction. McLaren gave instructions and called Jenson in. He emerged in last place only to be hit with a drive-through penalty for the improper radio instruction. This happens against the backdrop of F1 wanting to create a safer sport as they look at incorporate some form of halo protection around the drivers in the coming years. It’s a laughable idea to restrict safety related radio communication while at the same time pushing for more driver safety.