Five things to know about the crazy 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix

By daryl, 02 August 2021

Everything you need to know about the crazy Hungarian Grand Prix as the 2021 F1 championship race heats up

Esteban Ocon

1. Esteban Ocon becomes the 111th driver to win a Grand Prix

Starting from eighth on the grid, Esteban Ocon emerged from the first-lap chaos in P2 and claimed the lead after a rare mistake from reigning champ Lewis Hamilton required him to pit. The 24-year-old driver put in a stellar drive to keep four-time champion Sebastian Vettel at bay throughout the race as he finished on the top step, becoming the first French driver to win in a French car since 1983, when Alain Prost prevailed in Austria behind the wheel of a Renault. 

2. Williams at the double as Russell and Latifi finish in the points 

With five cars retiring as the race was red-flagged and Max Verstappen having to nurse a badly wounded Red Bull from the back, Williams pair Nicholas Latifi and George Russell found themselves occupying strong top 10 positions at the restart. In a car that seemed to lack race pace in recent Grands Prix, the duo held their nerve to finish seventh and eighth respectively, giving the British outfit its first points since the 2019 German Grand Prix, and first double points finish since the 2018 Italian Grand Prix. 

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 car

3. Hamilton and Mercedes reclaim championship leads  

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton entered the race weekend trailing Max Verstappen in the driver standings. The Dutch driver commanded a 32-point lead at one point, though the gap was closed after his early exit at the British Grand Prix. At the Hungaroring, Hamilton’s stellar recovery to P3 – which was then promoted to P2 after Sebastian Vettel’s post-race disqualification – saw him leapfrog Verstappen by six points as his Red Bull rival could only muster a ninth-place finish after picking up damage early on. The same Turn 1 incident forced team mate Sergio Perez to retire, allowing Mercedes to overtake Red Bull in the constructor standings as well.  

4. Valterri Bottas will be penalised for causing first lap chaos 

The drama started when Hamilton’s teammate Valterri Bottas went into the first corner too hot. His failure to brake on the wet track in time saw his Mercedes ram into the back of Lando Norris’ McLaren. Both cars were forced to retire, and the domino effect that ensued up front also took out both Red Bulls in the process, though Verstappen still managed to continue the race albeit at a weakened pace. While some Mercedes fans may see it as a blessing in disguise given how the tides have turned in the race for the championship, the Finn’s actions will be punished with a five-place grid penalty in the next race: the Belgian Grand Prix scheduled for 29 August. 

Sebastian Vettel

5. Sebastian Vettel finished second, but is disqualified 

After battling hard for the win all race long just like his good old days, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel came home second to give Aston Martin its second podium finish in 11 races and 18 precious points in a fiercely contested midfield battle, or so it seemed. The German driver was disqualified after the race as the stewards ruled that they were unable to retrieve a one-litre fuel sample from his car as per the FIA’s technical regulations. They only managed to pump out 0.3 litres from his AMR21, leaving them no choice but to disqualify him from an otherwise splendid race.