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From damage to damage limitation

Highlights

  • Max and Daniel make good starts and pass Hamilton in Turn 1
  • Daniel tries to pass Max around the outside of Turn 2
  • Max locks-up and the Red Bulls collide. Daniel’s race is ended
  • Max settles in to P4 and eventually finishes fifth

Max Verstappen brought home 10 valuable championship points at the Hungarian Grand Prix, but it was a frustrating afternoon for the Red Bulls, with the race compromised almost immediately after the start when Max collided with Daniel, an incident that ended the Aussie’s race.

Daniel's race was over just a few hundred metres after the start. Both Red Bulls made a good start and as they went through the first corner both Max and Daniel overtook fourth-on-the-grid Lewis Hamilton.



Daniel, with slightly better pace, then drew alongside Max and set up an overtaking move around the outside of Turn 2. Max defended and went deep into the braking zone before the Dutchman had a small lock-up and that unsettled his car. He slid sideways and his right front wheel hit Daniel's left sidepod.

This is not nice and I apologise to Daniel and the Team

Daniel went off track and tried to rejoin but the damage was too great. He lost control in the middle of the track, causing those around to take evasive action. Max was more fortunate and as the safety car was deployed he carried on in fourth place behind leader Vettel, Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas.

The level of frustration grew when racing resumed. The incident involving Max and Daniel had been placed under investigation and following the safety car's departure race control informed the Team that Max had been handed a 10-second time penalty for causing the collision.

With good pace on his supersoft tyres Max went long on his first stint, staying out until lap 42, while the bulk of the front runners pitted between lap 30 and lap 33. The wait, and the lap times he put in enabled Max to pit for soft tyres, take his time penalty and emerge in clean air, 37 seconds ahead of his closest rival, Renault's Nico Hulkenberg.


OUR RACE IN NUMBERS:

10 – points for Max today. He now had 67 for the season so far.

13 – Just 13 DNF's for Daniel in 120 race starts.

184 – Constructors' Championship points for the team as we head into the summer break.


He was also equipped with much fresher tyres than those ahead and as the battle at the front developed, Max began to close in. That fight for the leading positions was a slightly strange one. As he approached the end of his first stint, Vettel reported that he was having steering issues. He was told to stay away from the kerbs and as he obeyed his pace flagged.

Behind him, Raikkonen was much faster but Ferrari elected to keep him in second, hoping that Bottas and Hamilton would not find a way past the Ferrari driver.



On lap 45 Mercedes asked Bottas to allow Hamilton through to try to pass Raikkonen and the former Williams driver obliged. Hamilton then spent the following 15 laps attacking, but not succeeding in getting past Raikkonen on a circuit where overtaking is notoriously difficult.

It's really frustrating as we know our car has been better than sixth

Throughout, Max was closing in and over the course of the 20 laps following his pit stop he almost erased the 20-second deficit that had existed between him and Bottas. Bottas, meanwhile, had been told that Hamilton would cede third back to him if the Briton could find no way past Raikkonen. However, with Max closing in and traffic to navigate it looked like that promise might have to go by the wayside. On the final lap, however, Hamilton did indeed let Bottas past and that afford Max a chance. He closed in hard but in the end finished fifth, just 0.3s behind Hamilton.

Vettel took a 46th career win to open a 14-point championship lead over Hamilton as Raikkonen finished second and Bottas third. With Max fifth behind Hamilton, sixth place was taken by McLaren's Fernando Alonso.
Carlos Sainz took a well worked seventh place after starting ninth, while Sergio Perez was eighth for Force India after starting 13th. Ninth place went to the Mexican's team-mate Esteban Ocon and the final point was taken by Stoffel Vandoorne in the second McLaren.

When Max returned after the chequered flag his first act was to apologise to Daniel and the Team for his first-lap mistake.