Esteban Ocon, Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly were RaceFans’ Star Performers of the Hungarian Grand Prix. Here’s why.


Esteban Ocon

  • Revelling in the new chassis he got at Silverstone and on one of his favourite circuits, Ocon out-qualified Alonso by six-hundredths of a second
  • Avoided the first corner carnage to claim second
  • Was reluctant to give up his advantageous position in the queue but followed his team’s call to switch to slicks, which earned him the lead
  • Edged out enough of a gap over Vettel in the first stint to protect his lead when the Aston Martin driver had a slightly slow pit stop
  • Continued to resist Vettel’s pressure over the rest of the race for his first win

Fernando Alonso

  • Narrowly out-qualified by Ocon and started one place behind him
  • Ran sixth after the restart, stayed out later than anyone and briefly led, and gained places from Latifi and Tsunoda after he came in
  • Brilliantly resisted Hamilton’s considerably quicker Mercedes for several laps, helping Ocon to victory as he did
  • Fifth at the flag became fourth after Vettel’s disqualification

Pierre Gasly

  • Left Tsunoda well behind in qualifying again and took a superb fifth on the grid
  • Badly disadvantage by the first corner collision and fell to 12th
  • Passed Schumacher and Latifi, then was waved past his team mate for sixth on the road, which became fifth
  • Pitted for fresh tyres at the end and grabbed the bonus point for fastest lap

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Lance Stroll

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2021
Stroll and Bottas ruined several drivers’ races
  • Failed to reach Q3 as his team mate did but was less than a tenth of a second slower
  • From 12th on the grid he took out seventh-place starter Leclerc, putting both out of the race
  • Was given the same five-place grid penalty as Bottas, which looked on the lenient side even given the conditions

Valtteri Bottas

  • Having looked strong in practice he wasn’t able to out-qualify Hamilton, but ensured Mercedes occupied the front row
  • Poor start dropped him behind several cars
  • Braked too late, too close to Norris, and triggered a destructive four-car crash which earned him the same penalty as Stroll

Yuki Tsunoda

  • Crashed – again – during practice, losing valuable running time
  • Dropped out in Q1, over a second slower than his team mate
  • Gained a massive 12 places at the start due to the crash ahead
  • Slipped back from fourth to run sixth, then let his team mate past
  • Turn two spin eight laps from home didn’t cost him a place

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And the rest

Lewis Hamilton

  • In typically great form at one of his strongest tracks, out-qualified Bottas by three-tenths of a second for pole position
  • Did Verstappen no favours with his track positioning in Q3 but Red Bull had no complaints
  • Led away on wet grid but joint decision with team to stay on intermediate tyres at restart dropped him to last
  • Came alive on hard tyres, making rapid progress through the field
  • Took too long to find a way around Alonso – had he got by quicker, the win would have been on

Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2021
Verstappen battled on gamely in battered car for two points
  • Surprisingly switched from medium compound tyres for softs in Q2, though pre-race rain meant it proved academic
  • Despite the extra run on softs, qualified behind the Mercedes drivers
  • Was blamelessly taken out at turn one and left with heavy damage
  • Salvaged two points (after Vettel’s disqualification) but lost the championship lead to Hamilton

Sergio Perez

  • Almost six-tenths of a second slower than his team mate in qualifying after being unable to complete his final run in Q3
  • Hit by the out-of-control Bottas at turn one and retired

Lando Norris

  • Was the only McLaren driver to reach Q3 again, taking sixth on the grid
  • Made an excellent getaway off the racing line and was poised to gain places at the first corner
  • Hit by the out-of-control Bottas at turn one and retired

Daniel Ricciardo

  • As he expected, the Hungaroring proved a more challenge venue to match Norris’ pace at, and he was almost half a second slower when he dropped out in Q2, missing the cut but seven-hundredths
  • Was hit by Leclerc (who had been hit by Stroll) at turn one, suffering heavy damage
  • Said his “tyres were gone” at the end of the race when he was passed by Verstappen and Raikkonen, dropping him out of the points

Sebastian Vettel

Sluggish pit stop cost Vettel chance to take lead
  • Beat Stroll into Q3
  • Said he didn’t make a very good start, but emerged from the first-corner carnage in third place
  • That became second after Hamilton’s pit lane error
  • Lost his chance to jump ahead of Ocon at his pit stop when he inadvertently triggered his engine’s anti-stall
  • Pushed Ocon all the way home, got close to passing while lapping Giovinazzi, but had to settle for second
  • Was disqualified after the stewards were unable to take a one-litre sample of fuel from his car after the race

Charles Leclerc

  • Disappointed to qualifying seventh, less than a tenth of a second away from fourth
  • Was even less impressed when Stroll came from a long way back and took him out of the race at the first corner

Carlos Sainz Jnr

  • Spun into a barrier in Q2, which he blamed on a gust of wind, and started 15th
  • Shot up to fifth in the early stages thanks to the first corner pile-up
  • Gained places from Tsunoda and Latifi through the pits but couldn’t keep Hamilton behind
  • Vettel’s disqualification promoted him to the final podium place

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Hungaroring, 2021
Raikkonen’s qualifying was better than his race for once
  • Produced one of his better qualifying performances of recent races, reaching Q2 and narrowly beating Giovinazzi
  • Stayed out of trouble at the start to run eighth
  • Did not stay out of trouble in the pits, colliding with Mazepin and earning a penalty
  • Ran wide at turn three immediately after rejoining the track on slicks, losing a place to Alonso
  • Time penalty dropped him to last, but he passed Ricciardo for what turned out to be the final point

Antonio Giovinazzi

  • Like his team mate, Giovinazzi also collided with a rival in the pits, tangling with Stroll during practice
  • Gambled on a switch to medium tyres before the initial start, but it proved too wet and he switched back to intermediates
  • Joined the rest of the field (bar Hamilton) in doing the same immediately before the restart
  • Significantly broke the 80kph pit lane speed limit – by 25.6kph – earning a 10-second stop-go penalty which ruined his race

Mick Schumacher

  • As in Monaco, a heavy crash in final practice prevented him from taking part in qualifying
  • Redeemed himself in the race, showing real verve as he briefly scrapped with the likes of Verstappen and Hamilton, and ran as high as eighth
  • Slipped to 13th by the flag, though was able to keep Giovinazzi behind

Nikita Mazepin

  • Was some way off his team mate in practice, but no qualifying comparison was possible as Schumacher did not take part
  • Fell behind his team mate at the start
  • Race ended when he was hit by Raikkonen in the pits

George Russell

Williams capitalised on chaos for points breakthrough
  • Stunned to not only fail to reach Q3, but to drop out in Q1 for the first time this season, falling short of Q2 by 0.168 seconds
  • Gained places at the start due to the crash
  • Audacious attempt to overtake the queue at pit exit was outside the rules, but his quick-thinking team ensured he avoided a penalty
  • Fell 17 seconds back from Latifi while stuck behind Schumacher, but was just a second behind his team mate when the chequered flag fell, earning his first points of the season

Nicholas Latifi

  • Got within a tenth of a second of Russell in one of his best qualifying performances of the year
  • Ran third for 17 laps after the first-lap crash and his switch to slicks
  • Inevitably dropped behind the AlphaTauri pair and others
  • Lost pace in the second half of his second stint, which cost him an opportunity to gain a place when Tsunoda spun

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2021 Hungarian Grand Prix

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