HUNGARY. Budapest: The Hungarian Grand Prix at Hungaroring will perhaps go down in the history of Formula One as the most dramatic and unpredictable race. French racing driver Esteban Ocon clinched his maiden Formula One title. Drenched by intermittent heavy rains, the F1 fans witnessed a surprising turn of events from the very beginning of the race.
In a disastrous mess-up, during Lap One, Valtteri Bottas got his braking wrong and locked up and wiped out Lando Norris and Sergio Perez as well as hitting Verstappen damaging half of his car while Lance Stroll also locked up and hits Charles Leclerc. As a result, Bottas, Perez, Norris, Stroll, and Leclerc were all forced into retirement and the race was red-flagged due to the debris on the track.
Ocon takes over after race restart
When the race restarted, Hamilton was forced to pit a lap later and as a result, he dropped to the 14th position. This sudden opportunity allowed Alpine’s Ocon to take lead. Surprisingly he held on to the lead till the end of the race leaving behind Vettel by a fraction of a second for almost all the 70 laps.
In the meantime, Hamilton used his driving experience to gradually advance his position lap by lap overtaking the maximum of his rivals and finally ended the race in the Third position from initial P14 just after Vettel. Unfortunately, Verstappen with his damaged car could move to P10 only.
Born in the year 1996, Esteban José Jean Pierre Ocon Khelfane, popularly known as Esteban Ocon took up karting at a very young age. The French racing driver who now competes for Alpine in Formula One made his Formula One debut for Manor Racing in the 2016 Belgian Grand Prix. Ocon was a part of the Mercedes driver development program until his move to Renault now known as Alpine. In 2020, he secured the second position and achieved his first at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix.
Bottas and Stroll both were handed a five-place grid drop for the forthcoming Belgian Grand Prix for triggering the Turn 1 crash later in the day.
Sebastian Vettel suffers disqualification
By Sunday evening, there was more surprise waiting for Vettel fans. International Automobile Federation (FIA) F1 technical delegate Jo Bauer referred Sebastian Vettel’s case to the stewards who met with Aston Martin Cognizant F1 Team boss Otmar Szafnauer and informed that car No. 5 is not in compliance with the requirements of Art. 6.6 FIA technical regulations. According to Art. 6.6.2 of FIA technical regulations, competitors must ensure that a 1.0-liter sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time.
Breach of Art. 6.6.2 of FIA Technical Regulations
Interestingly, the requirement to provide a 1.0-liter sample of fuel for testing has been in the rules for decades. The FIA needs that much fuel because initially, it provides three samples, one that is tested by the FIA fuel specialist at the track, one that goes to an independent lab, and one that is retained by the team.
Chasing Ocon for the entire race and also getting chased by Lewis Hamilton didn’t give much time to Vettel to refuel his car and soon he was informed that he was going marginal on fuel and need to save. Along with him, Williams drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi also received urgent calls to stop, following which, the cars of Vettel, Russell, and Latifi were all immediately earmarked for fuel sample checks. The cars of Russell and Latifi showed the presence of a liter of fuel but Vettel’s did not.
Moreover, as the fuel check was going on, Szafnauer expressed that, he was sure that there should have been 1.74 liters of fuel still in the car, and since FIA only found 0.3, the missing 1.44 should be in there somewhere inside the car. So Szafnauer next agrees to a procedure in which the FIA impounds the entire car and takes possession of it. Subsequently, the transport was quickly arranged from Budapest to take the car to the FIA technical facility in France.
Team Aston Martin had already decided to file a notice of intention to appeal. Following the confirmation of breach of Article 6.6.2 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations, Vettel was disqualified and the rest 13 drivers moved one place up.
The much-awaited summer break has just now started and the team will need the vettels car back in time to prepare it during the days before the Belgian Grand Prix starts.
To add to the agony and pain of Sebastian Vettel fans, Vettel, Bottas, Sainz, and Stroll have been given reprimands for not removing T-shirts carrying messaging related to the sport’s ‘WeRaceAsOne’ initiative for the Hungarian National Anthem. Vettel was wearing a ‘same love’ rainbow T-shirt to show his support for the LGBTQ+ community in Hungary during the National Anthem. The other three drivers were still wearing their ‘WeRaceAsOne’ (WRAO) T-shirts.
Breach of the FIA International Sporting Code
Under guidelines issued to teams by the FIA’s race director, drivers are free to wear a ” Grand Prix Drivers’ Association (GPDA) issued WeRaceAsOne (WRAO) T-shirt or any attire conveying a message in support of the ‘WeRaceAsOne values” before the race in the sport’s ceremony when the drivers initially gather at the front of the grid. The national anthem immediately follows that procedure and, under the guidelines, the FIA states that drivers must “remove their t-shirts and move to their name card position for the National Anthem, wearing their race suits”.
After speaking to the four drivers summoned after Sunday’s race, the stewards mentioned that the four drivers in question “Forgot to take off the We Race As One t-shirt in time during the national anthem because of the onset of rain”.
All the four drivers were handed a non-driving reprimand for breaching Article 12.2.1.i) of the FIA International Sporting Code, which is “failure to follow the instructions of the relevant officials for the safe and orderly conduct of the Event.” One can access details about the FIA International Sporting Code by clicking here.
After Sebastian Vettel loses P2, the final standings got changed with Lewis Hamilton lifted to second and Carlos Sainz to third and Esteban Ocon remains the surprise race winner.
The final Hungarian GP Race Result: Top 10
- Esteban Ocon (Team Alpine), Time: 2:04:43.199s, Points earned: 25
- Lewis Hamilton (Team Mercedes), Time: +2.736s, Points earned: 18
- Carlos Sainz (Ferrari), Time: +15.018s, Points earned: 15
- Fernando Alonso (Alpine), Time: +15.651s, Points earned: 12
- Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri), Time: +63.614s, Points earned: 11
- Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri), Time: +75.803s, Points earned: 8
- Nicholas Latifi (Williams), Time: +77.910s, Points earned: 6
- George Russell (Williams), Time: +79.094s, Points earned: 4
- Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Time: +80.244s, Points earned: 2
- Kimi Raikkonen (Alfa Romeo), Time: +1 Lap, Points earned: 1
The Updated Drivers Standings:
- Hamilton (Mercedes), Points: 195
- Verstappen (Red Bull), Points: 187
- Norris (McLaren), Points: 113
- Bottas (Mercedes), Points: 108
- Pérez (Red Bull), Points: 104
- Sainz Jr.(Ferrari), Points: 83
- Leclerc (Ferrari), Points: 80
- Gasly (AlphaTauri), Points: 50
- Ricciardo (McLaren), Points: 50
- Ocon (Alpine), Points: 39
The holiday season is now on with the end of the Hungarian Grand Prix and The F1 teams should use this time wisely to introspect and review each of their race strategy applied and put into test to date in this season and make necessary technical corrections wherever required. This much-needed holiday is required by each team along with its members to recharge and repair emotional, inter-personal, and inter-team equations.
Coming next in the Formula One season for 2021 is the Belgium Grand Prix, scheduled from Aug 27 to Aug 29, 2021, at Spa-Francorchamps which takes place over 44 laps of the 7.004 km in Belgium.
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