Hungarian GP driver ratings

Lewis Hamilton takes title lead with dominant win, Max Verstappen recovers superbly after a pre-race crash. But who else starred?

Last Updated: 20/07/20 12:17pm

Lewis Hamilton
Qualified 1st, Finished 1st

After admittedly not starting the season on top form at the Austrian GP, Lewis Hamilton has responded with two complete weekends of the highest quality. He laid the most stable of foundations for an eighth Hungaroring win by converting pole position into a staggering eight-second lead after three laps in changeable conditions. Hamilton was never going to be caught from there and he continued to stretch his advantage out in front, so much so he was able to take a ‘free’ pit-stop in the final laps and take an extra point for a fastest lap – so determined is the Englishman to take every point on offer in his seventh championship quest.

Speaking of which, he now moves into a familiar title lead, and while Hamilton insisted over the weekend he is not “one for numbers”, they continue to astound. That’s now 90 F1 poles, 22 more than any other driver, and 86 victories – just five short of Michael Schumacher’s record total. It’s looking more and more likely that will be overhauled this season.
Rating out of ten: 9.5

Max Verstappen
Qualified 7th, Finished 2nd

Now that’s what you call getting away with it. What turned into a superb drive to second place for Max Verstappen, splitting the otherwise dominant Mercedes cars, would not have been possible but for the lightning-fast work of his Red Bull pit crew to fix his damaged car in the minutes before the formation after he had binned it into the barriers on the way to the grid. As Max said himself: “This podium is definitely dedicated to my mechanics. I don’t think anyone could actually believe they managed it but they all stayed very calm.”

Calmness is then what Verstappen then displayed in the cockpit as he navigated his way around the outside of Turn One to turn seventh on the grid into a rather more promising third place by Turn Two. While he was never going to catch the flying Hamilton, the Dutchman was similarly impressive and held off the fast-charging Bottas in the closing stages. Parade-lap aberration aside, Verstappen remains on the top of his game and will now hope Red Bull can solve its RB16 set-up puzzle for Silverstone to get into contention for the very top position before there’s already too much title ground to make up.
Rating out of ten: 9

Valtteri Bottas
Qualified 2nd, Finished 3rd

How Valtteri Bottas must be ruing his start to the Hungarian GP – which, if anything, summed up how a split-second (and a tiny light) can completely change a Formula 1 race. Bottas was all set to battle Hamilton from the front row but, milliseconds before lights out, he reacted to lights disappearing on his steering wheel dash and twitched from his grid box. While not a jump start as it did not trigger F1’s detection system, that error saw Bottas – who was always likely to be Hamilton’s main rival for the win – drop down to sixth on the opening lap. Game over in terms of battling for victory.

Bottas did fight back and almost chased down Verstappen after pitting for a third time, but ultimately lost too much time making his way through the midfield and traffic.

“Yes, Lewis now leads the championship – but the game is far from being over,” said Bottas, who insists his performances have been strong enough in F1 2020 to challenge for the title.
Rating out of ten: 7.5

Lance Stroll
Qualified 3rd, Finished 4th

He’s had a podium and a front-row start before with Williams, but this was arguably Lance Stroll’s most consistently-impressive weekend in F1. Third on the grid ahead of his team-mate in the second-quickest car in qualifying, and then Racing Point’s top runner again in the mixed conditions of race day, Stroll did not really put a foot wrong and should not feel too disheartened about ultimately losing out to Bottas’ Mercedes on the final podium place.

A first back-to-back points finish since his 2017 debut year all points towards more to come too, with the rapid Racing Points seemingly here to stay near the front.
Rating out of ten: 8.5

Alex Albon
Qualified 13th, Finished 5th

Now that’s what you call a weekend of two halves for Alex Albon. His Saturday was hugely frustrating as the youngster, like team-mate Verstappen, struggled to control his raging Bull and qualified down in 13th – behind good friend George Russell, who insisted Albon was “being made to look like an idiot and he’s absolutely not” because of the difficult RB16.

But his Sunday? “A lot of fun”, according to Albon himself. Albon had good fights with the Ferraris and made nice sweeping overtakes on both, his last on Sebastian Vettel earning him a fifth-place finish. Albon thought he could have challenged higher up, too, admitting: “The car was really good. We spent the whole race in traffic, but the moment we were in clear air it was very competitive.” Red Bull have some work to do on this car, that’s for sure.
Rating out of ten: 7.5

Sebastian Vettel
Qualified 5th, Finished 6th

Putting Ferrari’s deepening troubles aside for a moment, this was a decent weekend for Sebastian Vettel on a track he has always shone. He was the top Ferrari driver in qualifying and the race, although neither the German nor Charles Leclerc much enjoyed their fight with tyre wear through their afternoon’s 69 laps (both Ferraris were lapped by Hamilton in a moment team boss Mattia Binotto described as “painful”).

Vettel lost four positions at the early switch to dry tyres when Ferrari had to hold him in his pit box awaiting a gap in the traffic, but the four-time champion recovered well from there even if the SF1000’s pace meant he could not stop Albon taking fifth off him inside the final five laps.
Rating out of ten: 8

Sergio Perez
Qualified 4th, Finished 7th

A rare off weekend compared to his team-mate for Sergio Perez, who admitted feeling ill and “dizzy” after qualifying – which he still managed to seal fourth in. He was probably feeling even worse after the start to the race, which left him down in seventh and an immediate recovery job.

We never really saw Perez’s Racing Point in clear air as he was stuck behind a train of midfield cars for much of the race – but a disappointing Sunday given the clear potential of that car.
Rating out of ten: 7

Daniel Ricciardo
Qualified 11th, Finished 8th

A second eighth-place finish in a row for Daniel Ricciardo – and the third in succession for Renault at the start of the season – underlines a job well done for where the team appear to be in the pecking order at the moment.

Although slightly disappointed the RS20 did not have the speed for Q3, Ricciardo was ninth by the end of the race’s wet opening lap and, after a long first proper stint on dry tyres to lap 43, he finished strongly on fresh rubber and quickly picked off Magnussen for ninth.
Rating out of ten: 8

Carlos Sainz
Qualified 9th, Finished 9th

McLaren were not quite as competitive as hoped in Hungary – particularly compared to Austria – but you can still rely on the ever-consistent Carlos Sainz to nab some points.

Sainz’s race included a lovely lunging overtake on future Ferrari team-mate Charles Leclerc into Turn One, which could have easily ended with a rather awkward collision. But instead it got him into the top 10, which became the top nine after Kevin Magnussen’s post-race penalty.
Rating out of ten: 7.5

Kevin Magnussen
Qualified 16th, Finished 10th

Points of any kind have been slim pickings for Kevin Magnussen and Haas over the past 12 months – only two top-10 results in the previous 18 events, and none since last September – so what eventually became 10th after a stewards’ investigation on Sunday night was still certainly welcome.

Unexpectedly, Magnussen had starred as high as third and then ran fifth for a good portion of the race after what had appeared an inspired call to pit both Haas cars on the formation lap for dry tyres. Inspired, that is, until the stewards consulted the rulebook and said such instructions to the drivers before the race were not allowed. Harsh, but them’s the rules.
Rating out of ten: 8

Outside the points

“Very complicated” and “extremely hard” was how Charles Leclerc described driving his Ferrari on Sunday, as he struggled from sixth on the grid to outside the points in a race where he constantly seemed to be trying to hold off faster cars behind him. Running on a quickly-graining soft tyre did not help.

“It’s difficult for Leclerc,” said Sky F1’s Paul Di Resta. “He went into a Ferrari team where first year he could be qualifying on pole and winning races. Now you find yourself racing around the midfield where you were the year before.

“He should be on a high, he should be racing with Verstappen and Hamilton, and that’s probably what he believed when he signed his new deal at the end of last year.”
Rating out of ten: 6

Struggling with the set-up on his AlphaTauri, Daniil Kvyat’s weekend became an uphill struggle when he was knocked out in Q1 on Saturday – disappointment compounded when team-mate Pierre Gasly made the top 10 – although he did pick up some early places by stopping for dry tyres at the end of lap one. But lost ground at his second stop made the race heavier going from there. Still, he finished within 5s of a Ferrari and ahead of one McLaren and one Renault and so can be pleased with that.
Rating out of ten: 6.5

“I was the one who let down the team by probably getting the worst start I’ve ever got in my life,” was the harsh summation from Lando Norris on his race, which was a small blot on a dazzling 2020 campaign so far. “I just wanted to go forward, and when you try and go forward in the wet you go backwards,” he added – after slipping from ninth to 13th on the opening lap. He struggled at the back of the midfield from there, but still managed to gain a place on the final lap again by passing a Renault.
Rating out of ten: 6

Back to the drawing board for Esteban Ocon after this one. He qualified 14th and finished 14th with the Renault RS20 not completely to his liking around a technical circuit where momentum and confidence are everything.
Rating out of ten: 6

A first-lap rise you might not have heard too much about on Sunday? Look no further than Kimi Raikkonen, who jumped from the back of the grid to 14th on that opening lap. That would be about as good as it got for Kimi, who struggled to stay ahead of Ocon and Norris but was at least much happier with his race pace than qualifying. A driver of his prestige would not have expected to be propping up the grid in what could be his final F1 season – so plenty of work to do for Alfa Romeo.
Rating out of ten: 6.5

How Romain Grosjean must wish the race could have ended on Lap 6. He was up in fourth after starting on the slicks but, while providing an able road block for Magnussen ahead, wasn’t able to compete with faster cars as the race progressed and lost ground much quicker than the other Haas. A 10s penalty and another place lost on Sunday night added insult to injury.
Rating out of ten: 6

P19 on the grid, 20s behind his team-mate at the chequered flag. Not a great weekend at all for Antonio Giovinazzi, who immediately lost his Saturday advantage over Raikkonen at the start of Sunday’s race, and then was only really battling with the Williams over the 70 laps.
Rating out of ten: 6

George Russell may not be driving for Mercedes in 2021 – with his Williams stay confirmed over the weekend – but the young Englishman continues to prove he’s a star in the making. Qualifying has been a strong point for Russell, and indeed Williams, so far this year and George was so quick on Saturday he was disappointed not to make it through to Q3. But you could not realistically ask for more than P12. Unfortunately, that Williams struggles a lot more in race trim and Russell started falling backwards soon after lights out.
Rating out of ten: 7.5

Nicholas Latifi also impressed in qualifying – securing 15th – but after a strong start his race quickly turned into a nightmare after making contact with another car in the pits following an unsafe Williams release. “I got the puncture and then unfortunately sustained quite a lot of damage bringing the car back to the pits,” said Latifi, who then endured a race of spins and being lapped.

“We had a big chunk of the floor missing, so just keeping the car on the track the whole race was quite difficult.”
Rating out of ten: 6.5

Did Not Finish

“It was a very difficult weekend for us,” said Pierre Gasly – and that is the understatement of the century. He had engine issues on Friday, he had engine issues on Saturday – not able to participate in Q3 after a great and unlikely effort to get there – and then was the only driver to retire from Sunday’s race due to a gearbox problem.
Rating out of ten: 7

Source : Sky Sports