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Ricciardo wins Hungarian thriller

NEWS STORY
27/07/2014

It would be nice to think that, much like an intermission during a play one is watching, the second half of the season will spring some surprises.

The fact is however, that with just this one race before the summer break, the only things that can spoil Mercedes party, other than the weather gods, is the team itself.

Yesterday, having seen Lewis Hamilton dominate all three practice session, we witnessed him walking back to his garage, chin almost touching his chest, helmet still in place, as his Mercedes smouldered in the background. And while we might think that all of the German team's problems are affecting him only, we know that Nico Rosberg has had problems.

Dismissing entirely the conspiracy theories in terms of Mercedes nobbling Lewis' car, the fact is the W05 Hybrid is vulnerable, indeed, every time one looks at it on race day one expects something to go wrong.

As a result of the damage done to Lewis' car yesterday, necessitating a new chassis, the Briton will start from the pitlane this afternoon, as will Kevin Magnussen who had a close encounter with the barriers after being caught out be the damp conditions at T1. Because the Dane posted a time in qualifying he will start ahead of the Mercedes.

The FIA's weathermen are forecasting a 45% chance of rain by 2pm (start time) rising to 60% by 3pm. But then weren't we getting similar warnings last week. On the other hand, yesterday was meant to be sunny all day but at the start of Q3 we got a shower, as Magnussen will testify.

No doubt Hamilton and Magnussen would love some of the wet stuff in order to improve their chances of rising through the field, while the rest of us want it in order to spice up the action at the front. For whilst there is talk of Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas "targeting" a win, this looks likely to be another Sunday afternoon stroll for Nico Rosberg.

Consequently, a drop of rain - or even an outbreak of fleas (long story) - might liven things up.

Based on the evidence of the practice sessions, it was Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, Williams and McLaren, though this changed a little in the wake of qualifying. Rather than beating Rosberg in a straight fight, Vettel's best hope, and that of his rivals, is the reliability of the Mercedes.

Whilst the removal of FRIC didn't appear to make too much of an impact in Germany its absence has been apparent here, with Force India clearly losing out and Sauber gaining. On top of all its other problems, Lotus also appears to have been dealt another blow.

Putting the question of rain aside, today, as last week it will be interesting to watch Hamilton's progress, likewise Magnussen and Kimi Raikkonen, no doubt all three will be hoping for some silliness at the firs corner resulting in a Safety Car.

The Briton did an astonishing job in Germany to fight his way back through the field but on this notoriously difficult track, in terms of overtaking, he really will have his work cut out.

If Rosberg does a Hockenheim, and disappears into the distance, we should be left with a couple of great scraps behind; Vettel, Bottas, Ricciardo, Alonso and Massa fighting for the other podium places, whilst Button battles the Toro Rossos, Force Indias and Saubers for what is left. Again, the weather or a first lap calamity could see all this turned on its head.

Around an hour before the start, asked if he is expecting rain - never mind praying for it - Sebastian Vettel grins and says "yes", revealing with a grin that it is due at "14.37".

Bad news of sorts for Pastor Maldonado, following a gearbox change he is demoted 5-places on the grid. However, seeing as he didn't post a time in Q1 and was due to start from the back row anyway...

Forty-five minutes before the start of the race the heavens open... and how. The downpour, complete with lightning, is short but very intense.

The pitlane opens but there is no mad rush to get out on track indeed, the big guns want the Marussias, Caterhams and all to clean the track whilst the sun plays its part.

The exception is Vettel who completes a full lap on the wets then another on Inters.

It is very wet out there as proven by Maldonado who takes a long trip through the gravel after going off at T8. Hamilton complains that it is too wet for the Inters.

Many of the cars are very late in arriving at the grid, confusion over the conditions reigns. Seemingly, whilst some parts of the track remain very wet other parts are almost dry, hence the difficulty in terms of tyre choice. Added to this is the serious threat of further rain.

Ten minutes before the start of the race, the mechanics are still working on Hamilton's car. Apart from everything else they are warming up his brakes.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Willie, 30/07/2014 2:12

"Exactly how did Rosberg go from leading the race to somewhere in the pack? It really escaped me. He and Ricciardo both had four pit stops, and they weren't slow stops, either."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Spindoctor, 28/07/2014 17:31

"Absolutely excellent race, and you can't really argue with the result. Ricciardo is a true racer, but has the speed & skill to avoid crashes. Alonso simply brilliant and Hamilton fast & furious though not as "emotional" as his detractors might suggest.

The consensus is correct! I'll stick with quiet engines and real racing over V8 thunder and boring processions. "

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by JackTheCat, 28/07/2014 0:04

"What a race, it had everything including the three best racers currently in F1 on the podium. I am still buzzing from it. Edge of the seat stuff from start to finish.

Hats off to Riccardio, the nicest guy in F1 and he can drive too.

F1 - boring???? How very dare you?"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Kkiirmki, 27/07/2014 21:52

"Race of the season for me. Considering this is a track that doesn't promote overtaking this was a tense and exciting race. I was really hoping Alonso could hold on for the win but Ricciardo is really showing what a class act he is. Good to see the old Kimi back too.
There were a couple of negatives though. Some of the driving I saw today (from guys like Perez, Grosjean and Ericsson) was of a very poor standard and you have to wonder if they should be even driving in F1. Also, what were Mercedes thinking when the asked Hamilton to let Rosberg pass? Complete idiocy and I'm glad Hamilton told them were to go. Rosberg's whining over the radio, "why isn't he letting me pass", maybe you should have been closer than more than a second? I’m not sure why Rosberg would expect his nearest points rival to give up a podium and a chance to close the point’s deficit.
"

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5. Posted by ape, 27/07/2014 18:28

"This new formula is terrible for the fans as Montezemolo and Ecclestone say.. we need to go back to more noise and car processions..."

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