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Vettel nurses his Ferrari home for Hungary 1-2

NEWS STORY
30/07/2017

Warning that he is unlikely to make many friends this afternoon as he intends fighting his way through to the front, Daniel Ricciardo reminds us that this - like most seemingly - is a tough circuit to overtake on.

It's a view shared by many drivers, not least Lewis Hamilton, who appears to have forgotten an epic move Nigel Mansell made on his great idol Ayrton Senna here back in 1989 - with a little help from 'Steve Johnson'.

However, if overtaking is particularly difficult here, someone appears to have forgotten to tell the F2 drivers and in particular Charles Leclerc.

OK, some of the moves ended in tears, and certainly in penalties, but on the other hand it often went right, not least when Leclerc passed three cars in one corner. Yes, you read that right, three cars in one corner.

We remember the time Thierry Boutsen did a Gilles Villeneuve and kept a train of cars at bay, however, if a driver is really on a mission he'll find a way past.

Indeed, reading some of the comments one would be forgiven that some drivers - no names - are making their excuses in advance, preparing their team bosses and fans for the inevitable.

Just two weeks after falling apart, literally, at Silverstone, Ferrari is expected to "breeze" to victory this afternoon, the Scuderia repeating its Monaco result, where, you will remember, it also locked out the front row of the grid.

However, if some have already forgotten Ferrari's form from Silverstone, one only has to go back to Friday to see that nothing is done and dusted.

A few tweaks overnight, along with some dedicated work in the Maranello simulator from Antonio Giovinazzi, and the red cars were on blistering pace yesterday, while Friday's pace-setter Ricciardo was left wondering "WTF?"

Clearly, like Monaco, the Hungaroring suits the Ferrari, and therefore there is every chance that the red cars will breeze to victory as Hamilton suggests. But it is not 100% certain... as we saw just two weeks ago, things can go wrong for the Scuderia and often do.

That said, Hamilton and teammate Valtteri Bottas are likely to have their hands full this afternoon, not so much with Ferrari but with the updated Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, both drivers relishing the opportunity to bring home a serious points tally.

Though Bottas quietly gets on with the job in typically Finnish style, this appears to be one of those 'off' weekends for his teammate.

With Hulkenberg demoted following his change of gearbox, the McLarens of Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne start seventh and eighth on a track that might finally deliver for the hapless Woking outfit and its engine partner.

After all, if the Woking duo cannot deliver here, the great leveller of circuits, what hope Spa, Monza, Austin...?

Behind these, and just as eager as Ricciardo to battle their way through the field, are the Renault, Toro Rossos, Force Indias and Haas', all looking to impress before the summer break.

Talking of Williams, kudos to Paul di Resta who not only stepped up to the plate in fine style yesterday, taking over Felipe Massa's car at just over an hour's notice having never driven it before, but went on to admit this morning, ahead of the race, that he still feels "a bit nervous". Not a word one usually associates with an F1 driver.

Having already lost a couple of grid positions due to impeding Lance Stroll in Q1, Daniil Kvyat would do well to curb his enthusiasm this afternoon, particularly at the start, or his break might last a little longer... the Russian facing a race ban is he accrues two more point before Austin.

With the weather gods not likely to have any impact today, much will rest of the start, that long run to the infamous Turn 1 leading to numerous similarly infamous incidents over the years.

Indeed, the message to all for the opening few seconds of this afternoon's race is, curb your enthusiasm.

According to Pirelli, the quickest theoretical strategy is a two-stopper: one supersoft stint (23 laps) plus one soft stint (24 laps), then supersofts to the flag. However, that leaves you open to traffic, so a one-stop might realistically be faster: start on supersoft for 33 laps, then softs to the flag.

As the pitlane opens, the air temperature is 29 degrees C, while the track temperature is 55 degrees.

The national anthem over, sung with the usual passion we witness here, this time by Levente Molnar, the drivers head back to their cars.

"Those laps to the grid, the way the car turns in, the rear tyres, they're going to die," warns Hamilton before the start of the warm-up lap.

All are on supersofts bar Kvyat and di Resta who start on the softs.

Amidst reports that Kimi Raikkonen will be retained by Ferrari in 2018, might the Finn ride shotgun for his teammate this afternoon? At which point the camera cuts to Sergio Marchionne in the Ferrari garage.

All get away cleanly for the warm-up lap.

They're away. Raikkonen falls in behind his teammate and holds off Verstappen and Bottas into T1 as the Red Bull driver runs slightly wide as he attempts to go around the outside of the Mercedes.

Going into T2, Ricciardo is hit by his teammate whi is still recovering after running wide in the first corner forcing the Australian off track.

Ricciardo rejoins the track and continues but on the run to T4 his car spins, the Australian having suffered a left-rear puncture in the earlier clash. He pulls to the side of the track. "Someone hit me," he tells his team. "If it's who I think it was it's shit!" The look on Christian Horner's face says it all.

As the Safety Car is deployed halfway through lap 1, it's Vettel, Raikkonen, Bottas, Verstappen, Hamilton, Sainz, Alonso, Perez, Vandoorne and Ocon. Ericsson pits at the end of the first lap.

As the field continues behind the Safety Car, the Stewards announce they are to investigate the Red Bull clash.

Replay shows that Palmer was lucky not to collect Ricciardo, while further back Grosjean was sent wide by Hulkenberg, another incident for the Stewards to look at.

As Ricciardo walks slowly back to the pits, the marshals are removing the oil deposited on the track at T3 by Ricciardo.

Check out our Sunday gallery from Hungary, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by mickl, 30/07/2017 22:00

"Team radio msg "Kimi...Seb's contract is better than yours....""

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2. Posted by Tweek, 30/07/2017 20:24

"That was a produced and managed event. Was every important on track pass approved by management, because the entire podium certainly was! The only entertaining part for me was the McLaren performance (one of few unscripted portions) Imagine how much better Alonso's day would have been if he had avoided being pushed off track on lap 1.
Sucks to be Ricciardo.
Poor Kimi, could have been your race !
I wonder what happened to the Mercedes radios..."

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3. Posted by Daydah, 30/07/2017 20:00

"That was not a motor race, it was a merrygoround. The powers that be have produced a formula that not only prevents overtaking but reproduces all the road relevance of a traffic queue."

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4. Posted by nonickname, 30/07/2017 19:45

"Or let me past I am faster than you... oh dear I am not,now you can pass.. All rather underwhelming,BUT MotoGP is back soon"

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5. Posted by MVR, 30/07/2017 17:13

"-ape-

Not any different from what Mercedes have done here and in the past."

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6. Posted by -ape-, 30/07/2017 16:07

"Kimi don't pass Seb , it is for the championship ,do you understand , do you understand !
Ferrari pathetic as we know them through history. "

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