A day prior to raceday, Rosberg once again topped qualifying for his sixth pole of the year, ahead of Vettel and Williams’ rookie Valtteri Bottas. Bottas led off the second row, alongside eventual race winner Ricciardo, who qualified fourth fastest. Alonso was on top of the second Williams of Felipe Massa in row three. Rows four and five were occupied by Jenson Button, Jean-Eric Vergne, Nico Hulkenberg and the second McLaren of Kevin Magnussen.
Although Rosberg’s pole gave Mercedes their 10th pole in eleven races, it wasn’t a fairy tale qualifying Mercedes had wanted for the second F1 W05 of Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton’s car suffered a fuel leak in Q1 and couldn’t take part further thereafter. Hamilton ended up taking the humble pie and would start at the back of the grid. The Briton would however get new chassis, engine and gearbox for the race.
At race start, rain made the track very tricky, and all drivers were cautioned to take it nice and steady. Rosberg led the proceedings of the 70-lap race, ahead of Bottas who beat Vettel at turn 1. Alonso moved up to third position, which meant Vettel had dropped to fourth. Vettel would regain back a position when he dispatched Alonso at turn 5 in just a lap. On lap 2, Rosberg had already built up a 4-second lead to Bottas. At the back of the field, Hamilton, who spun earlier, continued to carve through the grid and reached position seventeenth by lap 4. The Mercedes driver got two more positions up on lap 6. It was Rosberg’s turn to spin off a lap later when he slipped at turn 1, after setting the fastest lap of the race.
The first stop window came about from lap 9, everyone switched to dry tyres, with the exception of Button’s McLaren. In the midst of a hectic pitstop session, Ricciardo found himself at the head of the order, with Button second, followed by Massa, Magnussen, Rosberg, Vergne and Massa. Bottas dropped from second place to eleventh during the chaotic stop. Moments later, Marcus Ericsson and Romain Grosjean crashed out, and the safety car period had to be called to slow things down.
Ricciardo led things off again on lap 14, but was caught by Button for the race lead. Magnussen, meanwhile, made a good jump to take ninth from the two Mercedes on the same lap. Rosberg lost another position from an overtaking blunder as Vergne passed him on lap 15. Button had to change to dry tyres moments later, and the race lead went back to Ricciardo, once more. Rosberg was engaged in a hard battle with Vergne for scraps in the next laps. On lap 18, Ricciardo set the fastest lap of the race, but Alonso broke it with his own on lap 19.
Hamilton chased Vettel hard for sixth, while Vettel was right behind Rosberg’s rear-end. Up front, Ricciardo had a six-second lead to Massa. A safety car period then ensued when Perez crashed out at turn 14. With Perez and Hulkenberg out, it was the first double retirement for Force India. Everyone took the SC period opportunity to swap tyres a second time.
Alonso led off the restart, with Vergne, Hamilton, Ricciardo and the rest of the pack in tow. Vettel had a near-miss moment at the final turn of lap 33, and the four-time champion was able to continue after a 360-degree spin. Next up, Hamilton went on the outside to snatch second place from Vergne at turn 4 on lap 34. Past mid-point of the race, the Mercedes went hunting after the Ferrari for the race lead from lap 37. Rosberg dispatched Bottas for ninth on lap 38. When Alonso pitted on lap 39, Hamilton had the much anticipated race lead; at least for a couple of laps. The Mercedes driver would pit on lap 40 and rejoined fifth behind the Ferrari ace. A lap later, Ricciardo regained back the race lead, leading Massa with a length of the pit straight of the Hungaroring track.
On lap 45, the two Mercedes found themselves fourth and fifth, with Hamilton ahead of Rosberg. Hamilton was ordered to let Rosberg through as the two were on different race strategies, but the Briton did not comply until much later. Ricciardo got in for his final stop on lap 55 and came back out fourth, and while he was idle, Alonso had assumed the race lead. Rosberg did his final stop on lap 57, with Hamilton facing tremendous pressure from Ricciardo for second on lap 58. The top three; Alonso, Hamilton and Ricciardo, were indeed neck to neck in the final stint of the race, only 1.4 secs between them.
Ricciardo’s quietly brilliant move in the final laps ensured a 2nd win
Ten laps from the end, Rosberg squeezed past Massa for fourth at turn 1 on lap 61. Rosberg then charged up to close in on the top three by lap 65. Then came the highlight of the race: Ricciardo made a brilliant move to side swipe Hamilton for second place on lap 67. A lap later, he powered past Alonso at turn 1 for the race lead! Kudos for the Red Bull Kid!
On the final two laps, Alonso held firm to maintain second place from the two hard charging Mercedes. Rosberg made one last desperate attempt to try and nip Hamilton at turn 2 for the final podium spot, but couldn’t quite do it. It would end with Ricciardo winning a well-deserved race, and Alonso, Hamilton, Rosberg, Massa, Raikkonen, Vettel, Bottas, Vergne, Button in the top ten list.
The circus now goes on a break and continues at the Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium for Round 12 from 22 – 24 August.
2014 Formula 1 Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest results
1 Daniel Ricciardo RBR 1:53:05.058
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari +5.2 secs
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes +5.8 secs
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes +6.3 secs
5 Felipe Massa Williams +29.8 secs
6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari +31.4 secs
7 Sebastian Vettel RBR +40.9 secs
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams +41.3 secs
9 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso +58.5 secs
10 Jenson Button McLaren +67.2 secs
11 Adrian Sutil Sauber +68.1 secs
12 Kevin Magnussen McLaren +78.4 secs
13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus +84.0 secs
14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso +1 Lap
1 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:22.715
2 Sebastian Vettel RBR 1:23.201
3 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:23.354
4 Daniel Ricciardo RBR 1:23.391
5 Fernando Alonso Ferrar 1:23.909
6 Felipe Massa Williams 1:24.223
7 Jenson Button McLaren 1:24.294
8 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:24.720
9 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:24.775
10 Kevin Magnussen McLaren NA
1 Nico Rosberg 202
2 Lewis Hamilton 191
3 Daniel Ricciardo 131
4 Fernando Alonso 115
5 Valtteri Bottas 95
6 Sebastian Vettel 88
7 Nico Hulkenberg 69
8 Jenson Button 60
9 Felipe Massa 40
10 Kevin Magnussen 37
11 Sergio Perez 29
12 Kimi Räikkönen 27
13 Jean-Eric Vergne 11
14 Romain Grosjean 8
15 Daniil Kvyat 6
16 Jules Bianchi 2
1 Mercedes 393
2 RBR 219
3 Ferrari 142
4 Williams 135
5 Force India 98
6 McLaren 97
7 Toro Rosso 17
8 Lotus 8
9 Marussia 2