Autos

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon claims maiden F1 victory


Esteban Ocon took both his and Alpine’s maiden Formula 1 victories in a chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix, ahead of Mercedes-AMG’s Sir Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari‘s Carlos Sainz.

The result gives Hamilton an eight-point lead in the drivers’ championship and Mercedes a 12-point gap in the constructors’.

Sebastian Vettel finished second for Aston Martin but was subsequently disqualified, because stewards were unable to collect the 1.0-litre of fuel that’s required for parc fermé testing, despite Vettel stopping on track right after the chequered flag. The team is appealing the decision.

In extraordinary scenes, where it rained half an hour before the start, Valtteri Bottas misjudged his braking for Turn 1 and skidded into the back of McLaren’s Lando Norris. It was the start of a trigger-move that eliminated Norris, Bottas and Sergio Pérez, plus caused significant damage to Max Verstappen.

The Red Bull driver recovered to eventually finish 10th, salvaging one point.

In a further knock-on, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll also came into the T1 braking zone too hot, taking out himself, Charles Leclerc and Daniel Ricciardo, although the latter recovered to finish 12th.

Unsurprisingly, the race was red-flagged, but the bizarre afternoon wasn’t done yet, as Hamilton was the only driver to line up on the grid. Every other car dived into the pits following the formation lap to pit for slicks – a move that Hamilton quickly realised was the correct one, as he too came in at the end of lap one, dropping him to the back of the pack.

That left Ocon in the lead, and he then defended the position for the next 70 laps. Vettel gave it his best shot, including coming very close to a pass as the pair lapped the Alfa Romeo of Kimi Räikkönen, but Ocon held on to win by 1.8sec.

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Hamilton charged back through the field, pitting twice and setting numerous fastest laps, but couldn’t close the gap and came in third.

Fernando Alonso was fourth ahead of Pierre Gasly (who grabbed a point for fastest lap), Yuki Tsunoda and the Williams pair of Nicholas Latifi and George Russell. Verstappen was ninth, with 10th going to ikkönen.



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