F1: Ocon claims first victory during chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix
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UPDATE: Vettel has since been disqualified from the race as the race stewards "were unable to take the required amount of fuel for sampling" following the grand prix's conclusion.
Esteban Ocon won his first-ever F1 race at a chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix that saw that championship turned on its head.
The 24-year-old Frenchman drove superbly but benefited hugely from a crash on the first corner of the race that saw six drivers ruled out of the race with damage to their cars.
Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was the culprit, causing the crash by recklessly bumping into the back of Lando Norris’ McLaren, forcing him to spin off the track and collide with other drivers.
Lance Stroll also caused some carnage, hitting Charles Leclerc and Daniel Ricciardo.
For their roles in the crash, both Bottas and Stroll were given five-second grid penalties for the next race in Belgium.
The chaotic start caused serious damage to several cars and forced a total of six drivers out of the race.
Bottas, Stroll, Leclerc, Norris, Nikita Mazepin and Sergio Perez were unable to continue, leaving just 14 drivers on the circuit after crash.
There was more chaos once the race resumed, with the bizarre sight of Lewis Hamilton being the only car on the track.
While all other drivers pitted after the warm-up lap to change to hard tyres as the rain stopped, Mercedes strangely decided to leave Hamilton out on the track before he pitted soon after, leaving him dead last.
“Have Mercedes made a huge error here,” Sky Sports commentator David Croft asked.
But Hamilton worked his magic to work his way through the field to eventually finish third and secure a podium finish and crucial championship points.
Ocon and Sebastian Vettel, who finished second, were the major beneficiaries of the opening lap carnage and they were never headed by the chasing pack of Hamilton, Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso.
Alonso had an epic duel with Lewis Hamilton and defended his position extremely well to give his Alpine teammate Ocon enough of a buffer to claim the win.
But the big loser from the crash was Red Bull, with Perez forced out of the race and Max Verstappen suffering major damage to his car that ruined his race.
Verstappen fought hard to finish 10th and pick up a point but he struggled for pace after the bargeboard on the side of his car was broken in the collision.
Significantly, Hamilton’s third-place finish sees him leapfrog Verstappen in the drivers’ championship standings, which he now leads by six points.
Hamilton’s impressive comeback clearly took a toll and he was visibly exhausted after the race and was breathing heavily.
In disturbing scenes, he struggled to stay standing during the podium presentation and didn’t have the energy to join in the traditional champagne spraying celebrations.
He did not attend the post-race press conference, reportedly because he was suffering from fatigue and dizziness.
The F1 now takes its summer break and will return for the Belgian Grand Prix on 29 August.
Hungarian Grand Prix Top 10
1st: Esteban Ocon (Alphine)
2nd: Sebastian Vettel (Aston Martin)
3rd: Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes)
4th: Carlos Sainz (Ferrari)
5th: Fernando Alonso (Alpine)
6th: Pierre Gasly (AlphaTauri)
7th: Yuki Tsunoda (AlphaTauri)
8th: Nicholas Latifi (Williams)
9th: George Russell (Williams)
10th: Max Verstappen (Red Bull)