Hungarian GP driver ratings

Lewis Hamilton
Qualified 3rd, Finished 1st

In the words of his Mercedes boss, Lewis Hamilton operated in a “different dimension” to win the Hungarian GP. The world champion may have openly doubted Mercedes’ two-stop strategy switch to begin with over team radio, but he quickly got onside and quickly turned it into Sunday’s race-winning call.

Hamilton’s qualifying may not have been especially stellar in Budapest, but he was at his best on race day, cranking the pressure onto Verstappen after his first stop and, then after pausing for those fresh tyres at Mercedes’ gambled second, carefully crafting his attack over the final laps to be ready to clinically pounce when the Red Bull’s rubber had gone too far past its best.

On another troubled afternoon for Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton’s now 62-point championship advantage – the second-largest at this stage of a season in the current points era – is looking impregnable as F1 stops for summer. Normally, the five-time champion’s season really starts motoring from Spa onwards, a worrying prospect his would-be title rivals are best to avoid ruminating on over the break.
Rating out of ten: 9.5

Max Verstappen
Qualified 1st, Finished 2nd

No win, but no bitterness about it from Max Verstappen either, whose measured post-race response to his late victory defeat was in keeping with an impeccable on-track performance all weekend. Although naturally disappointed to have come so close to his second victory in eight days, Verstappen understood the bigger picture and accepted Mercedes had possessed the quicker car, irrespective of what strategy dice Red Bull had rolled.

Back-to-back victories have to wait, but it was still another milestone weekend for Max, with that maiden pole position on Saturday followed by the completion of a full 12-month, 21-race finishing race streak – with top-five results each time. The second half of the campaign, which Verstappen will resume just seven points behind Bottas’ second place in the standings, cannot come soon enough for either Max or resurgent Red Bull.
Rating out of ten: 9.5

Sebastian Vettel
Qualified 5th, Finished 3rd

The Hungaroring brutally exposed Ferrari’s biggest 2019 weaknesses, but Sebastian Vettel can at least be pleased with his own race-day performances on the last two weekends with little else on offer from where he started.

Vettel has not qualified ahead of Leclerc since early June but the German’s greater experience counted in Budapest as the two Ferraris fought in a racing no man’s land between the top two and the midfield. That’s certainly not the kind of exclusivity Ferrari had in mind for 2019.

“There is definitely something Seb is doing better than me in the long runs when there is degradation,” admitted Leclerc afterwards, with the Monegasque overtaken two laps from home after Vettel’s 12-lap longer opening stint allowed the German to move onto the quicker soft tyres for a shorter attacking finish.
Rating out of ten: 8

Charles Leclerc
Qualified 4th, Finished 4th

Ferrari’s youngster has impressively finished the first phase of the season as the team’s quicker driver recently, at least over one lap, but the Germany-Hungary double header underlined that Charles Leclerc is not the finished product yet at 21 years of age.

He was fortunate to continue in qualifying after spinning into the barriers in Q1 and damaging his car, although his later Q3 lap was strong to beat Vettel again. The race started well as he dashed past Bottas into Turn Four, despite catching the Mercedes’ wing, but tyre degradation ultimately let Vettel back in.

No one appears to be a harsher critic of Charles Leclerc than Charles Leclerc himself, so expect plenty of retrospection from him over the break before returning at Spa.
Rating out of ten: 7.5

Carlos Sainz
Qualified 8th, Finished 5th

For the first time in his F1 career, Carlos Sainz has finished in the top five in consecutive races. Given he has yet to drive a front-running car, that’s a commendable double for one of 2019’s increasingly-impressive drivers. McLaren are certainly profiting from their decision to hire him last summer.

At the start of the race, Sainz immediately overturned his narrow Saturday defeat to Lando Norris by getting ahead of the sister McLaren, in addition to the slow-starting Pierre Gasly, and held fifth place from lap five all the way to the chequered flag. “We executed the race perfectly,” said a delighted Sainz, who was particularly chuffed to have kept Gasly’s Red Bull behind.
Rating out of ten: 9.5

Pierre Gasly
Qualified 6th, Finished 6th

That supposed ‘breakthough’ for Pierre Gasly at Silverstone already seems a long time ago. Comparisons to Max Verstappen from Hungary do not make pretty reading for the Frenchman: nine tenths of a second slower in qualifying and 70 seconds behind in the 70-lap race, of which the second Red Bull only completed 69 of after being lapped.

Red Bull say they will continue to give Gasly the rest of the season, and his seat is not under immediate threat, but the 23-year-old is going to need to show rather more than this sooner or later. As Christian Horner said on Sunday night: “We desperately need to see him realising more of the potential of the car.” A poor start, when he dropped to 10th, hardly helped matters here.
Rating out of ten: 5

Kimi Raikkonen
Qualified 10th, Finished 7th

Two months shy of his 40th birthday and Kimi Raikkonen continues to deliver with the kind of consistency some of the grid’s bigger teams could do with from one or two of their drivers right now. Alfa Romeo are reaping the rewards of that racing intelligence and Raikkonen’s regular points scoring is keeping them well in the hunt for fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship.

He saved his best lap of the weekend for Q3 and finished between a Red Bull and a Mercedes. “Look forward to spending the summer break with my family, but I’m also happy for all the people in the team, as they work incredibly hard and deserve some time off,” signed off Kimi in Alfa’s post-race press release. What a guy.
Rating out of ten: 9

Valtteri Bottas
Qualified 2nd, Finished 8th

How far will the last two weekends go to shaping Valtteri Bottas’ Mercedes future beyond this season? Toto Wolff has insisted one sub-par race will not determine the Finn’s fate – and that probably goes for two in the wider picture of half a season which has still included two wins and four poles – but it’s been a bruising fortnight for Bottas.

It’s easy to forget that Bottas is a more-than-respectable 7-5 down to Hamilton in qualifying this year, but the races just have not fallen his way recently and he lost out to both his team-mate and Leclerc, who clipped his wing, here in the space of four corners. A solid enough fightback from last after what Bottas himself labelled a “messy” opening, but this was not the result his fading title ambitions required.
Rating out of ten: 6

Lando Norris
Qualified 7th, Finished 9th

Lando Norris heads into his first F1 summer break able to reflect on a job well done across the first dozen grands prix of his career, although Hungary was another race day when he did not quite get the result his weekend deserved.

Qualifying just ahead of Sainz as the lead McLaren was again a great feat, but the Spaniard nipped ahead at the start and then Norris lost touch and ground to rivals via a wheel gun delay at his pit stop.
Rating out of ten: 8

Alexander Albon
Qualified 12th, Finished 10th

A point maintains the momentum from Germany for Alex Albon, with the highlight of his race his duels with team-mate Daniil Kvyat, particularly the first on lap 19 which ran all the way from Turn One to Turn Five. Kvyat won out first time, but Albon finished the race back ahead after profiting from fresher tyres to take the Russian and then Sergio Perez, despite contact, inside the final 10 laps.
Rating out of ten: 7.5

Outside the points

It’s certainly unusual to see Sergio Perez go so long without a points finish – this sequence of eight races is the worst of his career – with the Mexican just missing out to Albon on 10th here with six laps to go. “I think today was definitely a race of which we can be proud. We did a fantastic race – a good start, great first lap, very aggressive strategy to undercut two cars and then pushing to the limit all the way through,” explained Perez, who completed a 52-lap finishing stint. He was annoyed with the manner of Albon’s overtake, however, and had to grapple with a damaged Racing Point car to the flag.
Rating out of ten: 7

“A good time for a break,” is how Nico Hulkenberg summed things up after another tough day for Renault. Qualifying 11th had appeared to put him in with a shot at points but an engine control issue cost him what he said was three tenths of a second per lap through the race. A long first stint proved to no avail.
Rating out of ten: 6.5

Another one of those mystifying weekends for Kevin Magnussen and that upgraded Haas car. Take qualifying as a case in point: the Dane went fourth quickest in Q1 on a 1:16.1 yet within minutes was struggling to a 1:17.1 and the slowest time in Q2. He was relatively happy with the car’s pace in the race, yet there was too much to do from 14th on the grid.
Rating out of ten: 6

Last weekend marked the one-year anniversary of Daniel Ricciardo‘s bombsell decision to join Renault, so a 14th-place result, his worst finish for four years, was no fitting celebration. It was Q1 that ruined Ricciardo’s weekend when he got tangled up in a “mess” with Sergio Perez into the final corner amid a jostle for track position. Tactical engine penalties from an already lowly grid slot made the race hard going from last place, even if the Australian saw some pace positives.
Rating out of ten: 5.5

What a fantastic battle between the two @ToroRosso drivers🥊

Kvyat gets ahead of Albon!

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Formula 1 rarely gives you time to dwell on celebrations during a season and Hungary was something of a reality check for Daniil Kvyat after that unforgettable weekend in Germany which he returned to the podium and became a father for the first time. He had been running in a points position at lap 49 but lost five positions from there on fading tyres.
Rating out of ten: 6

A brilliant weekend for George Russell, who was surely the star of qualifying to take Williams off the back row and to the brink of Q2 for the first time this year. While the race was slightly tougher going, he still beat one Alfa Romeo and one Racing Point – plus team-mate Robert Kubica – to register a 12th conseuctive finish at the start of his career.
Rating out of ten: 9

From fourth to 17th in the space of seven days for Lance Stroll, whose Hungarian GP weekend simply never got going. Getting ahead of Giovinazzi at the start – who had been penalised for blocking him in qualifying – and again at the end, was the only real highlight in a weekend to forget.
Rating out of ten: 5

Damage did for Antonio Giovinazzi‘s race on lap one, with his car and tyres paying the price for contact in the early melee. A three-place penalty from Saturday for blocking Stroll, who he then battled with in the race, certainly did not help the Italian’s weekend.
Rating out of ten: 5

Budapest is where the F1 comeback trail ramped up for Robert Kubica two years ago but there was no particular joy on his racing return this weekend, with a struggle for grip in qualifying and then finishing three laps down in the race.
Rating out of ten: 5

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