Red Bull would endure a difficult Hungarian Grand Prix, with both Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez caught up in first lap chaos.
The two Red Bulls had started 3rd and 4th, but both cars suffered heavy damage after a multi-car collision on lap one that also involved Valtteri Bottas and Lando Norris, with Bottas later given a penalty for causing the crash.
Perez was one of 5 cars eliminated in the first lap chaos, which also saw a separate three car crash happen further back, while Verstappen’s Red Bull was heavily damaged and had to be rebuilt during a consequent red flag stoppage.
Verstappen eventually restarted, but in a severely damaged car that was still sporting some heavy damage. He ultimately could only finish 10th place, with a late move on Daniel Ricciardo doing so, and the driver unable to get pass the Williams of George Russell for a further point. It also saw him finish behind both members of Red Bull’s sister team Alpha Tauri, with Pierre Gasly finishing 6th and taking fastest lap bonus, while Yuki Tsuonda managed 7th after starting 16th.
The Dutchman’s primary championship rival Lewis Hamilton ultimately came third, having missed the carnage only to be caught out by the entire remainder of the field changing to dry tyres for the restart, leading to him falling to last when he belatedly pit and forced to go on a recovery drive.
The net consequence is that Hamilton overtook Verstappen to take the lead of the driver’s championship. The positions also flipped in the constructor’s championships, with Mercedes taking advantage of two low-scoring races in a row for Red Bull by taking the lead in the standings despite scoring two wins less than the Milton Keynes-based Red Bull squad.
Positions were then changed further several hours after the race finished as Sebastian Vettel was disqualified from the race. The German driver racing for Aston Martin had finished second, but the team were unable to extract 1 litre of fuel from the car to satisfy FIA rules for checking fuel samples post-race, so he was disqualified.
This means Hamilton is re-classified second and Verstappen re-classified ninth, which now means Hamilton holds an 8 point advantage into the summer break as opposed to the original six and Mercedes sit 12 points ahead in the constructor’s championship rather than 10, though these may be subject to any Aston Martin appeal over Vettel’s disqualification.
Speaking after the race, Verstappen admitted he was lucky to even get one point after the heavy damage sustained and significant handling issues in the rest of the race. He also sent congratulations to Esteban Ocon, who took a shock win for his first in Formula One.
He said, “It was all out of our hands in the race and I can’t believe I got taken out for the second week running. The mechanics did what they could to get me back in the race but I was carrying a lot of damage on the car after the incident and it was super difficult to drive with, there was a lot of oversteer and understeer from the downforce loss. Of course it’s really disappointing to only score one point but on the other hand I was incredibly lucky to continue after the crash so it was a surprise to score a point at all which is still important.
“We have the summer break now but we keep pushing, we will never give up and we will focus on ourselves. We’ve had two very unlucky races but nothing is lost, it’s still a very long season. Congratulations to Esteban too, you can see that he is super happy and I’m sure many more race wins will follow.”
Perez was left disappointed but admitted there was nothing he could do. He also said Bottas apologised for causing the chaos at the start.
He said, “I don’t know what to say but it is unbelievable to be hit like that at Turn 1 and a massive blow for us as a Team. I got a good start and was up to third and it is such a shame because I think we had a good opportunity in those conditions, but there was nothing I could do. I have watched the replays as it was hard to understand exactly what happened behind me from inside the car and I just knew I got a big hit.
“Bottas made a big mistake and braked too late into Turn 1 which took out a lot of cars, including me and caused bad damage to Max’s car. He came to me and apologised as he knew it was his mistake, and although it was not on purpose and is how racing goes sometimes, it doesn’t make a difference to the result for us right now as the large amount of damage ended our race and opportunity for points.”