Ocon wins Hungarian GP; Hamilton regains world championship lead
Alpine’s Esteban Ocon took a maiden Formula 1 victory in an extraordinary and madcap Hungarian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton regained the world championship lead for the first time since May after fighting back to finish third having been last five laps into the race.
His title rival Max Verstappen was a victim of an incident-strewn wet start but managed to salvage a point for 10th place in a badly damaged Red Bull.
A race featuring an opening first few laps among the most remarkable in Formula 1 history left Hamilton with a six-point lead over Verstappen as the sport goes into its three-week summer break.
A pile-up at the first corner on a slippery track left Hamilton briefly leading Ocon and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel on the first lap before the race was red-flagged to clear up the mess strewn over the track.
Extraordinarily, when the race restarted, Hamilton was the only car on the grid for a second start as every other driver made pit stops for dry-weather slick tyres because the sun had come out and the track was almost dry.
Hamilton had to stop at the end of the next lap, dropping to the tail of the field, leaving Ocon to fend off Vettel for the rest of the race.
Vettel tried to pass a number of times, but Ocon – a former Mercedes young driver – held on for the entire 70 laps to take a superb first win.
Ocon’s team-mate Fernando Alonso played an important role in securing the win for the Frenchman, defending valiantly against Hamilton for 10 laps in the closing stages.
Hamilton, having fought his way back up to fourth from last, made a pit stop with 23 laps to go to fit fresh tyres and make a bold bid for victory.
The Mercedes driver had the pace to make it happen and might have done, had Alonso not held him off for lap after lap with a display of tough racecraft, a couple of times just on the edge of acceptability.
After Hamilton finally got past Alonso with five laps to go, he passed Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz two laps later and charged up to the front two, finishing just 0.8secs behind Vettel, with Sainz fourth and Alonso fifth.
After the race, Hamilton went to see the Mercedes doctor because he was suffering from fatigue and dizziness. He said in the news conference later that he had been struggling with his fitness all year after contracting Covid-19 last December. (BBC Sport)