Race review

What happened at the United States Grand Prix?

Max Verstappen’s podium that wasn’t was the big talking point after Lewis Hamilton continued on his winning ways in Austin.

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton: qualified 1st, finished 1st. Valtteri Bottas: qualified 3rd, finished 5th.

Mercedes won its 11th Grand Prix of the season – and fifth out of six races since F1’s mid-season break – to annex the constructors’ championship for a fourth year running, and could very well seal the drivers’ championship next weekend in Mexico after Hamilton continued his love affair with the Circuit of the Americas. Of the six races held at Austin, the Briton has now won five of them, and while he made a tardy getaway to be beaten by Vettel’s Ferrari into the first corner, Hamilton was untroubled after reclaiming the lead on lap six, and will take a 66-point lead to Mexico City with a maximum of 75 points left in the season. Also for the statistically minded, Hamilton’s pole position on Saturday was his 117th front-row start, breaking the record set by Michael Schumacher. Hamilton’s form since F1’s summer sojourn contrasts sharply with that of teammate Bottas, who, having re-signed for 2018, has dropped well off the pace. The Finn finished 34 seconds behind his teammate after making a late pit stop for tyres when Raikkonen and then Verstappen demoted him from the podium places, but in a six-race run where Hamilton has won five times, Bottas has managed just two podium finishes in what is undoubtedly the fastest car in the field. “A tough day for me,” he lamented.

Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo: qualified 4th, did not finish. Max Verstappen: qualified 6th, finished 4th.

It had almost been the perfect week for Verstappen, who signed a contract extension until 2020 in the lead-up to the race in Austin. Notice we said ‘almost’; after being beaten in qualifying by teammate Ricciardo and then taking an engine penalty that demoted him to the back, Verstappen was electrifying in the early stages of the race, passing 10 cars in the first 10 laps to give himself a chance of a podium finish. An audacious and opportunistic pass of Raikkonen’s Ferrari with four corners left on the final lap saw him cross the line in third place, but as he was preparing to head out onto the podium, the race stewards deemed he’d left the track and gained an advantage with his move, the subsequent five-second time penalty demoting him to fourth. Former Red Bull racer Mark Webber, commentating on British TV, called it a “shit decision”, while team boss Christian Horner found the verdict “unbelievably harsh”. Verstappen’s take? “We had a really great race, but with those stupid decisions you really kill the sport,” he fumed. Ricciardo’s Sunday was, initially at least, quite action-packed as he diced furiously with Bottas for third in the early stages, but that all came to nought when an engine failure saw the Australian sidelined on lap 14, snapping his run of three straight podiums. Ricciardo spent more time talking about his future in the wake of Red Bull hitching its wagon long-term to Verstappen – the 28-year-old comes out of contract at the end of the 2018 season – than he needed to spend analysing a race that ended all too quickly. He’s also likely to take a grid penalty for Mexico in seven days’ time.

Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel: qualified 2nd, finished 2nd. Kimi Raikkonen: qualified 5th, finished 3rd.

The Prancing Horse has a pulse, but only a faint one after Vettel again couldn’t hang with Hamilton despite a jack-rabbit start that briefly raised hopes that Mercedes could be challenged at COTA. After being overtaken by Hamilton, Vettel got aggressive with his first pit stop and tried the undercut in an attempt to thwart the Briton, but he ended up needing to pass Bottas and a compliant Raikkonen to get back to where he started and minimise his points deficit to the driver would could join him as a four-time world champion as soon as next weekend. “At the start it was looking good, but quickly we realised we couldn’t do the same pace as Lewis,” he said after finishing over 10 seconds adrift. Raikkonen, who turned 38 in the week leading into the race, robustly defended his driving before a wheel was turned in Austin, despite having scored 12 fewer points in 16 races than at the same stage of last season. Sunday – eventually – saw him grab a fifth podium for the season with one of his stronger drives for the year, but the gap to his teammate ballooned to over 100 points – and is a big reason why Mercedes wrapped up the teams’ title with three races to go.

Force India
Sergio Perez: qualified 10th, finished 8th. Esteban Ocon: qualified 7th, finished 6th.

Stop us if you’ve heard this before: Perez, behind teammate Ocon in the middle part of the race, was immediately on the team radio telling Force India brass that “I am a lot faster” in an attempt to get the team to move the Frenchman aside. The team didn’t, figuring the points earned for sixth and seventh would be the same no matter which pink car crossed the line first, but the decision came back to bite them when Sainz muscled his Renault ahead of Perez and narrowly missed out on passing Ocon as the laps wound down. Ocon’s qualifying effort was all the more meritorious given he was struggling with the onset of a migraine, and the 21-year-old set a record by finishing the opening 26 races of his F1 career, beating former Manor driver Max Chilton’s mark. Perez, who was apoplectic when Magnussen blocked him in qualifying, at least has the next race at home in Mexico to look forward to.

Williams
Felipe Massa: qualified 11th, finished 9th. Lance Stroll: qualified 17th, finished 11th.

While Massa’s future remains cloudy, with Williams testing Robert Kubica and Paul Di Resta in what amounts to a shootout for his seat before Austin, the veteran Brazilian is making the most of the present, using a long first stint on a contra tyre strategy on Sunday to vault into the points. Stroll narrowly missed out on joining him, a three-place grid penalty for dangerously impeding Grosjean in qualifying on Saturday proving costly.

McLaren
Fernando Alonso: qualified 9th, did not finish. Stoffel Vandoorne: qualified 13th, finished 12th.

It’s been a season where good news has been in short supply at McLaren, but there were plenty of smiles at the pre-event press conference when Alonso announced an extension of his contract with the team. The Spaniard produced an extraordinary lap in qualifying to work his way into the top 10 shootout despite his car being 20km/h slower than the Mercedes-powered runners down COTA’s lengthy back straight, but the long faces returned on Sunday when he had to park with – you guessed it – an engine failure on lap 24. “I cannot believe it,” he sighed after his 10th retirement of the year, the most for one driver since Raikkonen in 2002. Vandoorne was on a hiding to nothing when he took yet more engine penalties and started from the back, and try as he might, the top 10 remained just out of reach. “It was a shame to get so close to the points, but we were always going to struggle starting so far back,” he said.

Toro Rosso
Daniil Kvyat: qualified 12th, finished 10th. Brendon Hartley: qualified 18th, finished 13th.

It was all-out, all-change at Toro Rosso for Austin, with the Suzuka line-up of Sainz (off to Renault to replace Jolyon Palmer) and Gasly (who stayed in Japan to contest the Super Formula season finale) replaced by Kvyat and Hartley. For the Russian, it was welcome reprieve after being benched for Gasly in Malaysia and Japan, while for 27-year-old sportscar ace Hartley, Austin was an opportunity he must have thought would never come, the New Zealander cast aside from Red Bull’s driver pool seven years ago. The Kvyat/Hartley pairing represented the first time in 23 years that a team changed both drivers between consecutive rounds of the championship. Kvyat, who admitted before the race that he was desperately seeking some clarity about his F1 future, scored his first points since Spain in round five with 10th, while Hartley’s debut was compromised by engine penalties that saw him start at the back. The Kiwi kept his nose clean, raced to 13th, and looked forward to being able to reflect on what had been a whirlwind week. “It won’t be until I go to bed tonight and put my eyes at rest that I’ll start to process everything,” he said.

Haas
Romain Grosjean: qualified 14th, finished 14th. Kevin Magnussen: qualified 20th, finished 16th.

The ‘home’ team in Austin left for Mexico without any points after a weekend of incidents for both cars, including one on track in practice between Magnussen and Grosjean that left the Frenchman fuming. Grosjean, wearing a Nicky Hayden-inspired helmet design in a nice nod to the late American MotoGP champion, struggled mightily with tyre wear late in the race as his outside chance of a points result faded, while Magnussen, who admitted fault in a qualifying incident with Perez that saw him demoted three places on the grid, had contact with both Saubers, Wehrlein on the first lap which necessitated an early pit stop, and Ericsson later on when the Swede had just been lapped by Vettel.

Renault
Nico Hulkenberg: qualified 15th, did not finish. Carlos Sainz: qualified 8th, finished 7th.

Hulkenberg must wonder why he even bothers travelling to Austin; the German’s lap three retirement after suffering an oil pressure problem was his fourth straight non-finish at COTA, and came after he’d taken a 20-place grid penalty for changing engine components. Sainz, on the other hand, couldn’t have had a more impressive start to life at his new team after coming across from Toro Rosso; after out-qualifying Hulkenberg on Saturday (something former teammate Palmer didn’t manage in 16 attempts), the Spaniard raced strongly to seventh on Sunday, and was the final car not lapped by race-winner Hamilton. Sainz’s six points saw his new team draw within five points of his old one for sixth in the constructors’ standings.

Sauber
Marcus Ericsson: qualified 16th, finished 15th. Pascal Wehrlein: qualified 19th, did not finish.

Beneath the radar, Ericsson had one of his stronger Saturdays of the year in Austin, out-qualifying a Williams and a Toro Rosso and beating teammate Wehrlein by four-tenths of a second in what is clearly the slowest car in the field. The race didn’t go as well, the Swede given a five-second time penalty for the incident with Magnussen. Wehrlein, who turned 23 in the lead-up to the race, was out of it after five laps, the damage from his own coming-together with Magnussen too much to continue.

Advertisements

What happened at the Japanese Grand Prix?

Hamilton flies, Ferrari flops and Red Bull scores a second double-podium in seven days as F1 storms Suzuka.

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton: qualified 1st, finished 1st. Valtteri Bottas: qualified 2nd, finished 4th.

Suzuka has been Mercedes territory ever since the advent of the V6 turbo hybrid era – the Silver Arrows had won all three races at the esteemed Japanese track since 2014 – and Hamilton made it a Mercedes clean sweep since that sweeping change to the sport’s regulations when he won his eighth Grand Prix of the year and fourth in the past five races. With Vettel’s retirement, Hamilton’s championship lead has ballooned to 59 points with 100 still available, and the Briton’s momentum, allied to Ferrari’s propensity to shoot itself in the foot, surely means a fourth world title is a certainty. Pole for Hamilton on Saturday was – remarkably – his first at Suzuka in 11 Japanese Grand Prix, and he set it with the fastest-ever lap of the revered circuit, the car’s cornering speed in the twisty first sector a sight to behold. “It’s like the craziest rollercoaster ride,” he beamed afterwards. His race was relatively uncomplicated, save for some late drama after a virtual safety car period to recover Stroll’s stricken Williams that saw Verstappen close to within a second, but a fourth Japanese Grand Prix victory will see him arrive in Austin in two weeks with one hand – perhaps more – on the title.
On the other side of the garage, Bottas came to Japan under pressure after a series of underwhelming performances since the mid-season break, and blotted his copybook when he clouted the wall in final practice, damaging his car to such an extent that it required a gearbox change and subsequent five-place grid penalty. He fitted the faster supersoft tyres for his final stint of the race and closed in on Ricciardo at a rapid rate, setting the fastest lap of the race with four laps to go, but ran out of time and was less than a second adrift at the flag.

Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo: qualified 3rd, finished 3rd. Max Verstappen: qualified 4th, finished 2nd.

Last week’s double-podium in Malaysia was Red Bull’s first in a year; seven days later, the team did it again, with Verstappen a late, albeit unlikely, chance to nab a second win in succession as he reeled in Hamilton in the final two laps. The pair came across Massa and Alonso battling for 10th on the penultimate lap, and the Dutchman was unlucky to catch the Brazilian in the twisty Esses section at the start of the last lap, where moving aside for blue flags is difficult even if you’re so inclined to. Ricciardo had Verstappen’s measure for much of the weekend until the lights went out on Sunday, but Verstappen made a superb getaway from the second row and slotted in behind Hamilton by the time the field completed the second lap. He made his sole pit stop on lap 21 in an attempt to undercut the Briton, but Hamilton pitted a lap later and controlled the race from there. Verstappen’s second podium in a week was his third for the season.
Ricciardo at least out-qualified his teammate for the first time in seven races, but blinked at the start and then was boxed in by a slow-starting Vettel at the first corner, which gave Verstappen the invitation he needed to leap ahead. Ocon then took advantage and zapped the Australian in the Esses, and by the time Ricciardo cleared the Force India 11 laps later, third was the best he could have hoped for. Bottas’ pace at the end gave him a few nervous moments, but third was Ricciardo’s first podium at Suzuka in seven visits. Nine podiums for the season is the most he’s earned in a single campaign. “Once the start was done, it’s pretty difficult to overtake around here,” he said. The back-to-back double podiums were Red Bull’s first since, remarkably, the US/Brazil races in 2013.

Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel: qualified 3rd, did not finish. Kimi Raikkonen: qualified 6th, finished 5th.

Sunday’s retirement after just four laps almost certainly put an end to Vettel’s quest of a fifth world title, which is hard to believe after he led the standings for the opening 12 rounds of the season. In the five races since F1 took its mid-season break before Belgium, Vettel has managed just 45 points to Hamilton’s 118. Alarm bells were ringing when Ferrari mechanics were frantically working on Vettel’s car in the moments before the start, the engine cover off the car as the team changed a spark plug at the last possible moment. The German made a slow getaway and then had no pace at all down the main straight, losing positions hand over fist until he was called into the pits to park to become the second retirement of the race.
Raikkonen’s race was compromised by his accident in third practice, when he slid off at hit the barriers at Degner 2 and needed a new gearbox. Starting 10th, the Finn had battles with Hulkenberg and Vandoorne on the opening lap and fell back to 15th, and while superior car speed saw him make short work of the midfield runners, he finished in no-man’s land, 22 seconds behind Bottas in fourth, and 35 seconds ahead of Ocon in sixth. At least he completed more than one lap, which he didn’t manage in either Singapore or Malaysia …

Force India
Sergio Perez: qualified 8th, finished 7th. Esteban Ocon: qualified 7th, finished 6th.

There was little to choose between the Force India duo all weekend, with Ocon out-qualifying Perez by 0.149 seconds and beating him by three seconds after 53 laps. But it wasn’t as straightforward as that – it never is with Force India’s drivers – and Perez was miffed by Ocon’s pace at several stages throughout the race as he looked for a way past, telling the team the Frenchman was “going too slowly” with 15 laps left as he chased sixth spot. It didn’t end in tears between the pair as it did in Azerbaijan and Belgium earlier this season, but it didn’t do much for team morale either. With four races left this season, Perez leads his vastly less experienced teammate by 17 points – what will happen if that margin narrows?

Williams
Felipe Massa: qualified 9th, finished 10th. Lance Stroll: qualified 18th, did not finish.

Suzuka was very much a case of what might have been for Williams, with Massa hanging on to the final point after resisting plenty of pressure from old Ferrari teammate Alonso in the closing stages, and Stroll suffering his first retirement for 13 Grands Prix when he few off with just six laps left, a failure on the right front of the car sending him spearing into the gravel trap at a fearsome speed as he traversed the Esses. The veteran Brazilian doubled his lead over his teammate in the drivers’ standings (to two points) with four races to go; the only question is if those four races are the last of Massa’s career, with the team confirming over the Japan weekend that test driver Paul di Resta, who deputised for an unwell Massa in Hungary this year, and former BMW-Sauber and Renault driver Robert Kubica are being evaluated to potentially take over the seat alongside Stroll for 2018.

McLaren
Fernando Alonso: qualified 10th, finished 11th. Stoffel Vandoorne: qualified 11th, finished 14th.

McLaren has endured plenty of barren races since it started its ill-feted second marriage with Honda in 2015, so it was perhaps fitting that Sunday’s race in Japan made it zero points from three Grands Prix at Honda’s home track as McLaren prepares to move to Renault engines for next year – the same Renault engines (rebadged, of course) that have propelled Red Bull to consecutive double podiums in the past week. Alonso had designs on changing that stat on Thursday before the race when he was in a typically combative mood, but that optimism quickly died after Friday practice when it was announced he’d need yet another engine replacement for the race, a hydraulic leak condemning him to a rear-of-grid start. His late-race fight with Massa was predictably feisty and ultimately futile. Vandoorne came into the weekend buoyed by consecutive seventh-place finishes in Singapore and Malaysia, and had plenty of experience and form around Suzuka from his days in the Japanese Super Formula championship. Alonso edged him from the top 10 shootout for pole on Saturday, and any chance of another points haul evaporated almost instantly when he fell to the back on lap one.

Toro Rosso
Pierre Gasly: qualified 17th, finished 13th. Carlos Sainz: qualified 15th, did not finish.

Suzuka was a surprise farewell for Sainz at the only F1 team he’s ever known, as it was announced after qualifying that his 2018 move to Renault would be fast-tracked to the US Grand Prix in Austin in a fortnight’s time, his new employers keen to move on from Jolyon Palmer. As farewells go, Japan was underwhelming – Sainz had to start from the back with engine penalties, smashed his car at the hairpin in first practice, and then lasted six corners in the race before burying his car into the barriers as the field snaked its way through the Esses for the first time. The Spaniard has been a one-man band for Toro Rosso this year, scoring 48 of the team’s 52 points, his contribution keeping the team in seventh place in the constructors’ championship, ahead of, amongst others, Renault. For newcomer Gasly, in his just his second Grand Prix, Suzuka was at least more familiar than Malaysia last time out, the young Frenchman knowing the track well from his Japanese Super Formula campaign this year. He had an emotional moment before the race weekend when he visited the corner where friend Jules Bianchi crashed at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix, an accident that would eventually cost Bianchi his life. Like Malaysia, points remained elusive for a team that struggled in the past two Grands Prix. Daniil Kvyat, parked to make way for Gasly in the last two races, returns in Austin in two weeks.

Haas
Romain Grosjean: qualified 16th, finished 9th. Kevin Magnussen: qualified 13th, finished 8th.

Haas had its second double-points finish of the year – and first since Monaco way back in round six – when Magnussen and Grosjean picked up the scraps at Suzuka, although to paint their races as ones where they simply got lucky would be entirely unfair. The fiery Magnussen has managed to get under the skin of several rivals this year, and his robust pass of Massa at turn one on lap 42 was a brilliant mixture of aggression and skill, and one that allowed Grosjean to sneak past the Williams as well. They were less than a second apart at the flag, and the combined six world championship points saw them sneak past Renault for seventh overall, progress from last year’s eighth-place finish. Considering how Friday (Magnussen had a water leak) and Saturday (Grosjean crashed heavily in qualifying) went, it was an unlikely result that was welcomed with open arms.

Renault
Jolyon Palmer: qualified 14th, finished 12th. Nico Hulkenberg: qualified 12th, did not finish.

The news of Palmer’s departure from Renault effective immediately caught a few on the hop, but the stats don’t lie – and they show that in 36 races, the Briton scored points just twice, and Saturday’s qualifying deficit to Hulkenberg made his head-to-head mark against the German 0-16 on Saturdays this season. He then took a 20-place grid penalty for new engine components, and flirted with a top-10 finish through running a marathon first stint before dropping to 12th at the flag. “It is my last race for Renault, not my last race in Formula One,” Palmer said. It’s hard to see how. On the other side of the garage, Hulkenberg was gutted after his own lengthy first stint of the race, where he ran as high as fifth, came to naught when his DRS flap stuck open after his pit stop, the rear-wing assembly failing and necessitating his retirement. The final four races of the season will be an interesting entrée to his partnership with Sainz next season, with two drivers capable of scoring good hauls of points giving Renault what it needs to vault up the grid.

Sauber
Marcus Ericsson: qualified 19th, did not finish. Pascal Wehrlein: qualified 20th, finished 15th.

Ericsson had plenty of confidence for Suzuka, a track he knows well from his pre-F1 days racing in Japan, and it was no surprise he reversed his recent qualifying form against teammate Wehrlein to beat the German by three-tenths of a second on Saturday. That experience didn’t help him much on Sunday though, where the Swede lasted all of eight laps before running wide at Degner 1 and having the almost-inevitable accident at Degner 2, burying the Sauber into the outside wall just before the circuit underpass. Wehrlein made two unscheduled pit stops in the opening four laps and was always going to finish last from there, as Sauber’s drought without points stretched to eight races.

What happened at the Malaysian Grand Prix?

Max Verstappen wins his second race in Malaysia’s final GP, while Daniel Ricciardo’s third caps a season-best day for Red Bull Racing.

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM

Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo: qualified 4th, finished 3rd. Max Verstappen: qualified 3rd, finished 1st.

For a driver whose year has had complications at every turn, Verstappen’s second career win was a breeze, the Dutchman starting well from third, sailing past Hamilton’s Mercedes into the braking zone at the first corner on lap four, and only briefly being headed through the pit stop phase from there on as he cruised to a 12-second victory. Win number one – on his debut for Red Bull Racing in Spain last year – owed itself partly to good fortune, but this was an imperious display, putting a gap of five seconds on Hamilton in eight laps after passing the championship leader, his pace in Sepang’s twisty second sector a sight to behold. Those seven non-finishes and three first-lap exits would have been the last thing on his mind on a sweltering Sunday night in Kuala Lumpur, and it would have been hard to have found the birthday boy (Verstappen turned 20 on Saturday) a better present.
Ricciardo, the race-winner in Malaysia last year, had no answer for his teammate’s pace for much of the weekend, the Australian out-qualified by Verstappen for the sixth race running. But after dispatching a fast-starting Bottas to claim the final podium place on offer on lap nine, Ricciardo hung on as best he could against Vettel’s flying Ferrari, which was on faster tyres, in the final stages, shutting the door decisively on his old teammate at the first corner with seven laps to go. Finishing over 20 seconds behind Verstappen wouldn’t have pleased him, but giving Red Bull its first double-podium of the season certainly did.

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton: qualified 1st, finished 2nd. Valtteri Bottas: qualified 5th, finished 5th.

Hamilton left Malaysia with a larger lead in the world championship over nearest rival Vettel – the Briton has a 34-point advantage with five races left – but he would have been excused for expecting more after he started from pole at Sepang for the fourth straight year, and with Vettel dead last after the Ferrari’s engine packed up in qualifying. Hamilton had nothing in response for Verstappen after the Dutchman took an early lead, and his race was a lonely one, the team understandably keeping an eye on Vettel’s progress from behind rather than worrying about Verstappen’s pace in front. While Hamilton’s three-race winning streak from the mid-year break was snapped, a 20th consecutive finish saw him inch closer to that coveted fourth world title. While Hamilton would have left Malaysia happy, Bottas would have been utterly disconsolate by finishing where he started, but more alarmingly, 56 seconds behind Verstappen. The Finn elected to keep using Mercedes’ upgraded aerodynamic package that Hamilton abandoned after the opening day of practice, and was nowhere thereafter, qualifying a whopping seven-tenths of a second behind his teammate’s pole time on Saturday, and fading into anonymity in the race.

Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel: qualified 20th, finished 4th. Kimi Raikkonen: qualified 2nd, did not start.

Was Malaysia a massive fail or a massive save for the Scuderia? Worst news first; after Vettel was left at the back of the grid following engine problems in qualifying, suspected turbo dramas hit Raikkonen on the reconnaissance lap to the grid before Sunday’s race, the Finn dragged back into the garage as Ferrari desperately chased a quick fix that came to nought. While Raikkonen was a spectator, Vettel was spectacular. The German made quick early work of the back of the field to be up to 11th within six laps, but it was his prodigious pace when he fitted the supersoft tyres on lap 27 that showed why many believe the Ferrari is the fastest car in the sport at the moment – when it’s actually working. Vettel dispatched Bottas and set off after Ricciardo, and very nearly jagged a podium from last at the start. A strange weekend got even stranger for Vettel when Stroll’s Williams ran clean into him as the field tooled around back to the pits, the impact smashing the left rear of Vettel’s Ferrari to bits and – potentially – necessitating a gearbox replacement (and subsequent penalty) at next week’s race in Japan.

Force India
Sergio Perez: qualified 9th, finished 6th. Esteban Ocon: qualified 6th, finished 10th.

The gap between the haves and the have-nots in F1 was best demonstrated by Perez’s excellent sixth place, a result even more meritorious when you consider the Mexican was battling a virus at the most physical race of all. Eight points were great, but the Force India driver was the final car not lapped, and finished 78 seconds behind race-winner Verstappen. While his race was relatively event-free, teammate Ocon’s was anything but; the Frenchman hit Massa’s Williams at the second corner on lap one, made an early pit stop to get onto the more durable soft-compound tyres after two laps, spun at Turn 1 on lap 25 after contact with Sainz’s Toro Rosso, and had several run-ins with Massa at Turn 4 before finishing 10th to pick up the final point on offer.

Williams
Felipe Massa: qualified 11th, finished 9th. Lance Stroll: qualified 13th, finished 8th.

The Williams drivers have been an amicable duo all season as veteran Brazilian Massa has helped eased Canadian rookie Stroll’s transition into the top flight, but the pair were never far apart at Sepang, Stroll aggrieved that Massa had undercut him in the pit stops when they squabbled on track together on lap 13. Stroll finished the better of the pair by six seconds after 56 laps, Massa’s car clearly struggling after he picked up some damage in the first-lap incident with Ocon. Stroll’s take on the bizarre end-of-race smash with Vettel? “It was a strange incident, I was driving very slowly, back into the pit lane. The race wasn’t going on, so it wasn’t intentional for either of us. He came around the outside like the race was still going. It all happened very quickly.”

McLaren
Fernando Alonso: qualified 10th, finished 11th. Stoffel Vandoorne: qualified 7th, finished 7th.

Malaysia was another very solid weekend for Vandoorne, who equalled his career-best result of seventh earned in the Singapore Grand Prix a fortnight ago. That the McLaren worked well on Singapore’s twisty city streets wasn’t a surprise, but Vandoorne’s pace despite an obvious power deficit down Sepang’s two long straights was unexpected. The Belgian made a brilliant start to be fifth after the first lap, and is now ahead of teammate Alonso in the drivers’ standings. Alonso’s race had few highlights, save for his lap 33 fight with Magnussen’s Haas, which ended with the Spaniard block-passing the Dane into Turn 2 and dismissively calling him “an idiot”.

Toro Rosso
Pierre Gasly: qualified 15th, finished 14th. Carlos Sainz: qualified 14th, did not finish.

Random Toro Rosso stat from the weekend; every time Daniil Kvyat has been demoted (from Red Bull to Toro Rosso in Spain last year, and from Toro Rosso to the team’s subs bench for Malaysia), Verstappen has won the race … Gasly, drafted in for Sepang and Suzuka (for the time being), described Friday’s first practice as “very special”, and while the French 21-year-old hovered around the back of the midfield for most of his debut weekend, qualifying just 0.156secs behind Sainz showed his potential. The unlucky Sainz, who came into Malaysia after a career-best fourth in Singapore, was technically the only retiree at Sepang (given Raikkonen didn’t start the race), his engine letting go on lap 28 when he was running in the points.

Haas
Romain Grosjean: qualified 16th, finished 13th. Kevin Magnussen: qualified 17th, finished 12th.

Grosjean was the headline from Friday practice at Sepang, the Haas driver pitched into a frightening accident after a puncture caused by a loose drain cover at Turn 12, the Frenchman very fortunate to escape injury despite his car being totalled. The team’s mechanics pulled an all-nighter to get his car ready for qualifying, but there wasn’t much more to be proud about for either Grosjean or Magnussen, both cars out in Q1 and faster only than the backmarker Sauber duo of Wehrlein and Ericsson. Grosjean was bullied off track on the first lap by the Toro Rossos (his complaints earning a stinging rebuke from Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost) and barely featured after that, while Magnussen had a more eventful outing, storming to 10th after an opportunistic first lap, but falling back after clashes with Alonso and former Renault teammate Palmer, who he referred to as “a lunatic” after they came together at the first corner on lap 39.

Renault
Jolyon Palmer: qualified 12th, finished 15th. Nico Hulkenberg: qualified 8th, finished 16th.

Renault went backwards in Malaysia, Hulkenberg’s off onto the dirt at the final corner on lap one forcing him into an early pit stop to cure imbalance issues. The German tried to get to the end on the same tyres he fitted on lap 10, but was forced into another stop six laps from home and finished well outside of the points. Palmer’s weekend, one race after his Singapore sixth, was messy; he hit Verstappen at the end of final practice, spun all by himself at the penultimate corner on lap 38, and then hit Magnussen two turns later, ending up off the track and pointing in the wrong direction.

Sauber
Marcus Ericsson: qualified 19th, finished 18th. Pascal Wehrlein: qualified 18th, finished 17th.

The Sauber duo had nothing to lose by starting on the soft-compound Pirellis and trying to go as long as they could in Sunday’s race, but the lack of a safety car or wet-weather intervention saw them tool around at the back, both making just the one stop, and Wehrlein finishing a long, long way ahead of his Swedish teammate. The German’s only moment of note? Giving compatriot Vettel a lift back to the pits after the race.

What happened at the Singapore Grand Prix?

A start-line smash hogs the headlines, as Daniel Ricciardo goes oh-so-close yet again to achieving Singapore success.

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton: qualified 5th, finished 1st. Valtteri Bottas: qualified 6th, finished 3rd.

After qualifying fifth and over six-tenths of a second behind Vettel’s pole time, Hamilton felt Mercedes needed “a miracle” to stay in the same postcode as the Ferrari and Red Bull duos in the race, and that’s exactly how his start panned out. The Briton made a superb getaway to round up Ricciardo’s slow-starting Red Bull into the first corner, and was ahead of the Raikkonen-Verstappen-Alonso carnage that unfolded in the opening 10 seconds, and perfectly placed when Vettel hit the wall at Turn 3 seconds later.

From there, Hamilton was in control of the race in conditions wet or dry, and 58 gruelling laps later, had taken his third win in a row – and assumed a season-best 28-point championship lead on a circuit that shaped as Mercedes’ worst for the remainder of the year. Bottas was never a match for his teammate all weekend and suffered with a failed drinks bottle in his car for the two-hour duration, but rounded out the podium on a critical weekend that might just secure Hamilton the title once we get to Abu Dhabi in late November.

Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo: qualified 3rd, finished 2nd. Max Verstappen: qualified 2nd, did not finish.

Verstappen shone in qualifying again, out-performing teammate Ricciardo when it mattered most and slotting into second behind Vettel, but it was that starting position that was the beginning of the end for the Dutchman 24 hours later. Raikkonen, immediately behind him, made a blinding start and stormed down the inside, and as pole-sitter Vettel came across to cover, the Red Bull was steaming towards a gap that was closing rapidly, the contact seeing both Verstappen and Raikkonen out on the spot and Vettel last only a few corners more. In 14 races this season, Verstappen has now retired on seven occasions, three times on the first lap. If it was a familiar tale for the teenager, it was much the same for Ricciardo, who finished second in Singapore for the third year in a row, and on the podium at a track where so many from his native Perth come to watch for the fourth year in succession. The Australian had every reason to be bullish for another race win when he dominated Friday practice, but this wasn’t the usual swashbuckling Ricciardo rostrum result – his poor getaway saved him from the first-corner carnage, and while he kept Hamilton honest, he never looked like challenging the Mercedes for the top spot as he pushed on despite an oil pressure problem with his gearbox. “I can’t win the bloody thing, but I’m trying,” he half-grinned afterwards.

Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel: qualified 1st, did not finish. Kimi Raikkonen: qualified 4th, did not finish.

Ferrari came to Singapore desperate to atone for being thrashed by Mercedes at its home race at Monza a fortnight before, and had every reason to be optimistic at a tight and twisty street circuit that most resembles Monaco of the other F1 tracks, where it finished 1-2 earlier this year. Instead, Singapore became a historical black eye for the Scuderia, who had two cars retire on the first lap of a race for the first time in its storied F1 history. While most pointed the finger of blame at Vettel, the team took a slightly different view …

Vettel said after the race that he was uncertain what happened at the start; what’s easier to ascertain is that with six races to go, the German’s chances of a fifth world title this year look more tenuous than ever. After his brilliant pole on Saturday with a lap many observers called one of the best of his career, it was quite the come-down.

Force India
Sergio Perez: qualified 12th, finished 5th. Esteban Ocon: qualified 14th, finished 10th.

Things looked dire for Force India on Saturday, where the team failed to get a car into the top 10 on the grid for just the third time all year at a circuit that plainly didn’t suit the car’s slippery straight-line strengths. But Perez was his usual canny self in the race, and despite having never made Q3 in Singapore, he’s now finished inside the top 10 seven times, Sunday’s fifth his best effort yet. It capped off a great day for the Mexican, who signed a contract extension to stay with the team for 2018 on race morning. Ocon, on his 21st birthday, found himself in a furious fight on the fringes of the top 10 with Massa and Magnussen mid-race, and continued his perfect finishing record in F1 to date (23 races, 23 times seeing the chequered flag) as he joined Hamilton as the only drivers to complete every race so far this year.

Williams
Felipe Massa: qualified 17th, finished 11th. Lance Stroll: qualified 18th, finished 8th.

For Williams to make the points with one car and just miss with the other was something of a save for a weekend that started out poorly and then got worse when both cars were ousted in Q1 for the fourth time in the past six races. The attrition rate of faster cars ahead of them certainly helped, but in conditions that caught out plenty of more experienced rivals, Stroll’s eighth at a circuit he’d never previously driven was commendable. Massa was one of the first drivers to move to slicks as the circuit dried on lap 24, and it didn’t quite work out, the veteran Brazilian finishing less than two seconds behind Ocon for the final point on offer.

McLaren
Fernando Alonso: qualified 8th, did not finish. Stoffel Vandoorne: qualified 9th, finished 7th.

Vandoorne took a career-best result from his first visit to Singapore, which came after he and teammate Alonso had qualified inside the top 10 for just the second time all season. While the Belgian shone, it was yet another early shower for Alonso, who retired on lap nine after his car’s telemetry failed thanks to damage from the shunt at the first corner, the Spaniard finding himself in the firing line after a typically scorching start. Alonso has seen the chequered flag just once in the past six races, but at least has kept his sense of humour …

While Vandoorne’s Singapore race was strong and Alonso’s short, this will be a weekend remembered more for the divorce from a failed three-year marriage with Honda – and move to Renault power for 2018 – than anything McLaren’s drivers achieved on track. Convincing Alonso to stay is the next – and most vital – task.

Toro Rosso
Daniil Kvyat: qualified 13th, did not finish. Carlos Sainz: qualified 10th, finished 4th.

Singapore was a big weekend in Sainz’s career, confirmation coming that the Spaniard will be loaned to Renault for next season as part of the engine musical chairs that saw Toro Rosso’s Renault powerplant supply heading to McLaren, and Honda switching to STR. Sainz qualified 10th and felt he’d be fighting a rear-guard action in the race; instead, he was superbly opportunistic and finished a career-best fourth, making the most of a day where numerous big names barely lasted a few corners. His continued success contrasted sharply with Kvyat’s repeated woes, the Russian furious after missing Q3 on Saturday, and then stuffing his car into the fence at Turn 7 in the wet after 11 laps in the race, prompting the second of three safety car interventions. The last time Kvyat scored points? Barcelona, way back in May.

Haas
Romain Grosjean: qualified 15th, finished 9th. Kevin Magnussen: qualified 16th, did not finish.

Things looked grim for Haas when the American team could only outpace backmarkers Sauber on Friday, and when Grosjean barely scraped into Q2 and Magnussen failed to join him, points looked like a pipedream. Plenty of incidents and accidents ahead of the pair changed all of that on Sunday, and Grosjean persevered to nab two points, while Magnussen had an MGU-K failure eight laps from the end that saw him become the eighth and final retirement of the race.

Renault
Jolyon Palmer: qualified 11th, finished 6th. Nico Hulkenberg: qualified 7th, did not finish.

It’s been a miserable year for Palmer, outqualified by teammate Hulkenberg in every race and failing to score a point before Singapore, and his tenure in F1 was ended in the lead-up to the race when it was announced Sainz would take his seat for 2018 at the latest, and perhaps as early as the next round in Malaysia. The Briton’s response was impressive and surprising; after just missing Q3 on Saturday, Palmer was an excellent sixth on Sunday for a career-best result, his assuredness in the wet at the start a standout. Will it be his final race? Only time will tell. The news wasn’t as positive for Hulkenberg, who, after being pumped up by qualifying ahead of both McLarens on Saturday, had to retire with a hydraulics issue late in the race when running strongly inside the top 10. Speaking of bad news: the non-finish meant Hulkenberg broke the record for most starts in the history of F1 without a podium finish (129), previously held by his compatriot Adrian Sutil.

Sauber
Marcus Ericsson: qualified 20th, did not finish. Pascal Wehrlein: qualified 19th, finished 12th.

Ericsson and Wehrlein continued their season-long race within a race at the back of the field, the Swede clouting the wall in practice and needing a new gearbox (the subsequent five-place grid penalty meaning little given he qualified last anyway), and then causing the final safety car period of the race when he crashed on the iconic Anderson Bridge with 20 laps left. Wehrlein was two laps down and last, and with Vandoorne’s seventh place extending McLaren’s lead over Sauber for last in the constructors’ championship to 12 points, it seems the Swiss squad is certain to finishing at the foot of the table.

What happened at the Italian Grand Prix?

Grid penalties get out of control and Daniel Ricciardo unleashes a stunning drive, but it was Mercedes who produced a masterclass at Monza.

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton: qualified 1st, finished 1st. Valtteri Bottas: qualified 6th, finished 2nd.
On a weekend where the F1 penalty system made a complete mockery of qualifying – Hamilton was the only driver to line up in the position he qualified in after nine drivers were hit with penalties for changing gearboxes or engines, or both – the Briton made the red-clad Ferrari fans see blue after his most emphatic performance of the season. Hamilton’s 69th career pole on a rain-delayed Saturday broke Michael Schumacher’s long-standing record, and on Sunday, the three-time world champion aced the start and drove off into the distance for Mercedes’ fourth win in Ferrari territory on the bounce, a victory that saw Hamilton take the championship lead (by three points) for the first time this season. Aside from his trophy nearly being spilled before it was handed to him on the podium, Hamilton’s day was as perfect as you could get. Bottas’ race was less straightforward initially after the Finn didn’t shine in the Monza gloom in qualifying, but he was up to second by lap four and kept a sensible distance between his teammate and the rest of the field to give Mercedes its third 1-2 of the season. More worryingly for the rest is that two of those 1-2 finishes have come in the past four races.

Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo: qualified 3rd, finished 4th. Max Verstappen: qualified 2nd, finished 10th.
Finishing one place behind where he qualified doesn’t sound like much to get excited about for Ricciardo, but when you consider he took an engine penalty after qualifying that dropped him to 16th on the grid, finishing just four seconds from the podium showed why the Australian was voted as driver of the day by the sport’s fans via social media as the chequered flag flew. Monza was Ricciardo at his incisive best; after a circumspect getaway from near the back of the pack on the soft-compound tyre, the Red Bull driver began to pick off his rivals at a rapid rate, gaining seven places in the opening seven laps. Overtakes of Perez on lap 17 at the Turn 4-5 chicane after a brilliant dummy, and an audacious mugging of Raikkonen’s Ferrari at the first corner on lap 41 were from the top shelf, and despite setting the fastest lap of the race with five laps remaining, he just ran out of time to knock Vettel off the Monza podium. Verstappen qualified a superb second in a deluge on Saturday before he too was pushed back with an engine penalty, but the Dutchman’s dream of a top-five finish was quickly extinguished when he had a clumsy clash with Massa at Turn 1 on lap three, a right-front puncture seeing him limp back to the pits and re-join in last place. From there, getting back into the points was the best Verstappen could do, but 10th only came after brushing with Grosjean and Magnussen in the closing laps as he finished a lap down.

Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel: qualified 8th, finished 3rd. Kimi Raikkonen: qualified 7th, finished 5th.
Ferrari banked 25 points from Monza and Vettel got to stand on the year’s best podium, but make no mistake – Italy was a massive wake-up call for the men in red, who haven’t won at home since 2010. Mercedes were always expected to have the upper hand on Ferrari’s home ground, the straight-line speed of the Silver Arrows unsurpassed at the ultimate power track once again, but the extent of Hamilton’s margin over Vettel – 36.3 seconds at the finish – was alarming for the tifosi and the team they support. The German’s race was clean and largely lonely after he worked his way up to third after eight laps, while Raikkonen’s Grand Prix petered out after he let Vettel past him on lap four. The Finn then struggled with an unspecified problem at the rear of the car before finishing more than a minute behind Hamilton. Singapore should suit Ferrari more, but getting thrashed by Mercedes on its home deck would have hurt.

Force India
Sergio Perez: qualified 11th, finished 9th. Esteban Ocon: qualified 5th, finished 6th.
All the pre-race chatter about Force India at Monza focused on the antics of its drivers a week earlier at Spa-Francorchamps, where Perez and Ocon came together multiple times and cost the team a swag of points. Team management told the drivers they couldn’t race against one another from now on and threatened to sit them out of future races if the skirmishes continued, and Perez and Ocon did their best to defuse any tension in the pre-race press conference. The pair were rarely together on track to see if that peace could last in Italy, with Ocon qualifying a brilliant fifth in the rain on Saturday, starting third and running strongly in the early stages before regressing to the mean to finish sixth for the third time this year. Perez just missed Q3, took a five-place gearbox penalty yet started 10th after the ridiculously lengthy list of other penalties were taken into account, and finished at the back of the Ocon-Stroll-Massa train for best of the rest status behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull.

Williams
Felipe Massa: qualified 9th, finished 8th. Lance Stroll: qualified 4th, finished 7th.
Williams has struggled in the wet in recent years, which made technical director Paddy Lowe’s comments so refreshing when both cars qualified inside the top 10 in weather better suited for boats on Saturday. “I’m not going to pretend I have any idea why a car is strong or weak in the wet,” Lowe shrugged. Stroll was overjoyed with a fourth-place effort which became a front-row start when both Red Bulls were demoted through penalties, and while the Canadian teenager was understandably cautious off the line and soon overtaken by the recovering Ferraris, he showed plenty of fight when under pressure late in the race from his teammate to record the fourth points finish of his rookie campaign. Massa had enjoyed plenty of prior success at Monza – the long-time Ferrari driver had taken two podiums in the past three years for Williams – and finished six-tenths of a second behind his teammate after clashes with Perez at the first corner and Verstappen towards the end of the race. Ten points for Williams – on a day where its nearest rivals in the constructors’ championship didn’t score – might end up being significant in the fight to finish fifth in the teams’ race.

McLaren
Fernando Alonso: qualified 13th, did not finish. Stoffel Vandoorne: qualified 10th, did not finish.
Will they or won’t they? Will he or won’t he? They were the questions McLaren faced at every turn at Monza, where more time was spent talking about matters on track than anything the team did on it. Would McLaren really sever ties with Honda? Would Alonso leave? The two questions aren’t mutually exclusive, and Honda’s plight was best reflected by Alonso needing a 35-place grid penalty for new engine components one race after Vandoorne had the same at his home GP in Belgium – and then Vandoorne taking another 25-place penalty on race morning for yet more engine part replacements. Alonso’s Sunday started badly when the historic car issued to the Spaniard for the pre-race driver parade broke down, and besides a rant after being overtaken by Palmer’s Renault – the race stewards penalised the Briton five seconds for leaving the track and gaining an advantage – Alonso’s race was pretty pedestrian before he retired three laps from the end. Vandoorne was back in the garage himself by then, his car crawling back to the pits with 19 laps remaining with “no power”. Is a switch to Renault power for 2018 on the cards, and will that convince Alonso to stay? We should know before Singapore in a fortnight.

Toro Rosso
Daniil Kvyat: qualified 14th, finished 12th. Carlos Sainz: qualified 15th, finished 14th.
Toro Rosso had a rather anonymous weekend at the scene of its greatest triumph, Vettel’s victory at Monza in 2008 the team’s sole success in F1. Kvyat started from eighth on the grid after penalties scattered the usual suspects at the front, but couldn’t sustain it and finished a lapped 12th as his run without points extended to eight races. Sainz copped a 10-place grid penalty for an engine change, had an engine blow-up in Friday practice, started towards the back and didn’t advance much further as the team made the short trip home to Faenza with zero points for the third time in the past five races.

Haas
Romain Grosjean: qualified 20th, finished 15th. Kevin Magnussen: qualified 16th, finished 11th.
Grosjean started dead-last after the Frenchman aquaplaned off the circuit in torrential rain in Q1 and glanced the outside wall on the start-finish straight moments after he’d made it very clear over team radio that conditions and visibility were too poor to continue. “You couldn’t see anything, you couldn’t drive in a straight line,” Grosjean fumed afterwards. With Grosjean last on the grid, Haas took the opportunity to fit a new gearbox that came with a five-place penalty that dropped him to … last. An early pit stop for a damaged front wing thwarted any chance of moving up from there in what was, for most, a one-stop race. The news wasn’t much better for Magnussen, who finished one place out of the points and seething after coming off second-best in his late-race fight with a recovering Verstappen.

Renault
Jolyon Palmer: qualified 17th, did not finish. Nico Hulkenberg: qualified 12th, finished 13th.
Renault’s points totals in the four races before Monza – 0, 8, 0, 8 – should have given us some idea of what to expect in Italy, and the team played the long game for the remainder of the season by installing new engines for Hulkenberg and Palmer, taking the pain of penalties at a track where they expected to struggle to be more ready to race at circuits that better suit them. Hulkenberg beat Palmer in qualifying again – that’s 13-0 for the season over his British teammate for anyone still counting – but a very early pit stop for the German in an attempt to vault into the top 10 didn’t pay off. Palmer hovered around the fringes of the top 10 while he was still in the race (and Alonso was ranting about him to his McLaren engineers), but was retired by his team on lap 31 with a technical problem.

Sauber
Marcus Ericsson: qualified 18th, did not finish. Pascal Wehrlein: qualified 19th, finished 16th.
Forget the present; it was all about the future for Sauber in Italy, with the announcement that the Swiss team will run Ferrari junior and Formula 2 series leader Charles Leclerc in first practice sessions in Malaysia, the USA, Mexico and Brazil in the second half of the season, a move that was anticipated after the team elected to use Ferrari engines for 2018. With Ericsson’s backers heavily involved in the ownership of the team and Wehrlein a Mercedes-supported driver, it’s almost certain that the German will be the driver to have his preparations for those four races compromised by missing out on track time. Back to the ‘now’, temporarily; Ericsson (11th) and Wehrlein (12th) started from season-best grid slots after all of the penalties for the rest were handed out, but quickly returned to the back of the field for their customary inter-team fight for last spot. Ericsson was last when he was asked by the team to retire the car with three laps left, leaving Wehrlein to prop up the pack after 53 laps.

What happened at the Hungarian Grand Prix?

Sebastian Vettel heads a Ferrari 1-2 in Budapest, while friendly fire thwarts Red Bull’s chances of a podium on one of its strongest circuits of the year.

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton: qualified 4th, finished 4th. Valtteri Bottas: qualified 3rd, finished 3rd.
If Formula One truly is a team sport – and there are some who will scoff at that suggestion – Mercedes played it perfectly at a track where the Silver Arrows were a clear second-best to the Prancing Horse. Bottas had the measure of teammate Hamilton for most of the weekend, and while the Finn was ahead of the Briton for much of the first half of the race, Hamilton was clearly the faster of the pair after their pit stops on lap 30 and 31 respectively. Hamilton was given the green light to move past his teammate in an attempt to go after Raikkonen in second, on the proviso that he was to let Bottas back past before the end of the race on lap 70 if he couldn’t make it work. Hamilton did his best to no avail, and as he rounded the final corner on the final lap, slowed sufficiently to let Bottas back through – and just kept a fast-finishing Verstappen at bay in the process. Mercedes better hope the three points Hamilton relinquished don’t cost him this year’s world championship by the time we get to Abu Dhabi in November … With Vettel’s victory, Hamilton now drops 14 points behind the German in the drivers’ standings – and Mercedes now knows, after a four-race run of outscoring Ferrari 151-79 after Monaco, that the red team is well and truly back in the fight.

Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo: qualified 6th, did not finish. Max Verstappen: qualified 5th, finished 5th.
At Silverstone last time out, both Toro Rosso drivers hit one another on lap one, but were able to continue. At Hungary, the senior Bull team’s pilots clashed on the first lap, but the result was more costly; Ricciardo, who had led both Friday practice sessions and was eyeing a fourth Hungarian podium in a row, was out three corners into the race, Verstappen understeering into the Australian at Turn 2 and puncturing Ricciardo’s radiator. It was the first time in Ricciardo’s 120-race career that he’d been eliminated on the first lap, and his normally beaming visage was replaced by a face of barely concealed rage and contempt. “That was amateur to say the least,” he fumed, adding “he (Verstappen) doesn’t like it when a teammate gets in front of him – it was a very poor mistake.” The race stewards were quick to apportion blame to the Dutchman, hitting him with a 10-second penalty in the pits when he made his one and only stop. Verstappen flew the longer the race went, the heavily-revised RB13 looking mighty on the Hungaroring’s twists and turns, but the damage had been done. Verstappen’s margin to the winner at the end was 13.276secs, showing that, with Vettel ailing out front and a rare weekend of Mercedes not being on top of its game, the team may have blown one of its best chances for a win to add to Ricciardo’s victory in Baku through friendly fire. After the race, Verstappen immediately put his hand up. “It’s not nice and I apologise to Daniel and the team for that,” he said. “We could’ve scored some really good points here …”.

Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel: qualified 1st, finished 1st. Kimi Raikkonen: qualified 2nd, finished 2nd.
When you lock out the front row in qualifying and take a 1-2 24 hours later, Ferrari’s Hungarian weekend looks stress-free on paper, but it was quite the opposite. Vettel was metronomically brilliant in qualifying, taking pole and producing two laps within 0.002secs of each other, but knew he was in trouble from the moment the lights went out in the race, the car’s steering wheel pointing slightly to the left when traveling in a straight line, prompting the team to advise him to keep off the kerbs as much as he could, a near-impossibility at a track that seemingly never stops turning. Raikkonen was in his teammate’s wheeltracks for the entire race, but didn’t get the answer he wanted when asking to be allowed to move ahead of Vettel’s clearly compromised sister car, and spent the back half of the race under massive pressure from Hamilton. The Finn – out of contract for 2018, remember – stayed where he was, and Ferrari recorded its second 1-2 for 2017 (after Monaco, where Raikkonen was similarly unhappy), and its first 1-2 finish in Hungary since 2004 (Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, the latter of whom could probably tell Raikkonen a few stories about being Ferrari’s second driver). For all that, it’s hard to fault Ferrari’s arithmetic, given Vettel is 86 points ahead of his teammate and that the title fight essentially boils down to a three-way fight with Hamilton and Bottas.

Force India
Sergio Perez: qualified 14th, finished 8th. Esteban Ocon: qualified 12th, finished 9th.
A double-points finish – Force India’s ninth in the first 11 races – looked very unlikely on Saturday, when neither Perez nor Ocon made the top 10 in qualifying, and the team was clearly struggling to get its Mercedes-powered chassis – so competitive on high-speed tracks – to work effectively on the tight Hungaroring layout. Perez made a strong start in the race and had the seemingly obligatory stoush with his teammate – this time on the opening lap – to be the better of the pink cars on the day, finishing nine seconds ahead of Ocon on what was a good salvage job for the team.

Williams
Paul Di Resta: qualified 19th, did not finish. Lance Stroll: qualified 17th, finished 14th.
With regular driver Felipe Massa ailing with an inner ear problem, Williams brought in Di Resta for his first race since Brazil 2013 with Force India, and the DTM driver and TV pundit’s first laps for the weekend were in qualifying, in a car he’d never driven on a circuit and only in the simulator, and with next to no notice before he was strapped in. In many ways, to qualify within seven-tenths of a second of teammate Stroll – and beating Ericsson’s Sauber to not be last on the grid – made the 31-year-old one of the stars of Saturday. Completing 70 laps of one of the most physical tracks on the calendar on a scorching Budapest summer’s day was never going to be easy, but Di Resta largely stayed out of trouble and drove a clean if not particularly quick race before being stopped by an oil leak eight laps from the end. Stroll got bottled up behind Kvyat’s Toro Rosso, which was on the more durable soft-compound Pirelli tyre, for much of the race, and could make little headway from a lowly grid spot.

McLaren
Fernando Alonso: qualified 8th, finished 6th. Stoffel Vandoorne: qualified 9th, finished 10th.
It’s been a wretched year for everyone at McLaren-Honda, but Hungary shaped as a good race for the beleaguered team, the lack of straights that place a premium on sheer grunt a welcome relief for Alonso and Vandoorne. Both were instantly in the top 10 on Friday, qualified eighth and ninth on Saturday, and combined for nine points on Sunday, a huge haul considering the team had managed just two points in the first 10 races of the season. Alonso was the last car not to be lapped and, showing that there’s not a lot wrong with the McLaren chassis, set the fastest lap of the race (1min 20.182secs) on the penultimate tour. Vandoorne might have finished ahead of Ocon in ninth had it not been for a costly lap 42 pit stop when he over-shot his mechanics and caused them to scramble to change his tyres. At the end, he was just half a second behind the Force India.

Toro Rosso
Daniil Kvyat: qualified 13th, finished 11th. Carlos Sainz: qualified 10th, finished 7th.
Sainz came to Hungary in the midst of an unwanted run of outs – he’d had three non-finishes in the past four races – but came alive in Budapest, a superb 10th in qualifying coming as something of a surprise. The Spaniard had a heated battle with compatriot Alonso in the opening stages after the safety car period following Ricciardo’s retirement, and beating both Force India’s on merit was just reward for a stellar drive. Kvyat was penalised three grid positions for impeding Stroll in qualifying – the Russian now has 10 penalty points for a series of indiscretions over the past 12 months and is just two penalty points away from a one-race ban – and raced to 11th after trying an alternate tyre strategy from most of the rest of the field in an attempt to springboard into the points for the first time since Spain.

Haas
Romain Grosjean: qualified 12th, did not finish. Kevin Magnussen: qualified 16th, finished 13th.
Haas will be desperate to consign Hungary to the dustbin of history as soon as possible. Test driver Antonio Giovinazzi crashed Magnussen’s car on Friday morning, while Grosjean struggled with brakes and balance problems on a day team principal Gunther Steiner described as “brutal”. Magnussen was desperately unlucky in qualifying – his time of 1:19.095 was identical to that of Perez, but the Mexican advanced to Q2 as he’d recorded his time earlier than the Dane. In the race, a cross-threaded wheel nut did for Grosjean after he pitted on lap 22 with a slow puncture, while Magnussen was found to be at fault for shoving Hulkenberg’s Renault off the track at Turn 2 late in the race and had five seconds added to his race time, which dropped him from 11th on the road to 13th in the results. We’d tell you what he said to Hulkenberg afterwards, but perhaps Google can help you out there …

Renault
Jolyon Palmer: qualified 11th, finished 12th. Nico Hulkenberg: qualified 7th, finished 17th.
Palmer had the new floor fitted to his car that teammate Hulkenberg had used so effectively to claim sixth at Silverstone, and promptly destroyed it when he ran over the Turn 4 kerbs in opening practice. The under-pressure Briton then crashed at the final corner in second practice and buried the car in the barriers, missed Q3 by one-tenth of a second, and was out-qualified by Hulkenberg yet again – he’s now the only driver not to have beaten his teammate once in the 11 races to date. A long first stint didn’t pay off as his wait for 2017 points labours on. Hulkenberg clashed with Grosjean on the opening lap but looked like still scoring points despite being shunted back five spots on the grid for an unscheduled gearbox change, but a long pit stop caused by a sticking front-right tyre on lap 45 saw him drop to the back.

Sauber
Marcus Ericsson: qualified 20th, finished 16th. Pascal Wehrlein: qualified 18th, finished 15th.
As has been custom in recent races, Sauber made more headlines off the track for anything it did on it, the recent Honda engine deal brokered by team principal Monisha Kaltenborn before her hasty departure ripped up in favour of continuing with Ferrari power next season. In the race, both drivers made very early pit stops (Ericsson lap one, Wehrlein lap three) under the safety car to try to do something different than the rest, but needed to pit again for fresh tyres and finished only ahead of Hulkenberg’s parked Renault after 70 laps.

What happened at the British Grand Prix?

Daniel Ricciardo dramatically charges from the back to fifth, while some late-race Ferrari tyre drama sees Lewis Hamilton slash Sebastian Vettel’s championship lead.

THIS STORY ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON REDBULL.COM

Mercedes
Lewis Hamilton: qualified 1st, finished 1st. Valtteri Bottas: qualified 4th, finished 2nd.
Hamilton copped some stick before the race when he was the only driver not to show up at a pre-race promotional opportunity in London, but once he got to Silverstone from a brief holiday between the Austrian and British Grands Prix, the three-time champ was all business, winning his home race for a record-equalling fifth time, and a fourth time in succession. Hamilton set up his Sunday with an extraordinary pole lap on Saturday, his 1:26.600 half a second faster than anyone else could manage, and a lap that smashed the previous circuit record by three seconds. He cleared off from the start on Sunday and was untroubled thereafter, and received a late gift when punctures to Ferrari duo Raikkonen and Vettel saw him narrow the latter’s championship lead to a solitary point at the halfway mark of the season. A second 1-2 finish for the season for Mercedes looked unlikely when Bottas copped a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change ahead of qualifying, and even less so when the Finn could qualify just fourth, meaning he began back in ninth. But Bottas started on the more durable soft-compound Pirelli tyre, ran a longer first stint than his rivals, and then inherited second when Raikkonen had his puncture with two laps left. “We got lucky,” he admitted afterwards.

Red Bull Racing
Daniel Ricciardo:
qualified 20th, finished 5th. Max Verstappen: qualified 5th, finished 4th.
It seems Verstappen can’t win for losing this year – after the Dutchman finally snapped a run of wretched luck to finish fourth after starting from the same spot thanks to Bottas’ penalty, his teammate Ricciardo stole the show with an astonishing drive from the back of the grid after some of Verstappen’s poor fortune crossed to the Australian’s side of the garage. The chances of Ricciardo extending his run of five straight podiums before Silverstone looked slim when he, like Bottas, was set to drop five grid positions for a gearbox change ahead of qualifying, but worse was to come for the ‘Honey Badger’ when, leading the field in Q1, he ground to a halt with a turbo failure. Ricciardo still felt he could challenge for the top 10 from the very back, and was up to 12th after five laps before running off at Woodcote and dropping to last. No matter; Ricciardo gritted his teeth and went for it, producing several spellbinding passes into Stowe at the end of the Hangar Straight, and tore through the field to fifth to be voted Driver of the Day. Verstappen played a big part in the story of the race when he jumped Vettel – who left the start-line with overheating brakes – on lap one to be third, allowing Raikkonen in second and leader Hamilton to scoot away. The Red Bull didn’t have the raw pace of the Ferrari, but Verstappen’s robust defence of Vettel on more than one occasion saw Ferrari eventually pit the championship leader on lap 18 to undercut Verstappen. Vettel gained track position when Verstappen stopped on the next lap, but the Ferrari man’s earlier stop necessitated a 33-lap run to the end on his final set of tyres, which proved to be too much when he suffered a puncture on the penultimate lap. Verstappen made his own cautionary stop for a tyre change with two laps left to avoid the same fate as the Ferraris, and re-took sixth place in the championship standings from Perez as a result.

Ferrari
Sebastian Vettel:
qualified 3rd, finished 7th. Kimi Raikkonen: qualified 2nd, finished 3rd.
It was all looking so good for Ferrari with three laps left, Raikkonen in second, where he’d been since lap one, and Vettel recovering from having his race compromised by Verstappen’s lightning start to be in a strong fourth place and with a decent haul of points in his pocket. Two front-left punctures in the space of a minute ruined all of that, and Raikkonen in particular looked gutted when he faced the press in the post-race interviews for the top three, looking even more than usual like he’d prefer to be anywhere else. The Finn has – justifiably in most cases – been criticised this year for being so far off Vettel’s pace in the sister scarlet car, but was Hamilton’s nearest challenger in qualifying and had a good shot at holding off a charging Bottas late until his tyre cried ‘enough’. Vettel’s own blowout was less fortunate, the German having to limp back to the pits from earlier in the lap than his teammate on the second-last tour, sparks showering the track as the British crowd erupted, realising Vettel’s woes were good news for Hamilton in the title race. There was enough of a gap to the Force India duo of Ocon and Perez to see Vettel slot into seventh after his stop, which was crucial as he was able to retain the championship lead – just – he’s owned since he won in Australia in March.

Force India
Sergio Perez:
qualified 7th, finished 9th. Esteban Ocon: qualified 8th, finished 8th.
Perez was impressed with the cornering speeds able to be achieved by the 2017-generation F1 cars at a circuit that features more sweeping turns than any other. “Of all the tracks we have raced this season, this is probably the one on which I have experienced the biggest difference compared to last year,” he said on Friday. “All the reference points you have built up in the past change.” For the fourth race in a row, the Force India pair were line-astern in qualifying, and for the fourth time in succession, Perez edged Ocon, this time by 0.172secs. They finished together in the race too, but with Ocon in the ascendancy after the Frenchman made a swift start as Perez hesitated when the lights went out. In 10 races this year, Force India has now had eight double-points finishes.

Williams
Felipe Massa:
qualified 15th, finished 10th. Lance Stroll: qualified 16th, finished 16th.
Just the one point for Williams at its home Grand Prix, with both cars running a counter tyre strategy to the norm after starting outside the top 10, but only Massa making it work as he snared the final point on offer by beating McLaren’s Vandoorne to the line. After the aerodynamic updates Williams brought to the previous race in Austria left it struggling on the penultimate row of the grid in qualifying, the team split strategies for its two cars at Silverstone, Massa and Stroll each running a mix of old and new parts – but not in the same configuration – as the team scrambled to acquire data. Massa had been inside the top 10 in all three practice sessions, so was very disappointed to only qualify 15th, while Stroll, with precious little F1 experience in wet conditions, struggled in qualifying and fared little better in the race, labouring with aero problems to the flag.

McLaren
Fernando Alonso:
qualified 13th, did not finish. Stoffel Vandoorne: qualified 9th, finished 11th.
Alonso gave McLaren a rare reason to smile when he fitted dry-weather tyres on a track damp with rain right at the death of Q1 and executed a white-knuckle lap that had him in P1. “Even if it’s just for one moment, to be up there at the top of the timesheets feels good,” he said. That was as good as it got for the Spaniard; Alonso changed multiple engine components in his McLaren on Friday and was hit with 30 grid places worth of penalties, meaning he was condemned to starting from the back of the grid. He latched onto Ricciardo’s tail and came through the pack, though not to the same extent, early on before retiring with a loss of power on lap 34. Vandoorne beat Alonso in qualifying for the first time this season and made the top 10 for the first time to start a career-best eighth after Bottas’ gearbox penalty, but couldn’t capitalise on his best chance of scoring a first point for the season when he finished just behind Massa in what was his most competitive showing of the year to date.

Toro Rosso
Daniil Kvyat:
qualified 12th, finished 15th. Carlos Sainz: qualified 14th, did not finish.
To put it mildly, the first 60 seconds at Silverstone didn’t go well for Toro Rosso, with Kvyat and Sainz banging wheels entering the super-fast Maggots-Becketts sequence on the opening lap, Kvyat spearing off the track, and then coming back onto it and clattering into Sainz, ending the Spaniard’s race. “Tell Dany he did a very good job there,” Sainz sighed, while Kvyat – “he just turned into me” – made it very clear he felt the incident was his teammate’s doing. The stewards disagreed, and a week after being penalised for causing the shunt that eliminated Alonso and Verstappen in Austria, the Russian was hit with another drive-through penalty, and toured around with a damaged floor to finish 15th. Kvyat said before the race he wanted a decision on his future to be made as soon as possible, but with just one points finish from the past nine races and having managed just four points (to Sainz’s 29) so far this season, he might want some more time to make up for a messy last seven days.

Haas
Romain Grosjean:
qualified 10th, finished 13th. Kevin Magnussen: qualified 17th, finished 12th.
Haas will have to wait until Hungary in a fortnight’s time to try to top the 29 points it scored in its maiden world championship season in 2016, after Grosjean and Magnussen couldn’t take advantage of favourable track positions on Sunday. Grosjean was furious with Hamilton on Saturday after qualifying 10th, feeling he could have leapfrogged Vandoorne’s McLaren for ninth had he not – in his words – been “completely blocked” by the pole-sitter at the last corner. Hamilton apologised for getting in Grosjean’s way and said it was inadvertent, and the stewards agreed, issuing no penalty to the Mercedes driver. Grosjean’s mood wasn’t improved by the verdict, saying Hamilton had been let off because of his place in the championship standings. “Maybe if it was another driver, there would have been something,” he mused. The Frenchman finished just 13th on Sunday, while Magnussen, way down on the grid, tried to play the long game by running his initial set of soft tyres all the way to lap 37, but couldn’t regain his spot in the top 10 afterwards and finished just ahead of his teammate.

Renault
Jolyon Palmer:
qualified 11th, did not start. Nico Hulkenberg: qualified 6th, finished 6th.
Hulkenberg felt the cornering speeds of the 2017-spec F1 cars at Silverstone were “a little bit insane,” adding that they were “cool, and bloody fast.” The German could have been talking about his own form at the British GP, as he took Renault’s best qualifying and finish of the season, narrowly missing out on fifth as he tried to hold off Ricciardo’s charging Red Bull late before falling behind the Australian on the penultimate lap. With Vandoorne edging Alonso in qualifying, Hulkenberg is now the only driver on the grid to have an unbeaten record on Saturdays against his teammate. Speaking of said teammate, Palmer was stiff to miss the top 10 in qualifying by less than a tenth of a second, and unluckier still when hydraulics failure saw his car coast to a halt on the warm-up lap, the under-pressure Briton not even able to start his home Grand Prix as rumours swirl that he could be replaced sooner rather than later. Hulkenberg has scored all 26 of Renault’s points this season.

Sauber
Marcus Ericsson:
qualified 19th, finished 14th. Pascal Wehrlein: qualified 18th, finished 17th.
There were plenty of moves off track for Sauber at Silverstone, with the Swiss squad appointing former Renault boss Frederic Vasseur as team principal after the sudden departure of Monisha Kaltenborn before Azerbaijan following a disagreement with ownership. Vasseur took the reins with increasing doubt over the Honda engine supply arrangement brokered by Kaltenborn before she left, with Sauber’s owners considering a deal for a customer Ferrari or Mercedes engine that would be more competitive in the short-term rather than a factory deal with Honda, given McLaren’s seemingly never-ending struggles with the Japanese company’s powerplant. The Sauber stablemates started only ahead of the penalised Ricciardo and Alonso, and Ericsson finished the better of the two when Wehrlein tried to make his final set of soft tyres last the majority of the race after pitting twice under the safety car caused by the Kvyat/Sainz shunt.