The work of the Asturian, who blocked the seven-time champion for 10 laps, facilitated the first victory of the French team.
Esteban Ocon awarded Alpine its first F1 victory at a Hungarian GP where none of the above would have been possible without the help of Fernando Alonso, that stop Lewis hamilton for 10 unforgettable laps. On the verge of a nervous breakdown, the seven-time champion had to settle for third place on the podium, with which he regained the leadership of the World Cup to the detriment of Max verstappen, weighed down all afternoon by an accident on the first corner. From those raindrops at the start to the end, the role of the Spaniards was unquestionable. Carlos Sainz, fourth at the finish line, and Alonso, chosen driver of the day by the fans, will not easily forget this Sunday.
Alonso’s stubborn resistance, with a car two seconds slower than Hamilton per lap, brought to mind that display before Michael Schumacher at Imola 2005. Between laps 55 and 65, the Spaniard denied each gap, with lines full of ingenuity and an astonishing melee control. There was nobility in his defense. Also space in each curve. Hamilton couldn’t find a way to get over that wall and was raging on the radio: “At that speed it’s too dangerous.” The absurdity of his complaints was too much in evidence. Only one stop by Alonso at Turn 1 cleared the way for Sainz, who could only resist him for one lap.
No one will enjoy it as much as Ocon, with a tremendous mettle to last 30 laps at Sebastian vettel. The German, at times in the DRS zone and with a deficit never exceeding two seconds, attacked as much as he could but could not oppose the future rider from Alpine. After five straight races too far behind Alonso, Ocon did everything well in Hungary. Not only teamwork and fortune were favorable to him. Also the speed of its mechanics, with a 2.3 second change of wheels that was crucial in the face of the Aston Martin siege.
In that struggle, a fabulous race was resolved, marked from the start by Valtteri Bottas. The Finn had skidded on the studs, so he was going to tackle the first corner in too much haste. The first thing I topped with was the back of Lando norris And after that push, the McLaren was taking Verstappen ahead. On that skating rink, the Mercedes would still have time to cause the immediate abandonment of Sergio Prez.
The damage to the right side of Verstappen’s car was soon revealed. As soon as you leave the pit-lane, I lost an essential piece of the aerodynamic settings. He had dropped to thirteenth and from there he learned of the red flag, which gave him at least half an hour free to repair the damage. During that break, as the sky cleared, Norris must have given up.
No less frustrated he was Charles Leclerc, who wanted to gain ground inside, with phenomenal courage, when everything was lost through the drain because of Lance Stroll. From that moment on, Sainz became Ferrari’s only asset. And it did not seem like little, given that the Madrid, tremendously skilled to emerge unscathed from the chaos, had advanced 11 positions, up to the fourth step.
The entire squad removed the intermediate rain tires, except for Hamilton, the victim of a glaring strategic error by Mercedes. The ambient temperature had accelerated the evaporation of moisture on the asphalt, no longer puddles or slippery areas. This is how all the teams interpreted it, except the one led by Toto Wolff. And this resulted in the striking image of the highlight, with only one car on the grid: the Hamilton W12.
A turn held by the British with the wrong footwear and that rectification caused an unusual race order: Esteban Ocon, Sebastian Vettel, Nicholas Latifi, Yuki Tsunoda, Carlos Sainz and Fernando Alonso, with Verstappen in the lead and Hamilton with the red lantern. Without their usual mechanical superiority, the two candidates for the title had enough to get rid of the Haas of Mick schumacher.
The best resource available to Mercedes, after 19 laps, was to bet on the hard tire, with which Hamilton has left so many teacher tests. By the way, his strategists partly made up for the previous blunder and when Sir Lewis returned to the track he surpassed Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo. Nothing could oppose the Dutchman anymore, three seconds slower per lap. When your engineers were concerned about the balance of the car, Mad max He was blunt: “It’s broken.”
The way was clear for the seven-time champion and only how much of the bet depended on him. If he attacked hard, looking for Ocon and Vettel, he was in danger of a death-wheel denouement. In case of settling for something less, its favorable victims will be Sainz and Alonso, pending any mistake to climb to the podium. However, neither one nor the other, because Mercedes went off on a tangent with the fourth pit-stop, to mount Hamilton the middle compound.
The Spanish must resist, each one with the available material. The SF21 seemed to have better performance, since Carlos had rolled a second faster than the header. With less rhythm, the Asturian’s A521 was able to lead, during laps 38 and 39, by the time Ocon completes his last step through boxes. Immediately, Alonso understood that glory would only be achieved with a common effort. And so he more than fulfilled it at the Hungaroring.