Lewis Hamilton takes championship lead after shock win for Esteban Ocon at Hungarian GP

Mercedes driver moves ahead of Max Verstappen in title race after chaos at Hungaroring

French driver Esteban Ocon sealed his first victory in Formula One with Renault-owned Alpine on Sunday at a chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix that had to be re-started after first lap chaos.

Sebastian Vettel came in second for Aston Martin, while Mercedes' seven times world champion Lewis Hamilton completed the podium after starting on pole position and then having to fight back from last at the Hungaroring.

Hamilton thus regained the championship lead from Red Bull's Max Verstappen. The young challenger's Red Bull was damaged in the first lap crash, which took out five cars, and he eventually finished 10th, leaving Hamilton to take a six-point lead in the championship.

Hamilton, jeered again by Verstappen's fans, said: "It was definitely tough. We always make it difficult for ourselves.

"It is strange to think we were the only one on the grid at the re-start but these things happen.

"I was telling the team how the track was throughout the lap on to the way to the grid, but they said rain was coming. I saw everyone diving in to the pits, but anyways."

The race was filled with action from start to finish. Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was slow off his marks in wet conditions. After under braking for the opening corner, he crashed into the back of McLaren's Lando Norris who then bumped into Verstappen.

Bottas also crashed into Verstappen's Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez. However, Hamilton remained in control and at the front of the field. The safety car was deployed before the race was red-flagged to deal with the debris from the first lap.

After 25 minutes, the race restarted but Hamilton was the only driver not to change to the slick tyres following the parade lap. Hamilton had to do the same a lap later and came out in last place, a couple of spots behind Verstappen.

But a clever second stop by Mercedes for hard tyres on lap 20 outwitted Red Bull and Hamilton moved ahead of Verstappen after he came in for new rubber.

Now it was Verstappen’s turn to feel frustration as he was stuck in 11th while Hamilton was already up to fifth by lap 35 of 70.

With 30 laps to go, the top four was Ocon-Vettel-Sainz Jr.-Hamilton.

To give Hamilton a shot at victory, Mercedes made a third tyre change with a little more than 20 laps remaining.

But he had to get ahead of the 40-year-old Alonso first. Alonso held off a first attack on lap 55 and blocked him two more times on Lap 57 with stellar defending on the inside.

When Hamilton finally got past him there were only five laps left and Sainz Jr just ahead. He overtook him but by then the front two were too far ahead.

Updated: August 1st 2021, 3:48 PM
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