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Max fifth in Hungarian GP: "The pace was there"

Published on 30 July 2017 by Stefan Meens

Max Verstappen finished fifth in the Hungarian Grand Prix after a 10-second time penalty for colliding with Red Bull Racing team mate Daniel Ricciardo. Ferrari secured a 1-2 victory with Sebastian Vettel claiming his 46th win of his career. Valtteri Bottas took the last podium spot ahead of Mercedes colleague Lewis Hamilton.

“The start was very good but it was a shame Kimi braked a bit early in the middle of turn one. It meant I had go wide a bit, after which Bottas forced me onto the artificial grass. When I braked into turn two, both Daniel and I went deep into the corner. Of course, I had a car in front of me so I locked up, after which I couldn’t do anything”, explained Max after the race.

“The last thing you want is to understeer into your team mate so I want to apologize to Daniel and the team. I’ll talk to Daniel to clear up the situation. We’ve always had a good relationship up until now and it really wasn’t my intention to drive into him. I also understand the 10 second penalty. I hit someone, which meant they didn’t finish the race.”

On a positive note, Max is happy with performance update the team brought along to the Hungaroring. “The pace and balance of the car was good, I’m very happy with that. I’m not sure if I could’ve secured a podium. If I hadn’t had those ten seconds we could’ve tried something different strategy wise as you can’t really overtake here. In the end, I managed fifth, maybe not in the way I would’ve liked, but the positive thing is the pace was there.”

It is a hectic start to the Grand Prix. Max has the best start in the top six and tries to go on the outside of Valtteri Bottas into turn one to gain P3. Unfortunately for the Dutchman, he is forced out wide losing track position to both Bottas and Ricciardo. In the approach to turn two, Max guards the inside line but ultimately outbrakes himself into the corner, hitting Daniel Ricciardo’s RB13 in the side pod. Max is able to continue but the Australian’s radiator burst. The resulting spillage sends Ricciardo into a spin marking the end of his Hungarian Grand Prix.

The safety car is deployed in order to get rid of Ricciardo’s car. In lap six, the field is unleashed again. Max, running fourth, is right on Bottas’ gearbox at the restart. As the drivers turn into the final corner, Max loses a bit of grip, which releafs the pressure on Bottas, but also makes Lewis Hamilton close the gap to the Red Bull Racing ace.

The triple world champion tries to utilize the slip stream down the long start/finish straight but Max defends bravely to keep P4. However, the FIA decides to give Max a 10 second time penalty, effectively ending his chances to finish fourth.

In the next 25 laps, the top five - Vettel, Raikkonen, Bottas, Max and Hamilton - find their rhythm without any positional changes. In fact, due to the nature of the track, there are hardly changes of position throughout the field.

In lap 21, Romain Grosjean is the second driver to leave the race prematurely after his left rear wheel is not attached properly during the pit stop.

On the topic of pit stops, from lap 31 onwards, the top three make theirs, meaning Max inherits the race lead for the first time in 2017. The Dutchman leads until lap 42, when he makes his one and only stop. He slots back in fifth, behind Hamilton.

Max is clearly enjoying his new set of the Pirelli medium compound as he is starting to close the gap to Valtteri Bottas, who has made way for Hamilton to chase down the Ferraris. In the end, neither Hamilton or Verstappen can make up any places, with the Mercedes driver giving back his third place to Bottas. It means Ferrari take a 1-2 victory ahead of the two Mercedes and Max.

It was not an easy drive for Vettel. From the start of the race, the German experienced steering wheel issues, which meant he had to effectively nurse to car home for the majority of the race by trying to avoid any contact with the kerb stones.

On a positive side note, McLaren enjoyed a strong weekend. Fernando Alonso finished an excellent sixth, with team mate Stoffel Vandoorne claiming the final point, his first point of the season.

Hungarian Grand Prix - Hungaroring - Sunday 30 July


01  5 Sebastian Vettel    Ferrari                    	70 1:39:46.713
02  7 Kimi Räikkönen      Ferrari                    	70 +0.908s
03 77 Valtteri Bottas     Mercedes                   	70 +12.462s
04 44 Lewis Hamilton      Mercedes                   	70 +12.885s
05 33 Max Verstappen      Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer  	70 +13.276s
06 14 Fernando Alonso     McLaren Honda              	70 +71.223s
07 55 Carlos Sainz        Toro Rosso                 	69 +1 lap
08 11 Sergio Perez        Force India Mercedes       	69 +1 lap
09 31 Esteban Ocon        Force India Mercedes       	69 +1 lap
10  2 Stoffel Vandoorne   McLaren Honda              	69 +1 lap
11 26 Daniil Kvyat        Toro Rosso                 	69 +1 lap
12 30 Jolyon Palmer       Renault                    	69 +1 lap
13 20 Kevin Magnussen     Haas Ferrari               	69 +1 lap
14 18 Lance Stroll        Williams Mercedes          	69 +1 lap
15 94 Pascal Wehrlein     Sauber Ferrari             	68 +2 laps
16  9 Marcus Ericsson     Sauber Ferrari             	68 +2 laps
17 27 Nico Hulkenberg     Renault                    	67 DNF
NC 40 Paul di Resta DIR Williams Mercedes          	60 DNF
NC  8 Romain Grosjean     Haas Ferrari               	20 DNF
NC  3 Daniel Ricciardo    Red Bull Racing TAG Heuer  	0 DNF