Hungary rounded out the first half of the season in style with another compelling contest. Which drivers stood out with their performance at the Hungaroring? Our expert panel have submitted their scores…
HOW IT WORKS
- Our five-judge panel assesses each driver after every Grand Prix and scores them out of 10 according to their performance across the weekend – taking machinery out of the equation
- Our experts’ scores are then combined to produce a race score. As the season progresses, these race scores are then averaged to produce a ranking which reflects driver performance
For much of the Hungarian Grand Prix, Max Verstappen positioned his Red Bull at the front of the field. But his bid for victory – when running a long final stint on old tyres – was undone with three laps to go, courtesy of an inspired Mercedes strategy call. Nonetheless, the Red Bull driver still took his first career pole and finished P2 in Hungary, as well as taking the fastest lap to boot. So it’s perhaps not so surprising his average crept up to a lofty 46.0 before the summer break. The consensus is this: the Dutchman has had the best 12 races if any driver.
The defending champion bounced back superbly from a disappointing soggy German Grand Prix weekend to win in Hungary, taking the lead from Verstappen with three laps to go. Hamilton, who said he was “on the limit all the way”, made up a 20-second deficit to Verstappen before easing by to take the lead and victory. Both he and Verstappen were on the top of their game at the Hungaroring.
Apart from his dubious rendition of Smooth Operator, Carlos Sainz did everything right in Hungary to earn a superb second-consecutive P5 finish. An excellent start saw him jump team mate Lando Norris and the Red Bull of Pierre Gasly, both of whom he kept at bay throughout the race. “It felt particularly good this time,” said the crooner who cemented third in the Power Rankings.
A slow pit stop from his McLaren crew cost Lando Norris the chance to finish a possible sixth, rather than P9. He may not sing like Sainz on team radio, but the rookie is hitting all the right notes, a strong 39.5 average showing just how solid his season has been so far.
Tyre management cost Charles Leclerc a podium in Hungary and dropped his season average by a whisker. The Mongegasque driver still gains a place in the rankings, courtesy of another driver’s poor race, but it’s not been the ideal end to the first half of the season for him. Team mate Sebastian Vettel was the driver who took that final podium place as Leclerc’s Pirellis faded at the end of the race.
Though he missed out on pole by just 0.018s, Valtteri Bottasstill out-qualified his team mate Hamilton to take second. But it all went wrong from there – in the words of Team Principal Toto Wolff. Bottas made contact with Hamilton and Leclerc on the first lap, forcing the Finn to pit for new nose. He dropped to the back of the field before recovering to eighth. A bad week on track means a bad week in our rankings, the Finn dropping from sixth to eighth ahead of the break.
Hungary yielded another point for Alex Albon, the Thai/British driver enjoying a purple patch right now for Toro Rosso. A terrific wheel-to-wheel battle with team mate Daniil Kvyat didn’t quite go Albon’s way, but he ultimately ended up ahead. A final duel with Sergio Perez earned him a deserved P10 spot, and a race rating over 40 for the second race running.
Kimi kept his cool under the Hungary sun, a race rating of 42 earned as he finished ahead of Bottas and Norris at the Hungaroring to score yet more points. Alfa Romeo have a valuable asset in this veteran, who could prove the deciding factor in the team’s fortunes as the season goes on. As his season average moves ever closer to the 40.0 mark, it shows just how brilliant Raikkonen has been for the last five races, scoring four times.
He said Williams had “turned a page” after qualifying ahead of the Racing Points and Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo. Now it looks like George Russell is keen to continue rewriting the script, squeezing the most out of the Williams FW42 in the race to finish ahead of a Racing Point and Alfa Romeo. The summer break is Williams’ cue to assess those upgrades brought to Germany and Hungary and continue their upward trajectory.
It was always going to be tricky for Kvyat to repeat the highs of Hockenheim, where the Russian took second-place and announced the birth of his daughter, in Hungary. A race rating of 34 reflects his P15 finishing position and a two-place drop in the rankings follows as a result. Kvyat was outshone by Albon in the heat of Hungary, setting up a gripping intra-team battle for the second half of the season.
Dropping out and on the bubble
Nobody dropped out of the top 10 this week, the rankings comprising the same drivers as last time out. Sebastian Vettel was just 0.1 points off George Russell (ranked 10th after Germany), but Russell has managed to stay clear of the dropzone. Now, Vettel is 0.4 points behind Daniil Kvyat.