Hungarian Grand Prix driver ratings: Hamilton pounces, super Sainz

04-08-2019 19:15
by Nicolás Quarles van Ufford
F1 News
Hungarian Grand Prix driver ratings: Hamilton pounces, super Sainz

The 12th race of the season is in the books, and what a good Grand Prix it was to send us off into the summer break! Here is how we graded each driver's race; do you agree with our ratings? Let us know!

P1. Lewis Hamilton - 10

It was a record-equalling seventh Hungarian Grand Prix win for Lewis Hamilton, who did incredibly well to beat the determined Max Verstappen. The reigning champion put pressure on Verstappen from start to finish.

Mercedes made a very risky move as they pitted Hamilton twice, but the 34-year-old made the strategy work with some blistering lap times to catch up to Verstappen again, who was a sitting duck in the final laps. Hamilton passed the Dutchman with ease and proved that patience is a virtue. Clinical racing, from the start, when he went round the outside of T2 to overtake Valtteri Bottas, to end, when he overtook Verstappen for the lead.

P2. Max Verstappen - 9.5

We deducted the half point because he didn't get the win, but take nothing away from that performance. The bad thing is we're getting used to seeing this from Verstappen, who consistently challenges Mercedes in an inferior car. 

He somehow stole pole position, then went on to drive away at the start and then did everything he could to keep his hard tyres alive at the end. Unfortunately for him, Hamilton was simply on a quicker strategy. The 21-year-old was unable to put up a fight when the imminent pass happened, but he was still very happy with his overall performance during the weekend. And he should be.

P3. Sebastian Vettel - 8

Within the context of Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel drove a very good race. Kept within touching distance of teammate Charles Leclerc in front of him, and did a great job for all 70 laps to manage his tyres. It paid off at the end, when he made an aggressive move on his teammate to sneak onto the podium.

Back-to-back great drives from Vettel, who will be feeling confident heading into the summer break, although it is a concern that he finished a full second behind Hamilton. With Spa Francorchamps and Monza coming up, two power-heavy circuits, Vettel and Ferrari will be determined to finally start winning races there.

P4. Charles Leclerc - 7

Opportunistic to take P3 from Bottas at the start but didn't do a good job with tyre management. Had to pit early in his first stint, meaning his rubber was extremely worn by the end of the race.

Vettel picked him off to take the final podium place, but the Monegasque will be happy to have driven a race without any drama. His slip-up in Q1 on Saturday was another sloppy mistake, but he can find comfort in the fact he drove a solid race on Sunday. He'll have plenty to work on during the summer break.

P5. Carlos Sainz Jr. - 9

What a drive yet again from Carlos Sainz! The Spaniard started eighth but made quick work of overtaking teammate Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly, and he progressed another place when Bottas had to pit for a new front wing. 

It's back-to-back P5-finishes for Sainz, who leads the midfield fight quite comfortably. He did very well to keep the Red Bull of Gasly behind him, and the 24-year-old sits just five points behind that same Gasly in the standings right now. He's in red-hot form right now!

P6. Pierre Gasly - 4

Another race full of struggles for Gasly, who dropped several places after a slow start at the Hungaroring. He fought himself back into his starting place in P6, but really should have overtaken Sainz, as he simply has a much quicker car. 

It's unfortunate for the 23-year-old that his teammate is quite possibly the best driver on the grid. Having said that, however, he should be doing better after having 12 races to get to know the RB15. 118 points behind Verstappen in the standings, that says it all. Can Gasly re-find his obvious talent during the summer break?

P7. Kimi Raikkonen - 8

Another good day at the office for Kimi Raikkonen, who started in P10 and finished seventh. He kept his fellow countryman Bottas and his Mercedes behind him as he picked up six valuable points for Alfa Romeo.

Despite his age, Raikkonen has proven to be one of the most consistently quick drivers on the grid this season, as he beat teammate Antonio Giovinazzi by 11 places. The 39-year-old is second in the midfield behind Sainz. An impressive performance and an impressive season from the 2007 champion.

P8. Valtteri Bottas - 3

He said it best himself when he admitted his race was "a mess" after that lap one collision with Leclerc. 

Starting from P2, Bottas held off Hamilton in the first corner but had to yield heading into T3. He got overtaken by Leclerc and then clipped his front wing on the back of the Ferrari, leaving him with damage on the endplate of his nose. An early pitstop left him in last place, and his race was over.

Overtaking is hard on the narrow Hungaroring and the 29-year-old barely got into the points, finally overtaking Norris for P8. Just seven points ahead of Verstappen now in the standings, and miles off teammate Hamilton. Will we see a Bottas 2.5 after the summer? The 2.0 needs an upgrade!

P9. Lando Norris - 6

Lost two places from where he started, but it's hard to point at any moment where he should've done better. Maybe could have defended a bit more aggressively at T1 from teammate Sainz, but at the same time, you understand why he doesn't want to risk colliding with the other McLaren. 

Lost valuable time during his pitstop, where one of the wheels took longer than usual to bolt on. With the small margins in midfield, those things can be the difference, as Norris eventually got overtaken by Bottas. P9 isn't ideal, but every point counts in midfield, even if McLaren are clear off the rest of midfield by quite some way.

P10. Alexander Albon - 7.5

Had a sensational fight with teammate Daniil Kvyat, as the two Toro Rossos went side by side for four corners before Albon finally had to yield. 

The Thai had a very good second stint on the hard tyre and worked his way up to P10, making a good pass on Sergio Pérez. The rookie has had good performances headed into the summer break, and will look to keep building on consistent outings like this for the last nine races of the season.

P11. Sergio Pérez - 7.5

It was always going to be tough for Checo to fight his way into the points starting in P16, on a circuit that typically doesn't suit Racing Point (or Force India in previous years). 

Within that context, we can safely say Pérez drove a very good race. Great strategy to pit before cars ahead; that undercut won the Mexican two places. Had some contact with Albon in the final stages, and did well to limp home in P11. No points to show for his effort, but the team will be happy with their Sunday.

P12. Nico Hülkenberg - 5

A difficult afternoon to cap off a frustrating first half of the season for both Nico Hülkenberg and Renault. Starting from P11, the German couldn't work his way into the points as his RS19 didn't look to be at the races at the Hungaroring. Had some issue with his engine software that made him lose pace throughout the race. One to forget for the 31-year-old.

The French works team have their work cut out for them this summer break, and they'll want to come back stronger at the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of the month - a race that ended with a spectacular crash at the start for The Hülk last season.

P13. Kevin Magnussen - 6

For Haas, this is a good result. The pace didn't fall off a cliff as soon as the lights went out, as has been the case in previous Grands Prix. Kevin Magnussen had a lengthy fight with Daniel Ricciardo, where the Dane defended in his typically aggressive style.

He kept the seven-time race winner behind him and was content with the race pace himself, showing there is hope for Haas for the second half of the season as we head into the summer break.

P14. Daniel Ricciardo - 5

The race for Ricciardo was over before it started, really. Having qualified in P18, he deliberately took a grid penalty so he could have new components fitted. He drove his way up a couple of places but ultimately got stuck behind the Haas of Magnussen, something he wasn't happy with.

The 26-year-old held up Ricciardo and the Aussie complained over the radio how K-Mag was moving in the braking zone. A frustrating weekend for the Honey Badger, who will be glad the summer break is upon us.

P15. Daniil Kvyat - 4

A bad strategy call saw Daniil Kvyat pit early in an attempt to undercut the competition. With around 15 laps to go, the Russian hit 'the cliff', meaning his pace fell off said cliff. Nursed his Toro Rosso home to P15.

Coming off the back of that incredible podium finish, this is a hard reality-check for Kvyat. Still, it's been a good season so far for the man who became a father last week.

P16. George Russell - 8

The rookie gave it beans on Saturday in qualifying, amazingly finishing 0.054s short of reaching Q2. Gained to places at the start of the Grand Prix but ultimately dropped back down. Did do well do hold off Lance Stroll, who was on fresher tyres.

Still, P16 is another good result for Russell, who has shown incredible attitude this season to keep his head up and to keep racing hard despite being in difficult circumstances at the Grove-based team. The family-owned team is finally able to race other teams, and Russell consistently gets the most out of the FW-42. Work to do during the summer break, let's see how they stack up at Spa. 

17. Lance Stroll - 4

A driver who normally excels on Sundays, Stroll found out first-hand how Racing Point/Force India have historically always struggled at the Hungaroring. 

Atypically, he had a slow start and first lap, which he admitted to being where he lost the potential to climb up the order. Couldn't pass the Williams of Russell at the end, which is concerning for the team.

18. Antonio Giovinazzi - 3

Very frustrating race for the Giovinazzi, who suffered contact on the opening lap. Had a much shorter stint than he would've wanted and just had a bad afternoon.

Extra frustrating for him to see how well teammate Raikkonen did, as the Finn finished seventh. Still just the one point for the 25-year-old this season.

19. Robert Kubica - 4

Another one of his races - finishing last, getting beaten by his teammate, getting lapped three times. The massive support from the travelling Polish fans was special, as they saw their hero in action for the first time in nine years, but he unfortunately couldn't show them anything to remember.

Romain Grosjean - DNF

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