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Sebastian Vettel wins in Hungary amid team orders controversy

Vettel wins in Hungary amid team orders controversy

30/07/2017 at 13:24Updated 31/07/2017 at 15:22

Sebastian Vettel won the Hungarian Grand Prix ahead of team-mate Kimi Raikkonen with Lewis Hamilton fourth as team orders dominated the race.

The German qualified on pole and followed that up with victory but it could have been so different.

It looked as if he would win comfortably, as Hamilton predicted yesterday, but a handling issue gave those behind him a chance to catch up.

The gap between the top five by the end of the race was very close as Red Bull's Max Verstappen continued the good pace that the team had been showing all weekend.

Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) - Grand Prix of Hungary 2017

Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) - Grand Prix of Hungary 2017Getty Images

Raikkonen was lapping quickly and felt he should have been given a chance to catch Vettel but Ferrari denied him in a clear display of preference.

The situation at Mercedes was even more convoluted as Valtteri Bottas was made to make way for Hamilton towards the end of the race with the British driver given five laps to catch up to Raikkonen.

That was extended but Hamilton couldn't catch the Ferraris and right at the line, as ordered, he made way for Bottas. The move meant he lost ground on Vettel in the championship standings but was a clear sign that Mercedes are driving as a team again following the bickering between Hamilton and Nico Rosberg last season.

It means Vettel opens up a 14-point lead over Hamilton at the top of the standings with Raikkonen's excellent drive seeing him close the gap on fourth-placed Daniel Ricciardo.

The Australian was at the centre of more controversy as he was taken out of the race by his team-mate Verstappen, who locked up at Turn 2, crashing into Ricciardo.

Verstappen was given a 10-second time penalty but Ricciardo was fuming on the radio saying “Someone hit me...

“Was that who I think it was? ****ing sore loser.”

He later told NBC "There was never a pass there, it was just a mistake. There’s no way there was ever room, because Valtteri was covering the inside anyway."

Further down the gird there was excellent news for McLaren as Fernando Alonso capped off an excellent weekend by securing the race's fastest lap on his final attempt of the weekend.

Alonso finished in sixth with team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne in tenth to secure a double-points finish.


There can be no question that both Ferrari and Mercedes made the right call over their team orders today, even if neither are likely to be popular.

For Ferrari this meant denying the popular Raikkonen victory but they had to do what they could in order to get Vettel as a big a lead as possible.

You may think that Mercedes should have done the same thing for Hamilton but Bottas didn't have to make way for his team-mate, yet he did because he recognised it was best for the team.

Hamilton was given five laps initially to catch Raikkonen and eventually the team gave him even more as Bottas had to try and hold off Verstappen. But switching back was the right move for team morale.

As Bottas took his place on the podium next to the two Ferraris, Alonso perched himself in a deckchair and it's a crime that he won't be on the podium once in 2017.

Alonso is still arguably the quickest driver on the circuit and to get that McLaren through an entire race, not to mention up to sixth, is remarkable and he deserves so much credit for it.

It's equally a shame that he may not have a car good enough next year, given that you'd doubt that either of the big three would give him a chance.

The very least McLaren and Honda can do is pull their fingers out and give Alonso a chance next year, he's still got so much to offer.