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Hungarian GP driver ratings

Who signed off for their summer holidays in style and who might be wishing for another race before the break...

After converting his pole position into what was essentially a lights-to-flag victory - extending his title advantage to 14 points in the process - this was as close to a perfect weekend as it really gets for Sebastian Vettel.

He may have been fortunate that Ferrari didn't follow Mercedes' lead in ordering a driver to let a faster team-mate through, but that doesn't take into account the skill Vettel possessed here.

Managing a car with faulty steering for nigh on 70 laps, staying off the kerbs while keeping his lap times with a couple of tenths of his competitors, Vettel had to show a different set of qualities to take this victory.

Vettel extends title lead

"I had no room for error," he admitted in the post-race press conference.

In the end, his stunning qualifying performance was crucial, and he now heads into the summer break with what looks like a comfortable title advantage once again.

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"It couldn't be any better today," he added to Sky F1.
Rating out of ten: 10

A race in which we saw a glimpse of the Kimi Raikkonen of old and this was probably the drive which secured him a contract with the Scuderia for 2018.

Rightly or wrongly, the Finn played the perfect rear-gunner for Sebastian Vettel and ensured Ferrari secured a 1-2, rather than potentially a 1-4 given the championship leader's steering problems.

Raikkonen was faster than his team-mate throughout Sunday's race but maintained position and ensured the wake of his car prevented the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas from threatening the win.

"Seb was helped by a great performance from Kimi who demonstrated, not only that he is a champion, but also that he is a true team player," said Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene.

Less than a second split the two Ferraris on the line and Raikkonen put his failure to claim victory down to his qualifying mistake rather than team race politics. With back-to-back podiums for just the second time since returning to Ferrari, expect that contract to be announced at Monza after the summer break.
Rating out of ten: 9

It says a lot for Lewis Hamilton's genuine respect for Valtteri Bottas that, despite being in a title battle he has described as the toughest of his career, the triple world champion stuck to his word and gave his Finnish team-mate third place back in the final throes of Sunday's race. Even Bottas admitted most team-mates wouldn't have done that.

But given the pace differential between the two Mercedes' when Hamilton was ahead, it was a fortunate fifth successive podium for Bottas. While Hamilton relentlessly pulled clear of him and onto the back of the Ferraris, the Finn made heavier work of the lapped traffic, while also being increasingly forced to keep an eye on a charging Max Verstappen behind.

Nonetheless, he had earned track position over Hamilton in the first place by outqualifying him for the fifth time this year and it's that kind of form which looks almost certain to earn Valtteri a 2018 deal in fairly short order after the summer break.
Rating out of ten: 7.5

Honourable? Yes. Sporting? Most certainly. But will Lewis Hamilton ultimately come to regret his decision to drop back behind Valtteri Bottas on the last corner in Budapest when the final championship totals are added up at the end of the season?

The final podium slot, and entering the summer three points closer to Vettel than he is now, would certainly have represented a decent 'save' for Hamilton on a weekend that only really gained momentum when Bottas released him to attack the Ferraris with 24 laps to go. Up until then, Q2 was the only session in which Hamilton appeared confident with his car, although even that didn't last long after tyre vibrations and an early error in Q3 left him playing the percentages on his final run, leaving him just fourth on the grid.

Hamilton's gift: Right or wrong?

Dropping behind Max Verstappen on the first lap proved another setback, as did Mercedes' radio problems which meant he could not properly communicate with the team over strategy until really it was all too late.

Fourteen points behind Vettel with nine races to go is far from a lost cause but Hamilton will need to improve on a record of just two podiums in the last six races if the closing three months of the season are to deliver him that fourth world crown.
Rating out of ten: 8

Golden rule number one of grand prix racing - don't crash into your team-mate. Unfortunately for Max Verstappen, he failed to heed that as he knocked Daniel Ricciardo out of the race within two corners and his resulting 10-second penalty would cost him the chance to challenge for victory.

After a tough Saturday, Red Bull's pace was back matching Ferrari and Mercedes on Sunday - with 15 laps remaining and having served his penalty, Verstappen trailed race winner Vettel by just 10.991 seconds. While this may just be a number given the difficulty of overtaking at the Hungaroring, it does suggest Verstappen and the RB13 had race-winning potential in Budapest.

"Max Verstappen is going to regret this one for quite some time," said Sky F1's Anthony Davidson on commentary.

At the start of the season, Verstappen would have hoped to have been entering the summer break as a title contender. Instead, having been branded an "amateur" by Ricciardo and left to make a public apology to the Australian and his team, the 19-year-old will be praying the remainder of the campaign brings an upturn in fortunes.
Rating out of ten: 6

Ricciardo accepts Max's apology

He says he will make a big decision on his future after the summer break, so this was the perfect time to perform at his very best. Make no mistake, this was a quite stupendous drive from Fernando Alonso.

McLaren's double Q3 and points finish highlighted how their improved package suited the Hungaroring, but Alonso still had to deliver at a track where driver skill is so crucial. In that regard, it's no wonder the two-time world champion finished 'best of the rest' here.

After being stuck behind Sainz at the beginning of the race, with some questionable on-track tactics from his Spanish compatriot, Alonso pulled off the move of the day with a dive up the inside of the Turn One, then finessing his MCL32 around the outside of Turns Two and Three.

As Sky F1's Anthony Davidson said, "just give this man an extra 50 horsepower".

Alonso even had the cheek to finish with a fastest lap of the race - but it was a somewhat sad sight to see him relaxing and posing in a deck chair while others celebrated on the podium. It's where he belongs with this kind of drive.
Rating out of ten: 10

After some messy races, Carlos Sainz and Toro Rosso really needed a pre-summer break fillip and seventh place, their best result in two months, was just the ticket.

Sainz surprised himself by making Q3 having struggled in final practice and then, at the start of the race, surprised the McLarens by overtaking Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne around the outside of Turn One.

Sainz showed his Spanish countryman and friend little mercy when Alonso went on the attack after the early Safety Car, but ultimately the McLaren's superior speed told after the stops as the former world champion this time took the outside route himself, at Turn Two. On a point-less weekend for Williams, Sainz's strong race has put Toro Rosso just two points back on the former F1 juggernauts in the fight for fifth place.
Rating out of ten: 8.5

An eighth-place finish for Sergio Perez may not sound particularly note-worthy - indeed, he has finished higher up in the field six times this season - but on a weekend he described as the "worst in terms of speed", it was an impressive performance.

Qualifying in a disappointing 13th as he struggled with his car, though he admitted he still may not have had enough pace for Q3, Perez would have been fearing the worst after the first corner as he once again made contact with his Force India team-mate.

Luckily, the damage sustained wasn't enough to scupper his race and he gained a few places before the Safety Car. He may have been disappointed not to have challenged a Toro Rosso and McLaren ahead of him, but this was decent damage limitation for the Mexican who comfortably maintains his 'best of the rest' position in the Drivers' Championship.
Rating out of ten: 7

Make that 10 points finishes in 11 races for Esteban Ocon as the Frenchman's impressive first full season in F1 continued.

The 20-year-old is now closing in on Max Chilton's record for most consecutive finishes at the start of an F1 career (25) as Hungary extended his streak to 20.

His drive was all the more impressive as he had to nurse a damaged car for the full 70 laps after contact from team-mate Sergio Perez at Turn One damaged his floor.

He may have finished behind Perez for the ninth time on a Sunday but he out-qualified his more experienced team-mate for the second time at the Hungaroring. With 45 points in the bag already, Ocon can happily reflect on his work over the summer break.
Rating out of ten: 7

He wasn't quite as quick or flamboyant as Fernando Alonso in Hungary, but Stoffel Vandoorne will be relieved to have finally broken his 2017 points duck.

That this was his first top-10 finish since bursting onto the scene at last year's Bahrain GP indicates how much of a struggle this season has been for him.

Vandoorne didn't get much of a break at the start - slowed by Ricciardo's swerving Red Bull - but was able to both avoid contact and hold off his competitors on that first lap. After that, he remained in the points for the rest of the afternoon - although overshooting his pit box at his stop cost him ninth to Ocon.

The Belgian may have had the pace to get closer to the Force Indias - considering Alonso's display at least - but at least he can relax as he heads into the summer break ahead of his first home F1 grand prix.
Rating out of ten: 7

With the threat of a race ban hanging over him after picking up another penalty point in qualifying, Daniil Kvyat may have been happy just to have come through this race unscathed.

The Russian was also, perhaps unfairly, handed a three-place grid penalty for impeding Lance Stroll in Saturday's shootout, but he did recover to gain five places come race day.

Without that grid drop, he surely would have finished in the points.

"11th was the best possible result for him today," said Franz Tost.
Rating out of ten: 6.5

The wait for points goes on for Jolyon Palmer after another race in which he was comfortably slower than team-mate Nico Hulkenberg and his final position was enhanced by retirements and penalties.

The Briton appeared in the perfect place to break his duck starting 10th but he immediately lost out when he had to use cat-like reactions to avoid the stricken Daniel Ricciardo.

And being ordered to move aside for Hulkenberg on just lap 19 encapsulated Palmer's miserable season as he was unable to extract the apparently available pace in the RS17. Within 25 laps, the 26-year-old had fallen nearly 20 seconds behind his team-mate.

Meanwhile in Qualifying, when Renault appeared comfortably the fourth-quickest car, Palmer was knocked out in Q2, his best time eight-tenths off that achieved by Hulkenberg in the same session.

Renault boss Cyril Abiteboul has insisted Palmer remains an option for 2018 provided he turns his season around, but he will need a big improvement after the summer break.

And as he heads off on his holiday, Palmer would be advised to avoid Wednesday's testing timesheet as Robert Kubica gets his first taste of the 2017 car.
Rating out of ten: 5

Had it not been for Kevin Magnussen's involvement in a rumpus with Nico Hulkenberg, first on the track at Turn Two then, with insults flying, in the post-race TV pen, the Dane's weekend would have almost passed off without comment with Haas' car not proving at home on the tortuous Hungaroring.

Unlike technical partners Ferrari, Haas didn't get much joy from the twisty layout and the 11th place Magnussen finished in before his five-second time penalty was applied for forcing Hulkenberg off the road - a sanction which dropped him to 13th - was just about as good as it was going to get.
Rating out of ten: 5.5

Hulkenberg and Magnussen in furious insults

A frustrating and in the end lonely race for Lance Stroll, who finished only three places up from his lowly grid position in an uncompetitive Williams.

But though the young Canadian admitted he was "bored" with little chance of catching drivers in front, he may just learn more this weekend than he did with his stunning podium in Baku.

"Every race and every weekend I am getting more experience and becoming a better driver," he said.
Rating out of ten: 6

The pressure is on Pascal Wehrlein with question marks over his seat after Sauber extended their engine deal with Ferrari. But it was another solid if unspectacular performance from the German as he out-performed team-mate Marcus Ericsson over the weekend.

Wehrlein recovered from his "massive" Practice Two crash to out-qualify Ericsson and then benefitted from the decision to run two stints on the soft tyre to finish a place ahead of the Swede.
Rating out of ten: 6

Another difficult weekend for Marcus Ericsson, who despite his team-mate's heavy Friday crash, couldn't convert his extra Hungaroring running into a better qualifying and race.

Confirmation of the team's Ferrari engine deal from 2018 onwards could mean a Scuderia protégé will be in a Sauber seat next season. So, will the pressure increase on Ericsson?
Rating out of ten: 5.5

Did not finish

The slanging match Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen became embroiled in after the race provided the media with plenty of good copy, but that was a battle the Renault really shouldn't even have been in.

Had a weekend-wrecking gearbox grid penalty not intervened then Hulkenberg would have surely been vying with Fernando Alonso for sixth place, having outqualified the McLaren on pace on a circuit in which he and his car looked most likely to win the midfield battle.

Instead, starting 12th, a combination of traffic, a slow pit stop and, ultimately, damage to his RS17 by running off track in the duel with Magnussen ended up registering a far less appetising Did Not Finish.
Rating out of ten: 7.5

"Maybe I should have driven a bit faster" was Paul di Resta's humorous verdict but the Sky F1 pundit could be pleased with his efforts after his late call-up for Williams.

The 31-year-old kept his nose out of trouble and showed his reactions remain sharp to avoid Ricciardo's spinning Red Bull on the opening lap.

An oil leak curtailed his race 10 laps early but Di Resta should be able to build on this should his services be required again next time out in Spa or later in the season.

"Paul, considering the circumstances, drove a great race with good consistency and stayed out of trouble," said chief technical officer Paddy Lowe. "We're sorry not to give him a car that could get him to the finish."
Rating out of ten: 7

An afternoon to forget for Romain Grosjean but entirely not of his own making. The Frenchman's race was immediately compromised at Turn One as his Haas was sent airborne following contact with Nico Hulkenberg's Renault.

Grosjean's race would then end on lap 22 as, immediately following a pit stop necessitated by his front-left tyre losing pressure, a wheel nut issue forced him to park on the side of the track.
Rating out of ten: 6

Well, Daniel Ricciardo did promise he wasn't going to finish in his grid position of sixth, didn't he? But bottom of the classification with a retirement inside four corners certainly wasn't what he meant, with the Australian having an over-eager team-mate to thank for starting his summer break early.
Rating out of ten: N/A

Don't miss the F1 Report on Wednesday at 8.30pm on Sky F1 as Formula 2 driver Jordan King and Marc Priestley join Natalie Pinkham to review the Hungarian GP.

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