Hungarian GP: Esteban Ocon claims shock first F1 win after early race carnage, Lewis Hamilton second from last
An astonishing race ends with Alpine's Esteban Ocon becoming an F1 race winner; Sebastian Vettel second but disqualified for fuel rules breach; Lewis Hamilton into second, after going from first to last to podium; Max Verstappen loses title lead in ninth after Bottas-triggered start chaos
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 02/08/21 6:06am
Esteban Ocon claimed a totally out-of-the-blue first Formula 1 victory with Alpine after cashing in on a chaotic Hungarian GP, as Lewis Hamilton raced back from last to what eventually became second to reclaim the world title lead from Max Verstappen.
Sebastian Vettel originally finished a close second behind Ocon for Aston Martin but was disqualified from the results late on Sunday night for a breach of fuel regulations.
Aston Martin have lodged their intent to appeal the decision and have until Thursday to press ahead with any formal challenge.
Pending any full appeal, Hamilton would move from third into second place, with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz promoted to the final podium berth.
- Vettel's disqualification from second explained
- Revised Hungarian GP result
- Subscribe to Sky Sports F1
Verstappen was classified ninth after his afternoon was wrecked by a multi-car turn-one incident in damp starting conditions when Valtteri Bottas lost control of his Mercedes and triggered all manner of carnage.
Bottas slammed into the back of Lando Norris' McLaren, which was in turn shunted into the side of Verstappen. The out-of-control Mercedes also crashed into Sergio Perez in the other Red Bull, with both out on the spot.
Hamilton had held the lead from pole but, after a red flag to clear up the scattered broken cars and debris of turn one, Mercedes then suddenly found themselves all alone on the grid for the restart.
While Hamilton continued to the grid on his intermediate tyres, the rest of the pack pitted behind him for dry tyres.
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It created the barely-believable sight of Hamilton taking the restart on his own, before the rest of the pack rejoined from the pits on the correct tyres given the improving conditions. Mercedes pitted the world champion at the end of that restart lap but he dropped from the lead to 14th and last place.
But Hamilton, aided by some slick Mercedes strategy, ultimately raced back to the podium positions, with late overtakes on Fernando Alonso, Ocon's Alpine team-mate, and then Ferrari's Sainz.
Revised Hungarian GP Race Result: Top 10
1) Esteban Ocon, Alpine
2) Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
3) Carlos Sainz, Ferrari
4) Fernando Alonso, Alpine
5) Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri
6) Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri
7) Nicholas Latifi, Williams
8) George Russell, Williams
9) Max Verstappen, Red Bull
10) Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo
Ocon the surprise but supreme front-runner, as Hamilton charges back
Six driver retirements in the space of the race's opening three laps either side of the red flag led to the emergence of a dramatically reshuffled order from the original starting grid.
So much so that Ocon, the 24-year-old Frenchman who had never previously led a lap in 77 race starts, suddenly found himself in P1 by lap five from eighth on the grid.
Impressively, he looked immediately at home in the blue Alpine despite being put under big consistent pressure from behind.
That was being applied by four-time champion Vettel in the Aston Martin, who himself had started 10th. The German chased Ocon all the way to their respective pit stops, and then afterwards to the flag, but had to settle for second place, having followed closely in and around DRS range the whole race.
But for Ocon, it was a hugely-deserved maiden victory at the top level.
"What a moment," said an overjoyed Ocon, who had only once previously finished on the podium in F1. "We've had some difficult moments this season but we are back where we belong.
"Sebastian put me under big pressure but we managed to keep him off, so it's a great moment."
Vettel had also driven strongly but the subsequent disqualification dropped him out of the results entirely, with each of the finishing drivers from third downwards gaining a place - starting with Hamilton.
After successfully undercutting Verstappen on his second visit to the pits on lap 19, the Mercedes driver raced back through the field impressively and was up into fourth by the time he made a further stop for fresh tyres on lap 48.
He re-emerged in fifth and caught back up with Fernando Alonso at a rate of knots, although the veteran Spaniard certainly then made his former team-mate work for the place.
Using all his experience to defend against a faster car - in a delay of Hamilton which effectively ruled the Mercedes out of challenging Ocon in the other Alpine for the win - Alonso held on through several wheel-to-wheel dices, and even one brush of wheels into the super-fast Turn Four, before the Briton eventually overtook with five laps to go.
George Russell, meanwhile, finally scored his first points for Williams, finishing ahead of the wounded Verstappen. Team-mate Nicholas Latifi beat both and opened his F1 points account entirely, the Canadian having run third early on from 18th on the grid.
The two-car points finish finally gave the legendary Williams team their first points since 2019, lifting them above Alfa Romeo to eighth in the standings.
Vettel's late penalty promoted Alfa Romeo's Kimi Raikkonen to the final point.
Bottas, meanwhile, was given a five-place grid penalty for the next race after the summer break in Belgium for causing the lap-one collision, for which he apologised.
What happened at the chaotic start?
The whole Hungaroring weekend had been bathed in glorious warm sunshine - until Sunday.
Rain had fallen in the morning at the circuit before light showers returned in the hour before the race as the teams prepared on the grid, creating a greasy track surface for the race start. All drivers started on intermediate tyres as a result.
From Mercedes' front-row lockout, Hamilton got away well but Bottas was almost immediately overtaken by third-placed Verstappen. The Finn was then quickly passed on either side by Norris' McLaren and Perez in the other Red Bull.
That's when things started to go horribly wrong for Bottas on the brakes - and several other luckless rivals.
Sliding straight into the back of Norris, and then collecting Perez on the outside, the impact pushed the McLaren into a hefty impact with Verstappen too.
Bottas and Perez retired immediately, with Norris also forced out before the restart to end his impressive 100 per cent points run this season.
Verstappen was able to drive away but dropped to 13th out of turn one and, although the red flag did allow Red Bull to make running repairs to his car to get it ready to race, it was operating at far from peak performance thereafter.
"He's run with half a car, the entire right-hand side of the bargeboard was missing," said Red Bull boss Christian Horner to Sky F1 after the race. "He probably had less downforce than Mick Schumacher [in the Haas].
"That's brutal for us. But the team did well to get the car back out there, they nailed the fastest pit stop. Max fought for that one point [which later became two] - and that could prove vital at the end of the year."
In a similar but separate turn-one incident further back in the pack, Lance Stroll careered into Charles Leclerc's Ferrari and took both out of the race. It meant five drivers - a quarter of the grid - had already retired before the restart.
Stroll was also penalised with a five-place grid drop for Spa, when an increasingly astonishing F1 season resumes at the end of August live only on Sky Sports F1.