Martin Brundle on Hungary, Lewis Hamilton v Nico Rosberg, and Max Verstappen's defensive technique
Last Updated: 28/07/16 10:25am
Anyone who missed Sunday's Hungarian GP and only saw the result would have thought they missed out on a decent race.
The winner crossed the line 1.9 seconds ahead of the runner-up, the drivers in third and fourth were separated by less than a second, and fifth and sixth reached the chequered flag with just four tenths of a second between them. It looked a real fight between Ferrari and Red Bull too.
Unfortunately the reality was rather different. While this was a race which had all the ingredients to be a cracker, it never happened. Whenever a driver tried to attack they just couldn't find a way to overtake or make a move stick. DRS has never been particularly effective at the Hungaroring because so much depends on a driver's exit from the last corner, but it is even less effective nowadays because the drivers have learnt how to use their battery pack in defence as well as an attack, so it can be deployed it as a buffer which neutralises DRS to an extent.
I was looking Lewis Hamilton in the eye after the race when he joined us on Sky F1 and I believed him when he said he had been driving his own race and wasn't trying to back Nico Rosberg into Daniel Ricciardo.
Mindful of the hangover from his early-season mechanical problems which mean a penalty is inevitable at some stage this season, Lewis is desperately trying to find a way to make sure he only has to take one engine penalty in the second half of the season.
I don't think there was any mischief there - just the selfishness you would expect from a champion. If, by turning down the wick, he drove Nico back into the pack and it didn't suit the driver he is fighting for the championship, then so be it.
But I did have the impression his comments in the post-race press conference about Nico's speed through the double-waved yellow flags in qualifying were predetermined. Even though he was answering a question put to him by a journalist it was clear that he had given it a lot of thought beforehand.
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Personally, I found it a very difficult situation to call, Rosberg did lift the throttle, didn't pass an incident, and he made the best of the rest of a very cluttered lap for a cheeky pole. I admired that racing instinct but it sets a dangerous precedent.
What was curious was that it took Race Control over three hours to pick up on an incident that had been instantly analysed on television and announce it would be investigated. Some are saying Lewis instigated it. Nico was already at a sponsor's event in town when the summons was finally sent out.
Lewis was clearly very miffed about missing out on pole position. In his eyes he was cheated out of pole when Nico didn't abandon his lap when he encountered those double-yellow flags for Fernando Alonso's McLaren.
Lewis is becoming very savvy with the off-track politics of F1 - as he said to us after the race, he's been doing this for a while now - and I've no doubt this was Lewis attacking Nico psychologically.
He knows he has Nico on the ropes and, to stretch the sporting analogy, he wasn't going to miss out on an opportunity to throw in a couple more uppercuts.
It was a strange weekend all round. What struck me when hearing from the drivers this week is that, to a man, they were pretty much all having a moan at the FIA about some aspect of the sport's governance - the radio ban, yellow flags, the crackdown on track limits and so on. Everyone seem to be annoyed about something!
It's an uncomfortable situation and we're now seeing a stand-off between the teams and the FIA about an issue which, in my opinion, the governing body have got wrong regarding the radio ban, just like the knockout qualifying. Their view is that if the cars are too complicated it's up to the teams to sort it out. The teams' perspective is that it was the FIA who wanted hybrid power and this level of complexity.
On Sunday night in Budapest Red Bull's Adrian Newey predicted the upshot would be a huge amount of money and time spent on making the cars' functionality automatic. A driver is never going to be able to swot up and learn every aspect of how these complex machines operate.
In any case, would you want your driver to use up so much of his brain power and his time on homework? I don't think so. Simply put, the cars are just too complex. l must admit that whenever l get to drive one of them and can play around with the controls l am always blown away by just how complex they are.
Jenson Button was rightly aggrieved about the penalty he received during the race, asking what part of a brake failure didn't constitute a safety warning. After the Rosberg investigation and penalty at Silverstone, the radio crackdown was beefed-up again this weekend but I cannot work out what the sport is seeking to achieve here. It all just seems a little pedantic and unnecessary, cluttering up the races and interrupting the spectacle.
Ferrari are now just one point ahead of Red Bull in the Constructors' Championship. Having started the season expecting to close in on Mercedes, it's Red Bull who are closing them down instead. Through tragic personal circumstances, James Allison, their highly regarded technical chief, has had to prioritise other matters in his life, and there were alarming reports before we arrived in Budapest that Sergio Marchionne, the president, now feels the need to sit in on technical meetings at Maranello.
That cannot end well. If everyone is trying to steer the ship, and the head man doesn't trust his troops, then you have problems. Team boss Maurizio Arrivabene wasn't available for interview all weekend and it's difficult to see anything about Ferrari at the moment which is positive. The word 'crisis' is very easy to throw around but if by the end of the season they are just third in the constructors and not heading forward l think 'crisis' will be a fair description.
Kimi Raikkonen did at least enjoy one of his best races for some time, although even then he only finished sixth behind Max Verstappen due to a lowly grid slot. These two have become regular foes this season and criticism of Max's driving style has become a regular feature too.
Max's defensive technique is too junior-formula for my liking. When he's defending, he tends to loiter in the middle of the track and then at the last moment move to the side of the track where his opponent attacks, and cut them off. It all looks a little too late - and it's asking for trouble.
There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that he will end up with some punctures and race ending damage with this technique. He was very lucky on Sunday that the contact with Raikkonen's Ferrari wasn't more grievous but this style will hurt him soon and it's clear the other drivers are becoming frustrated with it to the point that one of them will have him off to teach him a lesson.
It's what a Mansell or a Senna used to do whenever they thought a young driver wasn't showing due respect. Max moves late, he moves fast and he moves frequently - we could argue all day whether he moved twice or even three times when he was defending against Kimi. He is rubbing up against the rules, damaging his own car and on the verge of coming to major grief with his peers.
Speak to you from Germany.