Which F1 driver was the best performer during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend?
Review how each driver got on below and vote for who impressed you the most during the last race weekend.
Hungarian Grand Prix driver-by-driver
Lewis Hamilton – Swept all three practice sessions with little drama besides the occasional lock-up, and continued his domination into qualifying where he headed all three parts and sealed his ninth pole position of the year. But his domination of the weekend ended within seconds of the start: relegated to fourth in the first few corners, he then went off at turn six, slipping to tenth (and somewhat unfairly blaming his team mate for the error). He’d fought his way back to fourth when he came under attack from Ricciardo and thumped into the Red Bull, necessitating a front wing change and earning a drive-through penalty. Nonetheless he recovered to sixth at the chequered flag and edged further ahead of Rosberg in the championship.
Nico Rosberg – The team apologised to Rosberg after his “difficult day” which they said was down to an error in setting his car up which went unnoticed. He bounced back in final practice to end up within a tenth of Hamilton, but in qualifying he was puzzled by persistent understeer and ended up over half a second off his team mate. After Hamilton took himself out of contention Rosberg was unable to close on the Ferraris – he was 22 seconds behind before the Safety Car period. Seemingly preoccupied with staying ahead of Hamilton, a conservative call for medium compound tyres under the Safety Car blunted his challenge late in the race. A lack of circumspection in his battle with Ricciardo was heavily penalised – the puncture dropped him to eighth, and spoiled what could have been a profitable day.
Daniel Ricciardo – Hampered by an engine failure on Friday afternoon but qualified strongly. The only driver to save a set of soft tyres in Q1, two rapid laps in Q3 secured him fourth on the grid, just three-hundredths of a second off Vettel. Having struggled to get away from the dirty side of the grid he was hit by Bottas at turn – the first of three collisions on that part of the track. After Kvyat waved him through Ricciardo passed Hulkenberg but after switching to medium tyres he couldn’t keep Hamilton’s Mercedes behind. That paid off when the Safety Car appeared, however, as he was able to switch to softs and go on the attack. He was hit by Hamilton as he passed the Mercedes, but was still able to go after Rosberg. Again there was contact, which forced Ricciardo in for a new front wing and cost him a shot at victory.
Daniil Kvyat – Out-paced Ricciardo in practice but was disappointed with his qualifying effort which left him seventh. After locking up heavily at the start of the race he was ordered to let Ricciardo through, which he was not happy about, but he caught a lucky break when he switched to soft tyres before the Safety Car came out. Although he had to run a long, 36-lap stint on them and picked up a ten-second penalty for going off the track while passing Hamilton, Kvyat steered clear of the unfolding chaos to grab a career-best second place.
Felipe Massa – Eighth on the grid meant he was last in the Ferrari/Red Bull/Williams qualifying battle, and sloppy parking on the grid meant a five-second penalty. That dropped him back in the pack, and an early switch to soft tyres (even earlier than Kvyat’s) didn’t work out – a third pit stop was required, which dropped him out of the points.
Valtteri Bottas – Ran Williams’ new front wing and secured sixth on the grid, and was running fourth early on. Having been jumped by Hamilton and Ricciardo at the first round of pit stops, he was poised to profit from their post-restart scrap when he was tagged by Verstappen, picking up a puncture.
Sebastian Vettel – Didn’t seem to quite have a match for Raikkonen’s pace in practice but led the way for the team in qualifying to take an increasingly familiar third place on the grid. A superb start put him in the lead from where he used Ferrari’s soft tyre pace to great effect – Raikkonen was ten seconds behind even when his car was still healthy. The Safety Car period was exactly what he didn’t need but his nearest rivals mostly took themselves out of contention as he grabbed his second victory of the season.
Kimi Raikkonen – The Hungarian Grand Prix was a depressing litany of misfortune for Raikkonen. First his front wing failed on Friday, then a water leak sidelined him on Saturday. The latter kept him from doing a run on the soft tyres ahead of qualifying, and he ended up fifth on the grid. He followed Vettel through at the start, passing Rosberg for second in turn two, and though he didn’t have his team mate’s pace he was on for a solid second place when his MGU-K packed up. Even then a points finish might have been possible had the Safety Car not wiped out the buffer he’d built over his pursuers.
Fernando Alonso – At a track which minimised the McLaren’s shortcomings, Alonso looked set to take full advantage until his car let him down in qualifying. He jumped up to 12th at the start but was passed by Verstappen shortly afterwards. The pair were destined to finish in that order after Alonso made a canny switch to soft tyres during the Safety Car period and muscled past the other, ailing Toro Rosso of Sainz.
Jenson Button – Baffled by his car’s behaviour in final practice, but would have made the cut for Q2 had it not been for a power unit problem which robbed him of ERS delivery on the straight. Unlike Alonso, Button did not pit to change tyres under the Safety Car, and he was powerless to prevent his rivals demoting him to ninth. Nonetheless, this was McLaren’s first double points score of 2015.
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Nico Hulkenberg – Had to sit out second practice and much of the first session while the team investigated the cause of Perez’s crash. Once back on track he looked quick again however, setting the sixth-fastest time in final practice. He produced another astonishing start – leaping to sixth, then slipstreaming past Kvyat for fifth – and his race continued to run true to form as quicker rivals leapfrogged his Force India during the pit stops. A solid points finish was in the offing when his front wing collapsed on the pit straight, sending him into the barriers.
Sergio Perez – A right-rear suspension failure cause a substantial crash in first practice, and Perez admitted afterwards he’d been scared when his car flipped over. He bounced back to take 13th on the grid and mimicked his team mate by making up five places at the start. However he was turfed off the track by Maldonado while passing the Lotus, and with a damaged car and a lengthening brake pedal Force India later opted to retire him.
Max Verstappen – An electrical problem confined him to the garage halfway through Friday practice, but he bounced back to become Toro Rosso’s only representative in Q3. He started poorly, falling to 13th, but after passing Alonso a well-timed pit stop moved him up to ninth. When the Safety Car came out he had not long since changed to mediums, and switching back to softs put him in a strong position at the restart. However he broke the speed limit under the Safety Car period and had to serve a drive-through penalty. Without that, he might have had his first podium finish. Instead he was fourth, his best result so far, though he was fortunate to escape a penalty after tangling with Bottas.
Carlos Sainz Jnr – Put Toro Rosso in the top five in final practice but stumbled in qualifying, unhappy with his car’s braking as the track conditions changed, and ended up 12th. Running sixth after the Safety Car period, yet another Toro Rosso failure forced him into retirement.
Romain Grosjean – Missing first practice was less of a disadvantage than usual compared to his team mate. Once again his was the only Lotus in Q3 and he also managed to save a set of soft tyres for the race. But he made a terrible start and finished the first lap in 16th, then collected a five-second penalty for an unsafe release from the pits. His race came alive after the Safety Car period, rising to sixth as those ahead hit trouble, before being demoted by Rosberg’s recovering Mercedes.
Pastor Maldonado – Lotus missed the beginning of final practice as Pirelli had withheld their tyres due to a payment dispute. The timing of the red flag in Q2 was unfortunate for him, though it was for several other drivers too, and he ended up missing the cut. His race was a depressing litany of mistakes which a driver in his fifth year of F1 should not be making: contact with Perez, speeding in the pits and overtaking under the Safety Car. And yet somehow his penalty points total only increased by two.
Marcus Ericsson – Both Sauber drivers received the confidence-boosting news that they’d been retained for 2016 ahead of the race weekend. Ericsson out-qualified his team mate but the pair had only the Manors behind them. A race of attrition presented the opportunity to pick up a point and Ericsson was the one who capitalised, leading Nasr home.
Felipe Nasr – Struggled with overheating tyres in qualifying and lined up 19th. An anonymous weekend continued into the race, where he complained of being stuck in traffic and was 11th behind Ericsson at the flag.
Will Stevens – Admitted to a mistake on his first qualifying run, then struggled to improve on it on his second. Scrapped with Merhi over the final two places before retiring with a vibration.
Roberto Merhi – Having already raced at the Hungaroring this year, Merhi sat out the first practice session while Fabio Leimer had his first run in the car. Nonetheless he out-qualified Stevens and briefly got ahead of the Saubers at the start, but had to pit to have a loose headrest seen to. He was running ahead of Stevens when his team mate dropped out.
Driver of the Weekend: My choice
After his crushing performances on Friday and Saturday I didn’t expect I would end up selecting anyone other than Hamilton, but his disastrous race put paid to that. However there were several other drivers who deserved consideration.
Hulkenberg was one of them again, although he missed the cut for Q3 he started well and again had the Force India running higher than it belonged. And it was hard to resist picking Vettel as he was in excellent form on race day, simply leaving the opposition behind after making a dream start and coping with a Safety Car period he really did not need.
But instead I chose a driver who had three collisions during his race.
I doubt there was a hundredth of a second left in Ricciardo’s Red Bull once he was done with it on Saturday. He was the only driver to make it through Q1 without using soft tyres, and he came very close to beating Vettel to that all-important third place.
As a result he had to start off-line, and he tangled with Bottas at the start. Nonetheless he passed Hulkenberg and took maximum advantage of the Safety Car period by switching to softs. He couldn’t do much about being hit by Hamilton, and although his attempt to pass Rosberg was optimistic he was entitled to be on the racing line when the pair made contact. Without that, he had the pace to attack Rosberg and Vettel for victory. Third place was the least his weekend’s efforts deserved.
Qualifying and race results summary
|Driver||Started||Gap to team mate (Q)||Laps leading team mate||Pitted||Finished||Gap to team mate (R)|
|Carlos Sainz Jnr||12th||+0.088s||15/60||2|
|Will Stevens||20th||+0.533s||38/65||2||16th||Not on same lap|
|Roberto Merhi||19th||-0.533s||27/65||2||15th||Not on same lap|
Review the race data
- 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix lap charts
- 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix tyre strategies and pit stops
- 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix lap times and fastest laps
Vote for your driver of the weekend
Which driver do you think did the best job this weekend?
Cast your vote below and explain your choice in the comments.
Vote for the best driver of the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix weekend
- Roberto Merhi (0%)
- Will Stevens (0%)
- Felipe Nasr (0%)
- Marcus Ericsson (1%)
- Pastor Maldonado (1%)
- Romain Grosjean (0%)
- Carlos Sainz Jnr (0%)
- Max Verstappen (4%)
- Sergio Perez (0%)
- Nico Hulkenberg (1%)
- Jenson Button (0%)
- Fernando Alonso (16%)
- Kimi Raikkonen (2%)
- Sebastian Vettel (52%)
- Valtteri Bottas (0%)
- Felipe Massa (0%)
- Daniil Kvyat (6%)
- Daniel Ricciardo (14%)
- Nico Rosberg (0%)
- Lewis Hamilton (3%)
Total Voters: 745
When this poll is closed the result will be displayed instead of the voting form.
2015 Hungarian Grand Prix
- Vettel wins Driver of the Weekend for third time
- Hungary rated fifth-best race since 2008
- 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix team radio transcript
- 2015 Hungarian GP Predictions Championship results
- Top ten pictures from the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix
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