Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Hungaroring, 2020

2020 Hungarian Grand Prix Star Performers

2020 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Kevin Magnussen and Lance Stroll were RaceFans’ Star Performers of the Hungarian Grand Prix. Here’s why.


Kevin Magnussen

Magnussen qualified 16th, three tenths of a second ahead of Grosjean, but started from the pit lane after he opted to pit for slick tyres to start the race. That call to pit later earned him a 10-second penalty but after everyone else stopped for slicks Magnussen shot up to third.

The Haas driver wisely didn’t fight the front-runners too hard as they regained their places at the front of the field, minimising the inevitable time loss as possible. He slowly dropped down the order and crossed the line ninth, holding off Carlos Sainz.

The penalty dropped him to 10th but he nonetheless collected the first points of the season for himself and Haas.

Lance Stroll

Lance Stroll, Max Verstappen, Hungaroring, 2020
Stroll briefly held second place
With rumours linking Sebastian Vettel to his team mate’s seat, Lance Stroll chose a good weekend to make a case for himself deserving a place at his father’s team on merit alone. He began by out-qualifying Sergio Perez for third on the grid.

While Perez bogged down, Stroll made a good start and briefly ran second behind Lewis Hamilton. He fell to fifth after everyone had stopped for slicks.

He quickly overtook Romain Grosjean and, with a little more difficulty, eventually passed Magnussen on lap 15. Bottas caught Stroll on lap 35 and got ahead via an earlier pit stop – an exchange of positions which was surely inevitable, though Stroll remained convinced a podium finish was possible. Stroll cruised to the end of the race in fourth – Racing Point’s best finish of the year so far – with Albon too far behind to challenge him for the position.

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Valtteri Bottas

Start, Hungaroring, 2020
Bottas squandered his front row start
Bottas couldn’t manage Hamilton for pace all weekend and qualified a tenth off pole. An error at the start spoiled his day: Distracted by his steering wheel, Bottas began moving fractionally before the lights changed. He was fortunate to avoid a penalty, but slipped down the order and was left playing catch up for the rest of the race.

He made the passes he needed to early on and rose to third place. Could he have taken second away from Verstappen? An extra pit stop allowed him to come back at the Red Bull driver. He caught Verstappen on the final lap but was not close enough to attempt a pass. This was a day when only Bottas had the chance to rival Hamilton and he didn’t rise to the occasion.

Esteban Ocon

Renault sent both drivers out on medium tyres during Q2, then switched to softs for the second run. Ocon qualified a tenth behind Ricciardo but in the midfield, the small margin of error correlated to three positions on the grid.

He dropped two more positions on lap one, but had a good second lap. Delaying his switch to slick tyres did not pay off, however, and he was consigned to a frustrating afternoon in the midfield. Adding insult to injury, Lando Norris passed him on the final lap, leaving him back where he started in 14th.

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And the rest

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hungaroring, 2020
Impeccable Hamilton was never seriously threatened
Rating Hamilton anything less than a ‘star’ for such an impeccable performance seems harsh, but on the other hand he was never seriously tested. He and Mercedes seemed in perfect harmony all weekend as he led every lap but one and set the fastest lap as well.

Verstappen was left frustrated after qualifying seventh and his race appeared to be over before it had started when he slid into the barriers on his way to the grid. Remarkably, his mechanics were able to repair the suspension damage before the race and Verstappen rewarded them with a faultless performance. He moved up four positions on the opening lap, stayed out longer than Stroll to get ahead and built enough of a lead to prevent Bottas from catching him before the chequered flag.

His team mate Alexander Albon had an even worse qualifying performance as he had to do both his Q2 out-laps in traffic which ruined his tyre warm-up. He started 13th but emerged ninth after the switch from intermediates to slicks. He continued to show his racecraft skill in recovering to fifth place.

Having led Stroll earlier in the weekend and in the opening phases of qualifying, Perez blamed dizziness for his failure to beat his team mate to third place. He suffered an enormous amount of wheelspin as the lights went out and dropped back to seventh. After switching to slick tyres he nearly ended his race in a barrier. He lost a place to Albon and came in seventh.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2020
Smart tyre call paid off for Vettel
Both Ferrari drivers made it into Q3 and locked out the third row of the grid. Good starts put Vettel fourth and Leclerc fifth by the end of lap one. Vettel pitted after Leclerc but a slow stop due to traffic in the pit lane handed the younger driver the advantage. Ferrari wanted to give both drivers the soft tyres but Vettel insisted on mediums which turned out to be a wise move.

Leclerc offered little resistance when Vettel moved to pass and the latter went on to finish in sixth after a couple of errors allowed Albon through. Meanwhile, Leclerc’s second stint on soft tyres ruined his race and he finished out of the points in 11th.

Ricciardo started 11th and stayed out one lap longer than the majority of the field on intermediates giving him fresher tyres for the second stint. He passed Magnussen on lap 45 to secure eighth.

Norris out-qualified Sainz for the second time this season but a poor start dropped the quicker qualifier back to 13th at the end of lap one. He lost more ground in the pits and was 18th at one stage, from where he was unable to get back into the points. Sainz gained two positions at the start and passed Leclerc for 10th on lap 59. He couldn’t pass Magnussen on track but the Haas driver’s post-race penalty elevated Sainz to ninth.

In a weekend beset by technical problems, Pierre Gasly made it to Q3 but a powertrain failure prevented him setting any further times. Starting 10th he was poised for points but a gearbox problem prematurely ended his race in a cloud of smoke. Daniil Kvyat started 17th, switched to slicks on lap one, yet was disappointed to end up out of the points in 12th.

Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Hungaroring, 2020
A puncture caused Latifi’s first spin
The Alfa Romeo drivers were the two slowest cars in qualifying but they showed quicker race pace than Williams and were able to pass both drivers in the race. Kimi Raikkonen received a penalty for not lining up properly in his grid box and was given a five-second penalty. Regardless, he finished two places ahead of Giovinazzi in 15th.

George Russell and Nicolas Latifi both made it to Q2 but Latifi made a much better start. His race was ruined when the team sent him out of the pit box into the side of Sainz, causing a puncture, floor damage and five-second time penalty. He spun again on lap 42. Russell laboured in traffic all day, which he says the Williams is particularly sensitive to.

Over to you

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Author information

Josh Holland
USA-based Josh joined the RaceFans team in 2018. Josh helps produce our Formula 1 race weekend coverage, assists with our social media activities and...

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41 comments on “2020 Hungarian Grand Prix Star Performers”

  1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    22nd July 2020, 12:47

    I don’t think you can have a Grand Slam performance where the driver isn’t labeled a star. Sure Verstappen pitted late but he didn’t really lead the race.

    1. He lead just one lap (ok it was in the pitbox but it was a full round)

    2. @freelittlebirds It wasn’t a Grand Slam though?

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        22nd July 2020, 17:33

        @mashiat technically, it wasn’t but it could have easily been had Mercedes chosen to get the Grand Slam. In the end, Lewis could pit with enough time to stay ahead of Verstappen.

    3. @freelittlebirds +1 It might not have been an actual grand slam, but I agree that this was a star performance. Complete syntony between driver and team. That needs to be worked just as much as the on track driving, also perfect.

  2. I don’t get Lewis not being a star. i sort of don’t get Stroll being a star as he seems to really struggle passing cars once again. I don’t get that Bottas warrants being a struggler and leclerc didn’t. Even kinda think Vettel outqualifying Leclerc and pulling that heap of junk to 6th while having the worst pit stop in some time might go towards star performance. yeah i don’t get it. Ocon was in this thing??

    1. Also really confused were the amount of slack cut for Albon suddenly came from

    2. The author simply ran out of things to say due to the amount of winning Lewis has been doing in recent times. The author might even be de-sensitised to it all!

    3. @mrboerns Hamilton’s drive was great, but he had no challenge whatsoever after the start. There was not a single lap in the whole race where he was under pressure from behind. It’s not his fault, but you can hardly be classed a star performer if you were just cruising at 80% the whole time.

      1. every race in which the winner has a +30 sec advantage is considered a star performance.
        that’s exactly what he did, but it was not a star performance because he wasn’t under pressure? He wasn’t under pressure because he was much faster than everybody else! What was he supposed to do? Wait for the others to catch up and then pull away again ?

        Strange logic…

        1. His car was much faster than everybody else and that’s why it was easy for him. Stroll would had won the race in the black Mercedes.

          1. Much faster than his team mate’s identical car?

        2. How much of that was down to his equipment though? The only other person who had the same car as him had a terrible race and blew it, and the Mercedes was over second a lap quicker than the Red Bull, which was Hamilton’s closest challenger. Hamilton did nothing wrong at all all weekend, and this isn’t trying to belittle him, but for me, to be a star performer, you should have driven the wheels off the car, which Hamilton didn’t have to do (not his fault). It says more about Bottas than Hamilton that Bottas couldn’t finish in the top 2.

      2. @mashiat you can believe me i love poking holes in hamilton’s achievements and yes i do dislike him to some degree. But you just cannot say anything negative about him this time around. And stroll can barely pass a Haas and cannot pass a Renault with a much faster car, so i highly doubt him winning in a Black Mercedes when even Bottas can’t do it. that’s for @miani

    4. Why was Hamilton not the star? Imagine 2 chess players. One is a Grand Master, the other a competent club player. They agree to play 20 games amongs themselves. To make it interesting they decide that a win and a draw will give 1 and 0.25 points to the former and 4 and 1 points to the latter. The GM is going to dominate the tournament but once in a while the CM is going to win or force a draw. What we’ve seen is Magnussen but particularly Stroll perform at their very best which will result in bigger points than Hamilton who strolled (pun no intended) to victory without so much of resistance from Bo77as, the only one who could have stopped him from winning.

    5. I think the problem is, Hamilton makes it look too easy.

      He set fast lap repeatedly during the race, managed his tires, lapped 3/4’s of the field, and was far enough out in front that he was able to pit and come back out +8 seconds to his nearest rival– and apparently, this was “easy”, according to Keith.

      If it was only about the car, it would have been a Mercedes 1-2, but Bottas just wasn’t able to put in the laps that Hamilton did.

  3. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    22nd July 2020, 12:59

    Magnussen, Vettel & Albon I thought did really well.

    1. Without his mistakes VET could have done better. Especially the first one without which he could have went past LEC sooner and of course kept ALB behind.

      1. How can Ablon be a star performer loosing 1 sec/lap on his teammate. 1 sec/lap is the difference between 450M€/year spending team and a 150M€/year spending team. His speed was comparable with Gasly’s last year. Only his overtaking is better.

        1. Yes, absolutely, I’m becoming a bit critic of albon just like I am of vettel, if I were a red bull manager, 1 sec gap to your (albeit strong) team mate would NOT be tolerated, I’d fire him and get someone not from the red bull academy, since apparently the talent is outside that.

  4. Stars: HAM, VER, STR, and MAG.
    Strugglers: BOT, PER, LEC, OCO, and NOR.

    1. I normally don’t agree with your stars and strugglers but I’d say they’re spot on here.

  5. You qualify on the pole
    Then you lead every lap but one
    And your dominance of performance allows for a end of race pit stop for new tires for fastest lap of the race. And it’s important single point.

    Somehow those results are not enough to be at the top of such list. Actually that list should only have Hamilton’s on it.

    NOBODY ELSE even came close

    1. Those achievemenst clearly shows he outperformed his teammate, as reflected in the Star/Struggler list.
      The problem with rating Lewis’ performance is that “NOBODY ELSE” drove this (year’s) Mercedes.

      1. But then f1 fans like you are against single make chassis motorsport series.. Boggles the mind. F1 is never about ‘racing’ first.

        1. Indeed, @kpcart.
          That’s why ‘fans like me’ don’t automatically vote for the race winner in a DotW poll and ‘discount’ the car impact.
          F1 still is all about racing first, but it is a team sport rather than an individual sport (look up my comments on podium and Driver Championship).

      2. Come on ColdFly

        The rest of the grid in the cars they are contracted to drive have little chance of even making a dent in this juggernaut Black machine. The others or let’s say pretty much all Current drivers will never drive the Mercedes in anger. So we judge them based on the limits of what is offered against what the best in the game is offered. Few will ever get the opportunity that Lewis has earned. You gotta be special and few are.

    2. @H67
      Given the dominance of his car he should have lapped the entire field bar Bottas to earn Star Performer.

      1. No, a midfield driver might not have won in his car.

        1. ANY driver would have won in his car. He was almost a full second ahead per lap without going 100%. There’s no driving skills difference in F1 that can create a gap of over 1s.

          1. Then why did Bottas not win?

          2. Bottas didn’t win due to a bad start, I think he assumes a decent start, from then on any driver would have.

          3. Oh, however albon would disagree with you, wasn’t he 1 sec slower than vers?

          4. F1oSaurus (@)
            23rd July 2020, 20:10

            @esploratore So you’re saying not any driver will win in this car?

  6. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    22nd July 2020, 15:58

    There was a bigger difference between Peres and Stroll this weekend than Hamilton and Bottas. Even if we ignore Hamilton pitting for FLAP, there was a bigger difference time wise between Stroll and Perez than him and Bottas. Bottas had a good qualifying and was only slightly slower then Hamilton.

    He had a poor start and considering that, he had a decent recovery, but not excellent. I however don’t agree he was a struggler. Perez meanwhile drove off track and all over the place at least once in the race and looked absolutely nowhere compared to Stroll. We can maybe forgive him for qualifying if he wasn’t so well, but he looked very poor on race day. I’d say Bottas should be replaced with Perez and probably Leclerc too.

    Magnussen and Stroll I agree with. Verstappen’s drive was good, but qualifying not so much. And great deal of credit should go to his team to make up for his mistake on the outlap and this sort of takes away a little for his weekend performance IMO.

    I also don’t think I would mind either way if Hamilton was a star on this occasion. With Bottas out of contention and such a strong car (in clean air), he will have had no challenge at all during the race. We can say it is impressive that he consistently manages to have such pace, but it isn’t an outstanding performance given the situation. He had the choice of speed to go with no threat from behind.

    1. Jockey Ewing
      23rd July 2020, 0:27

      Probably he was unwell at Sunday too.
      Or he was screwed up because being beaten by Stroll. Although I will be surprised if Perez not beats Stroll at this season too.
      Or he already knows that Stroll Sr. will hire another driver instead of him, and he plays some trololo or has some fancy drive in exchange. Perez is great but not an easy guy so this is not impossible. At worst case secario he might pull something like Kimi vs Lotus.

  7. How on earth do you give Magnussen one of the drives of the day, when the only reason he was there is due to an illegal call between him and the pits before the race started?
    Without that he would have struggled to maintain 16th.

  8. Hamilton was a star, hard to measure but he was as fast that nobody could throw a shadow of a chance of fight i’m. Stroll did very well, fast on qualy, good/great start in the difficult weather but his race pace and skill to deal with traffic didnt come so good at the end of the day. KMag couldnt have done any better than he did, well driven race. Perez strugled against the car on the wet, that save on softs talks, and the awful pace from Leclerc on softs talks about the same, wrong strategy and tire choice for both. Bottas had a bad start but beyond that did a good effort to climb back. Verstappen delivered beyond posible on race, that performance was great but the huge mistake he made lowers his stock.

  9. Fair ratings although I’d possibly have had Norris as a struggler.

  10. for the 2nd race in a row the author is a struggler.

  11. F1oSaurus (@)
    23rd July 2020, 20:10

    So Stroll simply performs at the level the car is capable off and h’es a star? In fact Stroll should have gotten a podium with that car since it’s faster than the Red Bull.

    Yet if Hamilton totally aces the whole weekend it’s “just the car”.

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