By Carol M. Creasey
After the drama of the British Grand Prix, and the events afterwards when Red Bull did their best to undermine Sir Lewis Hamilton‘s reputation, Formula One arrived in Hungary for the last race before the summer break.
The temperatures were extremely high and track conditions were slippery for all the drivers during Practice 1, where Max Verstappen topped the timesheets, with Valtteri Bottas second and Sir Lewis third. In Practice 2 it was Bottas who topped the sheets, with the Briton second, and Verstappen third. By the time Practice 3 arrived, it was Sir Lewis who topped the timesheets, with Verstappen second and Bottas third. It was obvious to see they would all be fighting hard for pole position later.
When qualifying time arrived, Verstappen led Q1, and then in Q2 Sir Lewis ran with medium tyres. By Q3 the Briton had set a provisional pole time, which was not challenged, Bottas came second, then Verstappen, some three tenths behind, with Sergio Perez making up the final slot on the second row.
Some of the Dutch fans booed the Briton, and he responded by acknowledging their boos, and explaining that it will only make him drive faster. Bottas was quick to condemn them, but when a member of the Press asked Verstappen about it, he said he didn’t hear the boos because he was in the garage. It was remarked that the British fans did not boo Verstappen when he won the sprint race at the British Grand Prix, so he was asked if he thought it was unfair that Lewis was being booed. Max finally, and reluctantly, agreed that it wasn’t right.
But unfortunately Red Bull have given these yobs the perfect excuse to behave in such a manner, by setting an example with their own unprofessional behaviour and attempts to undermine the character of Sir Lewis during the last two weeks. This is because they were unable to accept that his collision with Verstappen at the British Grand Prix was simply a racing incident, which was caused by Verstappen turning into him and trying to drive him off the track. It backfired, and Verstappen put himself out of the race, but luckily suffered no worse than a few bruises.
If you like SilverArrows.Net, consider supporting us by buying us a coffee!
For this incident the stewards gave Sir Lewis a ten second penalty, which has been debated as unfair for the last two weeks, as most people felt it was a racing incident. But, naturally, opinions will always differ about who is right or wrong. Sir Lewis served his penalty without complaint and still won the race. However Red bull were not content with that, they tried to appeal to get him a heavier penalty, or even a race ban, but it was overturned by the stewards. With an example like that of bad sportsmanship from a team that shows no true leadership, it just gives the ignorant thugs an excuse to boo and belittle Sir Lewis. But he is no ordinary man, he rises above all adversity, and always has the last laugh.
On race day it was raining for the start. Sir Lewis got away perfectly, as did Verstappen, but Bottas unfortunately did not. The Finn careered across the slippery surface, hitting Lando Norris, which put him out of the race. Norris hit Perez, taking him out, and also Verstappen, who got his car severely damaged.
The race was then red flagged, and the rain also stopped. Before the standing restart everyone went in to change their tyres, except Sir Lewis, who started the race alone on the grid. However, a lap later he had to pit, which dropped him down to 14th place. Verstappen was 12th, where he remained for most of the race, finally managing to get himself into P10 at the end. The Briton fought magnificently up the grid, ending up in third place, although later he was promoted to second, as Sebastian Vettel was disqualified due to a fuel error.
But the day belonged to Esteban Ocon, who found himself in second after the carnage, and then he became first when Sir Lewis had to pit. He was closely followed by Vettel, but managed to keep his cool, making no mistakes, and then took his first win in great style. Alonso was instrumental in helping him achieve this, as he held up Sir Lewis for several laps, so that when he finally managed to pass him, he ran out of time and laps, but was still able to finish in a credible third place.
During his post-race interview and on the podium Sir Lewis was visibly not well, as he was panting quite profusely. As a precaution he was then seen by Mercedes’ team doctor. There was a great deal of concern for his wellbeing, but it transpired that he was dehydrated, having knocked over his drinking bottle, which inadvertently had not been refilled.
Verstappen was very disgruntled afterwards saying: “I got taken out by another Mercedes”. Obviously it is frustrating when this happens while you are fighting for a championship, but maybe now that it’s happening to him, he will remember the times he spoiled both Sir Lewis and Vettel’s races, while they were fighting each other for the championship. Needless to say that at the time it did not bother him in the slightest.
Sir Lewis heads into the summer break 8 points ahead of Max, and Mercedes are also leading the Constructors’ Championship. Ahead of the race Mercedes had stated their intention was to try and achieve that. I know all the fans of our champion are pleased that he will now have a chance to get his strength back, and come back even stronger to carry this championship battle onto Spa. Happy holidays to all at Mercedes, and commiserations to Bottas, as he now has a five-place grid penalty for the next race and two points on his superlicence, for something that was quite clearly an accident. But that’s motor racing for you, just one drama after another.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of SilverArrows.Net.
If you would like to write a Guest Column for SilverArrows.Net check out the details here!