Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo has claimed his second career win to maintain his third place in the driver’s championship at the Pirelli-sponsored Hungarian Grand Prix, before Formula One’s annual summer break.
Ricciardo used a three stop strategy running the whole race on the P Zero Yellow soft tire after having started on the Cinturato Green intermediate tire. Fernando Alonso in his Ferrari held off his second place against Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton who charged through the field to finish third after having started from the pit lane. Both used a two-stop strategy starting on the intermediates with Hamilton then completing one stint on the soft and his final stint on the medium tire. Alonso just used the soft tire for his final two stints, changing for the second time on lap 38 and thus making the soft tire last for 32 laps.
An important rain shower just before the cars were supposed to go on the grid provoked some hectic thinking for the teams’ strategists as the determined whether the Cinturato Blue full wet tire or the intermediate would be the tire to start on. After having completed some careful reconnaissance laps on either the full wet or the intermediate tire before going to the grid, all drivers opted to start the race on the intermediate tire.
A safety car period in lap 8 changed predetermined strategies as the whole field except McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen, who stayed out until lap 15, changed to the P Zero Yellow soft tire on a rapidly drying track. His team-mate Jenson Button was the only one to opt for another set of the intermediate tires which did not work out for him in the end, finishing in 10th after briefly having been in the lead.
As rain tires were used during some point of the race, the rule of having to use both types of dry compounds was no longer valid. This then made for some very exciting racing with positions being swapped constantly, not only at the top but all the way down through the field and various strategies being at play. At one stage of the race an equal balance of medium and soft tires were being run.
Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery said: “Today’s race at the Hungaroring showed how tire strategy can benefit a race. The brief we received from the promoter and the teams in 2011 when we entered the sport is still valid and today’s results have shown how the tires and strategy can help to produce very exciting races. The rain that fell just before the start of the race also helped as teams had to determine which of the rain tires would be the most appropriate to start on. We saw some extremely close battles throughout until the very end, underlining the importance of selecting the right strategy and being able to react to changing circumstances. Now Formula One heads off for its summer break, and after the first half of a season that can only be described as impressive – during which the sport entered a new era, and we even previewed what an 18-inch tire could look like – we look forward to an equally intriguing second half from the Belgian Grand Prix onwards.”