Craziest F1 Race of the Season Sees Ocon Win After Bottas Caused a Massive Pile-Up in Hungary

Published 08/01/2021, 11:08 AM EDT
Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – August 1, 2021 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas collides with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez Pool via REUTERS/Peter Kohalmi


An astounding wet-dry race came to an end at Hungaroring, as Esteban Ocon secured the first-ever win of his F1 career after putting up an incredible show at the Hungarian Grand Prix. Behind the Frenchman arrived Sebastian Vettel, equaling his highest finish of the 2021 season.

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The final podium position went to the now-championship leader, Lewis Hamilton, who, despite the drama at the standing start, managed to climb up to P3. Interestingly, Hamilton had every chance of winning the race, only for his former rival, Fernando Alonso, to portray a stellar defense and deny him his 100th Grand Prix win.

Meanwhile, his title rival, Max Verstappen, carried severe bargeboard damage to his car, as he limped home in P10 for Red Bull.

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Another shocking aspect of this race was Williams, who finally ended their non-scoring drought with a double-point finish.

F1 Race Start at Hungaroring

It was undeniably a chaotic start to the race in Budapest. Hamilton did get away very well, and so did Verstappen. However, Bottas made a poor judgment of the braking point and crashed into Norris. Then the duo collected both the Red Bull drivers, with the Dutchman escaping with repairable damages.

Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – August 1, 2021 McLaren’s Lando Norris collides with Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen Pool via REUTERS/Peter Kohalmi

Behind this pile-up, there was another pile-up, with Stroll being the driver at fault. He crashed into Leclerc, who then crashed into Ricciardo. The chaos ultimately led to Stroll, Leclerc, Perez, Bottas, and Norris retiring from the race.

How did the second start play out?

It was one of the most bizarre starts, as Hamilton was the only driver on the grid. Meanwhile, the rest of the grid gambled with the strategy, as they pitted and started the race from the pit lane.

Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – August 1, 2021 Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton in action REUTERS/Florion Goga

Hence, considering how bone dry the track was, Hamilton ended up last on the grid by the time he pitted for slick tires. However, Mazepin wasn’t as lucky in the pit lane, as the gamble ended up taking the Russian out of the race. An unsafe release from Raikkonen left the Finn crashing into the Haas driver, causing the sixth DNF of the race.

First round of pit-stops

Alfa Romeo drivers were the first ones to enter the pits, not because they needed to, but out of obligation. While Giovinazzi had to unload a five-second penalty for speeding in the pit lane ahead of the standing start, Raikkonen had to get rid of a much bigger 10-second penalty due to an unsafe release that led to the retirement of Mazepin.

On lap 21, Hamilton pitted for a set of Medium tires, which led to Verstappen and Ricciardo pitting on the very next lap. However, Mercedes pulled off a smart undercut to beat both the drivers. Up ahead, Tsunoda pitted, which pushed Latifi to box too.

Formula One F1 – Hungarian Grand Prix – Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary – August 1, 2021 Alpine’s Esteban Econ in action REUTERS/Florion Goga

On lap 34, Sainz had to pit, especially with Hamilton nearing him. In the end, the hunch was right, as Sainz came ahead of the Briton, but only by 2s.

Then arrived the time for the front runners to pit; Vettel attempted an undercut, but a poor stop meant Ocon managed to keep his position.

Additional stops for Hamilton and Verstappen

On lap 42, Verstappen pitted for a set of medium tires, hoping to find himself in the top 10 by the time the flag came out.

However, Hamilton had much bigger prospects lying in front of him, which pushed the Briton to pit yet again on lap 48. It was ‘hammer time’ for the seven-time world champion from there on, looking to recreate his British GP race at Hungaroring.

Chequered Flag at the Hungarian Grand Prix

With just over 12 laps left, the incredibly eventful duel of Hamilton vs Alonso arrived on the scene. The Spaniard was ruthless against the much faster Mercedes driver and held his position despite enormous pressure from behind.

The laps kept ticking away and there was no respite for the Briton whatsoever. On lap 65, Hamilton finally found his way past his former McLaren driver. And Hamilton’s next target was Sainz, who defended for a single lap before giving up the final podium position to the Briton.

Hamilton pushed his Mercedes to the absolute limit and managed to bring the gap between himself and Vettel ahead down to less than a second from 9s. However, there weren’t enough laps in hand, as Hamilton had to settle for P3 in the end.

What’s more, Gasly in P6, scraped off the fastest lap point from Hamilton after switching to soft tires with just over a lap in hand.

Updated F1 Drivers’ Standings

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  1. Lewis Hamilton – 192
  2. Max Verstappen – 186
  3. Lando Norris – 113
  4. Valtteri Bottas – 108
  5. Sergio Perez – 104
  6. Charles Leclerc – 80
  7. Carlos Sainz – 80
  8. Daniel Ricciardo – 50
  9. Sebastian Vettel – 48
  10. Pierre Gasly – 48
  11. Esteban Ocon – 39
  12. Fernando Alonso – 36
  13. Lance Stroll – 18
  14. Yuki Tsunoda – 16
  15. Nicholas Latifi – 4
  16. George Russell – 2
  17. Kimi Raikkonen – 1
  18. Antonio Giovinazzi – 1
  19. Mick Schumacher – 0
  20. Nikita Mazepin – 0

Updated F1 Constructors’ Standings

  1. Mercedes AMG (Mercedes) – 300
  2. Red Bull Racing (Honda) – 290
  3. McLaren (Mercedes) – 163
  4. Scuderia Ferrari (Ferrari) – 160
  5. Alpine (Renault) – 75
  6. Aston Martin Racing (Mercedes) – 66
  7. Scuderia AlphaTauri (Honda) – 64
  8. Williams (Mercedes) – 6
  9. Alfa Romeo Racing (Ferrari) – 2
  10. Haas (Ferrari) – 0

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After an eventful nail-biting weekend in Silverstone, Hungaroring gave its best to keep the F1 fans on toes throughout the race. Of course, the weather played an amazing role in possibly portraying Hungarian GP as one of the best races this season.

With the end of Hungarian GP, F1 heads into this season’s summer break, with the next race due in just four weeks’ time at Spa-Francorchamps.

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Rohit Kumar

1163 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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