Two weeks on from the British GP, and still Formula 1 is continuing to deliver more twists, turns and tension as ever this season. Don't believe us? Check out TrackDays' latest roundup of all the action…
The Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday was a terrific example of how, just occasionally, it's not always about a two-way story - more on which in a second - and that the motorsport gods do occasionally smile upon an up and coming driver needing a boost up the rankings.
Said moment in the sun came this weekend for Team Alpine's Esteban Ocon. The young driver has slowly been ascending through the rankings since he made his debut five years ago, with mid-table turns for Manor Racing, Mercedes and Renault all under his belt in that time.
Before joining Alpine this year, he notably finished second in the penultimate fixture of the 2020 season at the Sakhir Grand Prix, but yesterday in Hungary with an excellent race time of 2:03:43 he cruised effortlessly to his first ever F1 win.
It initially looked as if Team Aston Martin's Sebastian Vettel was finishing behind him in silver honours, until he was later disqualified on the count of an alleged fuel irregularity, a decision which his team are believed to be appealing on.
It thus meant Lewis Hamilton has - for now - been credited with finishing second place, meaning he leads the overall standings for the Championship to date but by just 8 points, whilst Team Ferrari's Carlos Sainz Jr finished third in the last race before the three week season break and the Belgian Grand Prix on 29th August.
A fortnight has elapsed since the dramatic events between Team Red Bull's Max Verstappen and his rival Lewis Hamilton at this year's British GP, and still there are bitter feelings between the two.
Speaking in a blog on the team's website Friday before last (23rd July) Verstappen's boss, Christian Horner, was furious about the crash which resulted in him falling out of this year's race at Silverstone and Team Mercedes' Hamilton winning in spite of a penalty, and has stated that the collision has ultimately cost the team an estimated £1.29m.
Such costs, Horner has argued, are proving detrimental to the team, which is already operating under tight budget caps recently introduced by F1 bosses, and he added: "Given the severity of the incident and the lenient penalty, we are reviewing all data and have the right to request a review."
Verstappen, meanwhile, who had another difficult run of luck in Hungary this weekend (he finished 9th after sustaining yet more damage from a collision early in the race with both his teammate Valteri Bottas and Team McLaren's Lando Norris that caused significant amounts of lost downforce), has maintained his position on the events of two weeks ago.
In the driver's conference on Friday afternoon (29th July), when asked by journalists if he still stood by his belief that his rival was "disrespectful", he said that despite a subsequent olive branch being offered from Hamilton to clear the air that "What you mean with disrespectful … [is] … when one guy is in the hospital and the other one … [and] the whole reaction of the team … is to wave the flag around like nothing has happened while you definitely push the guy into the wall with 51gs." No hard feelings, then?
Finally this week, another popular topic has returned to the Formula 1 debating chamber, namely "What will the F1 cars of the future be powered on?" According to Ross Brawn, F1's managing director for motorsports, that could well be alternative fuel such as hydrogen.
F1 has of course now committed to ensuring the sport is entirely carbon neutral by 2030, but whilst the man who helped Michael Schumacher to his historic seven World Championship titles has ruled out the series going fully electric, he has said they're still open to other fuel sources.
Brawn said "Maybe hydrogen is the route that Formula 1 can have where we keep the noise, we keep the emotion but we move into a different solution." Of course, the potential loss of atmosphere that is part of the excitement for fans is one of the biggest arguments against making the full switch to electric cars, but the fact that other solutions aren't being disregarded can only be a positive for all concerned.
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