The Hungarian Grand Prix turned out to be much harder than expected for Scuderia Ferrari. Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc lacked pace all race long with their SF1000s and the result did not live up to expectations. Sebastian finished sixth with Charles just outside the points in eleventh, having struggled on his first set of slicks.
Wet track. The race started on a wet track, although the storm that hit the Hungaroring at 13.20 had gone by then. From fifth and sixth on the grid, Seb and Charles got away well with the German fourth behind Lewis Hamilton, Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen, with the Monegasque right behind him. As the track rapidly dried, Leclerc was one of the first to pit for slicks, with the team sending him out on Softs. Vettel came in next time round to take on Mediums to mix up the strategy. However, he was delayed for 7 seconds in rejoining the track, waiting for a gap in the pit lane traffic to emerge safely. That delay dropped him to eighth.
Charles struggles. On lap 5, Charles was fifth ahead of Valtteri Bottas, while Seb was still eighth ahead of Alex Albon in the Red Bull. However, his Softs almost immediately started to suffer with graining, which meant he had a slower pace than those drivers with whom he was fighting. Bottas soon got past, while Seb made a mistake at turn 12, letting Albon by. Shortly after that, the Thai driver passed Charles too, who was then passed by his team-mate one lap later, so that on lap 21, he pitted for another set of tyres. He rejoined on the Hards, intending to go the chequered flag.
Pitstop Seb. By around lap 28, it was clear that the rain that was due to return had veered off course. So, on lap 31, the team brought Sebastian in and sent him off on Hard tyres, again with the aim of going to the finish. After all the mid-field runners had stopped the German was fifth ahead of Albon and Charles was tenth ahead of Sainz who had just pitted for new Hards.
Closing stages. Sebastian did his best to hang onto fifth to the flag, but had to give best to Albon who made the most of tyres that were five laps fresher. By now Charles tyres had done 50 laps and he too was unable to fight off the advances of Sainz, who at the third attempt managed to get his McLaren ahead of the Ferrari for the final point on offer. Sixth and eleventh in the Hungarian Grand Prix is a clear indication of how much work needs to be done to be competitive again. After this opening triple-header, the Championship now has a weekend off, before coming back with two races, the first on Sunday 2nd August at Silverstone, which hosted the first ever round of the F1 world championship on 13 May 1950.
Sebastian Vettel #5
"This was a better performance compared to my first race in Austria. However, in the early stages we might have done a bit better if I’d taken more of a gamble and come in for dry tyres on lap 3 instead of 4. As it was, I lost a lot of time, having to let other cars come down pit lane before I could be released. But in the end, fifth or sixth was the most we could have done.
Towards the end, I was struggling with the tyres and even if I would have loved to have put up more of a fight, there wasn’t much I could do to keep Alex (Albon) behind me. We are not where we want to be just now, but at least we did everything we could today."
Charles Leclerc #16
"It was a very complicated race. I’m not sure what happened, because we didn’t make changes to the car, but it was extremely hard to drive, as the balance was so much worse than Friday and Saturday, when it was actually better than expected. It just didn’t feel like the same car.
We need to look further into that to try and understand, as I was struggling a lot. We stopped for Softs a bit earlier than others and maybe it was a bit too optimistic. But it was a good call and I managed a few quick laps, but there was only one dry line so I could not overtake and, with hindsight the Soft was not the best choice. After that we were just slow. There’s lot of work ahead of us."
Mattia Binotto Team Principal
"An extremely disappointing Sunday and the result is very hard to swallow. In qualifying, we had got the most out of the car as it is at the moment, but in the race that was not the case. To be lapped is very painful for us and our fans.
Now we return home after this very long trip and we have to try everything we can to improve as much as possible in every area. Everyone will have to analyse their work and have the courage to change course if necessary, because the current dynamic is unacceptable. There is no other solution to fix this situation."