That is the attitude a lot of drivers, least of all the Mercedes duo, took on during the crazy Grand Prix Sunday we just witnessed in Hungary.
Another win for Sebastien Vettel this season makes him somewhat of a similar title threat as Daniel Ricciardo was this time last year. Ferrari looked absolutely nowhere on Friday and Saturday, but somehow managed to pull together what was nearly a one-two, had Raikkonen not incurred his bad luck described as “bullshit” by Vettel after the race on Sunday.
Even so it was quite an emotional one, both because of it being in light of recent events and because a win for Sebastien with Ferrari always reminds me of the glory years with Micheal Schumacher, who we know is currently battling an ongoing fight of his own.
What makes it more poetic for me is the shots that emerged from Hungarian TV during late Friday night, where Sebastien is seen saying goodbye to both his and Raikkonen’s mechanics. The camaraderie between him and team principle Maurizio Arrivabene is also infectious, and rather humbling to witness at these early stages.
Many were surprised with what they and their rivals were able to produce, including Ferrari and Red Bull who went so well here 12 months ago that we almost saw a complete carbon copy of the closing stages of the race with Daniel Ricciardo on the better tyres, hunting down a second-placed Mercedes and first-placed Ferrari.
I thought the driving from Ricciardo had a lot of character, and resembled some of the past time greats of the sport – notably Gilles Villenueve who probably would’ve went for an overtaking manoeuvre 60 meters before a corner knowing full well he didn’t have the speed, but the stopping power. Some say he should not have turned into Rosberg, but I’d argue that the Mercedes driver failed to give him racing room, pulling off similar antics as Narain Karthikeyan in Malaysia 2012 when he suddenly cut back on Vettel whilst being lapped.
I’d say the same about his move on Hamilton during the restart too. The Mercedes driver did accept responsibility mind, not just for the clash with Ricciardo but for what was a Sunday drive to forget for the two-time World Champion.
It all looked slightly ametuer from Mercedes again. The call to put Rosberg on Mediums in the final stint was for my money, what lost them the race. The team say it was a combination of not being sure the Soft would last the distance and not having the tyre ready in the first place, but surely a top team would have both sets of tyre ready knowing full well what sort of distance they could cover from the first stint.
By my reckoning this was another ‘fair play’ influenced decision that failed to look at their pace relative to the Ferrari’s and other cars around them, in a bid to ensure both their drivers were on equal terms should they emerge as the top two with 10 or so laps to go. Mercedes no doubt have the fastest car out there by about 3 – 4 seconds, but they sometimes fail to recognise how that decreases over a race distance, which leads me onto my next point.
Last weekends race is ‘Exhibit A’ for the reason why we shouldn’t move towards shortening the distance of a Grand Prix to make it more of sprint race. The timeframe allowed for drivers to come back after looking like they were nowhere, and for all the action towards the end of the race that added this to the list of crazy classics from the modern era.
I must commend Daniil Kvyat for his second place and modesty on the podium by commending the pace his teammate was able to produce. I also think Max Verstappen drove well after struggling in the midfield for the first part of the race and receiving a drive-thru for speeding in the pits. The Toro Rosso driver finished fourth on what is a track often described as a big go-kart circuit, which of course is where he was 18 months ago. After the race he was asked what he would be doing over the summer break and replied with learning to drive on the roads!
Finally I must say the tribute before the start of the race for Jules Bianchi was probably one of the hardest thing’s I’ve had to witness in the 16 years watching this sport. But when you watch the drivers go through that grief and compartmentalise it when they put their visors down for the start, you realise how courageous they are being.
Damon Hill said during the special Sky F1 Show on Friday that the drivers would be going out on Sunday wanting to do better as a tribute to Jules. I think he would’ve been proud of the display they put on.
F1 heads into the summer shutdown now, which means no more action for four weeks. But like any great drama, its left us wanting more!