Australian Daniel Ricciardo charged to a thrilling Hungarian Grand Prix victory on Sunday, his second Formula One win for Red Bull, as a drenched track caused chaos among world championship leaders.
Rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg reached a new peak as Hamilton rebuffed team orders to let Rosberg by into third place.
Mercedes said it would hold a team inquiry. But Hamilton’s success trimmed Rosberg’s lead in the title race from 14 points to 11. The German now leads with 202, Hamilton has 191 and Ricciardo is third with 131.
The 25-year-old held off Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso to take first place in a race which saw several high-speed crashes after a heavy downpour just before the start changed the course of the race.
He led twice before he fought back to recapture the lead with three laps remaining, following a series of daring passes.
Ricciardo’s win was executed with great elan and confirmed him as a driver with the potential to be a future champion. Ricciardo won the Canadian Grand Prix in June and is the only non-Mercedes driver to have won a race this year.
“This feels just as good as the first one,” said Ricciardo. “It was a lot of fun in the last few laps, with the passing. I had to go for it.”
‘I’m not slowing down for Rosberg’
Hamilton and Rosberg had a fierce battle on the track and via the Mercedes team radio as they tried to make the most of contrasting strategies in the changeable conditions.
On lap 47, Hamilton’s race engineer Pete Bonnington warned him “Rosberg is behind and on the option tyres so don’t hold him up.”
Further warnings followed but Hamilton declined to heed them.
“I’ll let him through if he gets closer,” he said. “I’m not slowing down for Rosberg.”
Rosberg pitted again with 13 laps remaining. He rejoined seventh and battled his way to fourth and finished half a second behind Hamilton.
Rosberg said after he had been told by the team that Hamilton would let him by. “I don’t know what happened,” he said, saying it would have to be discussed ‘internally’.
Mercedes chief Toto Wolff said there would be ‘no knee-jerk reaction’ to Hamilton’s actions and there would be an internal inquiry.
Brazilian Felipe Massa of Williams finished fifth ahead of Finn Kimi Raikkonen, in the second Ferrari, defending four time champion German Sebastian Vettel in the second Red Bull and Finn Valtteri Bottas of Williams.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2014.
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