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Budapest stats - Vettel finally breaks his Hungarian hoodoo

26 Jul 2015

Sebastian Vettel had tried and failed to win in Hungary on eight occasions heading into Sunday’s race, but after a great start and a superbly judged drive he finally picked up his first Budapest victory in an action-packed Grand Prix.

It was Vettel’s second victory of the season, his second triumph for Ferrari, and his 41st all-time, moving him level on wins with the legendary Ayrton Senna. Interestingly, Vettel has reached the tally in nine fewer races than the Brazilian. Only Michael Schumacher (91) and Alain Prost (51) have won more races than the German.

Vettel, of course, graduated to F1 via Red Bull’s renowned young driver programme, and the next three places in Sunday’s race were also rather remarkably filled by drivers who have taken the same career path: Daniil Kvyat, Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen. 

With second place, Kvyat becomes the second youngest podium finisher in F1 history. At 21 years and 91 days old, the Red Bull ace is just 18 days older than Vettel was when he won the 2008 Italian Grand Prix. Kvyat’s result was also the best ever for a Russian driver in Grand Prix racing. Only one other Russian had ever stood on the rostrum - that was Vitaly Petrov, who came third in Australia in 2011.

Having not taken a podium finish all season until today, Ricciardo’s third place earned Red Bull - and power unit provider Renault - their first double podium finish since last year’s Singapore Grand Prix. Renault enjoyed further success with Max Verstappen, who took a career-best fourth place finish for Toro Rosso. Had the teenage Dutchman finished just one place higher up he would have scored his maiden podium at the same track that father Jos scored his own top three breakthrough, all the way back in 1994.

Behind Verstappen, Fernando Alonso scored a season-best result of fifth, and now has points from the last two races. Jenson Button made it a doubly good day for McLaren by coming home ninth, ensuring the team of their first double points finish since last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix. It was all a far cry from the lows of Saturday, when the team had failed to qualify either car in the top ten for the first time ever at Budapest.

But even more surprising than McLaren’s sudden resurgence was Mercedes' fall from grace. After qualifying it looked like only disaster could prevent the Silver Arrows from waltzing to victory, but in the end they didn’t just miss out on the win, they missed the podium entirely for the first time in 28 races. 

Lewis Hamilton, who arrived in Hungary on a 16-race podium streak, eventually managed to salvage sixth, while Nico Rosberg - himself have reached the rostrum at the last nine events - recovered from a late puncture to take eighth. Mercedes 12-point haul was their lowest since Brazil 2013 - the last race they failed to reach the podium with either car.

The final points-paying position went to Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson, who ended a seven-race barren spell. The Swede now has six points for the season - ten fewer than team mate Felipe Nasr.

After their problems in practice - when Sergio Perez’s dramatic barrel roll led them to sit out FP2 - Force India’s luck didn’t improve in the race, with the team recording their first double retirement since last season’s race in the United States.

But if Force India had a weekend to forget, so did Lotus’s Pastor Maldonado. The Venezuelan picked up no fewer than three penalties over the course of the 70 lap race, the first for colliding with Force India’s Sergio Perez, the second for speeding in the pit lane, and the third for overtaking under the safety car. Maldonado also picked up two penalty points, and now has a total of six for the 12 month period. Better luck next time Pastor…