Hungarian Grand Prix: Esteban Ocon claims first F1 win after opening-lap chaos takes out five cars

Bottas, Norris, Perez, Leclerc and Stroll could not continue after an incident on the first turn, while Hamilton came third and Verstappen finished 10th

Alex Pattle
Sunday 01 August 2021 19:38
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<p>Esteban Ocon celebrates after beating Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton to victory</p>

Esteban Ocon celebrates after beating Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton to victory

Esteban Ocon won his first ever Formula One race on Sunday after an incident on the first lap took Valtteri Bottas, Lando Norris, Sergio Perez, Lance Stroll and Charles Leclerc out of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Despite starting on pole, Lewis Hamilton required a battling effort to finish third and take the championship lead from Max Verstappen, who ultimately came 10th at the Hungaroring.

On the opening lap, Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate Bottas got off to a slow start from second on the grid and was immediately overtaken by Verstappen and Norris. The Finn rear-ended Norris, who cannoned into Verstappen.

Red Bull’s Perez, Ferrari’s Leclerc and Aston Martin’s Stroll were caught up in the incident on the first turn and their cars could not continue, while Verstappen dropped down the order to 13th and a red flag was waved.

Norris, who had fallen to 15th but managed to continue driving, made it into the pit. His car was then retired by McLaren, however, marking the first time this season that the 21-year-old has not secured a points finish.

Once the race resumed, all of the remaining drivers pitted except for Hamilton, who was alone in making a standing start.

The Briton, who has won the Hungarian Grand Prix eight times and triumphed last year, dropped to last place as Alpine’s Ocon established a lead, with four-time champion Sebastian Vettel second.

Nikita Mazepin, meanwhile, was clipped in the pit lane by Kimi Raikkonen and became the sixth driver to be taken out of the race.

The opening-lap incident took out five cars

Bottas (front-centre) collides with Perez (front-right)

Hamilton soon overtook Antonio Giovinazzi, who moments later received a 10-second stop-go for speeding in the pits amid the restart, and the defending champion even got past Vestappen’s damaged car while climbing to fifth.

All the while, former champion Fernando Alonso overtook Alpine teammate Ocon for an unlikely but short-lived lead.

The 40-year-old soon dropped off while Ocon remained out in front, and a lengthy battle between Alonso and a determined Hamilton ensued.

Hamilton came out on top and then fought past Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz in a thrilling sequence, taking third place in the process for a spot on the podium.

Ahead of him, Vettel secured second place for Aston Martin, while 24-year-old Ocon remained resolute to achieve his first ever F1 race win.

The Frenchman celebrated by running down the pit lane to embrace his team.

Vettel, meanwhile, told his team radio after the final lap: “Ah man, I tried, I tried, I tried the whole race. Following is so difficult. Sorry, guys.”

The first-lap incident was the second in a row on an opening lap, following Verstappen’s crash during the British Grand Prix.

The Dutch-Belgian and title rival Hamilton were involved in a coming-together at Silverstone earlier this month, resulting in Red Bull’s Verstappen crashing out of the race, which Hamilton went on to win.

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