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Class of the Field
Adam Barton

A Formula One fan since he was six, back while Häkkinen and Schumacher were having many an epic battle, Adam has seen a great deal. From German domination (twice), to British determination (once) and a Spanish invasion. A near compulsive fan who one day hopes to write about the sport for a living, outside of F1 Adam also authors his own blog One Guy's Opinion.

Rain clouds provide Hamilton with a silver lining // Lewis does the unthinkable and takes points off Nico

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Well, what a fantastic race! Wet to dry, faster cars coming through the field, a mix of strategies, tight battles throughout, and no idea who would win the race until a couple of laps to go! And while experience is often key in bizarre races like this one, it was young Daniel Ricciardo who came through to win the second race victory of his career.

Podium exemplifies best in racing

Daniel Ricciardo, Infiniti Red Bull Racing: Started 4th, finished 1st

The race was Nico Rosberg's to lose, having handled the wet conditions the best early on and built up a lead over Valtteri Bottas in second. But it was this lead that cost him - as well as Bottas, Vettel and Alonso. The four of them were past the pit entry when Marcus Ericsson destroyed his car after a tankslapper on the exit of turn three, causing a safety car. It gave everyone behind a 'free' pitstop and dropped the top four back into the pack.

Ricciardo showed why he is the best overtaker in F1 at the moment
Ricciardo showed why he is the best overtaker in F1 at the momentCredit: Lars Baron/Getty

In the second half of the race, the final podium contenders hit the front; Fernando Alonso pitted on lap 37 and fitted the option tyres, Lewis Hamilton followed on lap 38 for primes, taking the conservative approach with a championship on the line. Both knew that their rival Daniel Ricciardo would have to pit once more. Having run the race on an alternative strategy, Ricciardo pitted under the second safety car to stay on fresh tyres, while not losing too much time as the race was neutralised. It did mean that the Australian would have to overtake to win the race, but that didn’t phase him.

The key stint came after the second safety car. Jean-Éric Vergne was up in second and had a train behind him of Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo. This would prove key at the end of the race as it allowed Alonso to build a gap to his rivals and backed the Mercedes into the Red Bulls. Though the Mercedes were faster, their high downforce setup meant that they couldn't get past on the straights.

But Vergne's pitstop and Vettel's spin - the German is clearly still the luckiest man in F1 as he span out of the last corner but avoided clouting the pit wall - meant that Hamilton was released briefly and Ricciardo was able to make time in clear air whilst Hamilton and Alonso were stuck behind Felipe Massa in anticipation of the Aussie's final stop. When Ricciardo did pit, his lead was 13 seconds, meaning he came out 10 seconds behind the battling Alonso and Hamilton. And then there was the threat of Nico Rosberg we had Rosberg on new option tyres catching Ricciardo on fresher soft tyres catching Hamilton on old prime tyres catching Alonso on worn out option tyres in a shootout for the win.

Ricciardo showed why he is the best overtaker in F1 at the moment with a tenacious move around the outside of Hamilton at turn two and then a ballsy dive down the inside of Fernando Alonso to secure a great win.

There is a reason that the top four finished half a minute ahead of everyone else, despite their own respective issues

I really do hate to just select the top three when writing this, but on this occasion I think it is necessary. There is a reason that the top four finished half a minute ahead of everyone else, despite their own respective issues. Nico Rosberg had his moments in Hungary, and poor luck with the first safety car was the reason that he dropped back into the field. But while he went out to be conservative with Hamilton at the back of the field, as soon as Hamilton caught him 10 laps in, Rosberg panicked. He couldn't get past Jean-Éric Vergne or Lewis Hamilton when he needed to which caused a nine point championship swing.

And while Hamilton was brilliant before and after his qualifying fire all weekend, he spun on lap one and nearly destroyed his race. Despite his charge through the field from the pitlane, his reaction on the podium suggests that he rues not making it past Alonso struggling on his tyres. Had he made it past, I don't think that Ricciardo would have been able to pass the Ferrari and catch the Brit before the end of the race. That leaves Ricciardo and Alonso and for his brilliant and ruthless overtakes; I think Ricciardo shades Alonso and Hamilton, just as he did in the race.

Räikkönen recovers to season best

Kimi Räikkönen, Scuderia Ferrari: Started 16th, finished 6th

While the Finn was been hapless in recent races, he performed superbly in a comeback drive to finish sixth - his best result of the season. Räikkönen had shown an improved turn of speed in Hungary, even outpacing teammate Fernando Alonso in practice (though you can’t tell much from that). But in Q1, he had a scruffy lap that left him seven tenths behind Alonso.

With his tyres worn, Räikkönen was unable to hold off former teammate Massa
With his tyres worn, Räikkönen was unable to hold off former teammate MassaCredit: Foto Studio Colombo

The bad lap can be put on Räikkönen's shoulders, but it wasn't enough to eliminate him from qualifying on its own. That was Ferrari's error of judgement as everyone went considerably faster on the soft tyres but the Scuderia thought that Räikkönen had enough of a cushion. They were wrong and ironically it was Ferrari test driver Jules Bianchi - the man who replaced Räikkönen at the Silverstone test, and will most likely take his seat in 2015 or 2016 - who beat the Finn to the final spot in Q2.

Räikkönen was disheartened but fought back brilliantly. He had made up a few places early in the race, moving up to 13th past Jules Bianchi and Romain Grosjean. As with everyone - bar the McLarens - Kimi pitted under the safety to have soft tyres fitted. What he did differently was to go long in the second stint, allowing him to run a two stop strategy and jump up into the points with the pace of his Ferrari. With his tyres worn, Räikkönen was unable to hold off former teammate Felipe Massa but it was still a great recovery drive from 16th to put his season back on track.

Rainstorm brings change to Vergne's luck

Jean-Éric Vergne, Scuderia Toro Rosso: Started 8th, finished 9th

JEV deserves a mention this week having had rotten luck in recent races. Vergne qualified eighth in a mixed up Q3. Vergne was second after a few drivers pitted when Sergio Pérez crashed his Force India and ended up having a dramatic impact on the race.

When he pitted and fell back into the pack where his car's downforce deficiencies became more clear

His high top speed meant that Nico Rosberg couldn't get past when he needed to but when he pitted and fell back into the pack where his car's downforce deficiencies became more clear.

Vergne dropped to ninth as a result but ninth was a great drive for the Frenchman, who clearly isn't in the fifth fastest car. Is this the start of a revival for the jilted Vergne?

Is this the start of a revival for the jilted Vergne?
Is this the start of a revival for the jilted Vergne?Credit: Drew Gibson/Getty