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Pick and mix - Champagne and showers in Hungary - Highs and lows from the incredible racing in Budapest

Published by Christine

Photo opportunity with Massa in the motorhome
Credit: Dunbar/Williams

Where it went down North-east of Budapest, around the twisty confines of the Hungaroring. F1's final hurrah before the summer break

Top takeaway Mercedes can't pick a winning strategy and their drivers wouldn't listen even if they could

I tempered my expectations going into the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, because it’s not always a track that delivers good racing. It’s been known for incidents in the past, but the actual circuit performance has been below average. That all changed after what was an incredible weekend of entertainment, including a little bit of everything – fire, rain, spins, crashes, safety cars, three-way battles for the lead, and much more. On and off track, it was a brilliant F1 weekend.

Strike that, reverse it

Jenson Button must have had one of those heart-sinking moments, trawling around in the cockpit of his McLaren, knowing that the intermediate tyres he had on where the incorrect choice. As much as the team tried to convince him that the radar suggested rain, we all knew that the team had made a significant strategy snafu.

Post-race evidence would suggest the team continue to blame their radar, and that weather predictions are hard to do at the best of times, but even worse when your equipment isn't functioning properly. In a weekend where the team were starting to find their feet, it seems bad form to take such an uncalculated risk.

A month after Dennis told his driver to "try harder", the Brit can now turn round and say exactly the same thing back

Button was already in a somewhat sombre mood, having paid tribute to his late father's birthday with the return of the pink helmet. An unfortunate error like this can't have helped. Yet, it may lighten his mood somewhat to know the team aren't infallible. Less than a month after Ron Dennis reportedly told his driver to "try harder", the Brit can now turn round and say exactly the same thing back.

Looking the wrong way

In Hungary, we saw something of a resurgence for Kimi Räikkönen. Not that he's suddenly going to start winning races, but that he actually remembered how to put his foot down and make an impact in a race. The Ferrari is clearly not a car that is performing well, but Fernando Alonso has been able to wring the neck out of the mediocre machinery, firmly putting his Finnish friend in the shade.

Just as with Force India in seasons gone by, I had high hopes about the teammate battle between Fernando and Kimi this year. I thought they would be tussling this way and that, fighting for track space, for points and for supremacy at the prancing horse. They clearly weren't in for the championships, but a great fight between themselves would have been very entertaining. However, just as with Force India in seasons gone by, the battle hasn't lived up to its promise. Fernando Alonso has outshined Räikkönen by a significant margin, and only now is it looking as though Kimi is ready, if not comfortable, to give the car what for.

We knew the inter-team relationships at Mercedes would take a battering, but I'm not sure I expected it to be this bad. Meanwhile, the Ferrari duo have barely a word to say to each other, and are that far apart on track too. I'm clearly not a good judge of what the best team fight is going to be.

That half term feeling

A drop or two for winner Ricciardo
Credit: Gibson/Getty

Daniel Ricciardo showed off his plans to celebrate his race victory by posing for a photo with his bottle of champagne. Whether he did party hard or not remains to be seen, as there’s no evidence of a hangover other than the follow-up tweet expressing his pain. Either way, I reckon the Hungarian Grand Prix (or summer break equivalent) is the best race to win. You get to celebrate accordingly thanks to the month long break.

Of course, arguably, the end of the season is also a good one for getting out there and partying, but those races can often be tied up with championship battles. Or worse, be depressing because there's nothing left to fight for. At least at this point, the momentum swings towards Ricciardo, the sun is out, the champagne is ready, and there's still plenty of racing to be done. I can't think of a better event to win, or a better time to do it.

Statistic to savour

Jean-Éric Vergne6
Daniil Kvyat5

Where the fight between Alonso and Räikkönen has been disappointing, there are two particularly close battles going on. Using just finishing positions, regardless of retirements or otherwise, Toro Rosso and Sauber have the best battles to date. Eleven races in, the balance between the drivers has swung in favour of one just slightly, but the fight couldn't be closer.

Adrian Sutil5
Esteban Gutiérrez6

Of course, not counting retirements does miss out some key information here. Toro Rosso have managed to score nine non-finishes already, with Sauber one ahead on ten. Halfway through the season, that's a lot of non-finishes. These two need to go back to the factories and have a good, long think during the summer break!

In summary

Highlight Toto Wolff's work ethic even after breaking so many bones

Lowlight Maldonado throwing it off the road on his way to the grid

In a tweet Fantastic and frantic racing sends F1 into the summer break in style

Weekend in numbers, 70 laps completed, 4 broken Wolff bones, 6m 55s shy of two hours, infinity width of Dan's smile

All content in the series Hungary 2014