Daniel Ricciardo took a thrilling victory at the Hungaroring, powering his way past Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso in the final few laps to take his second win of the season.
Alonso, in one of the heroic drives of the season, was two laps short of winning for Ferrari on worn-out soft tyres, but managed to hang onto second.
Hamilton claimed third place having started from the pit lane, despite intense pressure in the final laps from team-mate Nico Rosberg on fresher tyres.
But he refused a Mercedes team order to let Rosberg past for strategic reasons, with the German needing to make one more stop in the final third of the race.
“I was in the same race as Nico and if I let him past and he had the opportunity to pull away, then he would have come back and overtaken me,” said Hamilton. “I didn’t understand why the team asked me to do that as he didn’t get close enough to overtake and I didn’t want to lift off and lose ground to Fernando.”
At the start of an incident-packed race, in damp conditions caused by a pre-race shower, Rosberg got away well and maintained his lead as the field cautiously approached Turn One. Vettel, though, lost out, being passed by Bottas on the exit of the first corner and then by Alonso as they swept through Turn Two. The Red Bull driver was soon back up to third place, however, making his way past the Ferrari in Turn Five.
At the back, Hamilton was in trouble. He hit the brakes to take Turn Two but lost control of the rear end of the car. He slid towards the barriers and was lucky not to sustain any damage. He rejoined and despite complaining of poor brake response he began to make his way through the order, rising to 13th by lap eight, by which time Rosberg was nine seconds clear of Bottas at the front.
On the next lap Marcus Ericsson lost control into Turn Three, hitting the barriers hard in his Caterham. The safety car was deployed and the field from P5 back came into the pits, with the majority taking on slick tyres. One the following lap the front runners, who has passed the pit lane entrance when Ericsson crashed, made their visit to pit lane. By the time the order had settled behind the safety car, Ricciardo was in the lead on soft tyres, ahead of Button, who was on intermediate tyres. Behind them were Felipe Massa, Rosberg, Kevin Magnussen (who did not pit and was on his starting intermediate tyres), Jean-Eric Vergne, Vettel, Alonso, Nico Hulkenberg and in P10, Sergio Perez. Bottas, meanwhile, had dropped to 11th.
While the safety car was deployed, Lotus’ Romain Grosjean also crashed out at Turn 3, forcing a longer stay on track for the pace car.
The safety car came in at the end of lap 13 and Button, told to push as rain would not be reappearing, immediately used the better grip he had in the greasy conditions to take the lead. He soon came into the pits, however, to discard the intermediate tyres that were quickly degrading.
Behind them, the order was changing and Rosberg was going backwards. He was passed by Vergne and Alonso and by lap 17 was down in fifth place, with only Vettel between him and team-mate Hamilton in P7.
Ricciardo, meanwhile, was picking up his pace in the drying conditions. By lap 20 he was setting fastest laps and was five seconds clear of Massa. Alonso was inside DRS range of second-placed Massa and pressuring his former team-mate hard. Vergne, as ever impressing in the varying conditions, was three seconds down on the Ferrari. The major battle, though, was between Vettel and Hamilton. On lap 21, the gap was just 0.3s and Vettel was in heavily defensive mode. Rosberg, though, wasn’t able to use the fight to his advantage, with the gap to Vettel continuing to hover around the one second mark.
Then on lap 23 the safety car made its second appearance as Sergio Perez lost control on the exit of the final turn and spun into the wall on the pit straight.
Leader Ricciardo pitted on lap 24 behind the safety car, the Red Bull driver taking on more soft tyres. Second-placed Massa and Bottas (P8) also pitted on the same lap, with both taking on medium tyres. Massa rejoined in seventh behind Ricciardo, with Bottas in P13. The stops left Alonso in the lead from Vergne, with Rosberg third ahead of Vettel and fourth-placed Hamilton.
The safety car left the track at the end of lap 26 and Alonso held his lead. He soon began to pull Away from Vergne, with the Frenchman becoming something of a cork in a bottle. By lap 31 he was 3.3s down on Alonso and was holding Rosberg up.
Rosberg tries to change that on lap 33, pitting for soft tyres. On track Vettel almost replicated Perez’s crash, losing control on the kerb at the exit of the final corner. His car swapped ends but he narrowly missed hitting the wall. He dropped to seventh position. Vettel was then told to nurse his soft tyres until the end of the race.
Ahead, Hamilton managed to squeeze past Vergne at Turn 4 around the outside, causing the Frenchman to pit soon after for new tyres. As those ahead of him began to pit for new tyres, Ricciardo rose up the order and started to push, setting another fastest lap on lap 35 while in P3.
Rosberg, after his second stop, was now in P10 and 27 seconds down on second-placed Hamilton. The German was told that his title rival now had time to make his second stop and emerge in front, so Rosberg attempted to push. He got past Bottas on lap 38 but his times were still slower than Hamilton’s and the Briton was quickly on the radio to tell his team he felt he could remain on track at the same pace for a further couple of laps.
Hamilton finally came in on lap 40 taking on medium tyres. He emerged in P5 behind Alonso (who had made his second stop), but crucially he was in front of Rosberg. At the front Ricciardo led once more, from Massa and Kimi Raikkonen, who had only made one stop. The Finn was soon in for more soft tyres.
Massa made a third stop on lap 46 taking more mediums. That promoted to Alonso to second, 15.8s behind Ricciardo and 2.4s ahead of Hamilton.
The Mercedes driver was being pressured by his team-mate, however. Rosberg was just a second behind and the Briton was soon told not to hold the German up as they worked through different strategies.
After five laps of Rosberg not being to close enough in the turbulent air, Hamilton was asked to allow Rosberg past on the main straight on the next lap. Acceding to the request, though, would see the Briton lose precious time and he told his team that he would not slow down to that degree to allow Rosberg to pass.
Ricciardo, meanwhile, was concerned about the state of his rear tyres and though the team wanted the Australian to race the set until the flag, the Red Bull driver couldn’t hold them together and was forced to pit for soft tyres on lap 55. He rejoined in fourth place but with the benefit of significantly enhanced pace.
Mercedes then decided to shift things, bringing Rosberg in on lap 57 to take on used soft tyres. He emerged in P7 ahead of Vettel and was told he needed to put in “a quali lap, every lap”.
The order, then, with 13 laps to go was Alonso, three seconds clear of Hamilton, with Ricciardo, on fresh tyres, a further 3.7s back. Bottas had risen to fourth ahead of Massa, Raikkonen and Rosberg, who was just half a second behind the Finn.
As Bottas pitted, Rosberg made his way past Raikkonen down the inside into Turn One on lap 60 take fifth place. He cleared Massa on the following lap, but 22 seconds down on Ricciardo and with the front three determined to hang on to their crumbling tyres, could the German make up the ground?
The answer was yes. By lap 66 the German was just 11 seconds adrift of Ricciardo and lapping three seconds faster than the Red Bull.
The Australian though was determined to make a bid for victory. After several failed attempts to pass the hyper-defensive Hamilton, Ricciardo eventually made a great move around the outside of Turn Two to pass the Mercedes and then on lap 68 he muscled past Alonso to claim the lead and, soon after, his second grand prix win of the season. Behind, Hamilton was pushing Alonso just as hard, attempting to put a car between him and the hard-charging Rosberg.
With two laps to go Rosberg was just 1.5s behind his team-mate. The German almost got past with a move around the outside on the final lap, but Hamilton moved very wide through the corner to deny his team-mate, who had to settle for fourth place.
Behind the top four, Massa took fifth for Williams ahead of Raikonen, Vettel, Bottas, Vergne and in P10 Jenson Button.
* Look out for an exciting new content stream on JA on F1, starting on Tuesday – the Jules Bianchi Column, which will take readers behind the scenes of the life of an F1 driver and help bring them to get closer to the sport.
Hungarian Grand Prix 2014 – Race Result
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull Racing 70 Winner 4 25
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 70 +5.2 secs 5 18
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 70 +5.8 secs 22 15
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 70 +6.3 secs 1 12
5 Felipe Massa Williams 70 +29.8 secs 6 10
6 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 70 +31.4 secs 16 8
7 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing 70 +40.9 secs 2 6
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams 70 +41.3 secs 3 4
9 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso70 +58.5 secs 8 2
10 Jenson Button McLaren 70 +67.2 secs 7 1
11 Adrian Sutil Sauber 70 +68.1 secs 11
12 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 70 +78.4 secs 21
13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 70 +84.0 secs 20
14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 69 +1 Lap 10
15 Jules Bianchi Marussia 69 +1 Lap 15
16 Max Chilton Marussia 69 +1 Lap 18
Ret Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 32 +38 Laps 13
Ret Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 24 +46 Laps 17
Ret Sergio Perez Force India 22 +48 Laps 12
Ret Nico Hulkenberg Force India 14 +56 Laps 9
Ret Romain Grosjean Lotus 10 +60 Laps 14
Ret Marcus Ericsson Caterham 7 +63 Laps 19