Sunday, July 26, 2015

From Budapest, Ciao Jules...

The family of the late Jules Bianchi joins the current F1
drivers in a minute of silence before the start of the
Hungarian Grand Prix

Cette victoire est pour Jules…

On a somber Sunday afternoon twelve miles outside of Budapest, the first words spoken by race-winner Sebastian Vettel on the podium were dedicated to the first driver to lose his life from a racing incident in 21 years.

Indeed, all three drivers on the podium toasted the heavens with their champagne bottles. Jules Bianchi was just 25 years old when he lost his fight and succumbed to his injuries nine days ago.

It was a day full of emotion and spectacular racing, starting with a minutes silence before the race began. “The minutes silence for Jules before the race was very emotional,” said Fernando Alonso. “But today, we respected Jules and we respected the sport.”

From the opening lap, when the prancing horse of Vettel’s Ferrari surged to the lead and never looked back, Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton was under the gun to make his car perform. Alas, it was all for naught. Hamilton would wind up serving a drive-thru penalty for causing a collision with Red Bull’s Daniel Riccardo in the waning laps of the race.

Riccardo would survive hits from Williams’ Bottas, Hamilton and Mercedes’ Rosberg to stand on the third step of the podium at race end.

For a track that historically is known for lack of overtaking, the Hungaroring provided some of the most exciting racing of the season. The end results were proof positive of that. In addition to Vettel, Kvyat and Riccardo on the podium, fourth place through tenth were as follows: Verstappen, Alonso, Hamilton, Grosjean, Rosberg, Button and Ericsson.

While the racing was hot and heavy as the drivers jockeyed for position, the penalties meted out post-race matched what was seen on-track.

With the win, Vettel has matched the great Ayrton Senna’s record of 41 race wins and has fully integrated himself within the walls of the team from Maranello, Italy. On his victory lap, he thanked the Ferrari team in Italian for their work in giving him a car with which to win.

Another great sign was both McLaren Honda cars finishing in the top-ten and garnering points, with Alonso finishing fifth and Button in ninth. While they still have a ways to go in hopes of running consistently at the top, the positive steps are there.

The teams now take a three week break before resuming the F1 schedule in the Ardennes at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. Will Mercedes return to the top of the podium? Will Ferrari replicate their result from Budapest? Or will the leader-board be rewritten once again?

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