Parc Fermé: Ferrari’s Hungarian goulash and a future world champion

Is the Red Bull the best car and engine combo on the Formula 1 Grid? Probably, but there’s no denying the racing master class delivered by Max Verstappen to win the Hungarian Grand Prix last weekend.

Although he started from the 5th row on the grid, crossing the “field” turned out to be an easy task for the “Klompmeister”. Even when he got it wrong, he got it right. When the car suddenly dropped out of turn 13 due to clutch issues; he made sure he ended up the right way, minimizing any wasted time. Was it pure coincidence? I don’t think so: I saw him do the same thing in free practice.

So it’s no surprise that he was voted “Driver of the Day” by the fans. However, if you’re familiar with the job of driving a race car, you should take your hat off to Lewis Hamilton.

Let’s not forget Lewis

Starting only one row higher than Verstappen and certainly not in the best car engine combo, he also cut through the field to take the second step of the podium. And while his ride wasn’t as energetic as Max’s, he did his usual job of making his tires spin faster and last longer than anyone else.

It was this kind of precision driving that allowed him to dominate the Hungaroring and F1. Lewis can ride the limit lap after lap without going over it! And like Verstappen, he is backed by a very competent and experienced Pit Box.

“Mr. Saturday” takes pole.

While we’re talking about Mercedes, George Russell should also salute. I don’t think anyone ever doubted his “FWC” candidacy (future world champion).

However, his practice last weekend proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he was the real deal. Composed under pressure and able to control his lap times (until his tires “dropped”), he demonstrated that when the “Ham” finally decides to hang up his Hans device, he can fit into the role of the number 1 team.

More Seb.

Unsurprisingly, Sébastien Vettel announced his retirement this weekend. If anyone has watched or sounded “on” competition in F1 this year, it’s Seb. Vettel seemed to welcome every race weekend the same way you would welcome a prostrate exam. I expect to see him a bit more relaxed now that the decision is made and the news is out.

However, what came as a surprise was Vettel’s offer that the ‘not-so-fast’ Mick Schumacher replace him. Oh good? Aston Martin needs a lot of things, but another number 2 driver isn’t one of them. Unfortunately for Guenther Steiner, AMR wisely signed Alonso instead.

“This is another beautiful mess you got us into…”

While Ferrari has been the low-hanging fruit of F1 mockery in recent months, that’s no longer funny. Their race weekend was like a game of Nintendo’s “donkey kong”, with Red Bull racing down barrels and Binotto (Mario the Plumber) frantically jumping over them, trying to save the princess. Or in this case, the world championship.

Ferrari never quite got past Tier 1 in Hungary, but on a positive note we saw the team come together after the race. Unfortunately, it was a common understanding that the car was the reason for their poor performance.

Apparently ‘it’ wasn’t very good last weekend, which is a bit harsh as at different periods of the race ‘it’ was the fastest on the track; nothing to do with Leclerc shoving his way through all the Medium tires in practice and then being forced to use a set of Hards in the race then?

An honest assessment of Ferrari would have identified this as the main reason for their “failure in Hungary”. The team (and I’m including the drivers here) need to be aware of this stuff.

There are no points or prizes for being at the top of the training timesheet. Take some responsibility here rather than blaming an inanimate object that can’t defend itself.

Finally, it might be worth thinking about the fact that if the “Commendatore” was still with us, they’d all be out of a job now after “dissing” his cars.

Fortunately for Ferrari, it’s the summer break. The question is, is it long enough?

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