Hungarian Grand Prix: Five things we learned as Sebastian Vettel nurses sick Ferrari to victory and Mercedes play fair

Vettel works wonders to make tyres last

It could have ended oh so differently had anyone other than Sebastian Vettel been at the front of the race. The German is one of the better drivers on the grid at looking after his tyres, and given that his steering became crooked from the moment his car came off the jacks on the starting grid, he had a problem on his hands.

The bent steering meant that Vettel’s tyres would ware faster than usual and also unevenly, yet the German was able to nurse his car at the front for the entire race and keep Kimi Raikkonen at bay – though that was largely down to team orders to keep an unhappy Finn behind and seal a first one-two victory in Hungary in 13 years.

It means that Vettel takes a 14-point lead into the summer break and, with Hamilton dropping points, could prove to be the difference come the end of the season.

Mercedes quick to write-off weekend

Both Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff hardly breathed confidence when they assessed Mercedes’ chances ahead of the race, given they started behind both Ferraris on the notoriously difficult Hungaroring that doesn’t exactly promote overtaking.

So when Vettel and Raikkonen hit trouble in the shape of the former experiencing tyre difficulty from the kerbs, Hamilton and Wolff must have wondered what on earth was going on. It was not the manner you’d expect the three-time constructor champions to approach a race, and as a result it is not that surprising that they leave Hungary a distinct second-best over the weekend.

However, it’s also worth noting that both Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas deserve credit for following team orders. Bottas released Hamilton when it was made clear to him that he was holding him up, and Hamilton pulled aside at the final corner to return the favour after failing to challenge the Ferraris, even though it could have cost him another place to Max Verstappen.

Lewis Hamilton allowed Valtteri Bottas back past at the final corner (Getty)

12 months ago, the prospect of such generosity at Mercedes would’ve been unheard of, and it’s very clear that Hamilton and Bottas have a much healthier relationship than the one between Hamilton and the reigning world champion Nico Rosberg.

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