The race was red flagged after an opening-corner pileup, when Valtteri Bottas locked up and pushed McLaren’s Lando Norris into the Red Bull of erstwhile world championship leader Max Verstappen. Bottas’s three-wheeled car then collected the second Red Bull of Sergio Perez too.
Hamilton made a major error at the restart when he didn’t pit for slicks at the end of the formation lap, unlike the entire field, dropping him to last when he did then pit. That handed the lead to Ocon over Vettel, the latter just failing to undercut him due to a slow pitstop, and Ocon held him off until the finish.
UPDATE: After the race Vettel was disqualified as his car didn’t contain the one litre of fuel required by FIA stewards for testing purposes.
Hamilton recovered to finish third, with Verstappen 10th on the road and ninth after Vettel’s exclusion.
2021 Hungarian Grand Prix race results
How the Hungarian Grand Prix unfolded
Pre-race rain meant the entire field started on intermediate tyres, although Antonio Giovinazzi pitted his Alfa Romeo at the end of the installation lap for slicks. From pole position, Hamilton led Verstappen on the run to Turn 1 as Bottas made a terrible start and dropped to fifth.
At the first corner, on the damp surface, Bottas locked up and took out Norris, who slid into Verstappen, and then collected Perez – putting himself out of the race. In a second crash, Lance Stroll’s Aston Martin slammed into Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, who cannoned into Daniel Ricciardo’s McLaren. Leclerc then went off at Turn 2, while Perez was forced to stop further around the lap.
At the end of the first lap, Hamilton led Ocon, Vettel, Sainz, Tsunoda and Latifi as the safety car and then red flag was required to clear the debris. Verstappen was 13th, as he stopped to have some damage repaired, as did Norris – whose streak of points finishes ended as McLaren couldn’t fix his car. Bottas was given a five-place grid penalty for the next race.
The red flag allowed teams to make repairs, so 15 cars took the standing restart on a now-dry track. Hamilton was the only car that didn’t go into the pitlane and started on his own, as the real race developed out of the pits as Russell led Ocon, Vettel, Latifi, Tsunoda, with Verstappen in 12th. Nikita Mazepin (Haas) went out with damaged suspension after Kimi Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo was released into his path in the pitlane.
Hamilton pitted at the end of the opening lap, dropping to him to 14th and last. Russell would have taken the lead but his Williams slowed as he’d been told to give up places by the FIA, allowing Ocon to lead Vettel, Latifi, Tsunoda. Verstappen was 11th with Hamilton 14th.
Ocon pulled clear of Vettel, with Latifi and Tsunoda battling for third. Hamilton passed Giovinazzi for 13th, as Verstappen hounded Schumacher to get back into the points. Verstappen made a move stick around the outside of Turn 2 on Lap 14, but not without some contact.
Hamilton pitted on Lap 20 to switch to hards, and managed to undercut Verstappen and Ricciardo to run 10th, which became ninth when Russell pitted a lap later. Hamilton then passed Schumacher and Latifi.
At the front, Vettel caught up with Ocon at one-third race distance but wasn’t able to find a way past, with Sainz holding a distant third, ahead of Alonso. Hamilton passed Tsunoda around the outside at Turn 4 to take fifth on Lap 33, but was hampered when Sainz stopped for fresh tyres and was forced to run in his wake for a while.
Verstappen remained stuck behind Ricciardo, so opted for a second stop for medium tyres.
Vettel pitted on Lap 37, losing about a second due to a sticky left-rear wheel. Ocon responded a lap later, handing the lead to teammate Alonso, but crucially just in front of Vettel. Alonso pitted on Lap 40, dropping to fifth behind Sainz and Hamilton.
Hamilton pitted again for new mediums on Lap 48, rejoining in fifth behind Alonso but freeing him up to charge to the finish. Vettel challenged Ocon for the lead on Lap 49 in traffic at Turn 1, almost getting alongside as Ocon lapped Giovinazzi, but the Frenchman held on to his lead and scored his maiden F1 win.
After the race, Vettel stopped out on track on the slowing down lap, apparently out of fuel. In post-race scrutineering, only 0.3-litres of the requisite one litre was extracted from the car, and so he was disqualified.
Hamilton caught Alonso with 15 laps to go, repeatedly attacking at Turn 2 and Turn 4 but was firmly repelled time and again. Hamilton finally got ahead with five laps to go, benefitting as Alonso locked up and ran wide at Turn 1. Hamilton quickly caught Sainz and passed him for what turned out to be second place on the run to Turn 1 with a handful of laps remaining.
Behind Alonso in fourth, Gasly (who pitted and took fastest lap on the final tour) and Tsunoda were fifth and sixth respectively, ahead of Williams duo Latifi and Russell.
Verstappen passed Ricciardo for a point around the outside at Turn 2 with 10 laps to go but could make no further progress in his damaged car. He was classified ninth, ahead of Raikkonen.