July 26, 2015 is not going to be a date the two top drivers in Formula 1 or their team Mercedes are going to look back upon with any fondness. Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg started one-two but were squeezed out at the start by Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.
By the third lap, he was joined at the front by teammate Kimi Raikkonen, with Rosberg in third, while standings leader Hamilton dropped as far back as tenth.
Hamilton came back with a number of daring passes, moving up to fourth by the middle of the race. Meanwhile Raikkonen was reporting a loss of power.
With 23 laps to go, Nico Hulkenberg’s front wing dropped off, causing a crash and scattering debris over the tarmac of the Hungaroring. Hamilton and Rosberg used the safety-car phase to pit and change to soft tires.
But Hamilton shot himself in the foot by immediately crashing with Daniel Ricciardo. The defending champ also earned a drive-through penalty that dropped him all the way back to fifteenth.
Rosberg was faring considerably better, taking advantage of Raikkonen’s mechanical troubles to move into second place. The unlucky Finn was forced to retire.
Rosberg took up pursuit of Vettel, but was clipped Ricciardo and suffered a tire punctured tire. Incredibly, the German managed to limp to the pits and stay in the race.
With the heat off, Vettel took the checkered flag ahead of Daniil Kvyat and Ricciardo. A battling Hamilton finished sixth, and Rosberg had to settle for eighth.
“That was a really bad day at the office,” Mercedes head of motor sports Toto Wolf said after the race. “We’re definitely going to have to think about how to eliminate our mistakes so that we don’t jeopardize the title.”
Vettel dedicated his win to Jules Bianchi, the former Formula 1 driver who died on July 17 from injuries sustained at last October’s Japanese Grand Prix. Hamilton remains in the lead in the overall drivers’ standings ahead of Rosberg.