The 25-year-old had been in a coma since he suffered severe head injuries, when his Marussia auto skidded off the track at Suzuka and hit a recovery tractor, in last October’s Japanese Grand Prix.
A minute’s silence for Bianchi, a Ferrari academy protégé, before the race created an emotional atmosphere that was reflected in the action and in Vettel’s speech to the Ferrari team on his triumphant slow-down lap.
With Rosberg having capitalised on Raikkonen’s problems – which ultimately forced the Finn to retire – to go second in the chaotic restart, Hamilton was facing the prospect of surrendering his lead in the drivers’ standings unless he could force his way back into the top 10.
After claiming a dominant win at the Hungaroring on Sunday, race victor Sebastian Vettel dedicated his victory to Jules Bianchi.
The Brit, who started on pole, served up an error-filled performance as four-time former champion, Sebastian Vettel, clinched his second victory of the season in a surprise result. “We know this has been an incredibly tough week”. “You are always in our hearts, sooner or later we know you would have been in this team”, he continued in English.
Formula 1 is often criticized for not being exciting, but the Hungarian Grand Prix was two hours of madness.
While the safety vehicle period allowed the Mercedes drivers to catch up with the top of the field, Hamilton had to serve a drive through penalty on lap 54 after contact with Ricciardo on lap 49. I don’t have any words to explain what happened today.
“At that point of time I was just making sure that I finished third, because that was the best I could hope for”.
The next race is Belgium and, to complicate matters, there will be restrictions on the amount of information teams can give drivers at the start and that could shake things up. “It has been hard and this one is for him”. I pushed and kept trying and never gave up right until the finish line but there were so many obstacles along the way. Vettel paid tribute to Bianchi in his native French twice, once on the team radio post-race and once on the podium.
His resultant puncture saw him stagger home in eighth while Hamilton finished two places ahead of him.
Max Verstappen at 17, became the youngest driver to place in the points in fourth; while both McLaren Hondas placed for the first time with Fernando Alonso in fifth and Jenson Button in ninth, respectively. “It would have been a different race (in Hungary) if I had a good start, but how I reacted was not the correct way”. Steady progress had been made by Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo, who, after the first round of pitstops, found himself running fourth. For the first time in many races, Mercedes was not on the podium at all after an F1 grand prix.
Suggested to Rosberg he and Hamilton were no longer looking at what is going on around them, he replied: “I don’t think there’s a danger of that, no”.
Vettel got ahead, Hamilton dropped behind, and Raikkonen then got on the inside of Rosberg, prompting delirious scenes in the Ferrari garage. His lead moves to 21 points, or just under one full race win.