Latest F1 news in brief – Monday

  • Hamilton was faster than Bottas, so Bottas letting him past had merit, but at the end Bottas was slower and far behind Hamilton, so he did not deserve the repass
    Hamilton was faster than Bottas, so Bottas letting him past had merit, but at the end Bottas was slower and far behind Hamilton, so he did not deserve the repass

    Horner questions Mercedes 'team order' decision

  • Ricciardo 'will accept' Verstappen apology
  • Vettel and Raikkonen 'want to stay' – Marchionne
  • Horner not commenting on Toro Rosso-Honda link
  • Sauber to be Ferrari 'junior team' – Marchionne
  • Hulkenberg hits out at 'asshole' Magnussen
  • Magnussen tells Hulkenberg to 'suck my balls honey'
  • Williams calls in Stroll for Hungary test
  • Alonso hails 'perfectly executed' run to sixth
  • Vettel explains race-long steering problem
  • Bottas thanks Hamilton for keeping promise

Horner questions Mercedes 'team order' decision
(GMM) Mercedes has admitted a team decision in Hungary may cost Lewis Hamilton the world championship.

During the Hungaroring race, Valtteri Bottas let Hamilton past in order to give the Briton a chance to attack the Ferraris and reduce his 1 point championship deficit to Sebastian Vettel.

But Hamilton could not pass the Ferraris, so the place was handed back to his Finnish teammate in a move that cost him a further 3 points.

Hamilton's deficit to Vettel is now 14 points as F1 heads into its August break.

"It (the decision) cost us three points and could cost us the championship and we are perfectly conscious of that," said team boss Toto Wolff.

"But in terms of how the drivers and this team operates, we stick to what we say and if the consequences are as much as losing the championship, then we will take it," he added.

Hamilton reluctantly backed that philosophy of full driver equality.

"If I lose the world championship I don't know what I would say then, but I want to win it the right way," he said.

Christian Horner, the boss at Red Bull, admitted he isn't sure if Mercedes' approach to winning the world championship is right.

"We did the same in Monaco two years ago," he said.

"But when you're talking about the title, everything changes a little. Looking at Mercedes, the leader of the team is Hamilton, and at some point you have to choose who to bet on."

However, Mercedes team chairman Niki Lauda said the German marque has always been open about its policy of not imposing 'team orders'.

"We have always said that both drivers can race freely, there are no team orders, and that's absolutely right," he said.

Ricciardo 'will accept' Verstappen apology

Max Verstappen is not making any friends in F1
Max Verstappen is not making any friends in F1

(GMM) Max Verstappen has apologized for punting his Red Bull teammate out of the Hungarian grand prix.

The normally smiling Daniel Ricciardo was furious after the incident, swearing and calling Dutch teenager Verstappen a "sore loser" and "amateur".

"Inexperience is too kind. It was just immaturity," said the Australian.

Their boss, Christian Horner, said the pair had been warned about crashing during a rare paddock visit for team owner Dietrich Mateschitz.

But he said: "Max admitted the mistake and we accept it. I'm sure Daniel will accept it too.

"They have a great relationship — they respect each other."

Indeed, Verstappen said: "It is never my attention to hit anyone, especially not a teammate. I'll apologize to Daniel and the team and we will sort it out."

Vettel and Raikkonen 'want to stay' – Marchionne

Marchionne all but confirms Vettel and Raikkonen
Marchionne all but confirms Vettel and Raikkonen

(GMM) Ferrari president Sergio Marchionne has confirmed speculation the Italian team will probably keep its driver lineup the same in 2018.

Italian sources had reported that, having made a new deal for Kimi Raikkonen a condition, Sebastian Vettel was now ready to ink a contract beyond 2017.

Reportedly, the deal will be announced at Ferrari's home race at Monza in September.

Marchionne was making one of his visits to the paddock in Hungary, and he admitted that Raikkonen's sportsmanship in not attacking Vettel's lead had pleased him.

"He was great. We are a single team at Maranello, all working together," he said.

When asked about the reports that Vettel-Raikkonen will be kept in place for 2018, the Italian-Canadian admitted: "It is more than 50 per cent probable.

"They are great together so it would be a risk to change the game now. Let's see if we can keep them for 2018. I think they want to stay," Marchionne added.

"We should be able to announce our drivers at Monza. Nothing is signed yet but we are talking to the drivers and the agreement may be close."

Team boss Maurizio Arrivabene agreed that Hungary was a great example of Raikkonen being an ideal teammate for Vettel.

"Do not forget that he is the last Ferrari world champion and today he showed that. Only a champion like him could defend his teammate like a Viking, with no tricks and no deception," he said.

However, there are rumors that Vettel actually signed a 'pre-agreement' with Mercedes last winter, and that is why he cannot negotiate with Ferrari until the end of July.

"I don't know how to answer you," Marchionne said when asked by Corriere della Sera.

"If he does not want to stay, then we will find a different solution and life goes on, because this is Ferrari. But if I look at Sebastian, then in a lot of ways he is already more Italian than many of us!"

Asked if Lewis Hamilton would be the logical 'different solution' in the event that Vettel does leave, Marchionne answered: "Ferrari is everyone's dream and ending a career here would be a privilege.

"But so far we have not gone with him and I do not want to talk about the future because we have two great drivers already," he insisted.

Horner not commenting on Toro Rosso-Honda link

Christian Horner wan't comments on rumors
Christian Horner wan't comments on rumors

(GMM) Another senior figure in the Red Bull camp has declined to comment on reports Toro Rosso is set to become Honda-powered in 2018.

Already in Hungary, the Red Bull junior team's Carlos Sainz refused to comment on rumors Honda's rifts with McLaren and Sauber could result in Toro Rosso signing a deal with the struggling Japanese manufacturer.

But then in Hungary, McLaren-Honda put both drivers in the points, with Fernando Alonso even recording the fastest lap of the entire race.

Asked if that boost would affect the Toro Rosso-Honda negotiations, Christian Horner said: "What negotiations?"

According to the rumor, serious talks between Red Bull and Honda regarding a potential Toro Rosso deal will take place on Tuesday.

"I'm not going to comment on rumors or ask about the source of your information," Horner, the Red Bull Racing team boss, said.

"I think there's an awful lot of rumors about Honda at the moment, but I have nothing to say."

However, with Mercedes and Ferrari saying no to customer deals with McLaren, and with Honda appearing to make progress, it now seems most likely that McLaren-Honda will stay together.

September appears to be the decision deadline.

"You can change an engine supplier in 12 weeks," said McLaren boss Eric Boullier. "But if you want to build a car ideally around the engine, you need to start in September at the latest."

Honda's motor sport chief Mashashi Yamamoto said clearly: "Honda is staying in formula one and with McLaren. We have a contract."

And Honda F1 boss Yusuke Yamamoto added in Hungary: "There is no doubt that we want to stay with McLaren.

"I'm glad we can show some progress here, which will improve our relationship."

Sauber to be Ferrari 'junior team' – Marchionne

Frederic Vasseur happy to be a Ferrari junior team
Frederic Vasseur happy to be a Ferrari junior team in exchange for the best engines

(GMM) Sergio Marchionne has admitted Sauber could become "a kind of junior team" for Ferrari.

Last week, former F1 team founder Gian Carlo Minardi said the so-called Ferrari 'B team' Haas announcing an unchanged driver lineup for 2018 was "a missed opportunity for Ferrari".

That's because Ferrari junior drivers Antonio Giovinazzi and Charles Leclerc would be left out in the cold for 2018.

At the time Minardi spoke, Sauber was still linked with a move from Ferrari to Honda power, having also committed to giving Honda-linked driver Nobuharu Matsushita a test this week.

But then, everything changed in Hungary.

New Sauber boss Frederic Vasseur axed the Honda deal and signed up for current-specification Ferrari engines for 2018.

Speaking on a visit to the paddock, Ferrari president Marchionne said in Hungary: "The engines for Sauber are also a way to create a kind of junior team for our young drivers.

"We have two great young talents, but to secure the future of Ferrari, we need the chance to train them somewhere.

"We need space for them, so it's a great idea and we're working on it," Marchionne added.

"Maurizio Arrivabene has worked hard on this project, and I want to say also that in agreement with Liberty Media we will also increase the number of customers for our engines."

While Monaco-born Leclerc is dominating Formula 2 so far this year, first in line for a Sauber vacancy would actually be Italian Giovinazzi.

"They tell me Giovinazzi did a great job for us, driving here (for Haas) on Friday and then on Friday night returning to be in the simulator," said Marchionne.

"He worked late to make sure there was no mistake in balancing the car. He's back here (in Hungary) with us now and I see that quite rightly he is tired," he smiled.

Marchionne admits he had a meeting with his Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff in Hungary, with one of the topics being the German marque's entry into Formula E.

He also responded to Wolff's claim that Ferrari was strong in Hungary mainly because the slow circuit and high temperatures suited the red car.

"We do not minimize the work of our guys," Marchionne said, "but there are two fast circuits in Spa and Monza coming up, so we'll see there," said Marchionne.

Hulkenberg hits out at 'asshole' Magnussen

Hulkenberg calls Magnussen an a-hole
Hulkenberg calls Magnussen an a-hole

Renault driver Nico Hulkenberg labelled Kevin Magnussen's race craft as "nasty" and described him as an "asshole" after the two came to blows during the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Hulkenberg, who had been delayed by a slow stop, attempted to pass Magnussen around the outside of Turn 2, but the Danish driver forced his opponent onto the grass.

Magnussen consequently held onto the position but stewards deemed him responsible, and handed the Haas racer a five-second time penalty, along with two penalty points.

Magnussen's sanction dropped him from 11th to 13th, and he was approached by Hulkenberg in the press pen while speaking to assembled media.

"Once again, you're the most unsporting driver on the grid," Hulkenberg told Magnussen, with the latter responding "suck my balls, honey".

Having moved on to his own post-race interview, Hulkenberg hit out at Magnussen's conduct.

"I congratulated him for most unsporting driver on the grid once again," said Hulkenberg.

"When it comes to racing he's just nasty, hard defending is fine, but what he does it just ruthless.

"Sending people into the wall, and what he did there… opening the steering and making you run wide is just being an asshole.

"We had nice words, he said, 'Suck my balls', [so it's] quite interesting with him."

Magnussen tells Hulkenberg to 'suck my balls honey'

Magnussen wants Hulkenberg to suck his balls
Magnussen wants Hulkenberg to suck his balls. He even called him honey. Oh my!

Kevin Magnussen told Nico Hulkenberg to "suck my balls, honey" after the German criticized his driving at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Magnussen and Hulkenberg battled for 11th position through Turn 2, with the Renault driver adopting the outside line, before being edged onto the grass by his opponent.

Haas' Magnussen was deemed culpable and handed a five-second time penalty, and came home in 11th spot, though the sanction dropped him to 13th position.

Hulkenberg, meanwhile, later retired from the race, though was officially classified in 17th place.

In the post-race press pen, Hulkenberg approached Magnussen, who was conducting an interview with Scandinavian channel Viasat.

"Once again, you're the most unsporting driver on the grid," Hulkenberg told Magnussen, leading the Dane to respond: "Suck my balls, honey".

Hulkenberg had earlier been investigated following a collision with Magnussen's Haas team-mate Romain Grosjean, but no further action was taken.

Williams calls in Stroll for Hungary test

Stroll gets more test time
Stroll gets more test time

Williams has altered its plans for this week's in-season test at the Hungaroring in the wake of Felipe Massa's illness during the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Massa complained of feeling unwell following second practice and visited the medical center, before going on to a nearby hospital, though was passed fit to compete in the third session.

However, Massa's symptoms continued and he withdrew from the remainder of the weekend, with reserve driver Paul di Resta drafted in.

Massa was scheduled to carry out Tuesday's running at the post-race test before handing the FW40 over to Formula 2 racer Luca Ghiotto.

Instead, Massa has travelled back home to recuperate, with a four-week break prior to the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps.

Lance Stroll has therefore been called up to conduct testing duties on Tuesday, with Ghiotto in the car on Wednesday as planned.

Williams endured a difficult Hungarian Grand Prix, with Stroll a low-key 14th, while di Resta retired late on due to an oil leak.

Alonso hails 'perfectly executed' run to sixth

Alonso drives to 6th, plus turns fastest lap
Alonso drives to 6th, plus turns fastest lap

Fernando Alonso believes his and McLaren's Hungarian Grand Prix was "perfectly executed" as he grabbed the team's best result of the 2017 campaign by finishing in sixth.

Alonso preserved seventh on the opening lap, having gained a spot courtesy of Daniel Ricciardo's early exit but also having lost a spot to the fast-starting Carlos Sainz Jr.

Alonso attempted to overhaul Sainz Jr. at the restart but the Toro Rosso driver held firm, and the pair maintained positions after pitting on the same lap.

However, Alonso launched an attack around the outside of Turn 2 and held on to take the inside line for Turn 3, and with it moved into sixth place.

Alonso's result enabled McLaren-Honda to finally move off the foot of the Constructors' Championship as it vaulted in front of Sauber.

"We were probably looking at seventh or eighth position today, but with Ricciardo out of the race, sixth place became possible, and we grabbed it," said Alonso.

"Still, we worked for that result all weekend – no mistakes, good practice sessions, strong qualifying, and then a perfectly executed race.

"There are three or four weekends in a season where we can be competitive, so we need to maximize those and fully capitalize on our potential – and that's exactly what we did this weekend.

"Races like Spa and Monza are going to be more difficult for us, so let's just enjoy this result and think about the difficult ones when they come."

Alosno went on to describe his fight with Sainz Jr. as "a close-run thing".

"We were together at the start, at the restart; we came into the pits together, we exited together and I knew I had two laps where I could really push and stress the new tires a little bit," he said.

"I tried to do that with some kamikaze moves at times because, after those initial two laps, I knew it was going to be impossible – it worked out fine."

Alonso also set the fastest lap of the race, labelling the statistic a "surprise" and a "gift".

Stoffel Vandoorne collected his first point of the campaign by placing 10th, having finished 12th, 12th and 11th at the previous three Grands Prix.

Vettel explains race-long steering problem

Vettel gapped Raikkonen at the end
Vettel gapped Raikkonen at the end

Sebastian Vettel has explained that he had to grapple with a steering issue from the opening laps of the Hungarian Grand Prix, as he held on to register his fourth victory of the season.

Vettel cruised away from pole position but his advantage over Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen was reduced, amid complaints over his steering, and his lap times dropped.

He maintained a slender gap to Raikkonen for much of the race, as the Ferrari pair faced pressure from Lewis Hamilton, who remained within a handful of seconds.

Vettel ultimately kept Raikkonen at bay to lead a Ferrari 1-2 and expressed relief as he extended his title advantage to 14 points.

"I'm over the moon," said Vettel.

"It was a really difficult race, maybe it didn't look like it, but I had my hands full from three to four laps after the Safety Car.

"There was something wrong, I don't know why, but the steering started to go sideways, it seemed to get worse, so I stayed off the curbs to try and save the car.

"It wasn't easy, it didn't do a favor for Kimi, who obviously could go faster.

"I just didn't have the pace."

On the issue itself, which he feels arose when the car was dropped from the jacks on the grid, Vettel expanded: "We'll have a look, but to be honest it doesn't matter now [as] we won.

"It's a weird feeling because it was titled to the left, you go down the straight and the steering isn't straight, through right handers it was OK, but on left handers you have to get used to it.

"After a couple of laps it's OK, but it keeps changing all the time as you have to go further than you want and then you [have to] think in your head.

"After this race I'm sure there's a reason the steering wheel is straight and not shifted to one side!"

Ferrari also cut the gap to Mercedes to 39 points.

Bottas thanks Hamilton for keeping promise

Bottas was too far behind Hamilton to be allowed back around
Bottas was too far behind Hamilton to be allowed back around

Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas expressed his gratitude to team-mate Lewis Hamilton after the Briton honored a promise during the closing stages of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Hamilton cruised up behind third-placed Bottas following the pit-stop phase, and Bottas was instructed to allow Hamilton through, in a bid to pass the Ferrari drivers.

Hamilton remained glued to the rear of Kimi Räikkönen's car for several laps, but was unable to find a way through, by which time he had pulled clear of Bottas.

However, Hamilton slowed on the final lap by almost nine seconds, handing third back to Bottas at the last corner.

"Thanks to Lewis for keeping the promise and letting me by in the end, because I gave him the shot to try and get past the Ferraris," he said.

"It's a shame, we had good pace in the end, but with the starting position [we] couldn't get any better."

Bottas went on to talk through his race, commenting: "First of all, the start was quite average, so I couldn't really attack into Turn 1.

"The initial start was OK, but I had bad upshift from first to second [gear].

"Ferrari seemed to be really strong on Super Softs, but then the issue of Sebastian [made it] more interesting.

"We were struggling with radio communications, I don't know what the issue was, but anyway, I was trying to get close enough to Kimi at some point to attack, but there was no opportunity.

"Then we swapped as a team, Lewis tried as well and when he was trying I really struggled with the backmarkers, I felt I was really unlucky with a few of the guys, losing time and losing the rhythm.

"The team promised that we did the swap, so we swapped, and the team kept the promise, which I'm really happy about, and really thankful.

"I don't think every team-mate would have swapped back if you're fighting for podium places.

"It's nice for the team, but unfortunately [it was a race of] damage limitation."

Mercedes' lead over Ferrari was cut to 39 points.

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