Ricciardo upstages Mercedes to grab thrilling victory
Fernando Alonso (front) drives through the rain ahead of Daniel Ricciardo after the start of the Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix at the Hungaroring circuit in Budapest on July 27, 2014 - by Dimitar Dilkoff
Ricciardo, 25, held off Ferrari's Fernando Alonso to take first place in a race which saw several high-speed crashes after a heavy downpour before the start changed the course of the race.
Rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg reached a new peak as Hamilton rebuffed team orders to let Rosberg by into third place.
Hamilton declared himself "shocked" at the request.
Mercedes said it would hold a team inquiry. But Hamilton's success trimmed Rosberg's lead in the title race from 14 points to 11. The German now leads with 202, Hamilton has 191 and Ricciardo is third with 131.
Ricciardo led twice before he fought back to recapture the lead with three laps remaining, following a series of daring passes.
After overtaking Hamilton, he produced a dazzling pass on Spanish two-time world champion Alonso to take the lead for the third time in a roller-coaster race and stayed there.
"It feels as good as the first win, it really does," the Australian said, referring to his victory in Canada in June. "The Safety Car at first played to our advantage, but the second one didn't really help us!
"But we got there in the end and I had to do the overtaking at the end which was fun. I am definitely going to celebrate tonight, party for a few days and enjoy a few days off.
Showing remarkable grit with a worn set of tyres, Alonso came home second ahead of Hamilton, who started the race – following his fire during qualifying -- from the pit lane and survived a brush with the barriers on his opening lap.
Alonso, who will be 33 on Tuesday, said: "I am extremely satisfied, it has been a tough season so to get a podium is always a nice surprise. We took a gamble to try to get the victory and we got very close."
It was Alonso’s second podium this year and, remarkably, achieved on soft tyres that he nursed through the final 31 laps. But it left Ferrari now without a win in 25 races since he triumphed in the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix.
Rosberg, who started on pole, was fourth ahead of Brazilian Felipe Massa of Williams, Finn Kimi Raikkonen in the second Ferrari and defending four-time champion German Sebastian Vettel in the second Red Bull.
At times, Vettel had looked as if he could be in the mix for podium finish, but he was unable to make it materialise and extended his poor record in Hungary.
In eight visits, he has yet to win. More worryingly for him, this was the ninth time in 11 races this year that he has been beaten by his new team-mate.
Raikkonen, who recovered from 16th, delivered his best result of the year to take sixth, but it was also the first time he has failed to finish on the podium in Hungary since 2006.
For Rosberg it was his lowest classified finish this year and he maintained his record of never securing a podium finish in Hungary or scoring back-to-back wins. His father Keke, the 1982 champion and original ‘flying Finn’ also never did so.
Hamilton’s back-to-front success and podium finish matched Vettel's 2012 Abu Dhabi effort.
The German was the last man to finish on the podium from a pit lane start, but Hamilton was unmoved despite trimming Rosberg’s lead in the title race.
"It has been a pretty crazy weekend," he said. "A big thank you to the team. They did a great job on the pit stops to help me today. The car has been fantastic, but there were a lot of points lost this weekend.
"The brakes were very, very cold at the start and I was gone, but I got going again and managed to push on from there."
Hamilton, who was seeking to complete a hat-trick of Hungaroring wins with a record fifth at the track, and Rosberg were not only battling on the track, but off it and were clearly at loggerheads about team instructions, as relayed by radio during the race.
Hamilton said he was "very, very shocked" to be asked to move over for Rosberg in the closing stages of a contest that started on a drying circuit and finished in sunshine.
"I’m not slowing down for Nico," he told the team, pointing out that Rosberg was not close enough anyway.