The Hungarian Grand Prix was one that saw a mixed-up grid, a Max Verstappen comeback, and yet another Scuderia Ferrari strategic nightmare; however, the biggest story of the weekend was the announcement that Sebastian Vettel will be retiring from Formula 1.
Ahead of the weekend at the Hungaroring, Vettel announced over a new Instagram account that he would be leaving the sport at the end of the season.
This news came as a shock to the paddock, with many fully expecting Vettel to re-sign for the Aston Martin F1 Team for at least one more season.
Vettel decided otherwise, after explaining in his video that he wants to spend more time with his family.
The German will go down as one of the greatest drivers of all time, having won four consecutive World Championships, winning 53 Grand Prix’s and still being the sport’s youngest World Champion.
As of late, Vettel has turned a lot of his focus to activism, with the 35-year-old being a vocal supporter of climate change especially.
Vettel commonly uses his platform as an F1 driver to spread the word about climate change; however, former driver Martin Brundle has questioned whether the Aston Martin driver’s voice will still be heard when he’s left the paddock.
“Sebastian wants to pursue family life and no doubt some of the other global initiatives and causes he has championed in recent seasons,” Brundle wrote in his Sky Sports column.
“Whilst on the same day he launched an Instagram account which already has 2.1m followers, he will find it hard to maintain an awareness and springboard away from the global F1 stage because that game relentlessly looks forward.
“How often has anybody mentioned Kimi Raikkonen this year, for example?” Brundle questioned.
Incredibly, Vettel’s replacement has already been announced, with double World Champion Fernando Alonso having signed a multi-year deal to join Aston Martin and leave the Alpine F1 Team.
Brundle believes both announcements were timed perfectly, whilst also revealing that he doesn’t think Alpine could offer Alonso the multi-year deal that he was after.
“The timing of his video retirement declaration made even more sense when Fernando Alonso was surprisingly announced as taking his seat on Monday morning,” he added.
“It appears that Alpine couldn’t or wouldn’t offer Alonso a two-year deal, and his Aston Martin deal is officially described as multi-year.”
Whilst there were big announcements being made off the track, on the track, it was the same old story at Ferrari.
The Scuderia threw away a potential victory for Charles Leclerc once again, after yet another shocking strategic error.
Leclerc went from leading the race, to finishing in P6, due to being fitted with the Hard compound tyre by his team.
Ferrari decided to use the hardest compound despite Pirelli advising all teams not to use it; this is because the tyre was almost impossible to heat-up, due to cool track temperatures.
It’s seen Ferrari and Leclerc lose touch of both the Constructors’ and the Drivers’ Championships, with a mountain to climb after the summer break.
Brundle explained that Ferrari’s strategy made “no sense”, and that their errors had become “reasonably frequent”.
“The Ferrari team keep it tight and support each other on these reasonably frequent errors of late, but however you paint it they somehow navigated a fast car from second and third on the grid to finish fourth and sixth.
“That was all compounded by surprisingly poor pace on the soft compound tyres on a cool day with constant spots of rain around, but the medium/medium strategy pitting for the second time a little over half distance made no sense.”
The Mercedes F1 Team gave Ferrari a lesson in delivering a strong strategy, with Sir Lewis Hamilton managing to finish in second place after completing a two-stop.
The seven-time World Champion ran deep in his second stint, meaning he could be fitted with a set of Soft tyres at his second and final stop.
Hamilton claimed his fifth-consecutive podium finish, with Brundle hailing his team as “impressive”.
“Equally impressive was two stopping Lewis Hamilton from seventh on the grid,” Brundle praised.
“The Mercedes really did use the soft tyres well in the closing stages and Lewis rose to the occasion as usual for his fifth straight podium. He and the team did make a medium/medium/soft tyre strategy work by pitting on lap 51, just to torment Ferrari a little more.”