Lewis Hamilton set for pit lane start in Hungary

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Lewis Hamilton will start today’s Hungarian Grand Prix from the pit lane after a fire during qualifying caused severe damage to his W05 Hybrid car.

The Briton’s car suffered a fuel leak which caused his engine to catch fire during the first few minutes of Q1 on Saturday. He was forced to pull over at pit entry, and although he escaped unharmed, the same cannot be said for the Mercedes car.

The team has replaced the engine, gearbox and chassis on Hamilton’s car, meaning that he will have to start today’s race from the pit lane.

As he failed to post a time during the session, he fell foul out on the 107% rule that prevents drivers for starting the race if they are too slow. However, the stewards unsurprisingly confirmed that he will be allowed to race.

“The stewards grant permission for car 44 Lewis Hamilton to start the race, as the driver has set satisfactory times in practice at this event,” a statement read. Pastor Maldonado has also been given permission to race in Hungary.

Kevin Magnussen will also start the race from the pit lane after his crash in Q3, but he will start ahead of Hamilton.

Lewis was left in a state of disbelief yesterday after he suffered yet a car problem in qualifying for the second weekend in a row. In Germany, a brake failure caused him to crash during Q1, but he rallied from P20 to third in the race. This time around, he thinks it might be a bit of a tougher task.

“It will be a very difficult afternoon as it’s one of the hardest circuits to overtake on,” Hamilton said. “But these things are sent to try us and how I come out of it is going to be the most important thing.”

You can watch the Hungarian Grand Prix live on CNBC and Live Extra from 7:30am ET.

F1 2017 driver review: Sergio Perez

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Sergio Perez

Team: Sahara Force India
Car No.: 11
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P4 (Spain)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 1
Points: 100
Championship Position: 7th

While failing to hit the podium as he did in both 2015 and 2016, Sergio Perez once again finished the year as Formula 1’s leading midfield team driver, but faced a greater fight from within Force India in the shape of Esteban Ocon.

Perez has long been knocking on the door of F1’s top teams should an opportunity come up, and 2017 saw him continue his solid if unspectacular form. The dominance of Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari meant any finish higher than seventh was impressive, something he managed to do on five occasions.

But there were some missed opportunities along the way, most significantly in Baku. Force India had been quick all weekend, with Perez charging to sixth on the grid, and when drama struck at the front, he and teammate Ocon were eyeing a podium finish as a minimum.

Contact between the two forced Perez to retire and prompted Ocon to pit for repairs, leaving the team without the top-three finish it targeted heading into the season. With Lance Stroll taking P3 for Williams and Daniel Ricciardo winning the race, a maiden victory for Force India was not out of the realm of imagination.

Perez and Ocon came to blows on a number of occasions, with the final straw coming in Spa when they twice touched on-track, prompting Force India to introduce team orders. Perez finished the year 13 points clear of Ocon in the final standings, meeting his own pre-season target of 100 points, yet the Frenchman had arguably made the bigger impression at Force India through his first full season in F1.

Force India remains the top underdog in F1 with Perez spearheading its charge, but it is difficult to see either taking the final step to becoming true contenders at the front of the field anytime soon, as solid as their displays have been.

Season High: P4 in Spain after retirements for the ‘big three’.

Season Low: Losing a sure-fire podium, if not a win, in Baku after contact with Ocon.