Esteban Ocon takes first F1 victory in Hungary; Sebastian Vettel disqualified in 2nd

Sebastian Vettel disqualified
FERENC ISZA/AFP via Getty Images
1 Comment

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Frenchman Esteban Ocon broke through for his first Formula One victory Sunday, and runner-up Sebastian Vettel was disqualified to cap a chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix.

Capitalizing on another first-lap crash for title rival Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton finished third to take the F1 points lead, which increased by three points when he was elevated to second by Vettel’s DQ.

Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr. moved up to third ahead of Ocon’s Alpine teammate, Fernando Alonso.

More than four hours after the race, F1 announced that Vettel’s runner-up finish was disqualified because of a fuel violation.

Verstappen placed 10th after being taken out early in the race by Hamilton’s Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas, in a first-lap crash that caused him and four others to retire.

It was only the 24-year-old Ocon’s second podium, following a second-place finish at the Sakhir GP in Bahrain last year.

The crash in the rain was caused by Bottas, who retired as a result.

The race restarted in absurd fashion with only Hamilton on the grid after starting on pole position, while others were changing their tires because the track had dried. Hamilton had to do the same a lap later and came out in last place, a couple of spots behind Verstappen.

But a clever second tire change by Mercedes for hard tires on Lap 20 outwitted Red Bull, and Hamilton moved ahead of Verstappen after he came in for new tires.

Now it was Verstappen’s turn to feel frustration as he was stuck in 11th while Hamilton was already up to fifth by Lap 35 of 70.

French driver Esteban Ocon celebrates on the podium after the Alpine driver won the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring racetrack (FERENC ISZA/AFP via Getty Images).

With 30 laps to go, the top four was Ocon-Vettel-Sainz Jr.-Hamilton.

To give Hamilton a shot at victory, Mercedes made a third tire change with a little more than 20 laps remaining.

But he had to get ahead of the 40-year-old Alonso first, a driver with 32 wins, 97 podiums and among the most talented of his generation.

Alonso held off the first attack on Lap 55 and blocked him two more times on Lap 57 with stellar defending on the inside.

Alonso’s nous was enough to repel two more attacks as Hamilton was blocked again on the outside, and they nearly collided.

When Hamilton finally got past him there were only five laps left and Sainz Jr just ahead. He overtook him but by then the front two were too far ahead.

Hamilton was treated afterward for dizziness, which he later said could be related to his COVID-19 bout last year. His bid for a 100th win resumes on Aug. 29 at the Belgian GP in Spa.

Bottas will start that race with a five-place grid penalty for causing the accident, which he apologized for in a postrace tweet.

F1 Grand Prix of Hungary
Esteban Ocon celebrates between Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton on the podium after the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary (Florion Goga – Pool/Getty Images).

IndyCar disappointed by delay of video game but aiming to launch at start of 2024

IndyCar video game 2024

An IndyCar executive said there is “absolutely” disappointment that its long-awaited video game recently was delayed beyond its target date, but the series remains optimistic about the new title.

“Well, I don’t know how quick it will be, but the whole situation is important to us,” Penske Entertainment president and CEO Mark Miles said during a news conference Monday morning to announce IndyCar’s NTT title sponsorship. “Motorsport Games has spent a lot of money, a lot of effort to create an IndyCar title. What we’ve seen of that effort, which is not completely obvious, is very reassuring.

“I think it’s going to be outstanding. That’s our shared objective, that when it is released, it’s just widely accepted. A great credit both to IndyCar racing, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, something that our fans love.”

In June 2021, IndyCar announced a new partnership with Motorsport Games to create and distribute an IndyCar video game for the PC and Xbox and PlayStation consoles in 2023.

But during an earnings call last week, Motorsport Games said the IndyCar game had been delayed to 2024 to ensure high quality.

Somewhat compounding the delay is that IndyCar’s license for iRacing expired after the end of the 2022 season because of its exclusive agreement with Motorsport Games.

That’s resulted in significant changes for IndyCar on iRacing, which had provided a high-profile way for the series to stay visible during its 2020 shutdown from the pandemic. (Players still can race an unbranded car but don’t race on current IndyCar tracks, nor can they stream).

That’s helped ratchet up the attention on having a video game outlet for IndyCar.

“I wish we had an IndyCar title 10 years ago,” said Miles, who has been working with the organization since 2013. “We’ve been close, but we’ve had these I think speed bumps.”

IndyCar is hopeful the Motorsports Game edition will be ready at the start of 2024. Miles hinted that beta versions could be unveiled to reporters ahead of the time “to begin to show the progress in a narrow way to make sure we’ve got it right, to test the progress so that we’re ready when they’re ready.”

It’s been nearly 18 years since the release of the most recent IndyCar video game for console or PC.

“(We) better get it right,” Miles said. “It’s something we’re very close to and continue to think about what it is to make sure we get it over the line in due course.”