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Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Team orders aid 5-4 Vettel in pursuit of drivers’ title

Hamilton honours agreement with Mercedes over Bottas

Sebastian Vettel won in Hungary despite handling issues
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Sebastian Vettel is 5-4 to claim a fifth world drivers championship after winning Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix – but he owes a debt of thanks to his Ferrari teammate Kimi Raikkonen for the victory.

Vettel began the weekend as a 2-1 shot for the title and was sent off 1-2 for the race after securing pole position.

However, the German developed handling problems after about a quarter of the race, which allowed Raikkonen and the Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton to close up.

Ferrari refused Raikkonen’s requests to ask Vettel to move aside, instead forcing the Finn to play tailgunner to the ailing championship leader.

Hamilton, an 8-1 chance for the race, was let through by Bottas to attack Raikkonen. However, the Briton was unable to pass and, honouring an agreement with the team, slowed down on the final lap to allow his teammate back up to third place.

The safety car put in an appearance on the first lap after a collision between Red Bull teammates Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo left the Australian stranded on the circuit.

Verstappen was handed a ten-second penalty for his part in the clash and finished fifth.

Fernando Alonso posted McLaren’s best finish of the season with sixth place.

The Spaniard forced his way past Carlos Sainz shortly after their pitstops and also earned the race’s fastest lap.

Alonso’s teammate Stoffel Vandoorne finished tenth to make it the first double points finish of the season for McLaren.

Vettel leads the championship by 14 points from Hamilton with Bottas 19 points further back.

Hamilton started the weekend as 4-7 championship favourite and can now be backed at 10-11.

That could prove a generous price despite Ferrari’s 1-2 finish yesterday. The red cars are likely to be strong on the street circuit at Singapore, but the rest of the remaining nine races could well be Mercedes territory.

F1 now goes into its four-week summer break before resuming with the Belgian Grand Prix, for which Hamilton is an early 5-6 favourite.

Hungarian GP result: 1 S Vettel, 2 K Raikkonen, 3 V Bottas, 4 L Hamilton, 5 M Verstappen, 6 F Alonso, 7 C Sainz, 8 S Perez, 9 E Ocon, 10 S Vandoorne.
Standings after 11 of 20 races: 1 S Vettel 202, 2 L Hamilton 188, 3 V Bottas 169, 4 D Ricciardo 117, 5 K Raikkonen 116.

 

Ferrari refused Raikkonen’s requests to ask Vettel to move aside, instead forcing the Finn to play tailgunner to the ailing championship leader
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