5 of the Most Interesting Radio Messages from Hungarian Grand Prix

Oliver Harden@@OllieHardenFeatured ColumnistJuly 28, 2015

5 of the Most Interesting Radio Messages from Hungarian Grand Prix

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    The 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix was one of the most emotionally charged Formula One races for some time.

    Most drivers had attended the funeral of Jules Bianchi, who died from injuries suffered in last season's Japanese Grand Prix, on Tuesday, it was an almighty challenge for them to return to the cockpit so soon and drive with the same commitment as before.

    They did, however, and on a day when everything seemed to be carried out for Jules, F1 delivered its best spectacle of the season, with Sebastian Vettel and Daniil Kvyat dedicating their results to their fallen comrade.

    Bianchi's fate had left many wondering whether the death of a current grand prix driver, the first for over two decades, would blunt the approaches of those left behind.

    Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, though, raced as hard as ever. But on a day when the two title protagonists were desperate to beat each other, they only succeeded in beating themselves as Mercedes endured their worst afternoon for two years.

    Red Bull Racing, in stark contrast, enjoyed one of their best results since 2013, securing a double-podium finish after implementing team orders for the third time this season.

    Red Bull's B-team, Scuderia Toro Rosso, also appeared to issue team orders, but in giving Max Verstappen an advantageous strategy, the Faenza-based outfit have alienated Carlos Sainz.

    Here are five of the most interesting radio messages from the Hungarian GP.

Sebastian Vettel, Daniil Kvyat Dedicate Podium Finishes to Jules Bianchi

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    Some would have you believe that Sebastian Vettel is bad for Formula One.

    His four world championship-winning seasons with Red Bull Racing, for the most part, sucked the life out of the pinnacle of motorsport as F1 became predictable and boring, its popularity taking a considerable hit.

    Vettel's domination may have been more tolerable had he been a likable winner.

    But despite being among the most sociable drivers on the grid, his various misdemeanours—crashing into the much-loved Mark Webber at Turkey 2010, ignoring team orders to win the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix—made him the pantomime villain, someone everyone loved to hate.

    Indeed, even the man who runs F1, Bernie Ecclestone, told the official F1 website how Vettel doesn't do "much for F1. People hardly recognise him on the street."

    Yet since his move to Ferrari, the most successful team in the sport's history, for 2015, Vettel's reputation appears to have increased.

    And after driving like a four-time world champion to claim his second win for the Prancing Horse in the Hungarian Grand Prix, Vettel behaved like a four-time world champion, offering a touching tribute to former Marussia driver Jules Bianchi, who died nine days ahead of the race, on the slow-down lap, above.

    Daniil Kvyat, Vettel's replacement at Red Bull, also dedicated his first podium finish to the Frenchman.

    After the race, Red Bull team boss Christian Horner told Motorsport.com's Charles Bradley how the 21-year-old had found it "tough" to drive after a pre-race tribute to Bianchi, and it was he who offered his congratulations to the Russian after crossing the line.

    "Well done, Danny!" Horner said, according to the FIA television feed. "You know what a podium means, so great job today. It's the kind of race that I think Bianchi would have enjoyed, so I'm sure you'll be thinking about him. But great job today."

    "Yes. Absolutely," replied an emotional Kvyat. "It's for Jules. And for the family."

    Vettel and Kvyat did themselves, and their sport, proud in Hungary.

Lewis Hamilton Blames Nico Rosberg for Running Wide

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    Having lost the lead at the first corner for the third consecutive race, Lewis Hamilton was keen to make amends.

    Punted to fourth behind Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Nico Rosberg, Hamilton began his recovery by lining up his team-mate for a pass around the outside of the chicane.

    The problem, however, was that nobody makes a clean or successful pass around the outside of the chicane.

    And just like at Silverstone, where his failed overtake on Felipe Massa for the lead resulted in him losing second place to Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton's desperation to be spectacular, spontaneous and the hero of the piece proved to be counterproductive.

    Rather than completing a sensational move on Rosberg, Hamilton locked up, dipped a wheel on the grass and was forced to run through the gravel trap and stumble over the grass before finally rejoining the track in 10th.

    It was obvious that Hamilton had once again been too brave for his own good and Rosberg, after offering a slight defence, had adopted the normal racing line to ensure he didn't compromise his own entry into the tight, right-left bend. But the reigning world champion saw things differently.

    "Nico crossed over my line there," Hamilton mumbled on Lap 1, per the FIA TV feed. "Pushed me wide."

    The nature of Hamilton's radio message was similar to his reaction to being hit by Rosberg on the second lap of last year's Belgian GP, when, per the Telegraph's Daniel Johnson, he moaned, "Nico hit me! Nico hit me!"

    And while, with his rear-left tyre punctured, Hamilton was correct in his assumption at Spa, his cries of foul play were wide of the mark at the Hungaroring.

    Still, they did offer an insight into how a driver's perception can be affected within the tight, high-pressure environment of the cockpit and, more notably, how the two title protagonists will try to exploit any opportunity to drop each other into trouble in their efforts to gain an advantage.

Nico Rosberg Keen to Mirror Lewis Hamilton's Tyre Strategy

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    According to Pirelli's qualifying report, the medium-compound tyres were  "around 1.8 seconds slower per lap" than the softs at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

    As a result, the mediums were a one-stint compound for most cars as drivers and teams aimed to waste as little time as possible on the prime rubber. Nico Rosberg, however, was not among them, despite his pace on the white-striped tyre being relatively average.

    On Lap 36, the German's race engineer, Tony Ross, informed his driver of Lewis Hamilton's plans for the final stint, with Rosberg eager to match any move made by his title rival.

    "Lewis will be going to the prime tyre, and possibly earlier than you," informed Ross, according to the FIA TV feed.

    "I'll go to the prime as well, then," Rosberg replied in an instant.

    "Erm, Nico," Ross said, bemused by his driver's request. "At the moment the pit wall are not inclined to do that."

    One lap later, Ross said, "So Nico, you can do this on option but we need to find more pace on prime at the moment." But Rosberg's mind was made up, and he duly pitted for another set of primes on Lap 42.

    Rosberg's determination to shadow Hamilton, even at a stage of the race when his team-mate was out of race-winning contention, seemed to encapsulate everything wrong with his title challenge. 

    His primary goal on a given weekend, it seems, is not to secure pole position or win the race, but to simply get the better of Hamilton by any means possible.

    That is no way to win a world championship, and his conservatism, his unwillingness to run his own race—indeed, his failure to believe in his own abilities—cost him a chance to win at the Hungaroring.

    Had Rosberg been on the soft tyres after the safety-car period, it is probable that he would have breezed past Sebastian Vettel and won the race. Instead, he was unable to get past the Ferrari and left himself exposed to Daniel Ricciardo, who gave the Mercedes a puncture as they duelled for second place on Lap 64.

    In finishing a lowly eighth on a day he could have won and taken the championship lead, Rosberg simply got what he asked for.

Red Bull Use Team Orders Yet Again to Give Daniel Ricciardo a Fighting Chance

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    Despite a ban being lifted at the start of 2011, some teams may be reluctant to issue team orders for the sake of inter-team relations.

    Red Bull Racing, however, have frequently flirted with the dark arts this season, ordering Daniil Kvyat to budge in China, where he initially refused to give up his position. Team orders were also used in Monaco, where the Russian agreed to free Daniel Ricciardo but only on the basis that he would be given the place back if the Australian failed to make progress. 

    Ricciardo's latest bad start in Hungary saw him fall from fourth to seventh in the early stages, behind Kvyat and Nico Hulkenberg, whose latest outstanding start, in contrast, allowed him to leap from 11th to fifth.

    At a track, due to its high-downforce demands, Red Bull were aiming to have their best performance of the year, being stuck behind Hulkenberg was severely hurting their race and it didn't help that Kvyat was hurting Ricciardo's pace.

    "OK Daniel," asked Ricciardo's race engineer, Simon Rennie, on Lap 6 according to the FIA TV feed. "Are you being held up? What is your status?"

    "Yeah, held up a lot," came the response.

    With that, the team were immediately on Kvyat's case. The Russian's own race engineer said: "OK, Danny. Do not hold Ricciardo behind, OK? Do not hold Ricciardo behind."

    "Well, both of us are stuck behind them," retorted Kvyat, no doubt wondering why the team had asked him to move aside again, especially since it was Hulkenberg, not he, causing the roadblock.

    Sensing another Shanghai-esque situation, the pit wall took a more compassionate approach with Kvyat, even making sure they used their manners. 

    "Yeah, understood. Do not hold Ricciardo though Dan, please. Do not hold Ricciardo. Copy?"

    Lo and behold, the change of tact worked and Kvyat duly let his team-mate by on Lap 8, although his decision to do so at the most challenging corner on the track, Turn 4, revealed much about his feelings over the situation.

    Kvyat's compliance, of course, put pressure on Ricciardo to take the fight to Hulkenberg and Rennie knew it, telling his driver on Lap 9: "OK mate, so we've got to make the most of it now. Let's get stuck in."

    While Kvyat would have been right to assume his race had been ruined, letting Ricciardo through was in fact a blessing in disguise. The Australian got a little too "stuck in" and collided with Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, allowing Kvyat to claim his first F1 podium.

Max Verstappen Sparks War with Carlos Sainz Jr. at Toro Rosso

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    While a team-orders storm was defused between Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat, another exploded at Red Bull's sister team, Scuderia Toro Rosso.

    After the race, Carlos Sainz Jr. told Marca (h/t Grand Prix.com) of his "anger" at what he perceived as Toro Rosso offering preferential treatment to team-mate Max Verstappen.

    Despite 11th-placed Sainz having track position in the early stages of the Hungarian Grand Prix, the team—despite most outfits giving their lead car the best possible strategy—opted to pit 12th-placed Verstappen first.

    The Dutchman pitted for used soft-compound tyres on Lap 14, while Sainz was forced to wait until the following lap for some softs of his own. Verstappen's extra lap on fresher rubber, though, proved crucial, and Sainz emerged from the pits behind the team-mate.

    The Spaniard told the same source that he could not "understand" why Toro Rosso had seemingly betrayed him, but the team's decision could be traced back to a radio message made by Verstappen on Lap 12.

    With the Toro Rossos running in formation behind Williams' Felipe Massa—much like Kvyat and Ricciardo were behind Hulkenberg—and with the McLaren-Honda of Fernando Alonso closing in from behind, Verstappen wasted no time in telling Toro Rosso how his race was being damaged.

    Per the FIA TV feed, the evidently impatient 17-year-old said: "I'm really getting held up now!"

    Verstappen's vocal display of his frustration almost certainly played a part in Toro Rosso's decision to pit him as soon as possible, with Sainz seemingly making no effort to tell the team how his race was being hurt.

    And though Sainz may feel hurt and confused at being treated like Toro Rosso's No. 2 driver, this could simply be a case of Verstappen utilising the tools at his disposal and, essentially, playing the game in a smarter, sharper fashion.


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