A stunning performance from Lewis Hamilton saw him close the gap on F1 title rival Nico Rosberg after an absorbing Hungarian Grand Prix.
The weekend began poorly for the Briton after a fire in qualifying meant he had to start from the pit lane, but Hamilton stormed through the pack in a chaotic, rain-hit race to claim a superb third and move to within 11 points of leader Rosberg, who finished fourth.
For only the second time this season, Mercedes failed to take victory as Australian Daniel Ricciardo secured a dramatic late win after overtaking both Hamilton and Fernando Alonso with just three laps remaining.
The Hungaroring is notoriously difficult for drivers to overtake on, but last weekend’s race delivered one for the most gripping contests this season with the lead constantly changing hands.
Afterwards, Hamilton said: “This race was all about scoring points. After the fire in qualifying, I thought the race was going to be very hard and to be honest if I had enjoyed a better break, maybe I could have won the race!”
With Hamilton starting at the back of the pack, Rosberg powered away from the field at the start, but a wet track made for an unpredictable race as the German lost time when the safety car was deployed, pushing him down the field.
Later in the race, he found himself behind Hamilton, who refused to yield when asked to do so by the Mercedes team officials watching from the pits. Hamilton later said he was ‘bewildered’ by the call to let Rosberg through as his team admitted their orders were a mistake.
Heading into the closing stages, Alonso led from Hamilton with Ricciardo third, but the Australian had a fresh set of tyres and was able to overtake the two former world champions to claim his second victory of the season.
After finishing fourth, Rosberg said: “This has been a frustrating weekend as far as the race has been concerned. Qualifying went well for me but the race was not the best. We have a break now before Spa, and I am now looking forward to that great track.”
The Silverstone-based Sahara Force India team failed to record a finish from their two cars driven by Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez. Hulkenberg retired for the first time this season after he crashed with wing failure before, just a few laps later, his team-mate also crashed out.
Jean-Eric Vergne impressed with his performance for Bicester’s Toro Rosso, running as high as second early on. He eventually finished ninth, but the team were pleased with his drive.
Daniil Kvyat finished 14th in the second Toro Rosso after stalling on the grid and starting from the pit lane.
The F1 season now takes a three-week summer break before returning in Belgium.
Standings after round 11: 1. Rosberg 202; 2. Hamilton 191; 3. Ricciardo (Red Bull) 131; 4. Alonso (Ferrari) 115; 5. Bottas (Williams) 95; 66. Vettel (Red Bull) 88. Next race: Spa-Francorchamps, August 24.