Lewis Hamilton has explained how a “crazy” series of events saw him become the only driver out on the grid at the Hungarian Grand Prix, a race that will now live long in the memory. The seven-time world champion’s race transcended into chaos after team-mate Valtteri Bottas caused a crash on the opening lap but that only tells half of the story.
A red flag forced all of the cars back to the pits and during the resulting formation lap, the heavens opened.
All drivers decided to return to the pits for a second time to change their tyres to cope with the adverse weather conditions – apart from leader Hamilton.
As the lights were going out Hamilton was the only driver on the grid but a lap later Mercedes soon followed suit and instructed their star to enter the pits.
Their resistance was punished as Hamilton slipped to the back of the pack, leaving himself with everything to do to secure a podium finish.
Hamilton showed the heart and determination of a champion to claw things back as he started to climb from 15th place.
His enthralling battle with Fernando Alonso saw the pair go back and fourth as the Spaniard tried to fend off Hamilton’s advances.
The Brit eventually powered on to secure a podium finish, securing third place behind winner Esteban Ocon and Sebastian Vettel.
Yet Hamilton was clear after the race that he felt Mercedes should have listened to his instructions about returning to the pits.
“Firstly I want to congratulate Esteban, he’s been a shining star for such a long time now. It’s been a long time coming and I’m really happy for him. It’s also great to see Aston Martin up there – their best result so far, and I know there’s more to come.
“Today was definitely tough. We always make it difficult for ourselves.
“It was crazy to think we were the only ones on the grid at the start but these things happen. I gave everything in the end, I had nothing left.”
Hamilton was right. He cut an exhausted figure at the end of the race and did not look himself when climbing the podium.
When quizzed on the incredible incident that saw Hamilton race alone, he added: “I mean I was telling the team how the track was thought the lap.
“But they said rain was coming when I got in the car so I thought they had other information. I saw everyone diving in.
“We came here this weekend and definitely didn’t know how it was going to go.
“Considering the circumstances, I will take it.”