Race of the season? Tish, it’s up there with race of the century, as Daniel Ricciardo persevered through rain, crashing Caterhams, tyre calls, and a medley of wheel-to-wheel racing to take a sensational victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix, sticking it to Mercedes for the second time this season.
Unfortunately for Quick-Ric, and despite two late-in-the-race race winning overtakes, and a grin wide enough to bridge Budapest’s Danube river, our Top Dog award has gone elsewhere, with any one of the top three worthy contenders…
Lewis Hamilton, for instance. Back-to-back race weekends have brought back-to-back qualifying drama for Lewis. A fuel leak and subsequent fire on Saturday left the Brit with no choice but to put in a pits-to-podium performance on Sunday, searing through the pack with the help of a well timed safety car and, despite a spin at Turn two on lap one, to took a brilliant third place.
Ignoring team orders and losing out to Danny Ric and Fernando Alonso late on may dampen the result, but from pointing the wrong way on lap one and in 19th place, third come the chequered flag is pretty special. He may not acknowledge it, but Badger does. And that’s just as important, of course.
However, our Hungarian Top Dog could only go to one man; a man who despite having a not-so ‘top’ dog of a car, very nearly took the chequered flag for Ferrari for the first time since 2012. That man is Fernando Alonso.
If ever there was a day to remind us of just how accomplished the Spaniard is behind the wheel, it was today. With the rain producing a level playing field, ‘Nando rose to the top like th eproverbial cream, putting in fastest lap times throughout the race to settle down into third, second, and then first. A monumental 31-lap stint on the medium compound tyres eventually produced a 2nd place finish, just shy of the tyre savvy Ricciardo and just ahead of the resurgent Hamilton, both in much, much superior cars.
Peerless as ever, Fernando, you’ve done it again. Congratulations, you’re our Top Dog!