Monday, Jul 15th

You are here: Home

Hungary F-1 serves up a race worthy of Bianchi's memory

f_1BUDAPEST-- As if by divine intervention, or some force of fate, Formula One and Ferrari honoured Jules Bianchi on Sunday with a Hungarian Grand Prix worthy of the late French driver's memory.
  With the family in attendance, only days after most of the starting grid had attended his funeral in Nice, the Hungaroring served up a thrilling race and the Ferrari victory the 25-year-old would have wished for.
  "This victory is for Jules," declared race winner Sebastian Vettel, the four times world champion who had helped carry Bianchi's coffin five days earlier.
  "We know that it has been an incredibly tough week and I think for all of us it is very, very difficult," added the German.
  "So this one is for him and especially all the people in Ferrari and all the Ferrari fans. We knew that sooner or later he would have been part of our team, part of this family. Cette victoire, c'est pour Jules."
  Bianchi, who came up through Ferrari's driver academy, died in hospital nine months after his Ferrari-powered Marussia crashed into a recovery tractor during the Japanese Grand Prix last October.
  He was the first driver to die of injuries sustained over a race weekend since Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger at Imola in 1994.
  Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone had flown the Bianchi family to Hungary on his private jet so they could join the drivers and team bosses in a minute's silence on the grid before the start.
  If a Ferrari victory seemed too much to ask for, given that Mercedes had won eight of nine races before Sunday, the sight of the red cars roaring past the Mercedes to lead one-two after the first lap hinted at something special unfolding.
  Something almost magical, like the 1988 Italian Grand Prix -- the first after the death of team founder Enzo Ferrari -- that saw Ferrari end dominant McLaren's winning streak with a one-two finish.
  "As all the drivers have said, this race was for Jules," commented Australian Daniel Ricciardo, last year's winner who finished third for Red Bull behind Russian team mate Daniil Kvyat after Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen had retired.
  "I left everything on the track. Whether some competitors like it or not, that's how I wanted to do it and that's how I'll always do it. And watching Jules grow up, that was how he did it.
  "He had amazing race craft and made some pretty impressive lunges. I drove inspired today," said Ricciardo.
  Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff had been left in no doubt before the race what Ecclestone had wanted to see and it was not another victory for the champions. The 84-year-old Briton got his wish.
  "Bernie was here saying 'Thank you very much for a great day for Formula One'," said the Austrian after championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who started on pole, and Nico Rosberg both finished far from the podium places.
  "We had a laugh before the race. He said 'Bloody don't win this race, it's important for Formula One'. And then he came in (afterwards) and said 'Oh, you were overdoing it now'."