BUDAPEST - Australian Daniel Ricciardo charged to a thrilling Hungarian Grand Prix victory on Sunday, his second Formula One win for Red Bull, as a drenched track caused chaos among world championship leaders. Rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and his Mercedes teammate and championship leader Nico Rosberg reached a new peak as Hamilton rebuffed team orders to let Rosberg by into third place.
Mercedes said it would hold a team inquiry. But Hamilton's success trimmed Rosberg's lead in the title race from 14 points to 11. The German now leads with 202, Hamilton has 191 and Ricciardo is third with 131. Ricciardo, 25, held off Ferrari's Fernando Alonso to take first place in a race which saw several high-speed crashes after a heavy downpour just before the start changed the course of the race.
Ricciardo led twice before he fought back to recapture the lead with three laps remaining, following a series of daring passes. Ricciardo's win was executed with great elan and confirmed him as a driver with the potential to be a future champion. Ricciardo won the Canadian Grand Prix in June and is the only non-Mercedes driver to have won a race this year.
"This feels just as good as the first one," said Ricciardo. "It was a lot of fun in the last few laps, with the passing. I had to go for it." Hamilton and Rosberg had a fierce battle on the track and via the Mercedes team radio as they tried to make the most of contrasting strategies in the changeable conditions. Hamilton started from the pit lane along with rookies Daniil Kvyat of Toro Rosso, who had stalled on the formation grid, and Dane Kevin Magnussen, who crashed his McLaren in qualifying.
Hamilton was running with cold brakes in a car rebuilt overnight following the blaze, caused by a fuel leak. Pushing to make up places, he spun on his opening lap and brushed the barriers at Turn Two.
"My front left hit the wall. The brakes just gave up," said Hamilton. Another crash, when Swedish rookie Marcus Ericsson lost control of his Caterham, on lap eight brought out the Safety Car.Jenson Button in a McLaren took the lead for a while but as the conditions changed he had to pit. This put Ricciardo back on top again. Hamilton, sensibly, had pitted and was soon back up to ninth, within two cars of Rosberg, as the field, shuffled heavily by the rain and the Safety Car, began to settle again. Both Force Indias were soon among the list of retirements. German Nico
Hulkenberg crashed out at Turn One, after clipping team-mate Mexican Sergio Perez, and soon after Perez lost control at the final corner and spun heavily into the walls.
The Safety Car came out for a second time and Ricciardo pitted again from the lead, gifting Alonso the rarity of running at the front for Ferrari as the beleaguered Italian team struggled to end their poor form. On lap 33, Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull car spun at the final corner and down the straight, saving himself from disaster by kissing the wall. Rosberg pitted, endured a problematic stop, and rejoined 13th.
Offered his chance, Hamilton seized it. On lap 34, he delivered a sublime pass round Jean-Eric Vergne in a Torro Rosso to take second and begin the chase after Alonso. Alonso finally pitted again after lap 38 and Hamilton, from a pit lane start, took the lead. It lasted one lap before he pitted again, for medium tyres, rejoining fifth behind Alonso with Ricciardo leading.
On lap 47, Hamilton's race engineer Pete Bonnington warned him "Nico is behind and on the option tyres so don't hold him up." Further warnings followed but Hamilton declined to heed them. "I'll let him through if he gets closer," he said. "I'm not slowing down for Nico..." Rosberg pitted again with 13 laps remaining. He rejoined seventh and battled his way to fourth and finished half a second behind Hamilton.
Rosberg said after he had been told by the team that Hamilton would let him by. "I don't know what happened," he said, saying it would have to be discussed "internally". Mercedes chief Toto Wolff said there would be "no knee-jerk reaction" to Hamilton's actions and there would be an internal inquiry. Brazilian Felipe Massa of Williams finished fifth ahead of Finn Kimi Raikkonen, in the second Ferrari, defending four time champion German Sebastian Vettel in the second Red Bull and Finn Valtteri Bottas of Williams.