The Hamilton-Verstappen duel and other F1 talking points

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After two chaotic incident-filled races Formula One pauses for breath on its four week summer break with plenty to digest.

Hamilton v Verstappen

After seven seasons of Mercedes domination and four straight titles for Lewis Hamilton, the king finally faces a young pretender to his crown. Thanks to Red Bull's newfound speed, Max Verstappen is fighting on equal terms with the seven-time world champion. After 11 races, the Dutchman has five wins to four for the Briton, but Hamilton has an eight-point lead in the standings. At 36, Hamilton is aiming for an eighth crown, which would break his tie for the record with Michael Schumacher. At 23, Verstappen is chasing his first title. The rivalry gained a ferocious edge after their spectacular crash at Silverstone, which threw Verstappen, who started the race with a 32-point lead over Hamilton, into a wall. The youngster then failed to collect a point in Hungary after being clipped in another first-lap accident and was the big loser over the last two races.

The other Red Bull-Mercedes battle

The number two drivers at Red Bull and Mercedes are also involved in a feisty battle. Apart from Esteban Ocon, Sergio Perez of Red Bull, who won in Baku, is the only driver outside the two pace-setters with a victory this season. But he trails Valtteri Bottas, who has been loyally helping Hamilton at Mercedes, in the driver standings. The battle acquired an added edge in Hungary when Bottas took Perez out on the first turn, though unlike Hamilton at Silverstone, the crash also took the Mercedes man out.

Alpine climbs

Alpine-Renault had been struggling in seventh in the constructors' standings before Hungary, but jumped to fifth with its first victory since returning as Renault in 2016. After seven seasons, and in his 78th Formula One start, Esteban Ocon finally had an unexpected chance to win a Grand Prix. The 24-year-old grabbed it. Fernando Alonso, who won two world titles in Renault's glory years in 2005 and 2006, showed his experience finishing fifth. Back in F1 at 40 after an two-season break, he displayed his flair and skill at Silverstone, when he overtook six cars in one lap, and in Hungary, where, for a while, he heroically held off Hamilton's attacks in a battle from another era.

Ferrari faster but still off the pace

After finishing sixth among constructors last year, its worst ever season since 1980, Ferrari is fourth but still a shadow of its former self. Carlos Sainz, who has managed two third-place finishes and Charles Leclerc, second at Silverstone, have come close, but the Scuderia has still not won a race since 2019. A development freeze meant Ferrari was unable to make major changes to last year's underperforming model. Instead the most successful team in history is working in the shadows to prepare for the revolutionary rules changes in 2022 in the hope of an Italian renaissance.

Reliable Norris

Before he was rear-ended by Bottas on the opening straight in Hungary, Briton Lando Norris was the only driver to have collected points in every race.

He remains a distant third in the driver standings behind Hamilton and Verstappen but, at 21, is already the boss at McLaren, with more than twice as many points as Australian veteran Daniel Ricciardo.

Raikkonen, the end of the line?

At 41, Kimi Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion, may be reaching the end of his Formula One road living his last moments in F1.

The Finn is dragging his Alfa Romeo round at the back of the pack and has collected just two points.

A Schumacher in last place

The only cars slower than the Alfa Romeos are the Haas team which have ot picked up a point. Mick Schumacher, son of Michael, and his Russian teammate Nikita Mazepin are the laughing stock of the circuit as the two rookies spin and crash and limp home one, two or three laps behind the winner.

ole/pb/yad

FERRARI N.V.

Renault

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