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Motor racing-Ocon races to maiden win, Vettel disqualified

Frenchman Esteban Ocon raced to his maiden Formula One win in a chaotic Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday, as Lewis Hamilton vaulted back into the championship lead with a second-placed finish after Sebastian Vettel was disqualified.

The 24-year-old Ocon took the flag 1.8 seconds clear of Vettel, but the four-times world champion German was disqualified after his Aston Martin was found not to have enough fuel to provide the mandatory post-race sample.

Rules require cars to have at least a liter of fuel left in the tank at the end of a race to be extracted as a sample. But only 0.3 liters of fuel could be taken from Vettel’s car.

As a result, Hamilton, who put in a stirring drive to recover from a strategic misstep that dropped him from first to last, moved up to second having very nearly caught Ocon and Vettel.

The Briton turned his eight-point deficit to Max Verstappen in the standings into an eight-point lead over the Dutchman, who finished 10th but was classified ninth following Vettel’s disqualification.

The German’s Aston Martin team said they intended to appeal the decision.

Spaniard Carlos Sainz moved into the final podium spot for Ferrari to take his second top-three finish for the Maranello-based team this season.

FANTASTIC DAY

“What a moment, what a moment. It feels so good,” said an exultant Ocon, handing his Renault-owned team their first win in their Alpine guise and their first since the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in 2013 when they raced as Lotus.

“It’s the first victory since the Renault group came back into Formula One.

“It’s been a fantastic day,” added Ocon, who also became the first Frenchman to win in a French car with a French engine since Alain Prost with Renault in 1983.

Starting eighth and 10th respectively, neither Ocon nor Vettel were thought to be remotely in contention for a race expected to play out as a straight fight between pole-sitter Hamilton and third-placed Verstappen.

But carnage on a wet opening lap and a strategy error wrong footed both title protagonists.

McLaren’s Lando Norris smacked into the side of Verstappen’s Red Bull after being tagged by the slow starting Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas, who went on to collect the other Red Bull of Sergio Perez, putting both cars out of the race.

That incident and a collision between Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll brought out the safety car before the race was halted on the second lap.

Verstappen’s crew tried to repair his car during the interruption but the Red Bull had suffered far too much damage to bring the Dutchman, now in 13th, back into contention.

HAMILTON SETBACK

Hamilton suffered a setback of his own as he lined up alone for the restart on intermediate tires on a bone-dry grid even as the rest of the field peeled off into the pits.

He pitted a lap later but came out last, scything through the field in a charge that saw him engage in a potentially race-deciding duel with Fernando Alonso, who was voted ‘Driver of the Day’ by fans and moved up to fourth after Vettel’s penalty.

“We always make it difficult for ourselves … but these things happen and we learn from them,” said Hamilton, who was denied a landmark 100th career win and a record ninth in Hungary.

“I gave it everything and I had nothing left at the end,” added the Briton, who had to be looked over by the Mercedes team doctor after suffering fatigue and dizziness on the podium.

AlphaTauri’s Pierre Gasly, the last Frenchman to win a race, was classified fifth after Vettel’s penalty. He also took the point for fastest lap. (Reporting by Abhishek Takle; editing by Toby Davis)

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