Ferrari has homework to do: Imagine predicting at the end of winter testing that Ferrari would be 60 seconds behind Mercedes and Red Bull at the Hungarian Grand Prix, it would have seemed like a crazy suggestion. But that's the reality the team faces as it heads back to Maranello.
Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc enjoyed their own personal fight for the final podium spot -- Vettel won that with a lovely move at Turn 1 in the closing moments -- but there aren't many silver linings for the team at this point.
Speaking after the race, Vettel gave a rather frank assessment of its current situation.
"I tried everything obviously but I can't be happy because we are not fast today," Vettel said "I think losing 60 seconds in 70 laps is probably fair, that's what we are missing. Maybe we didn't pick the absolute fastest strategy but we're just not quick enough today. A lot of homework for us."
Ferrari's engine seems to have an outright power advantage, which should suit the team in Belgium and its home race in Italy, but it sounds as a lot of people will be facing up to some rather harsh truths in the coming months.
Ferrari's drivers were in their own fight for who occupied the final spot of the Hungarian Grand Prix podium. ANDREJ ISAKOVIC/AFP/Getty Images
Terrible timing: If there was ever a time Valtteri Bottas couldn't afford a bad display, it was today. On Saturday, Toto Wolff had confirmed to the media what most people assumed anyway -- at some point over the next few weeks, he will pick Bottas or reserve driver Esteban Ocon as the man to partner Hamilton in 2020.
Those quotes must have been ringing in Bottas' ears all day before the race. What a chance to snatch the initiative, return to the top step of the podium and make Wolff's decision as easy as possible. As it turned out, the Finn's race unravelled within seconds of the start.
After locking up at the first two corners, he made contact with Hamilton and then Leclerc, forcing him to pit for a new front wing. He was in damage limitation from that point and eighth position was the best he could manage.
"It was tough, not what I expected, obviously far from it," Bottas said immediately afterwards. "After the first lap it was a bit of a mess and I knew that it was going to be tricky for sure. I tried everything I could but that's how it goes sometimes."
It leaves him a staggering 63 points behind Hamilton with nine races to go.
"It's a big gap, much bigger than I would have liked to have," he said later in the evening. "But that's the gap now. Not much else I can do. Don't really want to think about it too much now, for sure.
"Obviously, it's a bit of a tricky situation, but that's how it is."
But he's not the only driver with a lot to think about before the Belgian Grand Prix ...
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