TOUCHING F1 TRIBUTE: F1 drivers embrace and form a circle during a minute of silence in honour of Jules Bianchi who died earlier in July 2015. Image: AP / Ronald Zak
BUDAPEST, Hungary - As if by divine intervention, or some force of fate, Formula 1 and Ferrari honoured Jules Bianchi on Sunday (July 26) with a Hungarian GP worthy of the late driver's memory.
With the Bianchi family in attendance and only days after most of the grid had attended his funeral in Nice, the Hungaroring served up a thrilling race and the Ferrari victory Bianchi would have wished for.
Race-winner Sebastian Vettel, a pallbearer at the funeral earlier in July 2015, said: "This victory is for Jules. We know it has been an incredibly tough week and I think for all of us it is very, very difficult.
"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 (This victory, it is for Jules)."
As it happened: 2015 Hungarian GP
Bianchi, who went through Ferrari's driver academy, died in hospital nine months after his Ferrari-powered Marussia crashed into a recovery tractor during the 2014 Japanese GP.
He was the first driver to die of injuries sustained over a race weekend since Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger at Imola in 1994.
F1 CEO 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.
Daniel Ricciardo finished third for Red Bull behind team mate Daniil Kvyat.
Ricciardo said: "As all the drivers have said, this race was for Jules. 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."
'WE HAD A LAUGH BEFORE THE RACE'
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 got his wish.
Championship leader Lewis Hamilton, who started on pole, and Nico Rosberg both finished far from the podium places.
Ricciardo said: "Bernie was here saying 'Thank you very much for a great day for 1'."
"We had a laugh before the race. He said 'Bloody don't win this race, it's important for F1'. And then he came in (afterwards) and said 'Oh, you were overdoing it now'."
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