BUDAPEST, July 26- German driver Sebastian Vettel delivered an emotional high-speed tribute to his late colleague Jules Bianchi on Sunday when he stormed to victory for Ferrari in a dramatic and incident-filled Hungarian Grand Prix.
The four-time world champion claimed his second victory of the season and 41st of his career — drawing him level with the late Brazilian legend Ayrton Senna in equal third on the all-time list — after leading from the start to dominate a thrilling and unpredictable contest.
The Red Bull pair of Russian Daniil Kvyat and Australian Daniel Ricciardo finished in second and third respectively.
The ferocity of the contest, lit up by Vettel’s blazing speed and tenacity, served as an appropriate tribute to Frenchman Bianchi, who died on July 17 from injuries sustained when he collided with a recovery vehicle in torrential rain at last October’s Japanese Grand Prix.
A minute’s silence for Bianchi, a Ferrari academy protégé, before the race created an emotional atmosphere that was reflected in the action and in Vettel’s speech to the Ferrari team on his triumphant slow-down lap.
“Merci Jules, c’est a toi,” said the winner. “Thank you Jules, You will always be in our hearts This win is for you.”
It was Vettel’s first victory in Hungary, and 21-year-old Kvyat’s first career podium – the best ever by a Russian driver — as Red Bull produced a reminder of their pedigree. It was the first podium this year without a Mercedes driver.
Dutch teenager Jos Verstappen finished fourth for Toro Rosso — on a track where his father Jos finished on the podium in 1994 — ahead of two-time champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso who delivered the troubled McLaren Honda team’s best result of the year in fifth place.
Series leader and defending two-time champion Briton Lewis Hamilton finished sixth, after starting from pole position, for Mercedes to enlarge his advantage in the title race after an afternoon of incidents, mishaps and penalties.
Frenchman Romain Grosjean came home seventh for Lotus ahead of German Nico Rosberg, who suffered a puncture in the closing laps when he seemed sure to finish second for Mercedes, and Briton Jenson Button, who was ninth in the second McLaren.
Swede Marcus Ericsson scored a valuable point for Sauber by taking 10th position in a tumultuous finish.