The Hungarian Grand Prix was halted and re-started on Sunday after a quarter of the field, including Red Bull’s Formula One leader Max Verstappen, was caught up in first lap chaos on a wet and slippery track.
Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas, Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez were all immediate retirements.
Bottas made a sluggish start and was passed by Lando Norris and Verstappen, but the Finn then braked way too late into the corner and went into the back of Norris’s McLaren, which collided with Verstappen.
“I’m sorry guys," Bottas, who also collided with Perez, said over the radio.
Verstappen continued, dropping from third to 13th with a heavily damaged car while Mercedes rival and seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton led away cleanly from pole position, before the red flags came out.
Leclerc was taken out by Stroll running into him.
“I think basically Bottas lost the car in the beginning…It’s clear that Bottas just made a big mistake and took everyone out of the race," Perez told Sky Sports television.
“It’s a big shame and a massive blow for us as a team. We also lost the engine very likely."
McLaren decided to retire Norris during the race suspension, leaving 15 cars in the competition. Team boss Andreas Seidl said Australian Daniel Ricciardo’s car was also damaged in the mayhem.
“Not much to say. Just annoying I guess," said Norris, who expected the stewards to come down hard on Bottas, with the incident under investigation.
“If I get a penalty for not even doing anything wrong in other tracks, he should deserve a much bigger penalty than what I got," said the Briton. “I hope they have some common sense and do what they should do."
The re-start then took a bizarre twist with Hamilton the only car on the starting grid after the formation lap and everyone else deciding to pit for a change of tyres.
Hamilton pitted at the end of the lap, dropping from first to last with Frenchman Esteban Ocon leading for Renault-owned Alpine.