Mighty Hamilton fends off Raikkonen to win in Hungary

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4-27 leads at the start of the race. Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race Day, Budapest, Hungary, Sunday 29 July 2012.

Lewis Hamilton leads at the start of the Hungarian GP

Jul.29 (GP247) One could say that Lewis Hamilton dominated the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, fastest in FP1 and FP2, untouchable in qualifying and victorious in the race, but in truth he was made to work hard for his second win of the season after fending off a relentless attack from Kimi Raikkonen for the last one-third of the race.

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus F1, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren and Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus F1 celebrate on the podium. Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race Day, Budapest, Hungary, Sunday 29 July 2012.The McLaren managed a bullet start, with Hamilton leading off the line and then proceeding to control the race until the very end, despite the Lotus of Raikkonen filling his mirrors for the last 20 or so laps. But Hamilton was not perturbed as he defended his lead and in fact reeled off a couple of fast laps with the finish in sight, edging a little gap on the final tour. His message quite clear: this one is mine and I had some to spare!

Hamilton’s strategy to run The Pirelli soft tyres from the start followed by two stints on the harder tyre differed to the trio behind him who all opted softs for the first two stints and the harder tyre for the final stint, and despite Raikkonen’s tyres being five laps newer in the final stint the Lotus simply did not have the legs to catch the McLaren when it mattered.

Hamilton – who now lies fourth in the championship with 117 points, 47 points adrift of top spot – said afterwards, “An amazing day, fantastic work by all the team and the fans have been fantastic. Thank you for having us. I am looking forward to the continuation of the championship. A long way to go and a lot of work to do but we have shown we can compete. It is very, very close but we are going to give it all we can.”

Lewis Hamilton McLaren MP4-27 chased by Kimi Raikkonen Lotus E20 Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race Day, Budapest, Hungary, Sunday 29 July 2012.It was a good performance and points haul for Lotus, but having upped their ante in qualifying the team will be wondering what to do to nab that ever so elusive first victory this season. Raikkonen would probably get the ‘man of the match award’ if there were such a thing, for a stirring drive.

The Finn started fifth and drove a strategically impeccable race, he peeled out of the pits, after his final stop side by side with team mate Romain Grosjean. The pair of gold and black cars proceeded to rub rubber as they went through Turn 1 and Turn 2, but Kimi gave it a dollop of KERS and snatched second place, he would have had it no other way. The stop saw him catapult from fourth to second, his pre-pitstop laps were of the highest order and crucial to his second place result. But boy it was close between the Lotus pair.

Raikkonen did not mince his words, “We came second, it’s not enough but we had some problems with the KERS. We had some speed and we’ll try to win the next race. At least we are up there all the time and we put ourselves in a good position but we are not happy until we win.”

Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Lotus E20 passes Romain Grosjean (FRA) Lotus E20. Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race Day, Budapest, Hungary, Sunday 29 July 2012.Grosjean, who started second on the grid and held the position until that point, also drove a faultless race to take the final podium position after fending off Sebastian Vettel for most of the race.

As is his custom, the Frenchman was in high spirits after a very solid performance, “It was a fantastic race and we were fighting for the win but we wanted to get back onto the podium with the two cars and that’s what we did. It was a tough race but we enjoyed it and I hope next time we will get the win.”

Vettel was in the mix for most of the afternoon, but the Red Bull RB8 was not kind to its tyres, and while attempting a Lotus style soft-soft-hard strategy he gave up and stopped again on lap 59 for another set of softs. After that he was among the quickest out on track but ran out of time in his attempt to catch Grosjean. He crossed the line fourth.

What a difference a week makes, after his German GP win, birthday boy Fernando Alonso had to make do with fifth place in Hungary, the Ferrari clearly unable to fight with the leaders. Nevertheless he will go on holiday leading the championship and looking back on Hungary as a job well done, as he extended his lead over second placed Mark Webber by six points. The standings at the top Alonso 164, and Webber 124.

Sebastian Vettel red Bull versus Kimi raikkonen Lotus  Hungarian Grand Prix, Race Day, Budapest, Hungary, Sunday 29 July 2012.Unable to match Hamilton’s pace all weekend, Jenson Button nevertheless looked set for a podium at one stage in the race, but he became embroiled in a time consuming battle with Bruno Senna and for the Englishman fourth on the grid ended up sixth when the chequered flag dropped to end the race.

Although his best result was sixth place in Malaysia earlier this year, Senna had his best race in Hungary dueling with the big boys and out performing team mate Pastor Maldonado. Seventh place was a just reward for his toil.

Mark Webber was another one who looked string early on, with a top five apparently beckoning for the Red Bull driver who started from 11th on the grid. But like his team mate the RB8 simply ran out of rubber and he had to make an extra stop, which cost him dearly and eighth was as good as it got for the Aussie.

For Felipe Massa it was another reasonable performance, but again nowhere close to that of his teammate, as the Brazilian stayed out of trouble and troubled no one on his way to claiming ninth place.

Bruno Senna Williams FW34. leads Felipe Massa Ferrari F2012 Formula One World Championship, Rd11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race Day, Budapest, Hungary, Sunday 29 July 2012.The final point went to Nico Rosberg and Mercedes, the Silver Arrows free falling out of contention in the past few races with no end in sight. The victory in China will seem a long time ago as both Rosberg and Michael Schumacher struggle with the woeful W03.

Schumacher’s season went from bad to worse as he stalled (or something of the sort) on the grid, forcing an extra formation lap as the Mercedes was wheeled off the track, forcing the German to start from the pitlane. Then to add insult to injury, he was penalised with a drive through for speeding in the pitlane. Obviously the seven times world champion was never in contention and packed it up on lap  58.

Sauber, who were so strong seven days earlier in Germany, were well off the pace all weekend long with Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi finishing 14th and 18th respectively. A shame because the team’s biggest sponsor Carlos Slim – the world’s richest man and Telmex head honcho – was in attendance.

Thus the F1 world goes into forced hibernation until 31 August, when FP1 and FP2 takes place at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, but for fans the prospect of an even more intriguing second half of the season is on the cards. Although Alonso has a healthy points lead, the nature of this season deems any points lead very fragile. The championship is still very much alive, with some very determined challengers sure to make this a huge fight to the very last.

Hungarian Grand Prix – Sunday, 29 July 2012

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time Grid Pts
1 4 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 69 Winner 1 25
2 9 Kimi Räikkönen Lotus-Renault 69 +1.0 secs 5 18
3 10 Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault 69 +10.5 secs 2 15
4 1 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull Racing-Renault 69 +11.6 secs 3 12
5 5 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 69 +26.6 secs 6 10
6 3 Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 69 +30.2 secs 4 8
7 19 Bruno Senna Williams-Renault 69 +33.8 secs 9 6
8 2 Mark Webber Red Bull Racing-Renault 69 +34.4 secs 11 4
9 6 Felipe Massa Ferrari 69 +38.3 secs 7 2
10 8 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 69 +51.2 secs 13 1
11 12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes 69 +57.2 secs 10
12 11 Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 69 +62.8 secs 12
13 18 Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault 69 +63.6 secs 8
14 15 Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari 69 +64.4 secs 14
15 16 Daniel Ricciardo STR-Ferrari 68 +1 Lap 18
16 17 Jean-Eric Vergne STR-Ferrari 68 +1 Lap 16
17 20 Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault 68 +1 Lap 19
18 14 Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 67 +2 Laps 15
19 21 Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault 67 +2 Laps 20
20 25 Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth 67 +2 Laps 21
21 24 Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth 66 +3 Laps 22
22 22 Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth 66 +3 Laps 23
Ret 23 Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth 60 +9 Laps 24
Ret 7 Michael Schumacher Mercedes 58 +11 Laps 17

 

  • kaka007

    can’t wait for spa………kimi’s first win on the cards…..

    star=kimi
    winners= lewis,grosjean,vettel,alonso,senna,rosberg,pic
    losers= button,webber,massa,schumacher,glock,sauber

  • Sohail Khan

    @kaka007

    The biggest loser whom you have conveniently ignored is Force India.
    It’s time to give Andrew Green the boot.

  • george

    What a drive from the Iceman and what a comeback!!! So close to the victory, but still a solid race to get to the podium from starting 5th

  • Harsha

    Drive of the Day is Kimi
    But Lewis did a Good job to hold off raikkonnen

  • Speedo

    I would not say mighty but a masterful controlled drive by Hamilton looking after his tyres. McLaren again blotched in the pits, it was a mix of good and bad pit stops wheret Button lost out but not so much for Lewis. The strategy of bringing him for the third pit stop back fired as when he joined the race he was into traffic which cost him dearly. He said his tyres were ok at that time. It was a surprise to hear Vettel actually whining over the team radio twice requesting his team to do something for him to get ahead which they actually did bringing him for the third pit stop for fresh tyres and he came out ahead of Alonso and Button and reeled in Romain but ran out of laps. Kimi was Kimi and he deserved the podium but was it correct to send his team mate off track when he came out of the pits. What if there was grass or gravel? No wonder Romain looked miserable after the race. If Lewis had done this there would have been adverse posts and criticism. Not fair mate.

  • Hawk

    @Speedo
    I agree with all of your post but one. However, I think Kimi was not wrong. He kept the racing line like Button did with Vettel. How different it was from the Pastor DiResta incident though I do not know. Did you want him to sit back and let Grosjean through? That would be too passive; and on hindsight would have held him up since he Grosjean was slower on the final stint. In otherwords only Kimi had the chance to fight for victory not Grosjean since his Kimis tyres were five laps newer. What surprises me is that the McLaren looked after their medium tyres better judging from how Grosjean who had the same age tyres with Lewis fell off meaning that had Kimi pitted around the same time he would not have kept up with Lewis.

  • Hawk

    Button and Vettel in Hockenheim not Hungaroring

  • hillside

    saying mighty as if LH finished with a 20sec gap