At the end of the Hungarian Grand Prix Lewis Hamilton admitted that his win was in no small part due to support from his family at the end of “what has been a couple of tough weeks” in the fall out of the end of his relationship with Hawaiian former Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger.
Lewis was surprised to have started the race from pole after title favorite Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber were fastest through out the practice sessions. Vettel qualified second ahead of another surprise Romain Grosjean in the Lotus Renault.
Fourth on the grid was Hamilton’s Mercedes team- mate Nico Rosberg ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and Kimi Räikkönen who was entertainingly wild in his Lotus during qualifying.
Lewis led Sebastian from the start to his first pitstop on lap ten when he rejoined in 8th place behind his former McLaren team-mate Jenson Button, whom he passed on his out lap.
Romain Grosejean briefly held the lead after Sebastian pitted on the following lap, unlike the Lewis, Sebastian found it much more difficult to pass Button who started on the harder compound tyres from 13th on the grid.
Mark Webber also starting on the harder tyres from 10th, having failed to set a time in the final qualifying session after his Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) proved recalcitrant, took the lead from Grosjean when he pitted on lap 13 with Hamilton now chasing the Australian.
Vettel was still struggling to overtake Button when first Grosjean and then Fernando Alonso caught up with them. On lap 24 Sebastian finally found
away past Button’s McLaren and Grosjean followed through a couple of corners later after making contact with the McLaren and leaving the track.
Romain was given a post race 20 second penalty for the contact and came to the attention of the stewards again 5 laps later when he left the track again in the move of the race when he overtook Felipe Massa in turn four for sixth place. Romain served an immediate drive trough penalty for his second misdemeanor of the afternoon.
After his second pit stop Hamilton took the lead from Webber on lap 35 by going round the outside of the Australian in the downhill Turn 3, while Vettel got caught behind fifth placed Button again on lap 36, as the Britain struggled on his set of soft tyres, but this time only for two laps.
Sailing mostly under the radar in the first half of the race was Kimi Räikkönen who was on a two-stop strategy where as all of the other contenders for the win intended to make 3 stops.
Kimi was up to third by lap 55 when Vettel on fresh tyres slotted into fourth after his final stop.
With 15 laps to go it was hard to imagine that the German would not find away past the Finn, but with a slightly damaged front wing and some strange instructions from his pit possibly related to a KERS issue Vettel could not find away past the defensive Finn.
Hamilton meanwhile headed for a dominant victory the only cause for concern in the Mercedes pit was when team-mate Rosberg’s engine spectacularly flamed out six laps from home. Hamilton said of his win ” I think you can tell that I was hungry for it today. I went for it with every move I had.”
The win leaves Lewis 48 points adrift of championship leader Sebastian Vettel who extended his championship points lead to 38 ahead of his nearest rival who is Kimi Räikönen once again, after Fernando Alonso could only finish a distant 5th behind Mark Webber who finished the race on soft tyres after a late pitstop.
The top ten was rounded out by the twice penalized Grosjean, Button, Massa, Sergio Perez and Pastor Maldonado. Button and Perez’s efforts for
McLaren bring the team within two points of Force India, which failed to score any points, for fifth place in the Manufacturers championship, while Maldonado’s finish delivered Williams their first point of the championship season.
Red Bull hopeful Daniel Ricciardo did well to qualify 8th, but ended up finishing 13th behind Torro Rosso team mate Jean Eric Vergne both of whom finished behind Sauber’s Nico Hülkenberg who received a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
In the battle to avoid the seasons wooden spoon Caterham showed improved form, with Giedo van der Garde 14th and team mate Charles Pic 15th albeit 2 laps down, over the Marussia’s Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton who finished 3 laps down. It would appear Marussia are already suffering the loss of Pat Symonds to Williams a couple of weeks ago.
Speculation about who will replace Mark Webber at Red Bull was seriously spiced up at the weekend when rumors started circulating that Fernando Alonso might be interested in driving alongside Sebastian Vettel. Apparently the rumors started after Alonso’s manager Garcia Abad was seen in conversation with Horner in the Hungaroring paddock.
Horner did not categorically deny the speculation, however Fernando has said that he is “very happy” at Ferrari despite the team’s lack of competitiveness, going on to observe of that “Always with four weeks with no Formula One it’s a very dangerous period for (the media) so hopefully we will have a quiet summer.”
With that thought I’ll wish you all a glorious summer break.
Next up: Half Season Review.