Hungarian Grand Prix

2015 Hungarian Grand Prix: Saturday Analysis

The big book of superlatives has certainly been put to good use today, as Lewis Hamilton took an emphatic pole position for the Hungarian Grand Prix. At arguably his best circuit of the year, Hamilton was imperious, following on from three untroubled practice sessions and managed to post a masterful flying lap to end his charge in Q3 and leave teammate and title rival Nico Rosberg trailing in his wake, to the tune of a rather surprising six tenths. Rosberg’s qualifying was hampered by balance issues, which seriously hampered him in the technical sector two.

It may be the usual front row, but in unusual circumstances, with Rosberg left scratching his head after another tricky Saturday afternoon.



2015 Hungarian Grand Prix: Friday Analysis

As drivers, teams and fans were forced to cope with sweltering conditions at the Hungaroring, it was Lewis Hamilton who topped the timesheet in both sessions, on a day when grip was at a premium. Undoubtedly amplified by the track temperature which rarely fell below 50 degrees, a number of drivers found themselves struggling to find a balance, with Sebastian Vettel enduring a particularly challenging Friday, with two spins in FP2 following a slow start to FP1 due to an electrical connector issue. While Ferrari have work to do overnight, it is Red Bull who, on the basis of today, will be the best of the rest behind the class-leaders this weekend, as both Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat recorded impressive short and long run times.


2015 Hungarian Grand Prix: Weekend Preview

After a thrilling British Grand Prix which put the zip back into F1’s step, the sport heads to Budapest in Hungary in search of another classic race to match the equivalent event in 2014, which saw Daniel Ricciardo snatch victory from Fernando Alonso in the closing laps.


This weekend will, however, be difficult for fans, teams and drivers alike, following a challenging week for the sport after the sad passing of Jules Bianchi.

His friends and family will undoubtedly be in everyone’s thoughts for the duration of the weekend.


2014 Hungarian Grand Prix: Race Analysis

Summer Of Smiles For Danny Ric

Remarkable. Monday morning and I am only just recovering from what was an utterly enthralling race. The nature of the Hungaroring determines that overtaking is a real challenge, yet upon watching Daniel Ricciardo emphatically pass two World Champions in the closing stages, it is difficult to believe. The Hungarian Grand Prix had everything – an unlikely winner, a dramatic conclusion, inter-team controversies, mixed strategies and a spot of precipitation. The outcome saw Mercedes beaten on a level playing field for the first time this season, as Ricciardo was once again the thorn in their side, or the blot in their copybook, as he made the optimum strategy work to devastating effect and snatched victory in the final laps from who else but the man who never gives up, Fernando Alonso. With Mercedes finishing P3 and P4, there is just so much to analyse. We will be talking about the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix for many years to come.

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Strategists were certainly in the thick of the action yesterday. What better place to start than the start of the race, and with about 30 minutes until lights out, the rain began to fall by the bucket load. Several installation laps later and drivers were still unsure of whether the intermediate or wet tyre would be the best option. Ultimately, the Hungaroring has a surface which drys quickly, hence the intermediate proved to be the unanimous choice.
It was in fact Marcus Ericsson who proved to be the biggest headache for strategists, as his nasty accident at turn three, (recorded at 20G) came at a crossroads in the race. Slicks were still around two laps away, but all but one of the teams opted for the dry tyres as the radar suggested that no rain would be forthcoming. However, McLaren’s memo must have been lost in the post, as they fitted another set of inters to Button and kept Magnussen on his old set of inters. In hindsight, it was a huge mistake as they were caught radar-watching instead of reacting to both the skies and their rivals. What made this error even more painful for McLaren was that at the restart, they were in P2 with Jenson and P4 with Kevin, as the top four from before the safety car period were past the pit entry when the accident occurred, meaning that they had lost time in completing the additional lap.
It is likely that Button would have finished in P5 – while there are a huge amount of variables, he was ahead of Felipe Massa at this point and the Brazilian finished P5 in a race where the relative pace of the Williams and McLaren duo’s was very similar. An opportunity missed by McLaren, who may have to re-assess their processes when reacting to changing weather conditions in the future.
While McLaren had their strategic nightmare, Ricciardo, Alonso and Hamilton were three drivers who all conducted the perfect strategies, despite all finishing the race on different tyre options. The rain had meant that different strategies would work for different drivers depending on their positions in traffic. For example, Daniel Ricciardo’s three stop strategy worked perfectly as it allowed him the opportunity to build a lead in the third stint and have fresh tyres with which to attack Hamilton and Alonso in the closing stages. Upon taking the lead, Ferrari opted to maintain track position, (which is not a bad call when you have one of the best defensive drivers of the modern era in your car). This was a similar ideology employed by Hamilton’s side of the garage, yet was pre-determined when he made his second stop, by putting the slightly more durable medium compound tyre on the car. Ferrari’s strategy was more of a knee-jerk reaction to unfolding events, but all three strategies worked to an extent. Ricciardo’s obviously worked best, but had either Alonso or Hamilton turned to a similar pit-stop plan, they would not have been as successful. The top three all maximized the potential from their respective races.

“Not Slowing Down For Nico”

However, Hamilton’s race could have been very different, had he acted upon the team’s instructions. When Nico Rosberg cruised up to the back of Hamilton, the team decided to ask Lewis to allow Nico to pass on the basis that the German was on the faster tyre and had to make one more pit-stop. Lewis was not obliged to let his title rival through and with good reason – had he allowed his teammate the free pass, Rosberg would have finished second.
This can be proven using cold hard facts. When closing in on Lewis, Nico was posting consistent 1:27s, yet this fell to 1:28’s when he was stuck behind his teammate for the ten laps before he eventually pitted. In theory, Nico would have emerged nine seconds behind Lewis after his final stop and on fresh tyres, would have inevitably caught him and quite possibly made the overtake on not only Lewis but also Fernando. This may seem like a bold statement, but considering the fact that he was 3.5 seconds a lap faster than the dueling top three in the final laps, it becomes increasing believable.
By no means am I suggesting that Lewis was wrong to not follow the instructions – quite the opposite in fact. It was the Mercedes pit-wall who were in the wrong by interfering with their drivers on track. It is disappointing to see that a team who have allowed their drivers to race unconditionally all season, to break that trend with a pointless radio call which was going to be sent straight to the recycle bin by Lewis Hamilton, who could see beyond the fact that he had a one stop advantage at the time.

Feeling The Full Force

It is difficult to think of means by which Force India’s day could have been any worse. A double retirement is one thing, but when one of the cars retires after making contact with his teammate and the other retires after a massive impact with the pit wall, it cannot get much worse.
Nico Hulkenberg was the first to exit stage right as he made contact with Sergio Perez at the final corner. Clumsy was the best way to describe that particular incident, as the German looked to take advantage of a door that was wide open – He tucked his nose inside of his teammate, committing to the overtake and Perez did not see it coming, turned in and the contact was an inevitability. “The track was drying out and I was quite close behind Checo when I made contact with him at the final corner,” Nico reflected. “The previous lap he had taken a much wider line so I tried to overtake on the inside, but he took a tighter line and I couldn’t back out of the move.” Disappointment for Hulkenberg who suffered his first retirement of the season and the first time he has not taken points away from a race since Abu Dhabi in 2013. Now Fernando Alonso is the only man to have scored points in every race this season.
Meanwhile, Sergio Perez somehow managed to top Marcus Ericsson in the biggest crash of the day stakes, as he slammed into the pit-wall in what appeared to be a ferocious impact, after loosing control of the car on the astro-turf on the exit of the final corner. Fortunately Perez was unscathed following the accident and a brief visit to the medical centre was all the attention that was required. However, financial attention will be required at Force India as this weekend’s repair bill will certainly prove unwelcome.

Vergne’s Day In The Spotlight

Jean Eric Vergne may not have won the race, but he played an instrumental part in the outcome, much like Jenson Button did in last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix. Jean-Eric emerged in P2 during his second stint and while Fernando was scampering away into the distance and Daniel Ricciardo was catching the train of cars from P2 to P6, Vergne was holding off Nico Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel (until he spun out of contention) and Lewis Hamilton. The incredible straight line speed of the Toro Rosso, which has always been a part of the team’s design ideology, regardless of engine supplier, was evident and the Mercedes struggled to pass. Eventually, Rosberg had to run a compromised strategy in order to clear the Toro Rosso driver and while Lewis Hamilton did find a way past, it was through the unconventional route of the outside of turn four – in other words, it took a stroke of genius and plenty of courage to pass the Frenchman. His eventual P9 was thoroughly well deserved, from a performance which demonstrated the strength in depth of the Red Bull driver programme.


Driver of the Day
Fernando Alonso  
What can be said about the eternal ‘scrapper’ that hasn’t already. Fernando Alonso once again hauled a car which had no right to be on the podium, onto the podium. Considering that he was one of the unlucky four to be wrong-footed by the first safety car, it puts into context the magnitude of the drive to finish not only in P2 but ahead to Nico Rosberg. The final stint on the soft compound was utterly captivating – to complete almost half of the race distance on the option tyre and be just three laps short of taking victory in the final assessment is no mean feat. Alonso at his very best.

Race Result
1 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull
2 Fernando Alonso Ferrari
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes
4 Nico Rosberg Mercedes
5 Felipe Massa Williams
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari
7 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams
9 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso
10 Jenson Button McLaren
11 Adrian Sutil Sauber
12 Kevin Magnussen McLaren
13 Pastor Maldonado Lotus
14 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso
15 Jules Bianchi Marussia
16 Max Chilton Marussia
R Esteban Gutierrez Sauber
R Kamui Kobayashi Caterham
R Sergio Perez Force India
R Nico Hulkenberg Force India
R Romain Grosjean Lotus
R Marcus Ericsson Caterham        

2014 Hungarian Grand Prix: Friday Analysis

With the typically large Hungaroring crowds in full force, the drivers delivered some exciting action today on what is frequently called a driver’s circuit. Most of this excitement was sideways, as the track was in its usual state on a Friday – green, with grip at a premium. The likes of Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa and Kevin Magnussen were all caught out by the track conditions, in varying degrees of severity. Ironically, the duo who faced the worst conditions of the day were also the duo who topped the timesheet in both sessions, with Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton setting the first times of FP1 and also the fastest later on in the day. Lots of mileage for the title rivals as their battle continues to intensify.

The Tension Is Palpable

It is now all but confirmed, that the loss of FRIC has not effected Mercedes as much as was first perceived. On a circuit where the benefits of FRIC should be as evident as any other, the Silver Arrows were at their usual scintillating best. Lewis may have topped both sessions, but Nico was never far behind and previous form suggests that the Brit’s advantage will decrease over the course of the weekend. What was immediately evident this morning was the determination to clock as many laps as possible on both sides of the garage. On the green track, neither Lewis nor Nico were concerned by the fact that their early running in the first fifteen minutes was unrepresentative – they know that any advantage that can be gained could make the difference between victory and defeat on Sunday, and that is why they were willing to battle a track which their fellow competitors ignored. With this race having huge psychological implications, it could prove critical to a title race which is remarkably close.

The Battle For Best-Of-The-Rest

Hence, the real battle this weekend, (barring any unforeseen circumstances) is for the final step on the podium – and what a battle it could be. Firstly, Red Bull’s pace throughout the day was very impressive. Both long and short run performance was impressive, with both Vettel and Ricciardo lapping consistently in the 1:29’s during the race simulation runs in FP2. There qualifying simulation performance in the same session was also strong, with Vettel finishing P3 on the timesheet and Ricciardo ending the day P7. The new front wing details, (including turning veins which could compensate for the loss of FRIC) and a typically audacious rake setting seems to be working well on a circuit which will always favour the traits of the Milton Keynes based squad. 
One key aspect of today’s running was the intra-team battle at Red Bull. Sebastian did appear to have an edge over his teammate, which has rarely been the case this season, during both sessions. However, despite having never won in Budapest, the Hungaroring is a track which the reigning champion seems to enjoy. In both 2010 and 2013, the German was close to victory and his own errors of judgement, (particularly in the case of the former), cost him the chance of a maiden Hungarian victory. Based on today’s running, it seems that Vettel will be best placed to mop up any Mercedes dramas on Sunday. 
Meanwhile, Red Bull will have close company in the form of Ferrari this weekend. While they typically look faster on a Friday than their genuine pace allows, both Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen enjoyed good short and long run pace comparable with Red Bull. For Kimi, a trouble free Friday is integral to his weekend, as he is evidently a sensitive driver and requires a perfect setup to extract the maximum from the car. While the handling of the F14 T looked typically frustrating, with both drivers wrestling with both understeer and oversteer, sometimes with both occurring during the same corner, it seems that Ferrari are one of the biggest winners as a result of the removal of FRIC. McLaren also seem to have made great strides, with both Magnussen and Button enjoying promising Friday’s. 
There is a strong possibility that McLaren could beat Williams this weekend, as Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa seem to be suffering from a lack of downforce. The team predicted a difficult weekend in Hungary, and by their recent high standards, it seems as though the weekend will be a case of damage limitation in the tight constructors battle for second, third and fourth.

Thrills and Spills

Today was certainly not without a few dramatic moments. The first came within just four minutes of the green light of FP1, as Max Chilton ground to a halt in the pit lane after an installation lap. An oil leak from the exhaust caused a fire which was effectively extinguished before it escalated. As such, a gearbox and bodywork change later, Max was ready to return to the track in the final five minutes of the session. Certainly not ideal for Marussia, who essentially lost half of their data gathering potential in FP1, but their recovery in FP2 largely compensated for this. Caterham had the edge over their rivals in the first session, but this gap was reduced significantly in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, the lack of grip caused a number of drivers significant issues. Both Felipe Massa and Kevin Magnussen suffered excursions at the turn 7 and 8 chicane, Kamui Kobayashi spun at turn 9 and turn ten sent Pastor Maldonado into a spin as well. Better to make a mistake on Friday as oppose to Saturday I suppose! 

FP1 Timesheet

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1m25.814s 
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m25.997s +0.183s 
3 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1m26.421s +0.607s 
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m26.872s +1.058s 
5 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1m27.220s +1.406s 
6 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1m27.357s +1.543s 
7 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1m27.683s +1.869s 
8 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1m27.782s +1.968s 
9 Jenson Button McLaren 1m27.804s +1.990s 
10 Felipe Massa Williams 1m27.960s +2.146s 
11 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1m27.967s +2.153s 
12 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1m28.101s +2.287s 
13 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1m28.208s +2.394s 
14 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1m28.266s +2.452s 
15 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1m28.330s +2.516s 
16 Sergio Perez Force India 1m28.376s +2.562s 
17 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1m28.593s +2.779s 
18 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1m29.025s +3.211s 
19 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1m30.363s +4.549s 
20 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1m30.892s +5.078s 
21 Max Chilton Marussia 1m31.004s +5.190s 
22 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1m31.248s +5.434s 

FP2 Timesheet

1 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 1:24.482 
2 Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1:24.720 +0.238 
3 Sebastian Vettel Red Bull 1:25.111 +0.629 
4 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1:25.437 +0.955 
5 Kevin Magnussen McLaren 1:25.580 +1.098 
6 Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari 1:25.730 +1.248 
7 Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull 1:25.983 +1.501 
8 Valtteri Bottas Williams 1:25.999 +1.517 
9 Jenson Button McLaren 1:26.234 +1.752 
10 Felipe Massa Williams 1:26.402 +1.920 
11 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso 1:26.689 +2.207 
12 Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso 1:26.703 +2.221 
13 Nico Hulkenberg Force India 1:26.789 +2.307 
14 Adrian Sutil Sauber 1:26.919 +2.437 
15 Sergio Perez Force India 1:27.013 +2.531 
16 Pastor Maldonado Lotus 1:27.019 +2.537 
17 Romain Grosjean Lotus 1:27.021 +2.539 
18 Esteban Gutierrez Sauber 1:27.480 +2.998 
19 Kamui Kobayashi Caterham 1:28.370 +3.888 
20 Jules Bianchi Marussia 1:28.469 +3.987 
21 Max Chilton Marussia 1:28.586 +4.104 
22 Marcus Ericsson Caterham 1:29.036 +4.554 

2014 Hungarian Grand Prix: Weekend Preview

It’s certainly a quick turnaround. After having just finished digesting the German Grand Prix, we now start the process all over again and within a week of the previous instalment, we have another weekend preview, as the teams and drivers begin preparing in Hungary. The Hungaroring is often described as Monaco without the walls and this is understandable, as the relentless cornering through low and medium speed turns requires substantial mechanical grip. It is certainly a challenging circuit, but these very same challenges can often make for thrilling races. Consequently, its fair to say that most fans and pundits have high hopes for another exciting weekend.

The Facts…

  • The Hungaroring has been the home of the Hungarian Grand Prix since 1986. 
  • The Hungarian Grand Prix was the first race to ever be held behind the Iron Curtain.
  • The circuit is 4.381km long and the race will be comprised of 70 laps on Sunday. 
  • Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton both have four victories at the circuit, with the latter winning for McLaren in 2007, 2009 and 2012, with his fourth win coming in 2013 – his first for Mercedes.
  • McLaren have won 11 of the previous 23 races at the Hungaroring.

Rewind 12 Months…

Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes career exploded into life, as his first victory in the Silver Arrow came in sublime fashion in Hungary. Lewis’ win may have been from pole, but it was far from straightforward. The Brit had to pass both Jenson Button and Mark Webber in order to make his strategy work, with Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean also challenging for victory. While Lewis’ overtakes were quick and clinical, Seb and Romain struggled to find their way through the traffic and being stuck behind Button’s McLaren for most of the second stint ultimately handed the race to Hamilton. His fourth win at the Hungaroring was an emphatic victory and well deserved.

Lewis: “Equality Is Key”

As this championship battle intensifies, equality at Mercedes is becoming more and more key. Every strategy call, pit stop struggle and faulty brake disk could have major implications in terms of the title race and as a result, the equality within Mercedes continues to be essential. Thankfully, the team acknowledge this, with strategy calls predetermined before the race and both drivers being given an opportunity to head out onto the circuit last in Q3 at alternate races. Among all of the conspiracy theories which have surfaced over the past few weeks, (all of which are quite frankly absurd), Lewis Hamilton has praised this non-partisan nature of his team. 
“I feel really comfortable. The team is doing a great job. I’ve great engineers and the support from my guys on my car,” Lewis identified. “I’ve never seen such a hungry group of guys passionate to win from their side. It’s the same on Nico’s side, they want to win so badly.” Hopefully, this declaration from Lewis will silence some sections of his supporters who seem convinced that Mercedes favour the German.

Williams Looking For Consolidation

Williams are a team on cloud nine at the moment. They may not have returned to former glories just yet, but their growth curve has been virtually vertical in the past 18 months. Despite Bottas’ podium hat-trick, Williams are not about to rest on their laurels – after all, they have set their sights on P2 in the constructors. The team have announced a rather hefty upgrade package for this weekend’s race, which they hope will improve the mechanical grip. In wet qualifying session earlier this season, the FW36 demonstrated its deficiencies in this area, hence it is key to development, especially at a circuit where mechanical grip is essential, regardless of climatic conditions. 
Current man-of-the-moment, Valtteri Bottas, highlighted the significance of this coming weekend – “Budapest is the last race before the summer break. We are aiming for a good result there so we head into the holidays with a good feeling. We know it’s not the best circuit for our car but we are working on getting more grip in the corners and we have some upgrades that should help as well.” 

Prediction Corner

Well, its the final round before the summer hiatus and therefore, the Hungarian Grand Prix carries a much greater significance than most Grand Prix, (although, perhaps not in the case of Abu Double). No team wants to enter the summer break on the back of a difficult weekend and a good points haul in Hungary can usually stimulate a successful summer. However, perhaps those drivers not driving a silver arrow will have to treat P3 as a victory this weekend as it is difficult, as always in 2014, to see past the Mercedes duo. I will come to them later.
So, P3 is perhaps the position to debate. The non-Mercedes spot on the podium has been claimed by Valtteri Bottas in recent times, but considering the nature of the Hungaroring, the Finn will have to put in his best performance yet if he is hoping to grab a fourth consecutive podium spot. The upgrades may bring Williams into play for a strong points haul, but perhaps Red Bull will be out of reach on this occasion. Another Daniel Ricciardo podium may be a safe bet this weekend, but both Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso will be looking to make experience count.
As for Hamilton and Rosberg…toss a coin? History suggests that Lewis Hamilton will take the chequered flag, but history suggested that Nico Rosberg would win in Bahrain, and looked what happened then! Ultimately, Lewis’ past visits make him my favourite for the victory but Nico will obviously be a huge threat this weekend. If they both perform on Saturday, it could be a tense race, with overtaking opportunities at a premium. Excitement will hopefully not be at a premium.

Hungarian Grand Prix: Race Analysis

We predicted excitement and the tenth round of an exhilarating 2013 World Championship certainly delivered, with Lewis Hamilton claiming his first win for Mercedes and his fourth at the Hungaroring circuit. Following his surprise pole on Saturday, Hamilton suggested that to win would take a miracle yet for the Brit it was a textbook performance; Possibly the best of Hamilton’s fruitful career so far. Kimi Raikkonen pulled off a stunning two stop strategy to claim P2, with pre-race favorite Sebastian Vettel being compromised by what seemed like endless issues, finishing only P3, despite mounting an attack on the vulnerable Finn during the final stages.
Lewis’ maiden victory was a drive which featured everything a World Champion requires. Speed, controlled aggression and a little bit of luck. The race hinged on the three stop strategy which the majority were forced into completing. With Red Bull and Ferrari taking this option, Hamilton simply had to avoid the two stop traffic which would inevitably be a factor and the Brit executed the pivotal overtakes with ease. After the first stop, he managed to pass Jenson Button and extend his advantage over Sebastian Vettel to twelve seconds, while the German could not pass the immovable McLaren. This lead was crucial and was never relinquished by Hamilton.
However, Lewis’ race was far from easy once the second stint had given him the advantage. After emerging from his second and third stop, Lewis has to pass Mark Webber and emphatically demonstrated his determination on both occasions, pulling off two aggressive maneuvers. On older tyres, Webber was powerless to restrain a rampant Hamilton. Meanwhile the threat of the two stopping Raikkonen was tamed early on in the race, as he spent the first stint behind Fernando Alonso, who struggled for pace throughout the 70 laps. However, the Mercedes pit wall could not relax until the checkered flag finally fell, as with just four laps remaining, Nico Rosberg’s engine overheated, ending the German’s race prematurely. Fortunately, Hamilton did not suffer the same fate, winning the race by ten seconds.
At the conclusion an exuberant Hamilton stated; “What a great weekend! We really didn’t expect this when we came here this weekend and I said last night that I would need a miracle to win today. Well, just maybe they do happen. The team called the strategy and the pit stops just right and then it was just about managing the gap. I had some racing to do out there, though, with Jenson and Mark and I think we had the pace on everyone today.” He concluded by acknowledging the excellent work completed by the team. “I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone at the team here and at our factories in Brackley and Brixworth. Team work achieved this result today and I really couldn’t be happier.”
While Kimi Raikkonen eventually finished second, Lotus will leave the Hungaroring feeling aggrieved. It was a weekend where they failed to capitalize on conditions which ultimately suited their package. Romain Grosjean started the race in promising fashion, as he maintained pace throughout the opening stint and kept Sebastian Vettel well within range. Despite managing to go further than anyone else on the soft tyre at the start, he failed to jump the German in the stops and was consequently compromised by Jenson Button.
However, the Frenchman once again hit the self destruct button. After Vettel impressively scythed past the McLaren into turn four, Grosjean thought to capitalize on Jenson’s lack of momentum when heading into the chicane. While he passed the Brit, he misjudged the length of his car and pulled across on Button while he remained on the outside, leading to inevitable contact. The incident did not damage either car, yet Romain received a twenty second time penalty after the race for the avoidable incident, however, it did not alter the positions.
Soon after the collision, Grosjean was once again under the spotlight of the stewards, following a seemingly exceptional overtake on Felipe Massa around the outside at the fast Turn four. In order to avoid making contact with the Ferrari, Romain left the track by a matter of centimeters, yet the stewards took a dim view of the incident. They handed the Frenchman a drive-through penalty for an illegal overtake; an extremely harsh penalty for a insignificant detail. Immediately after the race, Romain evaluated the incidents. “I haven’t seen the footage yet and I thought it was a good move, but unfortunately the stewards took a different view. I’ve no problem with the time-added for the incident with Jenson and I apologised to him afterwards,” he said. With the superior pace Romain demonstrated on Friday, this race was certainly an opportunity for his maiden victory in Formula One. “This could have been the one for me,” he said, “but we will just have to wait a little bit longer and keep improving like we have been recently to make it happen.”     
Meanwhile, Sebastian Vettel was unable to break his duck at the Hungaroring circuit, yet it was not all doom and gloom for Red Bull, as they extended their lead in both championships. Vettel’s race was hampered by seemingly all conceivable issues. He hit the back of Jenson Button into Turn two and damaged the turning veins on his front wing. While in the turbulent air of the McLaren, the team recognised that the car was overheating, meaning that Vettel had to drop back, outside of the slipstream for several laps. Then, due to these overheating issues, Vettel was forced to use lower revs and a lower percentage of KERS, in order to regulate temperatures. Consequently, P3 was an excellent result in terms of limiting damage in the championship, yet Vettel was hoping for much more considering the pace of the Red Bull at the Hungaroring. Sebastian analysed his race, stating; “I would have loved the race to have been a bit longer, as it was fun with Kimi at the end. It’s hard to pass on this track, I got close but I wasn’t in the prime overtaking spot at that point; I was trying to set something up for the next corners, but it didn’t work. The key issue in the race was when I got stuck behind Jenson, there’s no one to blame for that, I lost more time than expected on the way into the first stop and we came out just behind him.” Following his podium, Vettel now leads the championship by a healthy 38 points from Kimi Raikkonen.
On the opposite side of the Red Bull garage, Mark Webber experienced a far more impressive performance after some excellent strategic decisions. After starting on the medium compound, Mark lead the race early on, with the clean air providing him with the opportunity to jump into P4 after his first stop. Despite fitting the option tyres at his final stop, Webber was unable to consolidate the degradation and could not close down his teammate in P3. “I had a pretty tricky car for the first three or four laps,” Webber admitted, “as I knew the option tyres were quite grippy and after that we just got our heads down. I don’t think we could have got much more than that result today. The strategy was pretty solid and you have to pace the option tyres until the end.” Once all of his gremlins from qualifying were accounted for, Webber was able to demonstrate his true pace during the race and would have surly been a contender for the victory, had his Saturday gone according to plan.
Meanwhile, Ferrari seem to be in crisis. Fernando Alonso entered the race with high hopes, after he and Felipe Massa had proclaimed that the hot conditions would favor the F138’s characteristics. However, a brief sign of speed during the second stint was the only positive the team can take from the weekend, as they have slipped behind in the development race. It is now feasible to suggest they have only the fourth fastest car; a fact which will significantly hamper Alonso’s title challenge. “Finishing fifth today, maybe we actually did better than what should have been within our grasp, because Mercedes, Lotus and Red Bull were quicker than us, a fact we had already seen from Friday’s practice,” Fernando stated. “This race ends what’s been a generally difficult month for us and, with Silverstone and Nürburgring, is part of a cycle where we were not up to par. However, looking at the points we have obtained, we haven’t lost out too much and today, Hamilton and Raikkonen helped us to keep the gap from growing too big to Vettel in the lead.”
Elsewhere, Williams celebrated their first point of the season, after Pastor Maldonado drove a consistent race to finish in an admittedly fortunate P10. Despite the team showing signs of progress, Pastor’s point is not truly representative of their current standing, as a drive-through penalty for Nico Hulkenberg for pit-lane speeding promoted the Venezuelan to P11, before Nico Rosberg’s engine failure gifted Williams their illusive first point of 2013. Regardless, scoring will hopefully spur the team on as they look to catch Sauber in the second half of the season. Following the race, Pastor noted the improvements which have already been made to the car; “I had a really good start from P15 and made a few overtaking manoeuvres during the race which were on the limit, which is especially pleasing as at this track it is very hard to overtake. The car felt consistent, maybe not as fast in the second and third stints, but very consistent. I really want to keep scoring points now and be even stronger during the second part of the season.” Unfortunately, Valtteri Bottas was forced into retirement with a hydraulics issue mid-way through the race, but is sure to take heart from his teammate’s success.
So, an exciting Hungarian Grand Prix has ended with a miracle result. While there is a great deal of work to be done, Lewis Hamilton will not wish to concede the championship to Sebastian Vettel just yet, as his fourth Hungarian Grand Prix win has unlocked fresh hope at Mercedes.