Hungary analysis – Hamilton works Mercedes miracle

Photo:AttributionShare Alike Some rights reserved by nic_r

Lewis Hamilton put in one of the drives of his career in Budapest on Sunday, as he and Mercedes defied the odds to defeat their more fancied Red Bull and Lotus rivals. Pole had come as a shock for Hamilton, but he didn’t put a foot wrong as he secured his first win with the team. Red Bull nevertheless consolidated their championship advantage, on a day when Lotus again failed to maximise their obvious potential. We take a team-by-team look at the Hungary formbook…

Lewis Hamilton, P1
Nico Rosberg, Retired lap 65, engine

Mercedes came to Hungary on their back foot after being banned from the young driver test at Silverstone where rivals sampled Pirelli’s latest tyres, but they went away with the last laugh. Hamilton took pole, and against all expectations he won without any of the huge tyre degradation problems that had cursed him in Germany. Rosberg by contrast had a terrible race, making a bad start, colliding with Massa, and later retiring with a blown engine, but nothing could detract from the team’s joy at turning the tables on the competition, and perhaps a corner that will give them a title shot over the remaining nine races…

Kimi Raikkonen, P2
Romain Grosjean, P6

Again, Hungary was a tale of what might have been for Lotus. Raikkonen’s chances were hurt by his problems in qualifying, so once again he had to be satisfied with second behind Hamilton at the Hungaroring. But it was a good second, and he beat Vettel after a terrific battle. Grosjean had a genuine chance to win, but a drive-through penalty for going too wide round the outside of Massa in Turn Four hurt his race, as did a minor collision he caused when passing Button. He got a 20-second post-race time penalty for that, though it didn’t affect his sixth place. He thought this was the one that got away, and it’s hard to disagree.

Red Bull
Sebastian Vettel, P3
Mark Webber, P4

Red Bull lacked the straight-line speed they needed here, and damage that Vettel did to his front wing while challenging Button didn’t help his cause either. In the end he had to settle for third after being robustly rebuffed by Raikkonen in the closing stages, but that was hardly a disaster, He and Red Bull still comfortably lead the drivers’ and constructors’ title fights. Webber drove an excellent race with great strategy, starting on mediums and running softs very late on, to climb from 10th on the grid after his qualifying dramas to a decent fourth, with fastest lap.

Fernando Alonso, P5
Felipe Massa, P8

Ferrari struggled in Hungary, and were never as fast as Mercedes, Lotus or Red Bull. Alonso pushed through to a damage-limiting fifth, but afterwards Ferrari were fined 15,000 euros for forgetting to switch their DRS software from qualifying to race mode. That meant it activated three times when he was more than a second behind the car in front, though subsequently the team simply told him when to use the system and the advantage he might have accrued amounted to less than a second in a 102-minute race. Massa had trouble with Rosberg early on and thereafter suffered poor balance as a front wing endplate was impaired.

Jenson Button, P7
Sergio Perez, P9

This was one of McLaren’s better races, and Button had the pace to keep Vettel and Grosjean behind for some time after starting on mediums. Then he got clobbered by Grosjean, but fortunately the McLaren is sturdy and he was able to finish a decent seventh. Perez suffered with worn mediums in his first stint, but finished ninth, and the team’s points haul brought them to within two points of Force India for fifth overall.

Pastor Maldonado, P10
Valtteri Bottas, Retired lap 43, hydraulics

Maldonado drove a good race to bring Williams a much-needed point for 10th place, their first of the season, but Bottas’s FW35 succumbed to a hydraulic leak.

Nico Hulkenberg, P11
Esteban Gutierrez, Retired lap 29, gearbox

Sauber lost Gutierrez to a gearbox problem early on, and Hulkenberg was fortunate to keep the Toro Rosso duo at bay as they closed in during the final laps.

Toro Rosso
Jean-Eric Vergne, P12
Daniel Ricciardo, P13

Ricciardo’s qualifying form translated into another disappointing race for Toro Rosso, in which the Australian lost out to his team mate Vergne with four laps to run. Both drivers said the STR8 lacked race pace.

Giedo van der Garde, P14
Charles Pic, P15

Van der Garde was very pleased to lead team mate Pic all the way through, as the green cars comfortably outpaced their Marussia rivals.

Jules Bianchi, P16
Max Chilton, P17

Marussia’s race pace was disappointing, after they had dramatically reduced the deficit to Caterham in practice and qualifying, but at least the cars were reliable.

Force India
Adrian Sutil, Retired lap 20, hydraulics leak
Paul di Resta, Retired lap 67, hydraulics leak

Force India’s season suddenly seems to be unravelling, as further disappointment followed the tough outing in Germany. Sutil made a poor start and retired with a hydraulic leak, while Di Resta struggled outside the points placings and eventually suffered a similar fate with four laps to run.

For tickets and travel to 2013 FORMULA 1 races, click here.
For FORMULA 1 merchandise, click here.


Share in...

    You must be logged in to post a comment Login