The Top 5 from Budapest
Published 31st July 2012 - Written by Craig Norman
The Badgerometer waits for the dust to settle on the Hungaroring to pick out the Top 5 stories from Sunday’s race. What made the cut? Read on to find out!
One to forget for Michael
Out of all the records that the once great German still holds, he can now count the worst Grand Prix performance ever on his resume. Everything that could have gone wrong – barring mechanical failure – did in the space of a 10 minutes.
Unbelievably, it’s been reported that he parked in the wrong grid spot after the parade lap. Then, without realising what he had done, turned the engine off on the grid.
He then picked up a puncture being pushed to the pitlane, picked up a speeding penalty exiting, and it’s being rumoured that he held up Romain Grosjean while being lapped (maybe even costing the Frenchman 2nd place).
After all the luck Schumacher got in his first career, could this be him paying his dues? And can anyone else think of a Grand Prix performance as unlucky?
What’s eating Sebastian Vettel?
Has anyone else noticed a slight petulant streak emerging in the World Champion?
In the last two races he’s made angry waves at teammate Mark Webber for blocking him during German qualifying, and at Lewis Hamilton for unlapping himself during that race. And this week, we get a ridiculous radio message asking the team to do something about the fact that Jenson Button was in front of him.
“I can go much faster than him so do something!” Vettel was heard shouting over the team radio. Followed by, “Try something then, try something!” . The reply he got was plain and simple; “There are cars behind, Sebastian, we can’t just do anything”.
Thankfully, there’s a few weeks for Seb to go away and regain his composure. It was one of his key components last year, so the sooner he gets it back, the better.
After the success of last season, has it all gone to the young German’s head? What’s with the champ’s attitude right now?
Don’t be fooled – Lotus just like it hot
There’s a lot of reports floating round that are both stating that Lotus are now the dark horses for the title, as well as ranking Kimi Raikkonen as an outside contender for the drivers crown. But, in our eyes, it’s just another peak for the team in a season that’s still a bit unpredictable.
Remember Bahrain? The black-and-gold cars were just as fast in the high temperatures to secure 2nd and 3rd places, but that time it was from further down the field. They were then billed as the next team to challenge at the front – yet still haven’t won a race.
The talk of updates is all very well and good. Ferrari, Red Bull and McLaren have all done the same, and the power has shifted to them for a race or two, but then they fall back. Lotus could face the same, and even then, still not grab that elusive victory.
The tyres are still the main factor for each and every team. The cars are changing, but it’s the understanding of the Pirellis which is still key to success. Lotus are good in the hotter climates which demand longer stints, keeping their rubber fresher and ultimately making them faster.
If it rains in Spa, it could be anyone’s game.
All eyes on Kimi
It’s amazing what one weekend can do to change everyone’s opinion of you. Kimi Raikkonen wasn’t considered a title contender, but after moving from 5th on the grid to 2nd in the race – barging past his teammate and hustling the race leader along the way – his name’s being mentioned in the same breath as Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. Just as well too, he’s only one point behind the Hungarian race victor.
Not only that, but remarkably Kimi’s been linked with a race seat back at Ferrari for 2013. That’s a seat next to Fernando Alonso at the team he was paid off to leave at the end of 2009.
There isn’t really much a “silly season” in terms of drivers, but that’s one hell of rumour. Why would Kimi leave Lotus, which has delivered a consistently quick car, to go to a team where he’d play second fiddle to a driver like Fernando?
At least Kimi’s finally being recognised for some top draw driving after a period of time away. Michael Schumacher take note.
Lewis rises to the pressure
This was it. McLaren brought the upgrades, and the rain stayed away or long enough. It was the race Lewis Hamilton had to win.
The Brit dominated Friday’s practice sessions and was only a tenth off completing the clean sweep on Saturday morning. This only cranked up the pressure even more. He didn’t show it – qualifying was straightforward. Pole position? Done.
And then onto the race. Turn 1 was a bit late in terms of braking – thankfully, everyone else was bickering amongst themselves behind him though – and Lewis showed all the string to his bow. Fast when he needed to be, while also keeping the tyres in good enough condition to stay on a two-stopper and absorbing more pressure from both the Lotus cars (is the plural Loti?).
The fascinating thing was watching Lewis deal with this all in his stride. At no point was there a scream of joy or no radio calls of concern. Even with both Grosjean and Raikkonen bearing down on him – flipping the pressure from a race he had to win, to a race he couldn’t afford to lose – he demonstrated more than enough claim that he’s a world champion driver.
Was it perfection though? If Kimi had charged his KERS early on, and not been caught behind a slower Alonso, it could have been a bit different. If the track had been anywhere else but Hungary too, with DRS neutralised for the first time in 2012.
But all that’s now irrelevant, and now Lewis Hamilton is back in the 2012 title hunt. Bring on Spa.