Jenson Button won a fascinating, riveting and at times downright confusing Hungarian Grand Prix in a race that made for a thrilling sign-off before Formula One’s summer break.
Mixed tyre strategies, rain and pure guesswork turned the race on its head, but it was hardly surprising that in tricky conditions it was Button who scored the win. The Brit was typically poised on the damp track and kept his head whilst others made the wrong strategy calls to take a very deserved win.
Holding third off the line, Jenson ran there in the early stages before eventually slipping past Sebastian Vettel and in to second, behind team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Things remained this way until the latter stages, though Button looked capable of challenging Hamilton.
Jenson was then engaged in a staler ding-dong battle for the lead with team-mate Hamilton. Lewis was leading but spun at the turn six-seven chicane, allowing Button in to P1, but Jenson repaid the favour a few laps later by running wide at turn two. Lewis was back on top – but not for long. Button steamed up the inside of turn one to lead again before Hamilton passed him again at turn two. Lewis then blinked early and stopped for inters, giving Jenson a healthy lead over Vettel.
From here it was plain sailing: Vettel seemed satisfied with second, and Button came home for his second win of the season. To do it in his 200th grand prix and at the same circuit he claimed his maiden triumph was about as close as Formula One is going to get to a fairytale ending.
Vettel took second, a result he won’t be at all displeased with as Button began the day a very long way off him in the drivers’ standings. He sometimes looked ill at ease in the wet conditions but aside from the odd moment at turn two was error free. His title push remains on course – and perhaps that’s what he’s talking about.
Fernando Alonso completed the podium after an eventful race in which he was often fast but pointing in the wrong direction more than he would have liked. The Ferrari worked beautifully in the early stages but Alonso spun to drop back from what looked like a challenge to Button in third. He remained out of contention but never adrift for the remainder
A hugely promising day for Hamilton would eventually turn disastrous for the two-time Hungarian GP winner. He harried Vettel in the early laps and eventually made the pressure pay, the Red Bull slithering wide and allowing the McLaren through. The Brit then began to build a lead at the head of the field, pulling to five seconds clear of the the reigning champion and then Button to head the field until the late rain shower.
Then came the thrilling battle with team-mate Button before Lewis took the unusually cautious call to switch to inters. This was the wrong rubber, and Lewis lost all pace before being forced to stop. To compound his misery Hamilton was hit with a drive-through for what was deemed a reckless recovery from his spin. He made up for it with some late passes to finish fourth but was ultimately left wondering what might have been.
Mark Webber was fifth in the second Red Bull, never fighting at the front and suffering from the same mistaken switch to inters as Hamilton. Felipe Massa was sixth ahead of Paul di Resta, who scored a superb result for Force India. A great late scrap over the final points-paying positions eventually saw Sebastien Buemi a much-needed eighth, Nico Rosberg ninth and Jaime Alguersuari tenth.
Also of note in Hungary was a bizarre pitlane spin for Virgin Racing’s Jerome d’Ambrosio and a terrifying fire for Renault’s Nick Heidfeld. The German’s car was ablaze as he exited the pits and got too hot to handle as he returned to the track, forcing the pint-sized German to leap daintily from his machine. A subsequent explosion on the car’s left hand side made for a spectacular but worrying sight – a little like Nick’s ballerina jump.
|2||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull/Renault||70|
|5||Mark Webber||Red Bull/Renault||70|
|7||Paul Di Resta||Force India/Mercedes||69||1 Lap|
|8||Su008ebastien Buemi||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||69||1 Lap|
|9||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||69||1 Lap|
|10||J.Alguersuari||Toro Rosso/Ferrari||69||1 Lap|
|11||Kamui Kobayashi||Sauber/Ferrari||69||1 Lap|
|12||Vitaly Petrov||Renault||69||1 Lap|
|14||Adrian Sutil||Force India/Mercedes||68||2 Laps|
|15||Sergio Pu008erez||Sauber/Ferrari||68||2 Laps|
|16||Pastor Maldonado||Williams/Cosworth||68||2 Laps|
|17||Timo Glock||Virgin/Cosworth||66||4 Laps|
|18||Daniel Ricciardo||HRT/Cosworth||66||4 Laps|
|20||Vitantonio Liuzzi||HRT/Cosworth||65||5 Laps|
|24||Jarno Trulli||Lotus/Renault||17||Oil leak|