Hungary. A race where traditionally you don’t win from pole and passes are few and far between. Hamilton decided not to follow the script for the first one and everyone else behind challenged the second.
The early focus was around Hamilton keeping his lead from the start and whether Grosjean would keep it clean, starting from third. Vettel had a poor start and then decided to pre-emptively push Grosjean out of the way before sitting back into second place. Surprisingly, the first crash bunny of the race was Rosberg, who clashed with Massa, damaging the Ferrari wing and dropping himself back to 12th. That was the start of a race filled with bad luck for Rosberg, which finished with his engine blowing up with just the 4 laps to go.
The key moment of the race came with the first round of pit stops at lap 10. Hamilton came out behind Button and it looked like Vettel would be able to leapfrog him. Hamilton managed to quickly get past his former team mate on the next lap. Next lap, Vettel pitted and pulls out behind Button. It should have been easy, straight past Button and keeping the foot down. It wasn’t. Vettel failed to pass for 12 laps, and lost 14 seconds. That was the moment the race was lost for Vettel.
Grosjean’s lack of clashes could not last. His driving was at times, brilliant, but he just pushed too much. As Vettel finally made his way past Button, Grosjean took his chance in the following corners but pushed Button off, damaging his wing. The stewards were taking a look at that incident when 5 laps later Grosjean pulled off a brilliant pass round the outside of Turn 4. Unfortunately, despite its bravery and brilliance, all wheels were outside the white line, so that was a second incident with the stewards. One drive through penalty awarded, one incident pushed back to be looked at after the race. Will there be more penalties for him after the race? The stewards actually continued to make decisions during the race, with Hulkenberg also getting a drive-through penalty for pitlane speeding
The next brilliant pass was Hamilton on Webber, around the outside of Turn 2 on lap 33. Two experienced drivers, no contact made. The pass was repeated following the final pit stop for Hamilton, leaving him poised to take the lead for the final 19 laps. 13 laps to go, we have HAM, WEB, RAI, VET. Webber is still to pit, having to take on the soft tyres, Raikkonen was on older tyres. Now, it all seemed that we were just waiting for Vettel to pass the Finn and chase off after Hamilton.
But no. Hamilton was winning and staying there. And Raikkonen had not read the script. No matter that his tyres were older, he was not letting Vettel past, with superb defensive driving to hold off all attacks. There was a moment when Webber on new soft tyres looked like he may have caught his team mate, but that faded and we were left with Hamilton, Raikkonen and Vettel on the podium.
A double DNF for Force India, a first point of the season for Williams were other points of note. It was a fantastic race, with strong passes, controlled driving (well, most of them) and a fascinating strategic battle to finish it off.
What was your favourite moment?
The Results (subject to confirmation)
|2||6||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus-Renault||+10.9 secs||18|
|3||2||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing-Renault||+12.4 secs||15|
|4||10||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing-Renault||+18.0 secs||12|
|5||5||Fernando Alonso||Ferrari||+31.4 secs||10|
|6||3||Romain Grosjean||Lotus-Renault||+32.2 secs||8|
|7||13||Jenson Button||McLaren-Mercedes||+53.8 secs||6|
|8||7||Felipe Massa||Ferrari||+56.4 secs||4|
|9||9||Sergio Perez||McLaren-Mercedes||+1 Lap||2|
|10||15||Pastor Maldonado||Williams-Renault||+1 Lap||1|
|11||12||Nico Hulkenberg||Sauber-Ferrari||+1 Lap||0|
|12||14||Jean-Eric Vergne||STR-Ferrari||+1 Lap||0|
|13||8||Daniel Ricciardo||STR-Ferrari||+1 Lap||0|
|14||20||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham-Renault||+2 Laps||0|
|15||19||Charles Pic||Caterham-Renault||+2 Laps||0|
|16||21||Jules Bianchi||Marussia-Cosworth||+3 Laps||0|
|17||22||Max Chilton||Marussia-Cosworth||+3 Laps||0|
|18||18||Paul di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||+4 Laps (DNF)||0|
|19||4||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes||+6 Laps (DNF)||0|
|Ret||16||Valtteri Bottas||Williams-Renault||+28 Laps||0|
|Ret||17||Esteban Gutierrez||Sauber-Ferrari||+42 Laps||0|
|Ret||11||Adrian Sutil||Force India-Mercedes||+51 Laps||0|