Hungaroring Overview -F1

Sun 1 Aug 2010

Mark Webber claimed the Hungarian win and took the lead in the championship, after Lewis Hamilton, who was running in fourth at the time, only completed a third of the race due to transmission problems.

Things didn’t go quite as expected for the Red Bulls, as they had to worker harder for the win than most people thought they would have to, thanks to the appearance of the safety car and the subsequent drive-through penalty for Sebastian Vettel.

After the start, where Vettel he was challenged by Alonso from immediately behind him on the grid, it initially seemed that the German would walk the race, as at one point he held a 12 second lead, but that all changed on lap 16 when the safety car was called out, to allow the clearing up of the remains of Tonio Liuzzi’s front wing.

There was then plenty of activity in the pit lane, as all but three drivers pitted, but critically Webber didn’t, along with Rubens Barrichello and Jarno Trulli all stayed out.  In the mayhem, Rosberg’s newly fitted rear right wheel fell off, and bounced down the pit lane, just avoiding all but one of the pit crew members (he sustained minor injuries).  At about the same time Robert Kubica’s Renault an Adrian Suti’s Force India collided, when Adrian was let out into the pit lane, just as Robert was coming into his box.  Both teams were later fined $50,000 for the unsafe release of their drivers.

Webber was now in prime position, and on the restart Vettel, who later said he didn’t realise the safety car was going in that lap, failed to keep within 10 car lengths of the safety car.  (This rule is primarily to avoid drivers slowing up those behind them, to allow their team member to gain an unfair advantage at the re-start.  I suspect this was not the case with Vettel !).  Much to his annoyance Seb was given a drive through penalty that put him well behind the now second placed Alonso, and he has little chance of reining the Spaniard in.

Barrichello_Schumacher_pitwall

Schumacher puts the squeeze on Barrichello

There was further controversy on lap 66 as Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher were fighting for the last available point.  They came close to having a major accident when Rubens made an overtaking move on the German, on the start/finish straight.  Michael squeezed him to within a few millimetres of the pit wall, and he only avoid it as the pit wall finished.  Schumie was later punished by the stewards, being given a 10 place demotion on the grid at Belgium, for impeding the Williams driver –the maximum punishment permissible at a race.

So it was Webber on the top step of the podium, with Alonso and Vettel on the lower levels.  Ferrari’s Felipe Massa took 4th, whilst Renault’s Vitaly Petrov and Williams’ Nico Hulkenberg both had good finishes taking the next two spots.  Sauber’s Pedro de la Rosa (who was a lap behind) scored his first points this season in 7th, ahead of McLaren’s Jenson Button.   But the man of the race for me was Sauber’s Kamui Kobayashi who, on a track that is well known for being difficult to overtake on, moved from 23rd to 9th by the end.  In 10th was Barrichello followed by Schumacher and Buemim Liuzzi. 

Lapped three times were Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock and Senna, with Di Grassi and Yamamoto a further lap behind.

Retirees were the previously mentioned Hamilton, Sutil, Kubica and Rosberg, along with Alguersuari’s Torro Rosso’s engine failure.

Overall just 20 points now separate the top five drivers – Webber (161), Hamilton (157), Vettel (151), Button (147) and Alonso (141), with Red Bull leading the constructors’ championship on 312 points, ahead of McLaren on 304.  Ferrari languishes in third with 238.

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