Jenson Button claimed victory in his 200th grand prix as he perfectly judged an absorbing race in changeable weather in Hungary. McLaren could have had a one-two, with Lewis Hamilton leading much of the race, but a tyre strategy misjudgement and a penalty ruined Hamilton’s afternoon.
World championship leader Sebastian Vettel had to settle for second, ahead of Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari and the recovering Hamilton.
McLaren had taken the advantage early in a race that began on a damp track with everyone on intermediates, Hamilton attacking Vettel relentlessly through the opening laps as both slid around in a dice more reminiscent of a karting scrap than Formula 1. Mark Webber pulled off the same move on Alonso for fourth at the same time. The Ferrari had lost ground through the first corner on the opening lap, then charged back up the order despite two minor trips off the road.
The relatively serene middle phase of the race saw Hamilton holding a comfortable gap over Button, who had a similar 5s advantage back to Vettel, while Webber fended off Alonso 10s behind them. Alonso decided to make a relatively early third pitstop and take another set of super softs, while all the other leaders except Hamilton switched to the harder softs at this point.
Hamilton followed the same strategy as Alonso, which left him looking very vulnerable to Button as he looked unlikely to pull out enough of a gap to pit again for the softs, but in the event the return of the rain rendered these tactics rather irrelevant. Kamui Kobayashi tried to go the distance on just two tyre stops and held seventh heading into the closing stages, albeit with a massive queue of cars chasing his Sauber. The plan did not work, and he had to pit for fresh rubber after tumbling down the order, as di Resta came through to seventh and Sebastien Buemi turned 23rd on the grid into an eighth place for Toro Rosso.
Mercedes only took ninth place, Nico Rosberg having also pitted for intermediates late on. Michael Schumacher had a gearbox problem shortly after spinning while dicing with Massa in the opening stages. Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso) clashed with Kobayashi during their late battle but still took 10th.
Adrian Sutil (Force India) and Sergio Perez (Sauber) saw their great qualifying results wasted in a first lap incident that delayed both. One of the most spectacular incidents of this highly eventful race befell Nick Heidfeld, whose Renault caught fire in the pit exit after a long stop, with a minor explosion on its left-hand side as the marshals dealt with the blaze.
Source - http://www.hungaroinfo.com (970)
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