Photo: DPPI/Francois Flamand
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes) won his third straight pole to start at the front of the field in Hungary, the last Formula 1 race before the series summer break. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) took the second slot, with Romain Grosjean (Lotus) out-qualifying teammate Kimi Raikkonen for the second time in three races to start third on the grid.
Daniel Ricciardo (P8, Toro Rosso), competing with Raikkonen to succeed Mark Webber at Red Bull, started in the Top 10 for the fourth straight race. Webber is moving on to be a Porsche factory driver as the mark re-enters LMP1 racing in the Le Mans series.
The Top 3 remained intact during very intense racing through the first series of questions. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes) was not as lucky, being forced from the track by contact with Felipe Massa (Ferrari), who damaged his left-front wing plate in the process. Hamilton’s lead at the end of the first lap was 1.1-sec. Jenson Button (McLaren) moved from P13 to P8 during the first lap.
Hamilton built his lead to 1.5 sec to Lap 6. Hamilton pitted from the lead during Lap 10 to take his soft tires off, rejoining the pack in P9, behind Button. Vettel pitted two laps later and also came out behind Button, who Hamilton had managed to pass in the meantime. Grosjean pitted from the lead on Lap 14. Grosjean came out in P5, behind Vettel, with Hamilton running P2, ahead of Button. Race-leader Webber and Button both started the race on medium tires and had yet to pit.
During Lap 18 Vettel’s garage started to report KERS failure, while also asking the driver to mind his temperatures in pursuit of Button. Front-wing damage was also evident on Vettel’s Red Bull. Grosjean began to pressure Vettel, with Fernando Alonso (Ferrari) catching up with both. Webber pitted during Lap 24, staying on the prime tires and slotting in behind Alonso.
Vettel passed Button on track to take P2 behind Hamilton. Button pitted the next lap, coming out in P8 behind Massa. Hamilton’s lead over Vettel stood at 13.5 sec. Grosjean made his second stop on Lap 26, coming out between Massa and Button. Grosjean’s stop was earlier than anticipated, following contact with Button which race stewards were investigating.
Alonso ran in P3 during Lap 30, with Webber in fourth. Hamilton took his second stop during Lap 32, returning in P4 behind Webber. Hamilton passed Webber within two laps and began pursuit of Alonso. Vettel and Alonso pitted on Lap 35 and came out behind Button, leaving the Top 3 at the halfway point Hamilton, Webber, and Raikkonen. Grosjean was given a drive through penalty during Lap 38 for leaving the track to pass Massa, with the incident with Button still under investigation.
Hamilton held a 2-sec lead over Webber during Lap 40. Both Webber and Raikkonen had only stopped once. Raikkonen pitted and slipped from third to sixth. A local-yellow emerged during Lap 44 as Valtteri Bottas (Williams) left the circuit and hit a wall. Webber pitted and remained in third, but needed to pit again, having yet to use the soft tire.
Hamilton’s lead over Vettel stood at more than 15 sec during Lap 48. He came in for his final scheduled pit stop three laps later, rejoining the field behind Webber in P3. Hamilton passed Webber on track and ran 7.4 sec behind Vettel during Lap 55. Vettel pitted one lap later and came out in P4 behind Raikkonen and in front of Alonso.
Webber pitted from P2 on Lap 60 to put on his softs, rejoining the field in P4, between Vettel and Alonso. Rosberg retired with an engine failure during Lap 66, but pulled his car safely off-course.
Hamliton’s Mercedes kept it together, with the Brit taking his first victory since Texas last year. Raikkonen finished second, ahead of Vettel. Webber moved up six spots from his P10 grid position to come in fourth. Rosberg’s retirement moved Williams into the points for the first time this season, Pastor Maldonado finishing P10.
Driver standings - Top 10
172 - Sebastian Vettel (Germany) - RBR-Renault
134 – Kimi Raikkonen (Finland) – Lotus-Renault
133 - Fernando Alonso (Spain) – Ferrari
124 - Lewis Hamilton (Great Britain) – Mercedes
105 - Mark Webber (Australia) - RBR-Renault
84 - Nico Rosberg (Germany) – Mercedes
61 – Felipe Massa (Brazil) - Ferrari
49 – Romain Grosjean (France) – Lotus-Renault
39 - Jenson Button (Great Britain) - McLaren-Mercedes
36 – Paul di Resta (Scotland) – Force India-Mercedes
Constructor standings - Teams scoring points
277 - RBR-Renault - Vettel, Webber
208 – Mercedes – Hamilton, Rosberg
194 – Ferrari – Massa, Alonso
183 - Lotus-Renault – Raikkonen, Grosjean
59 – Force India-Mercedes – Adrian Sutil, di Resta
57 – McLaren-Mercedes – Button, Sergio Perez
24 – STR-Ferrari – Daniel Ricciardo, Jean-Eric Vergne
7 – Sauber-Ferrari – Nico Hulkenberg, Estaban Gutierrez
1 – Williams-Renault – Pastor Maldonado, Vallteri Bottas
Next event: Shell Belgian Grand Prix – Aug. 23-25, 2013 – Spa-Francorchamps