Hungarian GP 2012

Seven Moments of the Hungarian GP

1. Hamilton Hungary for the title

It was his race to lose this weekend, and where others have crumbled under the pressure Hamilton soaked it up and used it as fuel. Unassailable during all but one practice session he breezed through qualifying to claim McLaren’s 150th pole position, and then to follow it up he controlled the race from start to finish. The only threat coming in the form of the resurgent Lotus pairing.

2. Lotus Looking Lovely

This of course only refers to the veneer, which although now has a wonderful sheen to it, underneath there is a completely different animal altogether. Despite putting in a great effort on Sunday, Räikkönen was far from impressed with second place and demonstrated his unadulterated thirst for victory in his second career. And as returns go, Räikkönen’s has been superb with a win beckoning louder with each passing race.

In the early stages Grosjean was the only man capable of beating Hamilton it seemed, with the raised temperatures and rain locked away he was edging ahead as favourite. The newly married Frenchman pulled away from the pack with Hamilton creeping further ahead, things looked good until Räikkönen’s strategy allowed him to enter the podium fight. A tight pit stop exit line from the Finn pushed Grosjean off the track (without contact) and hence he was demoted to the bottom step.

3. Should have gone to Schusavers

Schumacher truly had a weekend to forget, crashing in practice for the second consecutive race meet he then went on to park his car in the wrong grid slot which went on to instigate an extra formation lap. Confused by the situation he caused Schumacher then switched the engine off, resulting in being pushed back into the pits by the marshalls, then in effort to get to the end of said pit lane he was caught speeding. Moments into the race he was given a drive through penalty, ensuring his place at the back of the grid he provided the statisticians with the majority of the overtaking and one would hope so against the likes of Marussia and HRT. If that wasn’t enough he suffered a puncture and retired from 18th having never gone higher than his qualifying position.

4. High High Heikki Kovalainen

The Finn’s drive here has certainly fanned the flames to a possible switch up next season, finishing ahead of his teammate again he consolidated himself as the ‘best of the backmarkers. The rumours that are circling Kovalainen currently feature Sauber (replacing Kobayashi) and Williams (possibly replacing Senna, but Bottas will surely get first refusal if the opportunity arises), which are appropriate considering his performance in the Caterham.

5. Is the Championship over already?

Bitter words indeed, but Alonso’s newly extended 40 point lead is looking mighty comfortable, it’s not quite a luxurious two win cushion but knowing the skill that lies within the Spaniard that won’t be too hard to achieve. It wasn’t his finest weekend, compared to his last but although he caused his own version of the ‘Schumacher train’, and wasn’t able to make much of an impression.

There must have been something in the water as the closest man to him, Webber, struggled also, third man Vettel did better but not enough to take home any silverware. But interestingly we saw the merest hint of a crack in Vettel’s facade, demanding his team ‘do something’ to get him past a slower Button, he was swiftly informed that due to the cars behind they ‘couldn’t do anything’.

However, with a seriously upbeat McLaren and a tasty Lotus hanging about, there are more players in the hunt for big points, they could help close the gap to the Ferrari driver. When play resumes in September apart from winning races, finishing ahead of Alonso is also a priority, and whether he loses his luck as Red Bull suggests (read, hope for) will have to be seen to be believed. They may have to be reminded of a rather lucky Ferrari driver with a bucket load of trophies.

6. Has Webber lost it?

It being the championship title. Back in 2010, Korea was the tipping point of no return for the Australian, his early exit near the end of the season slung the cement blocks around his title dreams. The last two races in Germany (the location of his first race win) and Hungary has garnered a measly 8 points compared with Alonso’s 35 and Vettel’s 22. Webber’s not quite in the danger zone yet, but he’s let a good lead to his team mate evaporate and the lead to Alonso extend, if it’s a title he wants then from Spa onwards he needs to nail every circuit whether he likes it or not.

7. Half Term

Indeed it is, 11 races down and 9 to go. With the summer break segmenting the season in two Formula One fans have been treated to a season that has sent them from pillar to post and back again. New winners, new faces on the podium, double and triple winners, and fluctuations in form so frequent heads have spun. Rookies and returners have impressed while veterans have lost their luck, and some teams have floundered while others have flourished.

Awesome-O-Meter

Just as tight as Monaco without the sprinkle of glamour, meaning overtaking was at a premium and one that few could afford to write a cheque for. Schumacher dug around down the back of the sofa for some loose change but it was a wasted effort, all the overtaking was down to strategy which left little for the fans to cheer about, unless your driver hitched his car to the podium. Valencia was more exciting…

Race Stats

Qualifying Hamilton Grosjean Vettel
Pole L Hamilton 1:20.953 (McLaren)
Laps 69 (70 originally, but minus 1 due to extra formation lap)
Weather Dry
Safety Car 0
Results 1. Hamilton McLaren 1:41:05.503
2. Räikkönen Lotus 1:41:06.535
3. Grosjean Lotus 1:41:16.021
Fastest Lap Vettel Red Bull 1:24.136
Retirements Schumacher Mercedes [58] Technical
Karthikeyan HRT [60] Steering
Kobayashi Sauber [67] Hydraulic
Penalties Schumacher Speeding in pit lane Drive through
Maldonado Causing collision with di Resta Drive through
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