Lewis Hamilton delivered Mercedes’ third win of the season and his first win since America last year in a stellar drive from pole position at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Hamilton, who surprised not only his team but himself, managed to take control of the race at the start and hold position, with little threat in the way of tyres. Contrary to many fans’ and journalists’ predictions, the Mercedes stayed ahead of the likes of Sebastian Vettel, Romain Grosjean and Fernando Alonso and didn’t plummet through the field due to high tyre degradation.
It was a clean start to the race for most drivers; Mark Webber had a good start from 10th to 7th, while Jenson Button went even quicker out of the gate, going from 13th to 8th.
Webber and Button – along with Sergio Perez and Adrian Sutil – started the race on prime tyres, with the former pair being the main beneficiaries from the choice as they were able to move their way up the field with strategies opposite to those starting from the first four rows. Webber ended up five seconds off the podium in fourth while Button landed seventh position in his McLaren.
Grosjean showed his talent at the start, keeping calm when an average starting Vettel tried pushing him towards the outside of the track. There was less than a centimetre between the two; both did well to avoid contact into the first corner.
Unfortunately for Grosjean, his race received mixed reviews. A momentary lapse of perception and awareness saw him turn in front of Button as he was trying to pass into the Turn 6/7 chicane. Although both cars were able to continue, the incident resulted in a 20-second post-race penalty. Since Grosjean finished 21.5 seconds in front of Button, his sixth position stood.
A few laps later, Grosjean was under investigation again for going off the track and gaining an advantage. The incident occurred at the high speed Turn 4, where the Frenchman made an excellent move on the outside of Felipe Massa. However, in the process, he was only a couple of centimetres past the while line on the kerbs. He received a drive through penalty for the incident, which put him out of contention to challenge Hamilton.
With Perez also in the top 10 finishing ninth, McLaren are showing signs of improvement, even if a lot of it came from Pirelli’s revised tyre construction. The next Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps, a circuit that historically suits McLaren, will highlight just how much improvement they’ve made and how competitive they can be.
Nico Hulkenberg forgot that the speed limit in pit lane changed to 80km/h and was handed a drive through penalty for the offence, handing Pastor Maldonado and Williams 10th position, their first point of the season.
The FW35 clearly benefited from the old construction Pirelli tyres. But it was a bittersweet day for the team as Valtteri Bottas suffered his first retirement in his F1 career as a hydraulics failure saw him parked at the start of the main straight on Lap 45.
Other retirements came from both Force India drivers with Sutil suffering a hydraulics problem in what was his 100th F1 race; teammate Paul di Resta retired in the closing laps with a similar issue.
Sauber’s Esteban Gutierrez encountered a gearbox problem and retired on lap 30 while Nico Rosberg’s engine overheated with four laps to go.
Arguably the fasted car throughout the weekend, Red Bull can still take positives away from the race, with Vettel third and Webber fourth, they minimised the threat to both the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championship.
2013 Hungarian Formula 1 Grand Prix – Final Classification (70 laps):
|1.||Lewis Hamilton||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||70||1:42:29.445|
|2.||Kimi Räikkönen||Lotus F1 Renault E21||70||+ 10.938|
|3.||Sebastian Vettel||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||70||+ 12.459|
|4.||Mark Webber||Red Bull Racing Renault RB9||70||+ 18.044|
|5.||Fernando Alonso||Scuderia Ferrari F138||70||+ 31.411|
|6.||Romain Grosjean*||Lotus F1 Renault E21||70||+ 52.295|
|7.||Jenson Button||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||70||+ 53.819|
|8.||Felipe Massa||Scuderia Ferrari F138||70||+ 56.447|
|9.||Sergio Pérez||McLaren Mercedes MP4-28||69||1 lap behind|
|10.||Pastor Maldonado||Williams Renault FW35||69||1 lap behind|
|11.||Nico Hülkenberg||Sauber Ferrari C32||69||1 lap behind|
|12.||Jean-Éric Vergne||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||69||1 lap behind|
|13.||Daniel Ricciardo||Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari STR8||69||1 lap behind|
|14.||Giedo van der Garde||Caterham Renault CT03||68||2 laps behind|
|15.||Charles Pic||Caterham Renault CT03||68||2 laps behind|
|16.||Jules Bianchi||Marussia Cosworth MR02||67||3 laps behind|
|17.||Max Chilton||Marussia Cosworth MR02||67||3 laps behind|
|18.||Paul di Resta||Force India Mercedes VJM06||66||Hydraulics|
|19.||Nico Rosberg||Mercedes AMG Petronas F1W04||64||Engine|
|DNF.||Valtteri Bottas||Williams Renault FW35||42||Hydraulics|
|DNF.||Esteban Gutiérrez||Sauber Ferrari C32||28||Gearbox|
|DNF.||Adrian Sutil||Force India Mercedes VJM06||19||Hydraulics|
* Romain Grosjean received a 20-second post-race time penalty from the FIA Stewards for an avoidable collision with Jenson Button