In an outcome he wrote off as impossible only three races ago, World Champion Lewis Hamilton on Sunday has won the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary. Race winner Lewis Hamilton, McLaren Mercedes. Photo by xpb.cc. The McLaren Mercedes...
In an outcome he wrote off as impossible only three races ago, World Champion Lewis Hamilton on Sunday has won the Formula One Grand Prix of Hungary.
The McLaren Mercedes driver took the win at the 2.722-mile Hungaroring, one of only two circuits in the 17-race series under three miles long, ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen and Mark Webber of Red Bull. Nico Rosberg of Williams F1 was fourth, Heikki Kovalainen of McLaren fifth, Timo Glock of Toyota sixth, Jenson Button of Brawn GP seventh, and Jarno Trulli of Toyota eighth.
A joyously yelping Hamilton told his crew via radio: "Great job, guys. Great job, guys. This car is so nice to drive. Fantastic. You guys have worked so hard, and I'm so glad we could do it. So proud of you guys. Thank you. Thank you."
His 10th career victory is Hamilton's and the team's first podium finish this season and Martin Whitmarsh's first victory as team principal. Raikkonen's result is his highest finish and second podium this year. Webber won the most recent race, in Germany.
McLaren and Ferrari, the sports' two leading teams over the past decade, were hit harder than expected by a raft of rules changes that saw rebranded Honda team Brawn GP take an early -- and commanding -- lead in driver and constructor points. Proving equally emergent with superior design, Red Bull staked a claim in recent races.
Raikkonen, whose teammate Felipe Massa remains in a Budapest military hospital after emergency surgery due to the injuries to his skull and eye suffered during Saturday's qualifying, might have been spotted for a podium. Despite the firing of chief aerodynamicist John Iley earlier in the week, Ferrari have responded more quickly than McLaren to rules changes. But McLaren's improvements the past two races have pulled the team into the mix.
"It's an incredible feeling after what feels like such a long time away," said Hamilton, the sport's youngest world champion who registered unprecedented success his rookie season. "We didn't expect to win, but the car felt fantastic."
Hamilton added a thought about the shadow over the race.
"Maybe I can speak for all of us, but today was a sad day, given what happened to Felipe. We miss him, wish him well, and we all wish him a speedy recovery."
Pole sitter Fernando Alonso of Renault led away in front to start, but he did not finish. Nor did front-row starter Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull. They followed Force India's Adrian Sutil to the garage as the race's only retirees. Sutil was out on the second lap with an overheating engine.
Alonso lost his right front wheel after the first of three planned pit stops on Lap 13, and he exited altogether on Lap 17. Vettel parked up on Lap 30 with front suspension problems. He tried a new front wing to no effect. He blamed a first-corner incident with Raikkonen, who also met up with Hamilton in the starting maneuvers.
Officials said the Vettel-Raikkonen incident would be investigated after the race. Raikkonen narrowly missed colliding with Webber when the Australian was released from his first pit stop nearly into the Ferrari.
Raikkonen said after the race he was unaware of official measures. "I didn't know that I touched somebody," he said. "This is the first I've heard of it."
Webber blazed to a one-minute, 21.931-second fastest lap with five laps left, but too late to advance his position. "We expected to be a little bit quicker," he said.
Despite its short length, the Hungary track favored the KERS-equipped McLarens and Ferraris. Those were the only cars in the field using the optional kinetic energy recovery systems that have fallen from favor as the season has progressed. Still, Vettel, whose dirty-line grid start helped drop him to eighth on the first lap, said the KERS cars held the advantage.
"It doesn't help when you have cars with KERS and then seven or eight cars competing at the first corner," Vettel said.
Although still looking for a podium, Williams F1 matched its best finish with Rosberg's second consecutive fourth.
Kovalainen, whose car was improved to equal Hamilton's, also matched his best finish this season. He was fifth in China.
Toyota put both cars in the points for the fourth time this year.
Button said his tires were gone in four laps' time. He struggled for handling throughout.
Finishing out of the points were ninth-placed Kazuki Nakajima of Williams F1, yet to score this season, 10th Rubens Barrichello of Brawn GP, who slipped down to 18th after starting in 12th, 11th Nick Heidfeld of BMW Sauber, 12th Nelson Piquet of Renault, 13th Robert Kubica of BMW Sauber, and 14th Giancarlo Fisichella of Force India.
In a battle of rookies, newcomer Jaime Alguersuari of Scuderia Toro Rosso got the better of teammate Sebastien Buemi with 15th ahead of Buemi's 16th as the final cars running. Buemi put himself behind with a spin at the second corner on Lap 39. Alguersuari matched lap times with veteran Fisichella.
Button pads his points lead for the FIA World Drivers' Championship to 70. Webber passes Vettel for second with 51.5 to the nonscoring German's 47. Barrichello stays on 44 points. Rosberg and Trulli move into fifth and sixth spots, respectively.
Brawn GP stays on top of the constructors points ahead of Red Bull, 114 to 98.5. Ferrari gains third with 40 points, ahead of Toyota on 38.5. McLaren Mercedes is up to fifth with 28 points, ahead of Williams F1 with 25.5. Renault has 13 points, BMW Sauber eight, and Toro Rosso five. Force India have yet to score any point paying positions this year.
Formula One shops now close for two weeks as part of an agreed cost-cutting measure, and teams take traditional summer holiday. The circus next resumes August 21 in Valencia, Spain.
Renault appeals its ban from European GP