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Motorsport Blog

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Jenson Button rises above rest to win tricky Hungarian Grand Prix

Jenson Button rises above rest to win tricky Hungarian Grand Prix
Jul 31, 2011, 2:56 PM

On his 200th Grand Prix start and the 5th anniversary of his maiden victory in Hungary, Jenson Button drove a perfectly judged race to take his 11t...

On his 200th Grand Prix start and the 5th anniversary of his maiden victory in Hungary, Jenson Button drove a perfectly judged race to take his 11th victory and his second of the season.

And it takes him to fourth place in the all time points scorers list behind Schumacher, Alonso and Prost.

As in the most recent victory in Canada, it was Sebastian Vettel who followed him home. Once again it was a great outcome for his championship challenge as he extended his lead to 85 points, the largest margin at any point this season.

Fernando Alonso finished third despite a series of mistakes by himself and strategy mistakes by the team. He was only 10 seconds behind at the end.

"It's good to have a couple of weeks break because it could take me that long to get over tonight. My 200th race, I don't know why I like these conditions so much.. a great call by the team not to go to the inter. We go into the break on a nice high," said Button.

It was a tricky race - there were a record 88 pit stops and a day for not making mistakes. Button once again showed his cool head to rise above it. He also had an amazing wheel to wheel battle with his team mate Lewis Hamilton.

The race started in unexpectedly drizzly conditions, which made the track slippery and further brief rain shower later in the race, which caused some strategy mistakes. As all the running up to race day had been dry, the first few laps were all about the drivers finding the grip level and braking points on a damp track with intermediate tyres.

At the start Vettel got away well from pole as Button attacked Hamilton for second place. THe two Mercedes cars made great starts with Rosberg up to fourth and Schumacher following him.

Massa was tentative into Turn 1 and Alonso got bogged down behind him, as the Mercedes cars sailed past.

Alonso passed Schumacher on the second lap, and then Rosberg as the leaders were slithering around on a surface that looked as grippy as ice, particularly in Turn 2 where Vettel, Alonso and Massa all had moments.

Hamilton put huge pressure on Vettel on lap 4 and at that point the FIA said that the DRS wing was enabled.

Alonso made a mistake allowing Rosberg back past him. Another mistake allowed Massa to pass. Alonso repassed him soon after.

With the lap times over 20 seconds slower than in qualifying, the McLaren was clearly faster than the Red Bull in the treacherous conditions. On lap 6 Hamilton forced Vettel to run wide and he swept past into the lead. he immediately began pulling away at three seconds a lap.

Webber and Massa were the first drivers to come in lap 11 for slick tyres. The number two drivers effectively for both teams, were used to gain information on the dry tyres for their more competitive team mates.

Meanwhile Alonso pumped in fastest laps to that point and got the gap down to Hamilton and Vettel to 10 seconds by the time they all stopped on lap 13.

Schumacher stayed out and this put him into the lead for the first time since he made his comeback. He pitted straight after.

Button had a great pitstop and a very fast out lap and this set him up for an attack on Vettel on lap 14, which he converted into a pass.

Webber passed Alonso at the same time, as the Ferrari struggled on the dry tyre on a still slightly damp track, its weakness at not warming up the tyres - even the supersoft - very evident.

On Lap 26 Heidfeld's Renault caught fire and exploded after a pit stop, there was no safety car, but Webber, Alonso and Massa pitted, with Hamilton pitting a lap later, his tyres clearly shot.

This was what Jenson Button wanted to see, his tyres were in better shape and he continued, as did Alonso, another driver whose tyres were looking good at the end of the stint.

Button pitted on lap 28 while Vettel decided to stay out, but he lost five seconds in the process, bringing him back towards Webber.

But Vettel simply drove away from his team mate, who came under pressure from Alonso on lap 34.

Kobayashi, the only front runner to take the soft tyres rather than supersofts, had made one less stop than the cars around him and was 6th at the mid race phase, but Massa went past him on lap 35 and the Japanese driver dived into the pits straight away.

Alonso, unable to pass Webber, pitted a third time on lap 37 trying the undercut on Webber. He managed it as he was hugely faster on his new tyres.

Webber reacted, Red Bull putting him onto the soft tyres, which he would take to the finish. Vettel went for the same strategy, as did Button.

Button got the tyres up to speed straight away and was faster than Hamilton who was on the supersofts.

On Lap 47 Hamilton spun and Button passed him as rain began falling again at the back of the circuit only. The McLarens stayed out, Alonso pitted for softs, having realised the mistake they'd made at their third stop.

The rain began to make life difficult for the drivers on lap 50 with lap times 6 seconds slower than the lap before. As Rosberg and Webber pitted for internediates, McLaren's drivers passed and repassed each other, but it was Hamilton in front at the crucial moment when it was time to pit for intermediates.

He decided to go for them, which proved for a mistake.

Rather than queue behind him, Button had to do another lap, but as he did so, it became clear that he didn't need to stop again. This was the decisive moment. The move to inters was the wrong one and it cost Hamilton and Webber dear.

Hamilton also got a drive through penalty for almost hitting Di Resta after a spin and he came out behind Massa and Webber in 6th place.

On lap 58 Webber passed Massa for 5th, and Hamilton attacked and passed too on the same lap to move up to 5th.

He passed Webber for 4th on lap 63 as the pair negotiated traffic. Kobayashi got in their way on very worn tyres and Webber lost out. Kobayashi pitted at the end of that lap.

There were strong performances from Di Resta in seventh place, Buemi 8th and Alguersuari 10th again for Toro Rosso. Daniel Ricciardo had a strong day in the HRT beating Liuzzi and D'Ambrosio. Both Lotus cars retired again.

HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX, Hungaroring, 70 Laps

1. Button McLaren 1h43:42.337

2. Vettel Red Bull + 3.588

3. Alonso Ferrari + 19.819

4. Hamilton McLaren + 48.338

5. Webber Red Bull + 49.742

6. Massa Ferrari + 1:17.176

7. Di Resta Force India + 1 lap

8. Buemi Toro Rosso + 1 lap

9. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap

10. Alguersuari Toro Rosso + 1 lap

11. Kobayashi Sauber + 1 lap

12. Petrov Renault + 1 lap

13. Barrichello Williams + 2 laps

14. Sutil Force India + 2 laps

15. Perez Sauber + 2 laps

16. Maldonado Williams + 2 laps

17. Glock Virgin + 4 laps

18. Ricciardo HRT + 4 laps

19. D'Ambrosio Virgin + 5 laps

20. Liuzzi HRT + 5 laps

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Hungarian GP - Hungaroring Fastest Laps

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Hungarian GP - Hungaroring Pitstop Summary

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