Finally Jenson Button has won a Grand Prix. After 113 starts in Formula One, the Honda driver charged though to take his first win of his racing career and it amazing considering he started the race in P14 on the grid!
The Hungarian Grand Prix was filled with incidents and action throughout the 70 lap race. It was the first time in 21 years that the Hungaroring was a wet race and the first rain-effected Grand Prix this year. Wet weather conditions always provide a real challenge to the drivers and can often provide top racing entertainment. And in this case, the Hungarian Grand Prix was the best race of the season and it surprising to say the least considering how difficult to overtake on this narrow and twisty track.
Anyway, at the start McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen led the 22-car field from pole position. The Finn was leading in the early stages, but lost the lead to the flying Renault of Fernando Alonso (who started in P15). Then on lap 26, he collided into the back of Vitantonio Liuzzi’s lapped Toro Rosso.
His team-mate Pedro de la Rosa was close behind and witness the shunt between the two cars. Kimi retired on the spot – bringing out the Safety Car – while Liuzzi returned to the pits and was out of the race.
After the Safety Car period, it was a race between Alonso and Button, who both drove superbly from the mid-pack to the front. Alonso held track position and was looking towards a well-deserved victory (to keep his lead in the championship) but after his second pit-stop, his Renault suffered a rare driveshaft failure… And Alonso was out! Now Button is in the lead and the Brit held on to score an emotional victory.
As for Michael Schumacher, who started the race ahead of Alonso and Button on the grid (P11), the German was struggling for grip with his Bridgestone tyres. In fact, he was lapping a couple of seconds slower than the leading Michelin runners (Raikkonen, Button and Alonso). The wet tyres (intermediate) from Michelin was working a treat – offering grip and confidence to the drivers.
Michael Schumacher was overtaken by his championship rival Alonso not once, but twice! The first time for race position and the second time, to lap him! In the later stages, Micheal’s Bridgestones was wearing out and he was losing grip. This allowed McLaren’s De la Rosa to close up and challenge the Ferrari driver for a podium position. The Spanaird had the grip – after changing to groove (dry weather) tyres when the track was drying out – and Michael was in a desperate situation to defend his race position. The McLaren driver made his move on Michael at the chicane, but the seven-time World Champion refused to give way and cut across the chicane. Michael had to let him through but didn’t… A lap later, De la Rosa passed the Ferrari with a clean move at the same corner and he was now in second position.
Now it was Nick Heidfeld’s turn to overtake the slow Ferrari. Nick was watching closely at the Perdo and Michael battle in his BMW Sauber. Once De la Rosa was passed, it was his turn. He went down the inside of the Ferrari at the same chicane but contact was made! Michael turned into him (possibly?) and came out the worst. Heidfeld gained the track position – third – and he went on to finish. But Michael had damaged his 248 Ferrari and had to retire…
With Michael and Fernando not scoring any points this weekend, the championship battle remains the same – 11 points between them – and will resume the duel in Turkey in three weeks time.
But a fantastic day for Jenson Button. Not since the Australian Grand Prix three years ago when David Coulthard was victorious (in his McLaren) has a British driver won in Formula 1. Sixty-three long races past and it so nice to see a new winner on the top step of the podium. Jenson drove faultlessly from fourteenth on the grid. Avoiding trouble and incidents. Was setting faster laptimes than Fernando in the middle stage of the race and held on to a popular win. Will this be the first of many for Jenson?
Perdo de la Rosa finished his career-best with second in the McLaren. His only mistake was spinning during the formation lap! The Spanaird drove a solid race and can be proud of his achievement in the MP4-21. BMW Sauber’s Nick Heidfeld came third and this was the team’s best result since rebranded as a BMW team.
Honda’s Rubens Barrichello finished fourth ahead of David Coulthard’s Red Bull Racing (P5) and Ralf Schumacher’s Toyota (P6). Polish superstar Robert Kubica drove an impressive race to finish in the points with seventh, despite spinning twice and damaging the front nose of his BMW Sauber! And in eighth, it’s Felipe Massa who had a frustrating time in the Ferrari. The Brazilian was struggling for grip. Spun twice and got lapped… At least he set the fastest lap as a small consolation.
UPDATE: Michael Schumacher has gained a valuable single point after the race stewards disqualified Robert Kubica’s BMW Sauber from the result. His car was found to be underweight…
Schumacher is now 10 points behind Alonso as we take a three-week break. Battle continues in Turkey on August 27.