Button takes victory in his two hundredth Grand Prix

Jenson Button celebrated his two hundredth Grand Prix with victory in a wet/dry Hungarian Grand Prix.

McLaren could have had a one-two finish, with Lewis Hamilton leading the majority of the Grand Prix, but a tyre strategy misjudgement and a drive-through penalty ruined Hamilton’s race.

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel had to settle for second position, ahead of Fernando Alonso and Hamilton.

The race began on a damp track with all twenty-four drivers on the intermediates. Starting in second, Hamilton was in aggressive mood and immediately focused his attention on passing Sebastian Vettel for the race lead. The duel between the pair was quite exciting.

The lead finally changed on lap five, when Vettel ran wide at Turn 2 and Hamilton breezed past and pulled away, soon extending a four-second lead over the championship leader, who was at least able to drop Button at this stage.

Laps 10 to 13 saw all the leaders decide the track was ready for slicks, and coming in one lap sooner than Vettel paid off for Button, who made the most of this warmer tyres and greater confidence to take second place into Turn 2.

Mark Webber pulled off the same manoeuvre on Alonso for fourth at the same time. The Ferrari had lost ground through Turn 1 on the opening lap, and then charged back up the order despite two minor trips off track.

The relatively serene middle phase of the race saw Hamilton holding a comfortable gap over Button, who had a similar five-second advantage back to Vettel, while Webber fended off Alonso ten-second behind them.

Alonso decided to make a relatively early third pit-stop and take another set of option (super softs), while all the other leaders except Hamilton switched to the prime (softs) at this point.

That burst of pace allowed Alonso to jump both Red Bulls during his rapid laps before they pitted, though the Pirellis began to wear out and he lost third to Vettel again.

Hamilton adopted the same strategy as Alonso, which left him looking very vulnerable to Button, but in the event the return of the rain rendered these tactics rather irrelevant.

The sudden shower hit on lap 47, causing Hamilton to spin at the chicane. He tried to rejoin as quickly as possible, but could not prevent his team-mate taking the lead. As he rotated around, he forced Paul di Resta off the track and that move ultimately earn Hamilton a drive-through penalty.

With the rain increasing, Button slipped up at Turn 2 four laps later, allowing Hamilton back into the lead. Button retaliated on the following lap and briefly regained first place on the pits straight, only to go wide again at Turn 2 as the top spot was exchanged yet again.

While all this was going on the McLaren drivers were in discussion with the pit wall on whether to switch to intermediate tyres. Initially, the team told both to come in which would have meant Button queueing behind Hamilton.

But as the lap neared an end the team decided not to bring Button in. Hamilton, struggling to hear his instructions with a faulty radio, did pit for intermediate tyres.

This was a big mistake as the brief shower was gone, and he was soon back in for slicks. His drive-through penalty for nearly wiping out Paul di Resta followed; dropping Hamilton down to sixth and leaving his McLaren team-mate clear to take the chequered flag.

The 2009 champion briefly came under pressure from last year’s champion, but had the speed to pull away again and clinch his second Grand Prix victory of the season.

With Webber also switching to intermediates unnecessary, Alonso regained third, which he held despite a quick late spin.

Hamilton battled back to fourth ahead of Webber, with Felipe Massa recovering from an early spin to take sixth.

Kamui Kobayashi tried to go the full distance on just a two-stop strategy and held seventh heading into the closing stages, albeit with a massive queue of cars chasing his Sauber.

The plan did not work, and he had to pit for fresh set of Pirellis after tumbling down the order, as Paul di Resta came through to seventh and Sebastien Buemi turned P23 on the grid into an eighth place for Toro Rosso.

Nico Rosberg finished in ninth position in the remaining Mercedes as team-mate Michael Schumacher was forced to retire with a gearbox issue.

Toro Rosso’s Jaime Alguersuari survived a clash with Kobayashi to take the final point with tenth.

One of the most spectacular incidents of this highly eventful race befell Nick Heidfeld, whose Renault caught fire in the pit exit following a long stop, with a minor explosion on its left-hand side as the track marshals dealt with the blaze.

Formula One now enters its summer break. Despite winning a single race in the past four Grands Prix, Sebastian Vettel still leads the championship with 234 points. It’s going to be fascinating to see if McLaren and Ferrari can keep applying pressure to Red Bull in the second half of the championship.

Hungarian Grand Prix, 70 laps:

1.  Button        McLaren-Mercedes           1h43:42.337
2.  Vettel        Red Bull-Renault           +3.588
3.  Alonso        Ferrari                    +19.819
4.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes           +48.338
5.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault           +49.742
6.  Massa         Ferrari                    +1:17.176
7.  Di Resta      Force India-Mercedes       +1 lap
8.  Buemi         Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1 lap
9.  Rosberg       Mercedes                   +1 lap
10.  Alguersuari   Toro Rosso-Ferrari         +1 lap
11.  Kobayashi     Sauber-Ferrari             +1 lap
12.  Petrov        Renault                    +1 lap
13.  Barrichello   Williams-Cosworth          +2 laps
14.  Sutil         Force India-Mercedes       +2 laps
15.  Perez         Sauber-Ferrari             +2 laps
16.  Maldonado     Williams-Cosworth          +2 laps
17.  Glock         Virgin-Cosworth            +4 laps
18.  Ricciardo     HRT-Cosworth               +4 laps
19.  D’Ambrosio    Virgin-Cosworth            +5 laps
20.  Liuzzi        HRT-Cosworth               +5 laps

Fastest lap: Massa, 1:23.415

Not classified/retirements:

Kovalainen    Lotus-Renault                56 laps
Schumacher    Mercedes                     27 laps
Heidfeld      Renault                      24 laps
Trulli        Lotus-Renault                18 laps

World Championship standings, round 11:                

1.  Vettel       234
2.  Webber       149
3.  Hamilton     146
4.  Alonso       145
5.  Button       134
6.  Massa         70
7.  Rosberg       48
8.  Heidfeld      34
9.  Schumacher    32
10.  Petrov        32
11.  Kobayashi     27
12.  Sutil         18
13.  Buemi         12
14.  Alguersuari   10
15.  Di Resta       8
16.  Perez          8
17.  Barrichello    4

1.  Red Bull-Renault          383
2.  McLaren-Mercedes          280
3.  Ferrari                   215
4.  Mercedes                   80
5.  Renault                    66
6.  Sauber-Ferrari             35
7.  Force India-Mercedes       26
8.  Toro Rosso-Ferrari         22
9.  Williams-Cosworth           4

Next race: Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps. August 26-28.

10 thoughts to “Button takes victory in his two hundredth Grand Prix”

  1. Jenson Button celebrated what he labelled as an amazing weekend after clinching a superb victory in his 200th Formula 1 start.

    The Briton handled the tricky conditions perfectly to grab his second win of the season, finishing ahead of world champion Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.

    Button hailed his McLaren team for making the right calls during a difficult-to-read race, and the Briton admitted he is delighted to go into the summer break on a high.

    “For some reason I like these conditions, don’t ask me my why, but it worked out again,” said Button. “A great call from the team to put me on the prime tyre when they did, a great call from all of us. All round it has been an amazing weekend.

    “I want to say a big thank you to the team. Everyone has worked so hard to produce the car we have now. I think we are going into the break on a nice high. Every day we are on holiday we’ll be thinking about Spa.”

    Button, who made three stops during the grand prix, admitted he felt he had the race under control most of the time, and said he had enjoying fighting with team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

    “It’s very easy to say now, but personally I felt that I was able to look after the tyres for the remainder of the first stint,” he added. “I think about halfway through people started struggling but I was able to push on and the car felt really good.

    “I knew I was in good shape, the car was working well for me. I thought it was a matter of time in the dry conditions to get the jump on Lewis because at the end of the stints he was struggling.

    “It turned out a little bit different with the rain coming down, but I had a lot of fun all the same. It’s always fun racing with Lewis. It’s great to come away with a victory this weekend.”

    The McLaren driver is now 100 points behind championship leader Vettel.

    Source: Autosport.com

  2. Championship leader Sebastian Vettel has commented that an opportunity to win the Hungarian Grand Prix was possible. Autosport.com has the details.

    Sebastian Vettel believes victory in the Hungarian Grand Prix was possible, the German conceding he was not 100 per cent happy with second place.

    Vettel, who was starting from pole position, crossed the finish line over three seconds behind race winner Jenson Button.

    It was the third race in a row that Vettel, winner of six of the first eight races of the season, did not win.

    The Red Bull driver says his team must react and fight back at Spa after the summer break.

    “I think that win was in reach today so it was not impossible,” said Vettel. “The emotions are going through right now. In the championship it was a good race with a lot of people finishing behind us apart from Jenson.

    “I think the most important message is that especially McLaren in the last two races are very competitive. We are not happy with that, I am sure Jenson is, so we need to come back for Spa.”

    He added: “Today I am not 100 per cent happy. I started from pole and felt I could win race, it was not impossible, with many drivers doing small mistakes. So I’ mot 100 per cent happy because the target is to win and not be second.

    “We got good points today but there is a long, long way to go. We have seen how quickly things can change so we need to make sure we see the chequered flag.

    “Yes, I am happy but not entirely. We go out there, we try to get pole on Saturday, we did yesterday and we try to win on Sunday, which we didn’t do today. There was a chance and we didn’t use it, so we need to look into that.”

    Despite finishing second, Vettel managed to increase his lead in the standings to 85 points to team-mate Mark Webber.

    But the German claimed he is still not thinking about the title, but rather about winning as many races as possible.

    “I think second in the championship is Mark but I don’t know how many points, I don’t care, I don’t calculate them,” he said. “I see Fernando ahead of me on a different set of tyres and I don’t think about the championship when I am racing, I think about trying to win.

    “Jenson scored more points today, other people scored less, but that is not really important. Our target has to be to win races and I can tell you – we still feel very hungry. I feel hungry, hungry in Hungary, to win races.”

  3. Fernando Alonso believes Ferrari can be very confident for the final part of the season after taking another podium finish at the Hungaroring – his fourth straight top three result.

    The Spaniard had an eventful race on the way from fifth on the grid to third, with two trips off the road and a spin during the grand prix, and said that given the Ferrari performs at its best in much hotter conditions, he had to be content with another podium.

    “I think we are confident we can do a good second part of the championship,” said Alonso. “The car has improved a lot, we are fighting for podiums, pole positions.

    “July was a fantastic month. I am the driver who scored the most points in July, in three different conditions, at three different tracks. The team did a step forward and McLaren also did a good step forward so competition is quite fun.

    “Unfortunately it was not very hot in July. We love high temperatures so hopefully August and September will be better for us.”

    Alonso said he did not have a proper chance to show the Ferrari’s pace in Hungary, having lost places to the Mercedes at the start and then had to battle back from his brief excursions.

    “I think in these type of conditions the race is very, very long – you need to be always focused with so many pitstops and so many weather conditions,” he said.

    “The start did not go as predicted, both Mercedes GP cars overtook us at the start, so I had to overtake Nico [Rosberg] and Michael [Schumacher], then with pitstops I was stuck behind [Mark] Webber. After that I was able to push with free air, and was quite quick, but for the first 20 laps we were behind Mercedes and Mark.”

    Source: Autosport.com

  4. McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton has said that it was a radio glitch which caused him to switch to the intermediates. Autosport.com has the full story.

    Lewis Hamilton said radio communication issues led to his errant switch to intermediate tyres late in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

    The McLaren driver was engaged in a spectacular battle for victory with his team-mate Jenson Button in the final part of the race when he opted to pit for intermediates amid a rain shower.

    But the track dried almost immediately and he had to make an additional pitstop.

    “We were having radio issues,” Hamilton explained. “I could hear my engineers, but they couldn’t hear me, so I was constantly asking for information but they couldn’t hear me. So it was a very difficult call for them.

    “I think there was perhaps one point when they got some information from me but maybe it was a little bit of info. I heard them say it was going to rain and it was already spitting, so we opted to go for the wet tyres. I think they called me in and I did the lap. Anyway the tyres went off and it wasn’t necessarily the best call, but that’s motor racing.”

    Even if he had not made the tyre decision, Hamilton’s hopes of victory were set to be dashed by a penalty for forcing Paul di Resta’s Force India off the road as the McLaren did a spin-turn to rejoin after an error at the chicane.

    “I made a big mistake,” Hamilton admitted. “My left front tyre was pretty worn so I went a bit wide at the chicane and spun, which is very, very rare.

    “Then after that I honestly have to apologise to Paul di Resta. I didn’t see him. I had absolutely no clue. I don’t know what happened but I got a penalty for something, which is to be expected, I guess, sometimes. So I apologise to him.”

    Button went on to win the grand prix, which Hamilton felt was a fair result.

    “Congratulations to Jenson, he was pushing me hard the whole race and the better man won today,” he said.

    Hamilton was confident that McLaren would have had a one-two on pure speed, which he felt was an ideal way to head into the break between now and the Belgian Grand Prix at the end of August.

    “I think we can definitely say the team have done a fantastic job,” said Hamilton. “For us to both be the most competitive this weekend I think is a fantastic way to go into the break.

    “Of course we would have loved a one-two. I feel like I let the team down a little bit. But we’ll bounce back at the next race.”

  5. Sebastien Buemi felt his charge from 23rd on the grid to eighth in the Hungarian Grand Prix was one of his best ever performances in Formula 1, as he pulled off a points finish despite a five-place grid penalty.

    The Toro Rosso driver was given the punishment after he was adjudged to have caused the collision that ended Nick Heidfeld’s race at the Nurburgring.

    He made rapid progress in the damp early stages in Hungary today, and although he was less happy with his set-up as the track dried, he said mid-race adjustments were key to allowance him to continue his charge into the points in the closing stages.

    “A fantastic race, one of my best,” said Buemi. “Starting right from the back row I got a super start and I passed around 10 cars on the opening lap. After that, I got into a good rhythm and was able to pass more cars on the damp track.

    “Then, as it began to dry, I felt the set-up was not perfect and I had too much understeer. I tried not to get upset about it and then the team did a very good job, working at the pitstop to change the wing angle which helped me to save the tyres better and the stop was quick enough for me to jump up a few places.

    “When the rain returned, I again felt the car was working very well and I was able to run at a good pace again, which helped me get into the points. It’s nice to go on holiday now with another four points in the bag, especially starting with that five-place grid penalty.”

    Buemi cited his pass on Kamui Kobayashi for eighth place into the first corner as one of the highlights of his battle through the field.

    “There were plenty of exciting moments, especially my passing move on Kobayashi,” he said. “I was too slow to catch up with him on the straight so I had to pass him under braking which was right on the limit. It’s great to have this result, which owes something to such a good strategy.”

    The second Toro Rosso of Jaime Alguersuari clashed with Kobayashi as part of the same shuffle into the first corner, and finished 10th. He felt that collision and a moment on the damp track had cost him a much better result.

    “Today, it was clear in my mind that I could have finished seventh,” said Alguersuari. “I made one of my pitstops just as it began raining slightly again. With the tyres not yet up to temperature, at that point it was hard to stay on the track and I went off.

    “But I carried on fighting and towards the end, it was unfortunate that I lost another place after the collision with Kobayashi, but as a team performance we can consider we did a good job today, so it is a nice way to go into the short break, although I can’t wait to start again in Spa.”

    Team boss Franz Tost was thrilled with the result, which came in the squad’s 100th race in its current guise.

    “With some help from two excellent performances from our drivers, the team gave itself the best possible present to celebrate Scuderia Toro Rosso’s 100th grand prix, since we first took to the track in Bahrain in 2006,” said Tost.

    “A combined eighth and 10th place finish is our best result of the season so far and from a strategy point of view, the team did an excellent job in difficult and changeable conditions, while the drivers made the most of that, delivering faultless drives without making any mistakes. Their lap times were also impressive this afternoon, so there are plenty of reasons to look forward to the rest of the season.”

    Source: Autosport.com

  6. Red Bull’s Mark Webber admitted he made the wrong call on tyres during the race. Autosport.com has the details.

    Mark Webber was left lamenting a wrong tyre call during the Hungarian Grand Prix, after finishing a distant fifth in the race.

    The Australian decided to switch to intermediates when it started to rain again late in the race.

    The decision, however, backfired, as the rain stopped quickly and Webber was forced to pit again for slicks.

    Webber, who crossed the finish line nearly 50 seconds off winner Jenson Button, admitted it had been his call.

    “It was quite an enjoyable grand prix up until when you make the wrong decisions from the cockpit,” said Webber. “I made the right one to go to the slicks when I did, which worked out well, but you look completely stupid when you are only on the intermediates for two laps.

    “If it rains heavier, for another three or four minutes, then that’s the right decision. So that’s the roll of the dice you’ve got to make. Obviously the difference between the slicks and intermediates when it was wet was a lot.

    “It was my call. I decided to roll the dice and, if it worked, obviously you win big. If you lose – I lost some positions. That’s the way it was today.”

    Webber said he was also hurt by the rain at the start of the race, having to start from the dirty and wetter side of the track.

    “It was pretty slippery on that side of the grid I think. I got away reasonable. I saw the Mercedes and those guys got a very good start – better than me for sure. That was the first part of the race, but you knew it was going to be some more decisions late in the race. I got some right, some wrong.”

  7. Jenson Button is confident that he has the capability to win another world championship before he leaves Formula 1, having celebrated his 200th grand prix start in Hungary this weekend.

    The milestone achievement makes Button the eighth most experienced driver in F1 history, and the fourth among the current field, behind Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher and Jarno Trulli.

    Having spent a long time in midfield equipment before his breakthrough world championship season with Brawn in 2009, Button’s career path has been unusual compared to most title-winners. He said that championship campaign had totally changed his outlook on F1.

    “Since I won the world championship I have enjoyed racing a hell of a lot,” Button admitted.

    “It is not the pressure other people put on you, it is the pressure you put on yourself to win. I still, obviously, would love to win another world championship and that is why I am here, to win another world championship.”

    Asked if he felt he had another title win in him, Button replied: “Definitely, 100 per cent. I don’t think any driver who wins a world championship suddenly isn’t interested in fighting for a victory or another world championship, or isn’t capable. There has only been one world champion since me.”

    The McLaren driver said he did not attach too much significance to anniversaries like this weekend’s, beyond them being a chance to take stock of his career so far, and did not have any particular ambition for how many grands prix he would ultimately contest.

    “I am not going to aim for 300, 200 is just a number but because it is a milestone in most people’s eyes it is good because you can ask questions about our past,” said Button.

    “You look back and you remember the good, the bad and the ugly of what you have been through.

    “I don’t think we do that enough; we are always living in the moment or looking forward too much. Especially in the world of Formula 1, every year rolls into the next. So it is nice to take a step back and look back at what I have achieved.”

    Asked if he suspected his next F1 contract would be his last, Button replied: “I don’t know. You might say it is but when you get to the end of it you might think ‘Wow, that’s it then. What am I going to do now?’

    “There are lots of possibilities but nothing quite like racing in Formula 1. Maybe I’ll start my own team, what do you reckon? That worked well for so many other people! Wherever I am they will have to pay me a lot more than I am on now, if I could afford to run a team…”

    Source: Autosport.com

  8. Renault’s Nick Heidfeld has admitted that his fiery escape in the Hungarian Grand Prix was scarier than his similar incident at Barcelona. Autosport.com has the story.

    Nick Heidfeld confessed that his fiery escape in the Hungarian Grand Prix was much scarier than the similar incident he suffered in Spain earlier this year.

    The Renault driver’s car erupted in flames shortly after his second pitstop, which was longer than usual due to a wheelnut problem. The team believes its forward facing exhausts overheated while it was stationary – which in turn set the bodywork on fire.

    Heidfeld exited the pits, hoping that getting up to racing speed would put the fire out, but it simply exacerbated the situation – with the side of the car igniting. He quickly pulled off the track before jumping out the car. As marshals attended the blaze, the car’s sidepod exploded – spreading debris over the side of the track.

    Although uninjured in the incident, Heidfeld admitted that it was much worse than his fire during free practice at the Spanish Grand Prix.

    “It was a lot more scary,” Heidfeld told AUTOSPORT. “At Barcelona I looked left, saw a small fire and had time to stop. This one, I looked straight, saw the fire and it got hot.

    “I really felt the temperature. It was a bit scary – much more than Barcelona.”

    Heidfeld said that the team was still investigating why the exhausts ignited the bodywork, because the stop had not been dramatically long.

    “They are still looking into it. The stop was a bit longer, so that might be one of the reasons, but it is not like the stop was very long – it was not that I was stationary for 20 seconds or something. We are still investigating.”

  9. Paul di Resta admits that ending his eight-race point-less streak with seventh place in the Hungarian Grand Prix has relieved the pressure that was building on him.

    The Force India driver prevailed in a tight midfield battle with the Toro Rossos, Nico Rosberg and Kamui Kobayashi to claim the best result of his 11-race F1 career.

    But although he was pleased to end the barren streak, he was not too concerned about the recent lack of results because his performances in recent races has been strong enough to achieve similar results had bad luck not intervened.

    “I was under a bit of pressure to score points,” said di Resta. “But at the same time, I didn’t make any mistakes in the last three races that have cost me anything.

    “If we had come here and something had happened, it would have been very disappointing. I’ve always said that there are going to be highs and lows and I hope we’ve had a low and are rebuilding to a high.”

    Di Resta, who has now scored eight points in his rookie season, did have a close call during the race when Lewis Hamilton recovered from a spin at the chicane in front of him.

    The Scot was forced to take to the grass at the exit of the corner to avoid collecting the McLaren.

    “It was close,” said di Resta. “But there are no hard feelings. He said that he didn’t see me. He was puzzled as to why he got a penalty even after the race.

    “Had he hit me it would have been a disappointing end. If I hadn’t taken avoiding action, it would have been a disaster.

    “He did apologise. But I can understand why he did it.”

    Source: Autosport.com

  10. Hungarian Grand Prix winner Jenson Button has said that McLaren are on par with Red Bull Racing in terms of outright speed. Autosport.com has the story.

    Jenson Button believes Red Bull Racing should have every reason to be worried about its own pace now – with the Hungarian Grand Prix winner confident McLaren is now a match for the championship leaders in both qualifying and races.

    On the basis that McLaren has won three of the last five grands prix, Button sees no reason why the Woking-based outfit cannot continue its good run of form for the remainder of the season.

    And, with Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber now being pushed really hard in qualifying – an area where they were dominant earlier this year – Button thinks that the advantage Red Bull Racing had has now been wiped away.

    “We are very quick in the race,” Button said. “In qualifying it is nice to see we have made some improvements, and nice to see we are up there with the Red Bulls now. They should be worried.”

    Button thinks that updates planned for the next race in Belgium should allow it to challenge for the win on the high-speed circuit too.

    “Spa is a very different race, and I am hoping that we will have a good package for it. I’m looking forward to running it, and hopefully we can fight for another victory. We should do well.”

    However, despite his optimism about McLaren’s run of form, he concedes that recent non-finishes have badly hurt his championship ambitions.

    “We won three of the last five races, which is not bad, it is pretty good. But for me it is pretty tough to fight for the championship because of recent reliability issues, but still we are not going to give up.

    “As a team we have made it very difficult for ourselves over the last three races with failures, but I am a very positive person.

    “I know it is very difficult to fight for the championship. I am taking it one race at a time. I don’t look at the numbers. I will just keep my head down and concentrate on doing the best I can at each race.”

    Button currently lies fifth in the drivers’ championship, 100 points adrift of Vettel but only 15 points behind Webber, who is second overall.

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