July 29th, 2013 (F1plus).- Lewis Hamilton took a emphatic win - his first for Mercedes - as he held off both Raikkonen and Vettel. Impressive strategy helped him to the win whilst Grosjean’s hopes of converting his qualifying into a win for Lotus ended in multiple stewards inquiries.
There were plenty of stories up and down the field as Ferrari struggled to keep up with their Red Bull rivals as Williams took their first point since the US Grand Prix in 2012.
Lewis Hamilton took his first ever win for Mercedes at the Hungarian Grand Prix. He kept his cool alongside a clever strategy to convert the pole into a win. Hamilton kept hold of first position as the lights went out with all the drama happening behind him. Sebastian Vettel initially closed on Hamilton but the Mercedes was not struggling with high tyre degradation.
Hamilton was the first of the front runners to pit coming out behind Jenson Button. He quickly regained second but Vettel was caught behind and Hamilton extended his gap to the championship leader. As the race went on it was clear Mercedes had a real chance of the win and Hamilton did not disappoint. The long wait for his first Mercedes win was finally over.
Conversely Nico Rosberg lost out in the race. He struggled from the start losing time after a clash with Massa. His afternoon ended in smoke and fire with an engine failure just a few laps from the finish.
Lotus will have mixed feelings after Sunday’s race. Romain Grosjean had avoided a penalty post qualifying to start third and had looked set to challenge for the win. He started well despite being squeezed by Vettel on the opening lap. His strong pace kept him in the running and he made an impressive pass on Massa.
The Frenchman later made a pass on Button whilst following Vettel and clipped the McLaren. He was also given a drive-through penalty for passing Massa whilst all four wheels were off the track. At the end of the race he received a 20 second penalty for the Button clash but it did not change his finish of sixth place.
Kimi Raikkonen took another podium with a strong second place. He had come under pressure from Vettel in the closing laps but withstood and went on to claim another 20 points. A good points haul for the team but there will be questions over whether the stewards were fair with Grosjean and a sense of what could have been.
Sebastian Vettel took third place ahead of his teammate Mark Webber in fourth. Vettel’s podium came after a number of close battles throughout the race. The German squeezed out Grosjean at the start to hold onto second place before challenging Hamilton in the early laps.
After the first round of pit stops he was caught behind Button who was on the medium tyre. Hamilton had passed Button and pulled away to help him towards the win. Vettel then struggled to pass Raikkonen in the closing laps. Vettel still leads the drivers championship. Webber had a disaster of a day on Saturday to only qualify tenth. He made steady progress through the race to recover to an impressive fourth.
Fernando Alonso hung on to fifth place after a tough race in a less than competitive Ferrari. Grosjean had been chasing him in the closing laps but he kept hold of the position to take home the ten points.
Alonso’s race was rather anonymous much the same as teammate Massa. The Brazilian finished eighth behind Button’s McLaren. He had been passed by Grosjean in turn four but the Frenchman was later given a drive through penalty for going over the white lines. Massa had also avoided a close call with Rosberg in the early laps suffering minor damage to his front wing.
Much of the talk after the race was surrounding rumours Alonso’s management had held talks with Red Bull about a possible move in 2014. Alonso and Ferrari dismissed the claims but Red Bull did little to calm the storm.
Jenson Button had a good race to finish seventh after some battles throughout the race. His decision to start on the mediums kept him among the front runners early in the race. Hamilton and Vettel both came out behind him after the first stops. His fellow Brit passed him easily but he managed to keep Vettel behind for a number of laps.
It did not help his race overall but gave McLaren some much needed airtime. A clash with Grosjean saw the Frenchman given a post race 20 second penalty but it did not affect the race result. Sergio Perez had a uneventful race to take ninth place.
Williams took their first point in the 2013 season with Pastor Maldonado finishing tenth place. This was Williams first point since the 2012 United States Grand Prix. The Venezuelan had run in the top ten at different points in the race but benefitted from Rosberg’s late retirement and penalties for other drivers.
Valtteri Bottas’ race ended early with a hydraluic problem. A good weekend for Williams with the change in tyre compounds looking to have benefitted the team.
A drive through penalty ended Sauber’s chances of scoring at a third consecutive race. Nico Hulkenberg had been on course to secure a single point for the third race in a row having qualified 12th. The German just held onto 11th from then two fast catching Toro Rosso’s. He had a drive through penalty after speeding in the pit lane due to a shift down problem. Esteban Gutierrez didn’t make it to the end of the race having to retire due to a gearbox problem.
Daniel Ricciardo failed to convert his impressive qualifying form into a strong race performance as he fell from eighth to only finish 13th. He was once again beaten by his teammate Jean-Eric Vergne with the Frenchman passing the Australian with just four laps to run.
The car lacked pace but some will be left wondering why Vergne is being disregarded in the Red Bull race despite comfortably being ahead of Ricciardo on a number of occasions.
Caterham are now comfortably leading the Marussia’s in race conditions. Giedo van der Garde led teammate Charles Pic for the whole race. A strong performance from both drivers will help to put their minds at rest amid rumours one of them may lose out to another driver in 2014.
Marussia suffered from a disappointing lack of pace. The team had worked to close the gap to Caterham in practice and qualifying but it was not enough to beat them on Sunday. Jules Bianchi once again led home teammate Max Chilton.
Force India’s season seems to have stalled as once again the team faced a hard weekend. Things had looked slightly better than Germany with Sutil qualifying 11th but he lost out at the start and later retired from his 100th race with a hydraulic leak.
Paul di Resta only started 18th after a poor qualifying but made up a number of places on lap one. He later struggled outside the points before retiring with three laps to run.