July 30th, 2013 (F1plus/J. Polychronis).- This week we review the Hungarian GP which will be remembered for bizarre incidents. For sure the highlights were the remarkable –and emotional- victory for Lewis Hamilton, his first as a member of the Mercedes team and of course, the late duel between Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.
However, it was not always about those at the podium. Let’s have a look at those surprising performances within the field, whether it is for better or worse
Romain Grosjean: Gone Wrong
Romain Grosjean finished the race in Hungary in 6th position, while receiving two separate penalties from the FIA stewards yesterday.
The Frenchman received a 20-second post-race time penalty for his involvement in a collision with Jenson Button on lap 25. Button wholly attributed the cause of collision to Grosjean, stating: “I don’t know what he thought – unless I took to the grass, it was inevitable we were going to touch – I don’t think he was thinking.” Regardless of the time penalty, Grosjean retained his 6th position by 2.6 seconds from Button.
The Lotus driver was not as lucky however, to escape a drive-through penalty during the race, for a passing move on Felipe Massa at turn 4. In a move which ironically displayed some of Grosjean’s best driving in F1, the pass was deemed to be completed off the track and therefore illegal. Massa expressed discontent at the decision to penalise Grosjean, stating that the penalty was “completely wrong.”
Despite a weekend of good times through all sessions, an impressive result failed to materialise on the Sunday for Grosjean.
Pastor Maldonado: On-Song
Williams-Renault received their first point of the year, courtesy of a Pastor Maldonado 10th place finish at the Hungaroring on Sunday.
2013 has been nothing but bitter disappointment so far for Williams, who are aiming for significant improvements in 2014 under Mercedes-Benz power. The reunification of Williams with Renault at the beginning of 2012 came with much promise, particularly after race victory in Catalunya. Williams has been lacklustre ever since though, and as of 2014, will be using Mercedes engines.
Nonetheless, Maldonado’s finish on Sunday was a small ray of light, in an otherwise gloomy season. Maldonado said after the race: “I had a really good start from P15 and made a few overtaking manoeuvres during the race which were on the limit, which is especially pleasing as at this track it is very hard to overtake.
I really want to keep scoring points now and be even stronger during the second part of the season.”
Force India: Gone Wrong
Force India’s weekend in Hungary ended with a pair of hydraulic issues and subsequently, no points for the second consecutive week.
Team principle, Dr. Vijay Mallya, expressed his disappointment after the race by stating: “It’s not been the easiest of weekends for us and it’s disappointing to come away from Budapest without any points.”
Adrian Sutil retired before a pit-stop after encountering difficulties in shifting up gears. Paul di Resta was retired with a similar hydraulic issue towards the end of the race, enabling him to be classified in 18th place.
The recent form of Force India is in stark contrast to their opening 8 races, in which they scored 59 points. This is a fact not lost on Mallya, who intends on a team improvement after the summer-break.
“With the next race coming up in four weeks’ time, we will analyse our performance and work hard to recapture our form in Spa.”
Mark Webber: On-song
Mark Webber and Red Bull soundly executed a strategy which resulted in a 4th place finish on Sunday.
After qualifying in 10th place, due to not participating in Q3, Webber commenced the race on the medium tyre. This began the recovery of 6th positions, a result which pleased both Webber and the team.
“I don’t think we could have got much more than that result today. The strategy was pretty solid and you have to pace the option tyres until the end” said Webber.
This was echoed by team principle, Christian Horner, who stated: “Mark’s recovery from tenth was excellent today, a very strong first stint put him back into contention and to recover from tenth on the grid to fourth was a very good performance.”
Webber’s final stint was on the option tyre, which dished up the possibility of a showdown with bitter rival, Sebastian Vettel. This failed to materialise however, saving Red Bull bosses from another headache.
On-Song or Gone Wrong? is a segment provided after the completion of each race weekend. It is predominately dedicated to assess the surprise performances within the field, whether it is for better or worse.