01/08/2012

Hungarian GP, Budapest- Just like the old days....


This was the comment made by Lewis to Kimi after a hard fought battle between the two. Lewis won the battle this time again after the previous two times also Kimi had finished P2 years-years ago. This wasn’t the best of the races with little overtaking but the strategies played a role once again as Lewis won the race, Kimi at P2 & his teammate Grosjean at P3.

Detailed review of the race below:


Practice Sessions, FP1:


Rain threat was looming over the circuit but for the teams sake and the fans to a certain extent, it remained dry giving the teams much needed time to test the tyres and get some valuable data. McLaren were back to business after their updates as Hamilton ended at P1, Button at P2 and Alonso at P3. Jules Bianchi got another run as he sat for Hulkenberg, he finished a lowly P18. He said that he still needs more time to get settled with the car. Di Resta ended at P14, working through the data. Once again it was who Karthikeyan sat out for Clos to take up the car for the session.



FP2:


Although the session began on dry conditions, it was all wet by the end as rain hit the circuit with about 40mins to go. The teams had some good running better than Germany & Britain but then not many got the long runs on medium tyres. Hamilton continued his good form as times didn’t tumble and he ended at P1, Kimi got to P2 and surprisingly Senna at P3. Di Resta moved up and ended at P7 while Hulkenberg at P12. The drivers were happy with the day though they felt that team are in a better position to fight for points. Karthikeyan got some 20 laps and ended at P24, he said he wasn’t getting much from soft tyres.



FP3:


Final session before they prepared for qualifying session. Thankfully, it was dry and team got some long run on the medium tyres at the start. After staying silent last day the RBR’s rose as Webber ended P1 and Vettel at P3. Sandwiched between them was Hamilton at P2 who once again looked good in the McLaren. Di Resta ended at P9 while Hulkenberg at P14, both did a good job. Amazingly, top 14 were separated by less than a second’s time. Karthikeyan ended at P24, having some trouble with the car.


 The pole battle was rather dodgy as McLaren’s Hamilton was a front runner to clinch pole. Only guys who could challenged would be RBR, Alonso or Lotus. Force india’s chances of making into Q3 would be tough but I was certain that one car would make it there. Karthikeyan’s main aim was beating Rosa or Marussia but then I knew he would end up at P24.



Qualifying, Q1:


To begin with, I didn’t watch qualifying as I was busy with some work and later on I was told Star Sports didn’t air the session anyways due to Olympics. But I saw the results, got some notes from Peter and writing based on that. Q1 saw Hmailton ending at P1, Di Resta at P2 and Button at P3, three Brits on podium (just saying). Late charge from Kobayashi saw Ricciardo being eliminated along with Caterham, Marussia and HRT. Both SFI made it while Karthikeyan ended P24 but was very close to his teammate Rosa.



Q2:


The grip improved in the second session, the weather was dry as it is. It was a normal session but then we saw a major drivers bowing out including a major team i.e Mercedes. Hamilton ended P1 again as Vettel got to P2 and Maldonado P3. Webber only ended P11 while Rosberg P13 and Schumacher P17 losing time due Maldonado’s off track moment. Di Resta ended at P12 after a good lap which within a second from Hamilton’s time. Hulkenberg made it to top 10, he has surely got his old self back after rusty start.



Q3:


Force India, McLaren & Lotus opted for 2 runs, they used some used tyres for their first run. Qualifying positions were important as overtaking is tough on the track. But there was no stopping Hamilton really. He got the pole position, for a moment Grosjean was looking good to topple the time but he only managed P2 with Vettel settling for P3. Hulkenberg ended at P10 but he was disappointed as his last run didn’t yield what he hoped for, which he thought would have given him the sixth place.


 I have no clue how tough were the sessions but from the times, it seems teams did struggle to match with few drivers. Hamilton was looking great all weekend and continued his surge, both the Lotus did well in hot conditions. I thought both Hulkenberg & Di Resta did well enough in the end and was sure of them getting into points to get ahead of Williams.



Raceday:


It was afternoon time here in India when I just happen to log in via my mobile on Twitter just to see what’s happening around. Going by the tweets, I got the news that it was raining in Budapest in the morning, though rain was predicted for Sunday, I was sceptic that it would. Even when the race started there was talk that it will rain at 3PM local time. But as it happens most of the time, there was no rain either at the middle or the end, it only rained late in the evening when teams were packing. We had a drama at the start itself as just after the formation lap Schumi stopped at wrong position and thus Charlie ordered for another formation lap. Schumi had shut the engines due to miss-communication but started from the pitlane as he got the car to start again. Hamilton had a great start as he took the lead with Grosjean and Vettel fighting hard behind. Behind them Button got ahead of Kimi and subsequently Vettel to be at P3. Webber was another quick starter as he got 4 places to be at P7. Hulkenberg stayed at P10 while Di Resta lost two places to be at P14.


 It was all down to tyres strategies as even at the start it was hard to overtake there. It was battles galore as Hamilton & Grosjean were fighting, Button & Vettel behind them and Kimi, Alonso & Webber behind them. Nothing changed even after the first pitstops as it came down to the same positions. It was only after the second round of pitstops that we saw changes as Hamilton continued at the top, it was Kimi who got to P2 jumping his teammate and Vettel after a good stint and pitstop. Grosjean who was fighting with Hamilton suddenly had to fend off charging Vettel. Alonso & Webber kept their fight on but Button lost time behind Senna who was driving that Williams brilliantly.


 Force India’s were finding it hard after the start due to less overtaking. The pace was good, strategy was fine as well but the people around them were lapping as fast as they were if not lesser. Hulkenberg maintained P10 but after the first rounds of pitstops, Rosberg managed to beat Hulk to take the P10 position. Di Resta gained a place and was running P13 for most part of the race. He had a minor incident with Maldonado towards the end for which Maldonado was given a drive-through penalty. I thought it was a somewhat a racing incident but the fact that Di Resta was pushed on to the grass, made the stewards feel otherwise. Karthikeyan was running well with Rosa and ahead of Glock but his car was having some problems.


 At one point it was all looking like that Kimi will get his first win since F1 return as he was doing some perfect laps to chase Hamilton down but Hamilton was in a different world himself as he kept a gap of at least 1 second and at last he managed to keep it and win the race. The near perfect weekend got to perfect with the win. Kimi ended at P2 but he drove fantastic race, from being nowhere he came to challenge Hamilton for win was superb. Grosjean finished at P3 kept Vettel behind but the German having made a tyre changed came just within a second of Grosjean in the end. Force India pair came without any points as they just couldn’t overtake, the positions in hindsight proved crucial as Senna scored and gave Williams a 7 point lead over SFI. Karthikeyan unfortunately had to retire due to front suspension failure, he was having a good battle with Rosa & Glock.


 The last race before the summer break leaves us with a wide open DC as Alonso leads by 34 points but not much between the next 4 drivers. Though Alonso is in the driver’s seat, still the Ferrari needs more pace. RBR have almost clinched the CC with a massive lead. Force India is in a good position, their main aim is to get ahead of Sauber’s who have the two podium finish advantage, Williams are within their reach. The coming tracks should suit the team more but it’s going to be tough with stiff competition. That’s it from me, see you with another weekend review only after 4 weeks time. Ciao!!


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