F1 Hungaroring Race Results & Report: Button for the Win While Hamilton Gets Another Penalty

What Happens When It’s a Fine Day for A Race, Even When It Rains

9:57am EST — Jenson Button stormed to victory in a 2011 Hungarian Grand Prix that featured rain, fire, fighting teammates, and as many as six trips to pit lane by teams calling multiple strategies. Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso joined him on the podium, with Lewis Hamilton finishing fourth despite five stops and a drive-through penalty, holding off Mark Webber after passing him in the final laps. It was Button’s second win at the Hungaroring, where he won his first grand prix, on his 200th F1 race start.

Vettel (1:19.815) won pole on his last lap, keeping Hamilton at bay during Saturday’s qualifying session after the Briton had led both Friday practice sessions. Vettel’s late lap stunner came after a late night by the Red Bull mechanics and despite a poor time from teammate Webber, who started only sixth. Between them, Button was barely slower than his teammate, while Massa out-qualified Alonso to fourth. The Spaniard will start next to Webber on the grid.

Hamilton led the Friday morning practice while both Red Bulls were somewhat off their usual pace, with Webber losing the final seventeen minutes to a crash that tore off the nose of his car. Hamilton was also quickest in the afternoon session, but remained unable to string together a fast lap to beat Vettel on Saturday morning. On Sunday, rain was falling an hour and a half before the race start, with Mike Gascoyne susinctly summing up the weather, “Pouring down with rain here now. Since the forecast said it would stop rain and the chance of further rain was decreasing its rained nonstop.” By the time the start rolled around, the rain was still falling and the track was both damp and dry in places, and the two sides of the starting grid had different conditions.

Race Start:
On the start, Hamilton speared across the track, but could only manage to hope to take position from his teammate. Alonso got ahead of Massa while the McLaren drivers went down the track next to each other, possibly touching. The Ferraris slid backward, with Rosberg and Schumacher getting ahead of them. Alonso had a look on Schumacher by the German held him off. Vettel led Hamilton, Button, Rosberg, Alonso, Schuamcher, Massa, Webber, di Resta, and Kobayashi as the top nine at end of the first lap. As the third lap began, Hamilton had a go on Vettel for the lead, with both getting a bit sideways. However, Vettel would not allow Hamilton through. Meanwhile, Alonso had taken fourth from Rosberg.

Vettel and Hamilton continued to fight over the lead while, a bit further back, Alonso got off onto the paint, sliding off and back on, then getting retaken by Rosberg. Hamilton got next to Vettel with the DRS, but could not make a pass stick. He finally pushed Vettel wide onto the paint in Turn 2, taking the lead on L5. Button was next right behind Vettel, pushing the championship leader hard. Soon, Hamilton had two and a half seconds on Vettel, iwth the entire field having started on intermediates.

Further back, Massa had passed Alonso after he had gone wide, only to have Alonso dive back ahead. Quickly, Alonso was just four tenths behind Rosberg, with only Glock closer to the man in front of him. Meanwhile, a dry line had begun forming, with Red Bull informing Vettel that he couls pit whenever he liked as a gap was forming behind him. He had just under two seconds to Button behind, but he was nearly five and a half second behind leader Hamilton. Massa had a massive spin at Turn 2, bumping into the fence with his rear wing. Ferrari had gotten out tires as Massa had dropped to ninth, with Rob Smedley telling the driver that they could “take a risk” where they were.

10 Laps Complete (switch to dry tires):
at the end of L10, Hamilton had just under five seconds over Vettel, withButton, Alonso, Rosberg, Webber (who pitted), Schumacher, di Resta, Massa (pitting), and Kobayashi the top ten. Petrov and Barrichello also pitted, all for the dry tires. Button was the next to try the soft tires, as di Resta followed him in. Alonso continued to set race fast laps on his inters. Button, on rejoining, was skating around the track, with the rear near-constantly stepping out on him. Hamilton pitted next, followed by Vettel, Alonso, and Rosberg. That left Schumacher in the lead and practically the only driver still out on inters. Hamilton was directly behind Schumacher, bobbing and weaving to look for a way around him. The Briton finally did so just before the German pitted for his own dry tires.

After the stops, Hamilton led Vettel, who was promptly dispatched by Button, with Alonso and Webber completing the top five. Webber next passed Alonso. After the stops and subsequent fighting settled out, it was a McLaren, Red Bull, Alonso, Rosberg, di Resta, Schumacher, Massa, Kobayashi top ten. Meanwhile, Maldonado was under investigation for speeding in the pit lane and given a drive-through penalty. At the same time, it appeared to have begun lightly raining again, though not enough to return to inters.

Fifteen laps into the seventy lap race, Hamilton had six and a half seconds on Button, who just had a few tenths of a gap over Vettel. He was moderately safe to push the Briton, with teammate Webber nearly another eight seconds back and under attack from Alonso. Kovalainen was the next to come under investigation, for an unsafe release in the pit lane.

At the front, Hamilton continued to set very quick laps, quicker than Button…that is until Button set a race fast lap. Alonso was also continuing his quick laps, just a half second behind Webber. Meanwhile, Trulli’s day was over with a “big oil leak,” according to Gascoyne. Soon, Webber gained speed and brought the gap back to Alonso over a second. Button was also beginning to respond to Hamilton, clawing back a half second, then another second of the fluctuating eight second gap between the teammates, as Hamilton radioed that the “right front is overheating.” Soon, the gap was down to six seconds.

Second Pit Stops:
Massa continued to worry Schumacher over eighth, coming alongside but unable to pass. The second set of stops began with Heidfeld, then Barrichello and Algerusuari. On L26, Webber and Alonso, then Massa pitted. Heidfeld did not complete a lap on his new medium compound tires, with the German leaping from a burning Renault just after the pit exit after a shower of sparks enveloped the car while in the pit lane. Hamilton stopped on the next lap, despite some more falling rain. Button was the next to stop, gifting Vettel with the lead. On the harder tire, Schumacher spun sideways while fighting with Massa, retiring behind the Armco with an issue. It was later revealed that Schumacher felt his gearbox seize and spun intentionally to keep from hitting Massa and taking his former teammate out of the race. Vettel also pitted, leaving Kobayashi in sixth, and the only driver in the top fifteen to not stop.

Hamilton still had seven seconds over Button after the second pit stops shook out, with Vettel, Webber, Kobayashi, Massa, Rosberg, di Resta, and Barrichello the top ten on L30. Suddenly, Vettel regained two seconds on Button, increasing his own gap to Webber behind. Meanwhile, Perez was under investigation for passing Kovalainen under the yellow flags from Heidfeld’s smoking Renault, receiving a drive-through penalty. Alonso was directly on Webber’s gearbox, using the DRS to close up and go to the inside and outside, but could not make a pass in that attempt. Kobayashi, who was on the harder tire, had still not pitted but had lost enough time to be passed by Massa. Though the Japanese driver put up a fight, he could not hold off the Brazilian for sixth and finally pitted.

Third Stops Begin/Halfway (35 Laps Complete):
At the halfway point, Hamilton led his teammate by over seven seconds. Vettel, nearly another five back, Webber, Alonso, Massa, Rosberg, di Resta, Barrichello, and Alguersuari completed the top ten. Buemi, Petrov, Kobayshi, Sutil, Maldonado, Perez, Kovalainen, Glock, D’Ambrosio, Ricciardo, and Liuzzi completed the rest of the field. Alonso pitted for more of the super soft tires on L37 and remained in fifth, 16.5s behind Webber and twenty seconds ahead of his teammate. His first lap was two and a half seconds faster than leader Hamilton’s lap at the same time, as McLaren told Hamilton that his tires needed to last another nine laps.

Webber pitted on L40 for the harder tire, losing position to Alonso. Hamilton pitted the next lap, well earlier than the team would have asked, rejoining in third. Vettel was the next to stop, on the harder compound and likely looking to finish on those tires. Button also went for the harder tire on their third stop. A radio transmission from Red Bull indicated that at least Webber was going to the end on his set of the harder tire. Soon thereafter, Vettel was through on Alonso for third. With twenty-five laps to go, Hamilton led Button by just over six seconds, with Vettel, Alonso, Webber, Rosberg, Massa, Alguersuari, Petrov, and Kobayashi the top ten.

Fourth Stops Begin/Rain Falling:
Meanwhile, rain was again falling. Hamilton had a huge moment in the damp at Turn 6/7, forcing di Resta to the grass behind him as he spun himself back around and onto the racing line, and allowing Button to get around his teammate. Vettel was also able to close on the two with that mistake. Alonso pitted from fourth for the harder tire on L48, though he lost only one position and was thirteen seconds behind Webber when he rejoined and twenty laps remained. According to a Ferrari radio transmission to Alonso, the rain would last only ten minutes.

In the rain, Button went a bit wide at Turn 3, as did Petrov (ninth and having been lapped) and Vettel behind him on the track, allowing Hamilton to retake the lead. Button went for the lead on Hamilton into the first turn, taking the position only to go wide again and lose the lead again to his teammate. Most of the field was into the pits, with Webber leading them down pit lane for inters. Hamilton was the first McLaren to pit, for intermediate tires.

Earlier, D’Ambrosio had spun while entering his pit box. Webber pitted again for the harder dry tires (that would be his fifth stop) on L54 while word came from race control that Hamilton was under investigation for his earlier spin, as he had spun himself back onto the racing line directly in front of di Resta. Alonso had just passed Hamilton for third as Hamilton’s drive-through penalty was announced. He had also gone for a fifth stop of his own for the harder tires. Hamilton served his penalty on L57, rejoining behind Webber. The Australian then went through on Massa in the DRS zone. Hamilton looked to do the same, but wasn’t close enough. Hamilton went down the inside, but the Brazilian held him off, until Hamilton took the position in the chicane. Further ahead, Alonso just lost the rear under braking, but retained thirty seconds on Webber. Massa pitted on L59 for the softer tire.

10 Laps Remaining:
Button led Vettel by seven seconds with ten laps to go while Alonso was third, with a thirty second gap of his own on the battling Webber and Hamilton. Meanwhile, Kovalainen’s day was over with a water leak, leaving both Lotus retired on the day. Massa, di Resta, Kobayashi, Buemi, and Alguersuari were having their own fight in the latter half of the top ten, as Kobayashi lost position to Buemi but hit Alguersuari as he attempted to follow his teammate. The fighting continued amongst that group. Hamilton managed to take fourth from Webber in the middle of traffic.

Button’s lead continued to grow as the laps counted down and was almost ten seconds with five laps left. Vettel and Alonso were pretty safe, so long as the conditions held, in the podium positions, but Webber was continuing to try to hunt down and stay in front of Hamilton. In the end, Button won his 200th grand prix at the site of his very first F1 win. On the final lap, Webber looked to traffic to contain Hamilton, but simply could not get close enough to try a pass and was forced to accept fourth.

Final Positions for the 2011 Hungarian Grand Prix:

Driver Team Gap
1. Jenson Button McLaren
2. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull +3.5
3. Fernando Alonso Ferrari +19.8
4. Lewis Hamilton McLaren +48.3
5. Mark Webber Red Bull +49.7
6. Felipe Massa Ferrari +83.1
7. Paul di Resta Force India +1 Lap
8. Sebastien Buemi Toro Rosso +1 Lap
9. Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP +1 Lap
10. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso +1 Lap
11. Kamui Kobayshi Sauber +1 Lap
12. Vitaly Petrov Renault +1 Lap
13. Rubens Barrichello Williams +2 Laps
14. Adrian Sutil Force India +2 Laps
15. Sergio Perez Sauber +2 Laps
16. Pastor Maldonado Williams +2 Laps
17. Timo Glock Virgin Racing +4 Laps
18. Daniel Ricciardo HRT +4 Laps
19. Jerom D’Ambrosio Virgin Racing +5 Laps
20. Tonio Liuzzi HRT +5 Laps
Heikki Kovalainen Lotus +15 Laps
Michael Schumacher Mercedes GP +44 Laps
Nick Heidfeld Renault +47 Laps
Jarno Trulli Lotus +53 Laps

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