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.

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F1 Hungaroring Quali Results & Report: Vettel On Pole Belies Fighting to Get There

What Happens When It’s a Fight For the Same

9:12am EST — Sebastian Vettel (1:19.815) took pole from Lewis Hamilton on his final lap in qualifying, in a Q3 shootout that involved six drivers from three teams. Jenson Button will start third, with Felipe Massa next to him on the second row as both bumped Fernando Alonso to fifth in the final seconds. Mark Webber, who was suffering from continued KERS issues, will start sixth and alongside Alonso.

Vettel (1:21.168) was fastest in the final practice on Saturday morning after a late night by the Red Bull crew, their first curfew violation of the season. Each team is allowed four before being punished, with former Benetton mechanic (and SPEEDtv commentator) Steve Matchett explaining on Twitter, “the chaps in Hungary were awaiting set-up data/simulation confirmation from the vehicle dynamics department back in Milton Keynes, England.” Alonso, Button, Webber, and Massa were the five fastest at the end of that session, with Hamilton back in seventh.

The former world champion had led both the Friday morning and afternoon practice sessions, but was unable to put down a fast lap Saturday morning on the super soft tires. He complained that the breaks didn’t work on his first lap when he went wide into Turn 1, but proceeded to lock up on his next lap as well. Alonso was in the top three in all three sessions, with the Red Bulls, McLarens and Ferraris locking out the top six in each session, but for Rosberg on Saturday morning. For qualifying Hamilton was, according to Peter Windsor, “looking to go back to his unusual N’ring brake set-up – Brembo front, CI rear, Akebono calipers all round.” Also, Buemi will lose five grid positions due to a penalty from last weekend’s race, involving a collision with Heidfeld.

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F1 Hungaroring FP3 Results & Report: Vettel On Top Again in Final Practice

What Happens When You Need Wings

6:17am EST — Sebastian Vettel (1:21.168) was fastest in the final Saturday practice session for the 2011 Hungarian Grand Prix. He led after a late run on the super soft tires while Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Mark Webber, and Felipe Massa completed the fastest five during the sunny and warmer session. Lewis Hamilton was seventh fastest after issues into the first turn on both his fast runs on the softer tire.

Hamilton led both Friday practices, bettering his fast morning time by 2.2s in the afternoon session. Alonso was in the top three quickest in both sessions, moving up to second fastest after Vettel dropped to fifth fastest in the second. Both Red Bulls lost some top speed as the day progressed, with their fastest lap times unable to compare to either McLaren or Alonso. However, they maintained a faster pace as the runs got longer. Only Webber crashed in either session, losing the rear on a damp patch of fake grass and smashing his front wing off on the barrier in the morning session. He was able to return to the garage and lost only seventeen minutes of running time on the day. As has become routine in the most recent races, the top six were comprised of both drivers for McLaren, Ferrari, and Red Bull.

Interestingly, Red Bull worked beyond the 2am-8am curfew in the paddock Friday night for the first time this season. Each team is allowed four curfew violations before punishment is imposed on the fifth violation. According to former Benetton mechanic (and SPEEDtv commentator) Steve Matchett on Twitter, “Just followed up with Red Bull’s team manager…the chaps in Hungary were awaiting set-up data/simulation confirmation from the vehicle dynamics department back in Milton Keynes, England.”

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F1 Hungaroring FP2 Results & Report: Hamilton Leads, Red Bull Losing Outright Speed

What Happens When It Looks Like a Macca Weekend

9:42am EST — Lewis Hamilton (1:21.018) was fastest at the end of the second practice of the 2011 Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, leading Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Mark Webber, and Sebastian Vettel as the top five in a session marked by longer race simulation runs and threatened rain that never fell and led to sunny skies. Times dropped as the typically green Hungaroring circuit rubbered in, with Red Bull a bit slower in overall speed but a bit more consistently quick on longer runs with heavy fuel and older tires.

Hamilton (1:23.350) led the first Friday practice despite irritation with Alguersuari for holding him up when both were on a quick lap. The Briton led the latter third or so of the session after third fastest Alonso had relinquished control of the timesheets to second fastest Vettel. Though no rain fell, the Hungaroring was damp and slightly cool, catching fourth fastest Webber out and shoving him into the barrier. The Australian was unhurt, but the nose was ripped off his Red Bull and there was possible right front suspension damage, and ended his session seventeen minutes early. Button and Massa completed the fastest six.

Algerusuari led Ricciardo and D’Ambrosio out, as per usual, at the start of the ninety-minute second practice session, with Glock, Trulli, and Buemi following. Alguersuari (1:27.596) was the first to set a time, straightaway on the super soft tires. Perez led when five minutes have passed, followed by Heidfeld, Trulli, Petrov, Buemi, Kovalainen, maldonado, Ricciardo, D’Ambrosio, and Glock the top eleven as rain threatened. Times and changes to the order came quickly, with Petrov soon leading Barrichello at the top of the timesheets. Perez quickly made up time as all but Alonso had completed an installation lap and remained on track.

Hamilton (1:23.593) was next to the top, just two tenths off his mornign practice lap time. He wouldn’t stay there long, as Massa took nearly seven tenths off the Briton’s time. Ferrari had explained before the session, “This session will be aimed more to the tyre comparison on short and long distance.” Ten minutes in, Massa led Hamilton, Button, di Resta, Perez, Kobayashi, Petrov, Heidfeld, and Barrichello as the top ten. However, Vettel (1:22.536) took the fastest lap a minute later.

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F1 China FP2 Results & Report: Vettel Quickest While Merc Power Speeds Up

What Happens When Things Close Up Again

3:38am EST — Sebastian Vettel was again fastest (1:37.688) in the second Friday practice session for the 2011 Chinese Grand Prix, though Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button were much closer, as were Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher, who completed the fastest five. The smog had lessened somewhat, while the stories for the afternoon session revolved around who managed to get out of the garage. Paul di Resta was unable to post a lap, with a fuel pressure issue plaguing his Force India. Fernando Alonso was only fourteenth quickest after a hydraulic issue kept his Ferrari in the garage for a portion of the session. Meanwhile, it seemed that HRT managed to eclipse Virgin Racing for another Friday, with Tonio Liuzzi lapping more quickly on one hot lap than either Jerome D’Ambrosio or Timo Glock in their combined forty-seven laps.

Vettel continued his dominant season in the Friday morning session, with only teammate Webber within a second of his pace. Hamilton, Massa, and Heidfeld were the fastest five, despite a crash from Heidfeld on his six lap, and only the top fifteen were within two seconds of Vettel. It was a foggy/smoggy morning in Shanghai, and the circuit was dusty, but Vettel still stomped all over the early competition.

Quickly, D’Ambrosio, Kovalainen, Alguersuari, and others were out to begin the second practice session on Friday. Sixteen cars were on-track less than five minutes into the session, with Alguersuari the first to set a time: 1:44.604. The smog continued through the afternoon, though it had decreased in thickness slightly. Hamilton was quickest around six minutes in, only to be replaced at the top by teammate Button (1:40.207). Continue reading