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 Hungaroring FP1 Results & Report: Hamilton Lead First Session, Vettel & Alonso Follow

What Happens When Last Week Translates to This Week

5:43am EST — Lewis Hamilton (1:23.350) was fastest for the first practice session of the 2011 Hungarian Grand Prix weekend, riding a bit of a high after winning the German Grand Prix less than a week before. He led Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber, and teammate Jenson Button as the fastest five on a slightly cool and damp Hungaroring circuit. The two instances of drama in the session involved two of those top five drivers, as Webber hit a damp patch of faux grass and smashed his front wing into the barrier at Turn 9, ending his session seventeen minutes early. Hamilton had his own bit of race simulation as he came upon a slower Jaime Alguersuari when both were on a fast lap. Neither lifted, forcing the two drivers into a bit of racing through the chicane and out of the final corner.

Daniel Ricciardo led a bit of a train onto the circuit as the ninety minute start, one that included Bruno Senna in for Nick Heidfeld for this first practice session of the weekend. They all began the session under cloudy skies, as half the fields was out and lapping just two minutes into the session. No times had been set five minutes in, but only Webber and the McLaren drivers had yet to post an installation lap. They were out of the garages moments later. Despite the early installation laps, no times were yet set ten minutes into the session, with only D’Ambrosio, Senna, and Massa actually on the track at that time.

There were still no timed laps five minutes later. Hulkenberg (1:31.073, in for Sutil for the session) was the first to set a time, nearly twenty minutes into the session. He, as would be expected, quickly bettered his time by four tenths. Two laps later, the German’s lap was 1:28.286 as the track remained slightly damp in the humid conditions. Buemi soon joined Hulkenberg on the timesheets, nearly nine tenths slower than the Force India.

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F1: Post-Hungary Penalties Abound

What Happens When Someone Has to Take Charge

8:42pm EST — After the sometimes chaotic, sometimes mundane Hungarian Grand Prix (read the full race report here), the FIA assessed multiple penalties for multiple teams and drivers, all due to bad behavior.  Renault was fined $50,000 on top of the stop-go penalty served during the by Robert Kubica, for releasing the Pole directly into the path of Adrian Sutil, who was pitting into the Force India stall directly ahead of the Renault box.  The two cars were lodged together, ending Sutil’s race then and bringing Kubica back for a stop-go, and forcing his retirement a lap later.  Similarly, Mercedes was fined $50,000 for unsafe release, for releasing Nico Rosberg with the lose wheel that shot off his car and bounced down and through the pit lane, landing on a Williams mechanic and arguably causing the Renault/Force India incident by distracting the Renault lollipop man.  Finally, Michael Schumacher was handed a ten-place grid penalty at the Belgian Grand Prix, the next race after the summer break, for his heavy handed driving whilst attempting to keep former Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello behind.  The German lost the position anyway, but nearly forced Barrichello into the pit wall on the front straight, with all four of the Brazilian’s wheels (with half of the width of the left side tires) on the wrong side of the white line, and then across the pit exit into the grass.  Many paddock notaries called for one race ban, or similarly more harsh penalty, with Barrichello himself angrily suggesting Schumacher be black-flagged on the radio after the incident.

F1 Hungary Race Results & Report: Webber Victorious, Vettel Petulant, Schumacher Under Investigation

What Happens When Pit Lane Chaos Takes Over

9:42am EST — Mark Webber won a sometimes chaotic 2010 Hungarian Grand Prix, with Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel joining him on the podium.  A lost endplate from Tonio Liuzzi’s Force India brought out a Safety Car that led to mass pit stops, which gave rise to a lose wheel from Nico Rosberg’s Mercedes bouncing through the mechanics.  At about the same time, Renault let Robert Kubica exit his box directly into the path of Adrian Sutil, who was pitting into the box just ahead.  The two cars were stuck together.  The restart further added excitement, as Webber, who had not pitted, led off into the distance, with Vettel holding up Alonso.  He incurred a drive-through for being more than 10 lengths behind Webber.  Felipe Massa, and Vitialy Petrov completed the top five finishers.  It was a bad day for Mercedes power, with Button finishing eighth, Hamilton out with a driveshaft issue, Schumacher eleventh after losing the final point to Rubens Barrichello, despite driving the Brazilian to the pit wall in an incident to be investigated after the race, and Rosberg out due to his lost tire.

It was all Red Bull, all the time as Sebastian Vettel started from the pole.  He beat teammate Mark Webber to the position by four tenths of a second, with the Ferraris of Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa the second row, and well back from the Red Bull pace.  Lewis Hamilton qualified fifth, though his McLaren teammate Jenson Button did not advance beyond Q2 and will start eleventh.  It was another instance of Mercedes power not doing so well in Hungary, as Nico Rosberg will start sixth but teammate Michael Schumacher only qualified fourteenth.  Vitaly Petrov just pipped Renault teammate Robert Kubica for seventh, leaving the Pole to start eighth.  Pedro de la Rosa had a lovely qualifying session for Sauber, to start ninth, with Nico Hulkenberg rounding out the top ten starters for Sunday’s race.  Kamui Kobayashi had a five-place grid penalty for not stopping for scrutineering after qualifying.

The cars got away on a sunny afternoon, with Vettel taking the lead, while Webber tried to block a good-starting Alonso, who went on to attempt a pass on Vettel; he was unable to do so despite getting a wheel ahead.  It was Vettel, Alonso, Webber, Massa, and Petrov who had gotted around Hamilton to make the top five.  Kobayashi got a fantastic start to move up to sixteenth from his penalized start in twenty-third.  Hamilton made his way around Petrov on L2.  Meanwhile, Alguersuari’s Toro Rosso let go of its engine on the racing line, with oil and possibly bits of debris spewing behind.  By the end of L2, Vettel had a two and a half second lead over Alonso.  No one else, except for di Grassi about two seconds behind Buemi had a  gap in front or behind of more than a second on L2. Continue reading