2012 Hungary F1 GP: Hamilton wins, Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean surprise!
The most rewarding thing for Lewis Hamilton however was the fact, that the best which title contenders Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel could score was fifth, eighth and fourth respectively.
The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver's result was the perfect reward as Formula One racing heads into its one month summer break.
Lewis Hamilton took the lead from the start but was never able to get rid of Romain Grosjean, while his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team mate Jenson Button fended off Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, Scuderia Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso, Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen and Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber. Jenson Button was the first to go for a set of fresh tires, on Lap 15, followed by Sebastian Vettel two laps later, then Lewis Hamilton on Lap 18 and Roamin Grosjean on 19. Kimi Raikkonen, the "Iceman" however, lasted until Lap 20.
The race was first Hamilton versus Grosjean, with Button continuing to keep Vettel behind him, as Raikkonen resumed in fifth ahead of a not so fast Ferrari, and this was the point where Hamilton, on mediums, faced his toughest challenge as Grosjean had switched to soft tires. As a result of this, the Frenchman reduced the
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button went for his second pit stop on the 34th lap, followed by Sebastian Vettel on the 38th, Romain Grosjean on the 39th and Lewis Hamilton on the 40th. Jenson Button decided to go for a set of soft tires, but the rest of his competitors went for mediums. It looked like this handed the advantage to Lewis Hamilton, but Kimi Raikkonen made his soft tires last until the 45th lap before opting for medium ones.
When the Finn rejoined the race, Roamin Grosjean was heading for Turn One at the same time and Kimi Raikkonen showed nerves of steel and left his team mate nowhere to go but the dirt on the outside of the corner. It reminded the die-hard Formula 1 fans of the famous team duels between Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet as well as the fights between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.
It was now Lewis Hamilton versus Kimi Raikkonen, who was only 4.4s behind the British driver. As all spectators of the current Formula 1 season have noticed, it is very well known that the Lotus puts less strain on its Pirelli tires when compared to the competitors.
Consequently it seemed unbelievable that the Englishman could defend his position for another 24 laps. As a matter of fact, Kimi Raikkonen soon reduced the gap until less than a second separated them by the 52nd lap.
That was the maximum Kimi Raikkonen could achieve, and he admitted after the race that his sole hope then rested on the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes suffering from rear-tire degradation problems. They never came, and a delighted Lewis Hamilton was able to speed home to the 19th victory of his career, after a lot of Formula 1 fanatics wrote him off for the 2012 Formula 1 title challenge.
Romain Grosjean stayed in third, as Red Bull gambled on third stops for both SebastianVettel and Mark Webber. The German Red Bull driver retained fourth and reduced the deficit to the Frenchmanâ€™s Lotus from 14 seconds to one single second by the flag, but Mark Webber on the other hand could not pass Bruno Sennaâ€™s extremely well-balanced and well-driven Williams for seventh and finished a half second behind the Brazilian.
Ahead of them championship leader Fernando Alonso had a silent 31st birthday celebration as he brought a less competitive Ferrari home fifth in front of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Jenson Button, who lost his chance of a podium when a switch to three-stopping strategy saw him trapped too long behind Williams driver Bruno Senna.
Ferrariâ€™s Felipe Massa had a submissive race after an awful start, and claimed two points for ninth ahead of Nico Rosberg, who while unobtrusive at least had better fortune than Mercedes partner Michael Schumacher.
The German lined-up on P19 instead of P17 after the warm-up lap and confusion over the resulting aborted start prompted him to switch off his engine to prevent overheating it, as the rest of the field left on a second formation lap.
After starting from the pits he then got a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane and later became the raceâ€™s first retirement, after his team lost full telemetry.
Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta were 11th and 12th for Force India. The Scotsman was momentarily pushed off track by a too forceful Pastor Maldonado on the 47th lap, for which the Venezuelan was later given a drive-through penalty which dropped him to 13th for Williams.
Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi performed miserably for Sauber which left them 14th and 15th, and the Toro Rossos were 16th and 17th with Daniel Ricciardo leading home Jean-Eric Vergne who made four pit stops.
Heikki Kovalainen led home Caterham team mate Vitaly Petrov in 18th and 19th, ahead of Marussiaâ€™s Charles Pic, HRT survivor Pedro de la Rosa and Timo Glock, whose race began badly with a spin on the third lap and never got any better. Narain Karthikeyanâ€™s HRT stopped on the 64th lap with a broken front suspension.
Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso still leads the Formula 1 driver standings on 164, in front of Red Bull driver Mark Webber on 124, team mate Sebastian Vettel on 122, Lewis Hamilton on 117 and Kimi Raikkonen on 116.
In the constructorsâ€™ stakes, Red Bull lead with 246 as Vodafone McLaren Mercedes move back into second with 193, with Lotus on 192 to the Scuderia Ferrari's 189. Mercedes lie behind the leading quartet with 106 ahead of Sauberâ€™s 80, Williamsâ€™s 53 and Force Indiaâ€™s 46.
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