Red Bull F1

Webber wins thrilling Hungary F1 GP - Serious near-accident between Schumacher and Barrichello

01.08.2010 / Budapest - Cairo /

Red Bull driver Mark Webber stormed to victory at a thrilling Hungarian Grand Prix to invade the top spot in the drivers' championship from Vodafone McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton, who was forced to retire to a mechanical failure.

What was expected to be a parade for Red Bull burst into life thanks to a safety-car period and drive-through penalty for pole-man Sebastian Vettel. That enabled Webber to leap-frog his team-mate as well as Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who held off Vettel for second.

A gearbox problem ended Vodafone McLaren Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton's race on lap 24 when he was running fourth.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa recovered well from last year’s almost fatal crash by taking fourth, ahead of surprise Renault's Vitaly Petrov and Williams' Nico Hulkenberg. Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa scored his first points of the season with seventh ahead of 2009 world champion McLaren's Jenson Button.

This result means that Australian Red Bull driver Mark Webber goes into the mid-season three-week summer break with a four-point lead in the standings.

Just 20 points now separate the top five drivers – Mark Webber, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso - while Red Bull also now lead the constructors' championship.

That will irritate McLaren and Hamilton, whose transmission problem ended what was promising to be another damage-limitation run from the Englishman, with his and team-mate Button's cars again well off the pace of Ferrari and the stunning Red Bull.

The McLaren drivers' disappointment were surpassed Vettel's, after what looked to be successful coining a pole position into an expected victory for the German turned into a nightmare and an ego-busting settle for third place.

The turning point came on lap 16 when the safety car emerged because of debris on the track - at which point Vettel, who retained his lead at the start despite an impressive charge from Alonso on the clean side of the track from third on the grid, had already built a 12-second buffer-zone.

With the safety car out, all but three drivers - Webber, Rubens Barrichello and Jarno Trulli - pitted for a tire change, a decision that in the eventual race fallout proved pivotal in securing Webber the race win.

But even more crucial was a race-determining error from German Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, the 23-year-old failing to keep within 10 car lengths of the safety car and soon after being penalized by race stewards with a drive-through penalty that not only cost him victory but put him also behind Alonso, where he was stuck behind the Spaniard until the end of the race.

An attempt to cut down the distance between the two almost put the enthusiastic German beside the racing track, thus almost losing vital points for the world championship race.

As a matter of fact, it continues Sebastian Vettel's poor conversion rate this season, this the sixth time out of seven to turn a hard pole position into victory.

And he made no endeavor to hide his imminent anger either during the race - when he waved his hands nervously during his drive-through - and then at the end, when his race engineer warned him: "I know you're upset, we're all upset, but there's nothing you can say that is going to change anything. Take a deep breath."

After the race, Vettel said: "I didn't understand what was going on and why I was penalized. I guess at the restart I was sleeping. I was probably relying too much on the radio; I lost the connection and didn't hear anything. "It's been explained to me why, but I still don't understand it.
"We're pretty unlucky because otherwise it would have been a walk in the park. I should have won, but in the end I was third and I am very disappointed."

Spanish Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso on the other hand was happy enough with his second-place finish, admitting it was the best he could have hoped for.

Meanwhile, there were plenty of incidents outside of the battle for podium places, in particular during the rush for the pits in the safety car period.

Renault's Robert Kubica and Adrian Sutil of Force India suffered a nasty collision when the former pulled out of his stop right into the German's tracks after the Renault Formula 1 lollipop man ignored the right of way by releasing his team driver in an unsafe manner, thus ending Sutil's race and definitely ruining the Pole's race.

Nico Rosberg also had problems when he lost the right rear wheel of his Mercedes on the exit and had to retire, the flying tire somehow avoiding the dozens of pit crew members out and about as it bounced around the pits.

Back in October 1991, Nigel Mansell was on the brink of losing the World Championship after enjoying a comfortable lead and certain victory thrown away by s similar pit lane drama in the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril. He lost his right back wheels after what appeared to be a smooth and tidy pit stop and was later given the black flag.

One of the most dangerous incident in F1 history probably took place between Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barichello yesterday.

When everyone was expecting the race to end without any major suspense, lap 68 Michael Schumacher's attempted defense of his 10th position almost forced Rubens Barrichello into the concrete wall of the pit lane exit at almost 280km/h or more, nearly making him spitting bricks but the Brazilian slipped at the end through by a matter of millimeters. A clearly unsettled Barrichello was heard on the Williams team radio saying: "That was horrible. That is a black flag!"

The move, down the straight, prompted an investigation by race officials and after the race Schumacher was given a 10-place grid penalty for the next grand prix in Belgium on 29 August for illegitimately impeding Barrichello.

Before hearing of his 10-place penalty, Schumacher attempted to justify his racing tactics, saying: "I was making it obvious to him to go on the other side, there was more room there, but he chose not to."

Upon hearing that, Barrichello replied: "It's been always my fault for six years. Unbelievable.�
He added, that “it was the most dangerous maneuver against him in his career, it was."

As for Renault and Mercedes, they both received $50,000 (?£32,000) fines for their unsafe release from the pits of Nico Rosberg and Robert Kubica respectively.

Drive of the day, went to BMW Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, who battled supremely to go from 23rd on the grid to a ninth-place finish despite it being notoriously difficult to overtake at the Hungaroring.


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