F1 Hungary: Silver Arrows hit the target in Hungary for a weekend of many firsts.

Published on July 27th, 2009

The Formula 1 ING Magyar Nagydij round in Hungary without a slither of oil left the crowd hungry for more action with more drama than a Spanish telenovela as it proved to be a weekend of many a first.

First up, the podium induced scenes of 2008 as Lewis Hamilton brought McLaren its first win of the season with the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen playing bridesmaid. Adding to the many firsts, this was Hamilton’s first win of the season with his last coming an incredible 10 races ago at the Chinese Grand Prix last season. In fact, he haven’t even stepped on the podium since then.

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McLaren could also widen the smiles on their faces as its team principal’s Martin Whitmarsh’s first victory in charge after taking over the reigns from Ron Dennis. To finish off the weekend of firsts, Hamilton’s Silver Arrow crossing the chequered flag ahead of the field marked the first time a KERS-equipped car had taken top step on the podium this season.

Making it three’s a crowd on the podium was the underdog for this season’s championship, Red Bull’s Mark Webber.

Right from the get-go, Hamilton had harboured hopes of snatching P1 from Renault’s Fernando Alonso but Spaniard was running light on black gold and shot off the line to stretch a lead. Webber, running high on his first career victory in the last race managed to pull a quick one on the Brit and sneak into P2 in Turn One.

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However, Hamilton regained P2 as he slipped around Webber on the outside of Turn Two on the fourth lap. As the first pitstop window began to shut, Hamilton put pedal to the metal and opened up an impressive seven second lead over Raikkonen, both clearly milking their KERS systems for all it was worth.

Lady Luck teased the Iceman a bit by lifting her skirt after a couple of Turn One brushes with Hamilton and Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and sending the race stewards rushing towards the replay screens. Kimi however seemed to know how to please the ladies and the stewards cleared him of any harassment, oops… wrongdoing.

Clearly, nostalgia had the upper hand over habit this weekend as the title contenders race went from bad to worse. Vettel had to make an unscheduled pitstop to replace a nosecone but all that proved futile as suspected engine problems had him heading for an early shower.

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Championship favourite Jenson Button of Brawn managed to snag seventh place and two crucial points to see him still ahead of the championship pack on 70-points. Pacing in the underdog position is Webber, sitting on 51.5 points, with Vettel on 47 and Rubens Barrichello on 44.

The constructors table has Brawn in the driver’s seat but Red Bull are lurking uncomfortably behind on 98.5 points.

Nico Rosberg gave Williams a strong fourth place finish while Heikki Kovalainen in fifth was more reason for McLaren to pop the bubbly. Toyota’s Timo Glock took sixth with Button in seventh and William’s Kazuki Nakajima wrapping up the points finishers.

If you’re wondering what happened to Alonso, the Spaniard had to call it a day after a blunder by his pit crew saw him leaving his first pitstop without his right front wheel nut being tightened on. That, as well as you know, leads to the wheel coming off and reaccuring images of Henry Surtees’ fatal accident in GP2. Luckily it wasn’t a case of déjà vu but the stewards saw it fit to ban Alonso from the next race, the European Grand Prix, which is coincidently in Alonso’s motherland.

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How the local crowd will take to their racing son being banned from his home Grand Prix remains to be seen but there definitely isn’t going to be a scene of joy and goodwill.

That being said, knowing how the gears of bureaucracy crank, Renault will most certainly file an appeal and see the ban skip away like the renegade spring from Barrichello’s Brawn car that struck Felipe Massa on the head during Saturday’s qualifying.

Speaking of which, the Brazilian was reported to be in stable condition in a Budapest hospital after life-threatening surgery for the concussion and cracked skull he suffered as a result of the wayward spring.

Recently, news from the grapevine has been that the Hungarian Grand Prix could be the last for Renault’s Nelson Piquet and if his 12th place finish is anything to go by, the future doesn’t look good for Piquet.

Lastly but certainly not the very bit least, the youngest driver ever to get behind the wheel of a Formula 1 car, Jaime Alguersuari, spat smoke on the whishwash surrounding how dangerous letting a young driver race in Formula 1 would be by steering his Toro Rosso machine home in 15th place, ahead of team mate Sebastian Buemi.

As the Formula 1 circus packs up and heads to sunny Spain for the European Grand Prix, be sure that with the spanner this weekend has thrown into the championship mix, it might not be sufficient to throw a curveball on the final outcome but following all the drama yet, we may just never know.

text: Dinesh Appavu pix: Ferrari, Mercedes

FORMULA 1 ING MAGYAR NAGYDIJ 2009

Pos No Driver Team Laps Time/Retired Grid Pts
1 1 Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 70 1:38:23.876 4 10
2 4 Kimi Räikkönen Ferrari 70 +11.5 secs 7 8
3 14 Mark Webber RBR-Renault 70 +16.8 secs 3 6
4 16 Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota 70 +26.9 secs 5 5
5 2 Heikki Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 70 +34.3 secs 6 4
6 10 Timo Glock Toyota 70 +35.2 secs 13 3
7 22 Jenson Button Brawn-Mercedes 70 +55.0 secs 8 2
8 9 Jarno Trulli Toyota 70 +68.1 secs 11 1
9 17 Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 70 +68.7 secs 9  
10 23 Rubens Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 70 +69.2 secs 12  
11 6 Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber 70 +70.6 secs 15  
12 8 Nelsinho Piquet Renault 70 +71.5 secs 14  
13 5 Robert Kubica BMW Sauber 70 +74.0 secs 18  
14 21 Giancarlo Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 69 +1 Lap 16  
15 11 Jaime Alguersuari STR-Ferrari 69 +1 Lap 19  
16 12 Sebastien Buemi STR-Ferrari 69 +1 Lap 10  
Ret 15 Sebastian Vettel RBR-Renault 29 +41 Laps 2  
Ret 7 Fernando Alonso Renault 15 +55 Laps 1  
Ret 20 Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1 +69 Laps 17

Comments

  1. Posted by Jon Stromberg on July 27th, 2009, 22:29

    Great post. I’m really looking forward to the European Grand Prix next month!

Reply

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