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GP Week : Issue 164
Red Bull failed to get one of their drivers on the podium for the seventh time this year after lacking the ultimate pace to McLaren and Lotus. Vettel was stuck behind Button for the first half of the race, ultimately costing him the chance to leapfrog Grosjean during the pitstops. He kept fourth when pitting ten laps from the end to be prepared if the leaders’ tyres went off but they never did and he had to settle for fourth. Webber spent the first half of the race behind Alonso, but despite leapfrogging him during the second round of stops, he was back behind when he pitted for a third time and couldn’t progress from eighth. As Michael put it, "obviously one of those races that you will not look back at for very long ..." The Mercs were never really in the hunt in quualifying both cars missing Q3 for the first time this year – and although Nico Rosberg made some progress in a race of no attrition, a single point isn't exactly what the silver team needed. Michael's race became calamitous at the start. His engine was pretty hot on the line, so when the start was aborted, he switched it off. Staring from pit lane, he was pinged for speeding, then had a puncture, then parked it. Lewis Hamilton was back to his very best in Budapest to take his second victory of the season, having dominated the entire weekend. He was fastest in the first two practice sessions, all three qualifying sessions and took the victory on Sunday to crown an impressive display. He was under pressure from Lotus throughout the race though and dubbed it the toughest race of his life. Button should probably have joined him on the podium but lost time behind slower cars on a three-stop strategy and only finished sixth. At 88 points behind, his championship challenge is over. Lotus came the closest yet to their first victory of the year, but this time had the tight confines of the Hungaroring to blame. Raikkonen and Grosjean both had the legs on Hamilton and were in close pursuit of the Briton for the entire distance but neither could force him into a mistake or find a way past. Grosjean ran second for the first two stints but was then leapfrogged by Raikkonen who aggressively defended his position after exiting the pitlane. At any other track he would have been able to use DRS to overtake for the victory, but instead he had to be satisfied with his fifth podium of the year. The F2012 clearly didn’t have the pace of McLaren, Lotus or even Red Bull in Hungary but Alonso somehow managed to come away with an extended championship lead. He was on the backfoot throughout the race, first holding Webber at bay and then Button, and was fortunate to benefit from both their three-stop strategies to finish ahead in fifth. Team-mate Massa finished just eight seconds adrift of the Spaniard in eighth place having been hampered by a poor start in which he dropped two places. A strong final stint allowed him to close in on the battle for fifth, but couldn’t find a way past. Nico Hulkenberg again had the upper hand on team-mate di Resta at Force India at the weekend, although the pair finished in close company just outside the points in 11th and 12th places. Hulkenberg struggled with balance and tyre degradation problems and admitted that 11th was the maximum possible, despite securing his third Q3 grid slot in four races on Saturday. Di Resta qualified 12th but felt points would have been possible had he not lost two places at the start. He was able to keep pace with Hulkenberg and just stayed ahead of Maldonado at the finish having earlier been controversially passed by the Venezuelan. Red Bull Mercedes McLaren Lotus Ferrari Force India TEAM-BY-TEAM: HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX 6/1 0 9/1 0 6/1 0 4/1 0 10/10 5/1 0 F1 >>> BUDAPEST 33 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: