Paddock postcard from Hungary 31 Jul 2005
The blisteringly hot weather at the Hungaroring this weekend has put many people in party mood. On Friday, McLaren sponsors West staged a party downtown to bid farewell to the team after their eight and a half year partnership. On Saturday McLaren confirmed whisky distiller Johnnie Walker as their new sponsor.
On Saturday, Renault sponsors Mild Seven held a Fashion Show in the Pomodoro Gardens, while Red Bull will have one of their traditional post-race parties this evening at the Citadella.
In the paddock opera tenor Placido Domingo will be the principal guest. The Spaniard has been performing at Budapests Opera House this week.
On track, Swiss-Indian driver Neel Jani, a former Sauber test driver and a product of talent spotter Helmut Markos Red Bull driver programme, finally came of age with an excellent win from pole position in the first GP2 encounter. Twenty-one year-old Jani had to work hard for his victory over series leader Heikki Kovalainen and Giorgio Pantano. As in Barcelona earlier this season, Jani demonstrated not just remarkable coolness under intense pressure (unlike several other vaunted runners) but an innate cunning in the way he kept his Racing Engineering Dallara ahead. Quite like Fernando Alonso in Imola, in fact.
Kovalainen now has a 10 point lead over Nico Rosberg, who finished fourth after being moved from pole to the back of the grid when his ART Dallara was deemed to have its steering rack mounted in a position not allowed by the regulations.