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Hungary race analysis - everything to play for 02 Aug 2010

Race winner Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing celebrates on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race, Budapest, Hungary, Sunday, 1 August 2010 Mark Webber (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB6 leads behind the Safety Car from team mate Sebastian Vettel (GER) Red Bull Racing RB6, who left a gap too big and earned himself a drive through penalty.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race, Budapest, Hungary, Sunday, 1 August 2010 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/25 leads Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Renault R30.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race, Budapest, Hungary, Sunday, 1 August 2010 Michael Schumacher (GER) Mercedes GP MGP W01 and Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Williams FW32 battle for position.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race, Budapest, Hungary, Sunday, 1 August 2010 Vitantonio Liuzzi (ITA) Force India F1 VJM03.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 12, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race, Budapest, Hungary, Sunday, 1 August 2010

The Hungarian Grand Prix not only put a victorious Mark Webber firmly back in the championship race, it left fans with the tantalising prospect of a genuine five-way fight for the title over the season’s final seven rounds, with just 20 points covering the leading contenders. Red Bull’s prodigious pace in Budapest might lead you to believe they are now favourites, but the RB6 is unlikely to be so perfectly suited to the remaining circuits as it was to the Hungaroring. We take a team-by-team look at Sunday’s form…

Red Bull
Mark Webber, P1
Sebastian Vettel, P3

Initially it seemed that Vettel would walk the race, but the safety-car intervention upset his plans as, by his own admission, he fell asleep and failed to notice when it was coming into the pits. He fell so far back that the stewards gave him a drive-through penalty for dropping more than 10 lengths behind. Vettel explained that his radio had stopped working, but admitted also that he’d relied on it too much and hadn’t paid attention at a critical moment. Once behind Alonso, he had little chance of regaining lost ground.

Webber, meanwhile, didn’t pit when everyone else did. Nor did he pit a lap later, which would have killed his chances, Instead he took a major gamble and used his super soft-compound Bridgestones to the maximum to open a lead of more than 20s on Alonso, so that he could finally pit for the harder tyres on lap 43 and still keep the lead, Thereafter he pulled away as he pleased to a fourth triumph of the season, which was richly deserved. It put him back in the lead of the world championship, and also helped Red Bull to get back into the lead of the constructors’ stakes ahead of McLaren, with 312 points to 304.

Much was made of the role played in the team’s Hungaroring showing by their ‘flexible’ front wing, and with the prospect of more stringent static load tests being introduced at Spa, it will be fascinating to see if the RB6 can maintain such a performance advantage in Belgium, especially if Red Bull are forced to make changes.

Fernando Alonso, P2
Felipe Massa, P4

Ferrari just didn’t have the pace to run with the Red Bulls when all was well with the Milton Keynes cars, but once Vettel had dropped back Alonso was able to keep him behind all the way to the flag. Massa was as fast as Alonso, sometimes faster, but lost too much time being stacked during the lap 15 tyre stops. Nevertheless, Hungary confirmed again that Ferrari are currently the only team capable of keeping Red Bull in sight.

Vitaly Petrov, P5
Robert Kubica, Retired lap 24, accident damage

Renault had a strong run to fifth courtesy of Petrov, who was their star this weekend. But they also got fined $50,000 for releasing Kubica into the path of Sutil’s Force India as they all pitted under the safety car on lap 15. The resulting collision ultimately led to the Pole’s retirement.

Nico Hulkenberg, P6
Rubens Barrichello, P10

Barrichello ran fifth for much of the race after Hamilton’s demise, but had to make his tyre stop on lap 55 and dropped to 11th. He was lucky to escape unscathed when Schumacher blocked him badly on the 66th lap, but grabbed 10th from his old team mate and the final point. Hulkenberg couldn’t pass Petrov but drove a fine race to sixth, his best F1 performance to date. Williams thus scored a healthy nine points to confirm their recent turnaround in fortune.

BMW Sauber
Pedro de la Rosa, P7
Kamui Kobayashi, P9

De la Rosa was always in the hunt for points, while Kobayashi moved from 23rd to 16th on the opening lap alone and battled up to ninth to bring BMW Sauber a welcome haul of eight points after a strong weekend that signalled further recovery and progress.

Jenson Button, P8
Lewis Hamilton, Retired lap 24, transmission

McLaren had their worst race of the year. Hamilton lagged off the line with a gearbox problem, regained a place lost then to Petrov, then gained fourth place from Massa as the Brazilian was stacked in the lap 15 pit stops, But transmission failure on the 24th lap cost him his world championship points lead. Button was a lacklustre eighth, after losing too many places in first-corner traffic. His haul of only four points dropped him to fourth in the drivers’ points, and was not enough to keep McLaren ahead of Red Bull in the constructors’ world championship either.

Michael Schumacher, P11
Nico Rosberg, Retired lap 16, loose wheel

Mercedes had a terrible race. Rosberg lost a place to Petrov at the start, then had to retire after losing an improperly attached right rear wheel in the pits. The wheel bounced down the pit lane and struck Williams mechanic Nigel Hope, who thankfully was not badly injured. Schumacher got overtaken by Kobayashi, then nearly put Barrichello into the pit wall while unsuccessfully fending off the Brazilian for 10th place on the 66th lap. For his pains he was awarded a 10-place grid penalty for Spa by the stewards, to go with the team’s $50,000 fine for Rosberg’s unsafe release.

Toro Rosso
Sebastien Buemi, P12
Jaime Alguersuari, Retired lap 1, engine

Alguersuarri’s STR05 lunched its engine on the opening lap, and Buemi got delayed in a tussle with Schumacher which cost him his chance of points. He drove well to withstand Liuzzi’s persistent pressure from lap 18 to the finish, where they were six-tenths apart.

Force India
Tonio Liuzzi, P13
Adrian Sutil, Retired lap 16, pit-lane collision

Liuzzi damaged a front wing endplate in the first corner traffic, which led to heavy understeer until a lap 14 pit stop for a new nose. It was the endplate, which detached itself on the 11th lap, that brought out the fateful safety car. The Italian then chased Buemi to the finish, but lacked the downforce and traction to mount a challenge down the main straight. Sutil was taken out in the pit-lane collision with Kubica, after Renault unsafely released their man. The other bad news for Force India is that Williams are now only seven points behind.

Heikki Kovalainen, P14
Jarno Trulli, P15

Trulli led Kovalainen until the team called the Finn in first under the safety car and kept the Italian out another five laps. By the finish the pair were only eight-tenths of a second apart.

Timo Glock, P16
Lucas di Grassi, P18

Di Grassi split the Lotuses until his left rear wheel gave problems in his pit stop on lap 15 and necessitated another visit a lap later. That moved Glock up, after he’d lost time in the first corner, and then been stacked behind the Brazilian during the lap 15 stops.

Bruno Senna, P17
Sakon Yamamoto, P19

Senna benefited from di Grassi’s problems to finish 17th, while Yamamoto was 19th. They were three and four laps down, which was better than the pre-race simulation had suggested.