Paddock Postcard from the Hungaroring 31 Jul 2011
With barely enough time to move cars and personnel to Budapest following last weekends German round, let alone arrange any pre-race activities, you would have thought the teams extra-curricular outings would be minimal in Hungary, but they have still managed to squeeze a few in.
Some of the drivers were busy competing at a charity football match on Wednesday night. The Hungarian All-Star event was held at the Ujpest Megyeri ut Stadium in the heart of Budapest, with HRTs Vitantonio Liuzzi, Renaults Vitaly Petrov, Saubers Sergio Perez, Ferraris Felipe Massa, Virgin Jerome DAmbrosio all taking to the pitch.
There were plenty of celebrations up and down the pit lane as well. Bernie Ecclestone led the partying on Thursday evening to mark Fernando Alonso turning 30 on Friday, and on Saturday night McLarens motorhome was jammed packed as the great and the good of the F1 fraternity helped Jenson Button to celebrate his 200th Grand Prix.
On top of that, Mercedes Nico Rosberg will be taking to the track for his 100th Grand Prix this weekend and its also the centenary of the 2.4 litre V8 engine, which was introduced in 2006. Toro Rosso were also celebrating their 100th Grand Prix start.
On track, Romain Grosjean moved ever closer to the GP2 Series title with another measured drive to victory on Saturday for DAMS after starting from fifth place. The Frenchman was helped when early leader Marcus Ericsson, who had made a blinding start to take the lead from polesitter Luiz Razia, was penalised for an unsafe release during his pit stop. The iSport driver had to be content with fifth place as fourth fastest Charles Pic made up for his recent misfortunes with a strong run to second for Barwa Addax ahead of Caterham Team AirAsias Razia.
Sundays race was run in changeable conditions and saw Tridents Stefano Coletti come from 21st on the grid to win after bravely starting on slicks. Grosjean and Saubers F1 reserve Esteban Gutierrez scrapped it out for second over the closing laps, with the Mexican taking the place at the final corner.
In GP3, series leader Mitch Evans collided with ARTs James Calado on the opening lap of Saturdays race, as they battled for third place, leaving Calados team mate Valtteri Bottas to take another victory from Michael Christensen (RSC Mucke Motorsport) and Britons Adrian Quaife-Hobbs (Marussia Manor Racing) and Alexander Sims (Status GP). Nico Muller was fifth for Jenzer Motorsport as Aaro Vainio just held off Evanss team mate Lewis Williamson. The young Scot had a bad qualifying in 15th but moved to seventh by the second corner. But, such is the nature of the Hungaroring that he then stayed there for the entire distance thereafter.
Sunday mornings GP3 contest saw Rio Haryanto take advantage of a late safety car to grab victory in wet conditions from the ART duo of series leader Bottas and Calado, the latter charging his way from 25th on the grid to secure a spectacular podium.
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