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Hungarian GP 2012

JULY 29, 2012

Race Notes - Hamilton holds off a charging Raikkonen to win Hungarian GP

Lewis Hamilton, Hungarian GP 2012
© The Cahier Archive

Lewis Hamilton in the McLaren-Mercedes won the Hungarian Grand Prix today, followed by the Lotus-Renaults of Kimi Raikkonen, 1.0 seconds behind in second place, and Romain Grosjean 10.5 seconds behind in third place.

Hamilton took the lead from pole at the start, controlled the race, and then held off a fast closing Raikkonen in the final laps to take his 18th career victory and his second win of the season. Into the summer break, Fernando Alonso extended his lead in the drivers championship to 40 points over Webber. Red Bull continues to lead the constuctors' championship, while McLaren and Lotus jump up the standings ahead of Ferrari. McLaren have now won six of the last eight Hungarian GP's. Hamilton has won the Hungarian GP three times, matching Ayrton Senna - only bested by Michael Schumacher with four wins.

Sebastian Vettel (11.6s) in the Red Bull-Renault finished in fourth place, followed by Fernando Alonso (26.6s) in the Ferrari in fifth, Jenson Button (30.2) in the second McLaren finished in sixth, Bruno Senna (33.8s) in the Williams-Renault was seventh, Mark Webber (34.4s) in the Red Bull was eighth, Felipe Massa (38.3s) in the Ferrari was ninth, and Nico Rosberg (51.2s) in the Mercedes GP finished in the final points paying position.

After morning rain, sunny skies greeted the drivers before the start. All drivers starting on soft tyres except for Webber, Charles Pic, Timo Glock and Pedro de La Rosa on medium compound tyres.

The cars line up on the grid, and there is a long wait and then a yellow flag comes out and the start is aborted - starter Charlie Whiting waves the field around to take another formation lap - the scheduled 70 laps is shortened to 69 laps. Schumacher remains stranded on the grid (later saying that when he saw the yellow flags that he shut off his engine). As the others go around and he is pushed to the pit lane to start the race.

Hamilton takes the lead over Grosjean. Button passes Vettel for third, followed by Alonso, Raikkonen, Webber (up from 11th on the grid), Senna, Massa and Nico Hulkenberg in tenth.

Raikkonen complains that his KERS isn't working, the team tells him the battery is low.

On lap 2 Schumacher pits and changes over to medium compound tyres.

On lap 3 DRS is enabled. Hamilton has a 2.3 second lead over Grosjean.

On lap 4 Schumacher is given a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pits during his stop. And pits again the next lap to serve the penalty. Grosjean sets fastest lap at 1m28.4s.

On lap 5 Glock spins but continues.

On lap 5 Grosjean re-sets fastest lap at 1m28.3s. Hamilton goes fastest the next lap at 1m27.8s. A line of cars is lining up behind Alonso in fifth.

Hamilton's lead over Grosjean is stable at just over two seconds.

On lap 9 Sergio Perez goes off at turn 11, but continues in 13th place.Kamui Kobayashi pits and switches to medium tyres.

At lap 10 Hamilton leads Grosjean by 2.3 seconds, followed by Button (6.0s), Vettel (7.6s), Alonso (11.0s), Raikkonen (12.1s), Webber (13.2s), Senna (14.5s), Massa (15.4s) and Hulkenberg (23.5s) in tenth place.

On lap 10 Kobayashi passes Narain Karthikeyan for 21st place. Hamilton sets fastest lap at 1m27.7s.

On lap 12 Kobayashi passes De la Rosa for 20th place.

On lap 13 Jean-Eric Vergne pits from 17th place and puts on another set of soft tyres. Grosjean sets fastest lap at 1m27.3s. Schumacher catches up to the back of the field and passes Glock for 23rd.

On lap 16 Button pits from third place and rejoins tenth, along with Hulkenberg and Pastor Maldonado pitting as well - all switching to medium tyres. Senna and Rosberg pit the next lap, also switching to medium compound tyres.

On lap 18 Vettel and Alonso pit. Alonso switches to medium tyres and Vettel stays on soft tyres.

On lap 19 the leader Hamilton pits, taking on medium tyres, Massa and Vitaly Petrov pit as well, Grosjean takes over the lead and then pits on the next lap, staying on soft compound tyres. Vettel sets fastest lap at 1m27.3s. Alonso passes Perez for seventh place out of turn 3.

On lap 20 Raikkonen pits from the lead along with Webber in third. Raikkonen stays on softs while Webber stays on mediums. Raikkonen rejoins ahead of Alonso.

On lap 21 Perez is the last of the lead cars to pit, changing to medium tyres. Grosjean sets fastest lap at 1m26.7s.

At lap 22 after the first round of stops, Hamilton continues to lead Grosjean by 2.2 seconds, followed by Button (7.9s), Vettel (8.8s), Raikkonen (13.6s), Alonso (17.5), Webber (18.2s), Senna (21.2s), Massa (25.7s) and Rosberg (28.4s) in tenth place.

On lap 23 Grosjean sets fastest lap again at 1m26.5s, and closes the gap to Hamilton to 1.3 seconds.

On lap 24 De la Rosa pits. Hamilton's lead is down to 0.9 seconds - within the DRS activation window. The gap back to 1.7 seconds the next lap.

At the moment Vettel and Raikkonen are running faster than the rest, in the 1m26 second range. Hamilton's lead is back to 2.3 seconds over Grosjean.

On lap 28 Lotus tells Raikkonen that he needs to make his tyres last till the next pit stop.

On lap 29 Vettel closes to under a second behind Button in third place.

At lap 30 Hamilton leads Grosjean by 1.1 seconds, followed by Button (6.7s), Vettel (7.7s), Raikkonen (12.0s), Alonso (19.3s), Webber (20.9s), Senna (23.9s), Massa (29.7s) and Rosberg (33.5s) in tenth place.

Vettel complains to the team that he is quicker than Button. As Button struggles for grip McLaren tells him to change to 'plan b', presumably a three-stop strategy.

On lap 33 Vergne pits and stays on soft tyres - so the Toro Rosso will need to pit again. Grosjean runs slightly wide but continues.

On lap 35 Button pits and switches to soft tyres, and rejoins in eighth. McLaren tells Hamilton that they might need to go to 'plan b' as well.

Vettel sets fastest lap at 1m26.5s. Raikkonen betters the time the next lap with a 1m26.3s. Button chases Senna in seventh. Webber tells Red Bull that Alonso in front of him is struggling with his tyres.

On lap 38 Hamilton complains that the back markers aren't getting out of the way - Grosjean closes the gap to under a second.

On lap 39 Vettel pits and changes to medium tyres. He rejoins in sixth place, just ahead of Senna and Button.

On lap 40 Grosjean pits from second place and switches to medium tyres. Webber pits as well, switching to soft tyres. Hulkenberg also pits.

On lap 41 Hamilton pits from the lead and rejoins ahead of Grosjean - Raikkonen takes over the lead. Rosberg and Pic pit as well. Webber sets fastest lap at 1m25.4s.

On lap 42 Kobayashi pits and switches to soft tyres. Maldonado pits and gets another set of medium tyres.

On lap 43 Senna pits and stays on medium tyres. Alonso and Massa pit the next lap, both staying on medium tyres.

On lap 45 Raikkonen pits from the lead changing to medium tyres. Raikkonen comes out goes wheel-to-wheel with his team mate Grosjean in the first corner, Raikkonen taking over second place.

On lap 46 Button pits and changes to medium tyres - McLaren having a problem switching the left-front tyre.

At lap 46 Hamilton leads Raikkonen by 4.4 seconds, followed by Grosjean (6.0s), Vettel (6.6s), Webber (16.0s), Alonso (24.4s), Button (25.4s), Senna (26.8s), Massa (35.5s) and Rosberg (40.8s) in tenth place.

On lap 48 Perez makes his second stop. Maldonado passes Di Resta, the two drivers bumping in the first corner.

Raikkonen is closing on Hamilton, who is suffering with understeer - the lead is down to 1,3 seconds.

On lap 52 Maldonado is given a drive-through penalty for his contact with Di Resta.

On lap 53 Vettel runs wide over the chicane. Petrov pits and Maldonado serves his drive-through penalty. Raikkonen closes to 0.9 seconds behind Hamilton - and is now within the DRS range. Grosjean cuts across the chicane. Red Bull urges Vettel to push.

On lap 55 Webber pits from fifth place taking on soft tyres and rejoins in eighth.

At lap 56 Hamilton leads Raikkonen by just 1.0 seconds, followed by Grosjean (5.2s), Vettel (6.5s), Alonso (24.7s), Button (26.0s), Senna (27.6s), Webber (30.8s), Massa (32.0s) and Rosberg (45.3s) in tenth place.

On lap 59 Vettel pits from fourth place and switches to soft tyres - coming out just ahead of Alonso, who battles the German but can't get past.

Raikkonen says to his team that the only chance he has to get past Hamilton is if the McLaren's rear tyres lose grip.

On lap 60 Schumacher retires in the pits, as the team could no longer receive any telemetry data - the first retirement of the race. Vettel sets fastest lap at 1m25.1s.

On lap 61 Vettel bests his own time with a 1m24.8s lap, and then again with a 1m24.5s. Vettel is 13 seconds behind Grosjean in third place.

McLaren tells Hamilton to look after his tyres.

On lap 65 Karthikeyan pulls to the side of the track and retires with a suspension failure.

At lap 65 Hamilton leads Raikkonen by 1.0 seconds, followed by Grosjean (9.2s), Vettel (18.1s), Alonso (25.8s), Button (27.9s), Senna (31.2s), Webber (31.9s), Massa (33.3s) and Rosberg (48.0s) in tenth place.

On lap 66 Vergne pits for another set of medium tyres.

On lap 67 Vettel is closing fast on Grosjean and the gap is 5.6 seconds. Yellow flags remain out where Karthikeyan's car is stranded.

On lap 68 Vettel sets another fastest lap at 1m24.1s.

Hamilton crosses the finish line and wins the Hungarian GP over Raikkonen. Grosjean finishes just ahead of a charging Vettel, only one second behind at the line.