#F1 On Track Review: 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix Race Report – Hamilton Triumphs At Last

Brought to you by TheJudge13 ‘on track correspondent’: James Parker

2013 Hungarian Grand Prix Podium © F1 Around The WorldUnder the searing Hungarian heat, which saw track temperatures as high as 52°C, Lewis Hamilton finally claimed his first victory for the season and for Mercedes, in a very controlled fashion. Completing the podium was a magnificent Raikkonen who managed to achieve a final 28 lap stint to take 2nd place, ahead of the hard charging Vettel in 3rd, who pushed the Finn close in the final 10 laps due to committing to a 3 stop strategy but not finding a way past.

Start

Off the line, Vettel had a terrible getaway on the dirty side of the grid, coming under pressure from both Grosjean and Rosberg behind. Squeezing Grosjean on the left hand side of the circuit into turn 1 both drivers maintained position.

2013 Hungarian Grand Prix Start © Im a Die Hard F1 FanBehind however the action was kicking off. After settling down behind Grosjean, Rosberg found himself passed on the outside of turn 2 by an opportunist move from Alonso. Massa tried to follow his team-mate through, and both he and Rosberg were side by side going through turns 3 and 4. As the pair approached turn 5, Massa held the inside line, and as Rosberg turned in there was inevitable contact which sent the Mercedes man off the circuit and rejoining 12th place.

Other notable good starts were made by race leader Hamilton who controlled the race from the front on lap 1, and Jenson Button who was sitting 8th after starting in P13.

Up front the leading three were scampering away from the Ferrari’s of Alonso and Massa. Hamilton was the first to blink for his first stop, and he came in on lap 10 to exchange his used softs for a set of new mediums – rejoining behind Button in 8th.

Afraid of losing time to Vettel however, the Mercedes man made a bold move the following lap down into turn 1 to gain some clear air with the aid of KERS and DRS.

This move meant Vettel was forced to react to Hamilton’s pace, and he came in on lap 12 to cover the early stop. However not only did Vettel come out behind Hamilton, he slotted right in behind the medium shod and longer running Button who he would not be able to get past for 12 laps.

Alonso pitted on lap 13, also on to fresh mediums, and this meant it released the two Lotus cars at the front to make headway in what was thought to be a longer first stint. However to a lot of people’s surprise, the Lotus duo could only manage to get to lap 14 before both pitted for the medium compound. Stacking in the pitlane, Grosjean rejoined behind Button and Vettel, whilst Raikkonen behind Massa once again.

By lap 17 Vettel was clearly getting impatient behind the McLaren driver and watching Hamilton disappear into the distance. Trying an ambitious move in turn 2, Vettel dived up the inside and touched the rear of Button’s car causing slight wing damage but positions were not lost.

Further back, Force India’s miserable weekend continued as on lap 21 Adrian Sutil was forced to retire with a hydraulic leak during his first pitstop and the German’s day was done.

Lap 24 was a pivotal moment in the race however. Button was starting to struggle on his first stint, and Vettel was keen to make the most of it. Gaining a good run out of turn 3, he took Button into the ultra fast turn 4. Grosjean was keen to follow through and attempted a pass into the turn 6 chicane, however when coming back across the track appeared to make contact with the McLaren car – both drivers escaping damage. Alonso followed through into turn 8 and this signalled Button’s time to come into the pits for soft tyres.

Lotus F1 © Lotus F1After the contact, Lotus were keen to bring Grosjean in for an early stop on lap 26, however this dropped him from 3rd down to 7th and behind Massa. On lap 29 however, the Frenchman got a good run coming out of turn 3 and attempted an ambitious outside overtake on Massa into turn 4 – something he managed to pull off with some style for P6.

His joy was short lived however, as on lap 36, the race stewards announced that the Lotus man was to receive a drive through penalty for leaving the track limits when overtaking Massa, whilst the incident between Button and the turn 6 chicane was to be investigated after the race.

Other drivers who the stewards were keeping an eye on included Nico Hulkenberg who faced a drive through on lap 39 for speeding in the pitlane.

By that point in the race, most of the 3 stoppers had made their second stops, with Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso settling back  down, whilst out the front the longer running Raikkonen was eyeing up a different two stop strategy – eventually pitting on lap 43 for the medium compound with Webber also on to mediums the following lap from 3rd place.

As the race entered its final stages, there were two distinctive races going on. Hamilton was enjoying a 12 second lead over Vettel who had lost all of that time behind Button earlier on in the race, but was under threat from a two stopping Raikkonen. Further back, a recovering Grosjean was keen to retrieve some of that lost ground thanks to the drive through penalty.

Hamilton made his third and final stop on lap 51 bolting on a set of medium compound tyres, coming out directly in the firing line of Webber in 4th place. Webber was slow to navigate turn 2 thanks to the Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg blocking the apex and Hamilton seized his chance to jump up the inside into turn 3 almost instantly.

Lap 56 saw Vettel bolt on a set of fresh medium compound tyres for his final stint, and rejoined back into a provisional 3rd place behind the two stopping Raikkonen – who was aiming to make his final stint last a full 28 laps.

Webber then released Raikkonen into 2nd on lap sixty when he came in for a set of the softer compound tyres to finish the race on. He rejoined in 4th behind his teammate, while Alonso in P5 had Grosjean breathing down his neck for the final 10 laps.

The race was now on, with Hamilton over 10 seconds in the lead, could Vettel on much fresher tyres catch the Finn in 2nd, and could Webber on brand new soft tyres and low fuel catch the pair of them?

With only 5 laps left, Rosberg’s afternoon came to an end when his Mercedes’ engine blew as he turned into turn 3. With engine temperatures being a concern all weekend for the Mercedes team, this got the pitwall worried over the health of his teammates’ engine who was currently leading the race.

Vettel was clearly a lot faster than Raikkonen, cruising up to the back of the Lotus man in the final 5-6 laps, however could not make an impression once he had got there. This all changed on lap 68, when the 3 time World Champion saw an opportunity into turn 4 after getting a good run up the hill. Raikkonen however slowly moved into the middle of the track and Vettel was left with nowhere to go and ran wide – holding 3rd place where he would stay for the final two laps.

Lewis Hamilton Hungarian Podium © F1 Around The WorldUp front, a faultless Hamilton claimed his first victory of the season, in a race which no-one thought the Mercedes would be able to compete in – especially for victory. It marks his 1st win of the season and his 4th victory at the Hungaroring, a result which brings him only 10 points off 2nd place man Raikkonen in the championship.

A hard charging Webber claimed 4th, yet again pulling off a great recovery drive from 10th place on the grid. 5th was a disappointed Alonso who simply did not have the pace of the top 3 today, just fending off a recovering Grosjean in 6th. 7th was a solid drive from Jenson Button, the McLaren showing improved pace. 8th was a rather anonymous Massa whilst Button’s team-mate Perez grabbed 9th to give the team their second consecutive double points finish.

10th, with a solid performance, was Pastor Maldonado, claiming Williams’ first points finish of 2013, finally end the drought they have endured thus far in the season.

It was a strategically intriguing race, and the Hungaroring offered us some great overtaking on a circuit which is not famed for that.

It just leaves me to say… what are we going to do for the next month?

Final Classification:

Pos Driver Team Grid Total Pts
1 Hamilton Mercedes 1 25
2 Raikkonen Lotus 6 +10.900 18
3 Vettel Red Bull 2 +12.400 15
4 Webber Red Bull 10 +18.000 12
5 Alonso Ferrari 5 +31.400 10
6 Grosjean Lotus 3 +32.200 8
7 Button McLaren 13 +53.800 6
8 Massa Ferrari 7 +56.400 4
9 Perez McLaren 9 +1 lap 2
10 Maldonado Williams 15 +1 lap 1
11 Hulkenberg Sauber 12 +1 lap
12 Vergne Toro Rosso 14 +1 lap
13 Ricciardo Toro Rosso 8 +1 lap
14 van der Garde Caterham 20 +2 laps
15 Pic Caterham 19 +2 laps
16 Bianchi Marussia 21 +3 laps
17 Chilton Marussia 22 +3 laps
RET di Resta Force India 18
RET Rosberg Mercedes 4
RET Bottas Williams 16
RET Gutierrez Sauber 17
RET Sutil Force India 11

Drivers Championship
2013 Drivers' Championship post-Hungary

Constructors Championship
2013 Constructors' Championship post-Hungary

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17 responses to “#F1 On Track Review: 2013 Hungarian Grand Prix Race Report – Hamilton Triumphs At Last

  1. Anyone else notice that Vettel left the track with all four wheels twice on lap 19, when defending against Grosjean ?

  2. I didn’t spot that. But surely if he had, then the stewards would have looked into it ?

    • The stewards seem regularly to ignore such incidents when it doesn’t involve an overtaking manoeuvre for some reason – and that’s not a partisan comment, as I’ve noticed it previously with drivers other than Vettel.
      (Though Sebastian does seem to test the track limits more than most.)

      • Would agree there. Vettel seems to think it is a champion’s privilige to straighten out the race track and is rarely caught out, though I seem to remember a warning last year?

  3. It was a thoroughly enjoyable race for me, as there were at least three cars on track with the pace to win.
    If Vettel had come out ahead of Button at the first stop (which was not one of Red Bull’s fastest), he might well have beaten Hamilton.
    Equally, had Grosjean had a little more luck (or situational awareness), then he would have been pretty close t the sharp end, too.

    Hamilton made the most of his chance with some very sharp overtaking – and I think he owes Button a couple of pints next time they meet in the pub.

    • Ha Ha, I wondered how hard Button defended against his old teammate as I didn’t get to see Hamilton’s overtake. Either way, Button thoroughly ruined Vettel’s race, but certainly not his championship.

      • Haha, yeah. But Hamilton had much higher top speed down the main straight, replays of his overtake on Button just showed that he used DRS+KERS, slip-streamed him and took the inside line. Button tried to come back at him on the outside of turn 2 but lacked the grip to make the move stick. No TV replays though, but I’m sure there are links on YouTube and such.

        The championship is very much in Vettel’s pocket. Red Bull are fast, reliable and they always make the safe strategy calls. The only thing Hamilton/Raikkönen/Alonso might due is reduce their respective deficit to him but they’ll be taking points off each-other as well, there is not much suspense in the WDC.

      • If you believe any of the top drivers willingly give up a place like that, then (IMO) you’re nuts.
        Hamilton just did a better job – and ironically happened to have a car set up to overtake rather than front run.

        • Thanks, I’ll go look for it on YouTube. Frustrating to miss it during the race. I was genuinely surprised to see Lewis past Button so quickly. When he came out behind Button I felt certain Vettel would be able to leapfrog then both, but I guess his tires had already started to go.

  4. Giving Grosjean a drive through penalty for a truly epic overtaking manoeuvre was a fail by the stewards and ruined the race for me. Grosjean would have been right with Hamilton there in the end and challenging for his first race win. If anything he only went wider to avoid Massa understeering into him, a real possibility given his front wing damage.

    This inconsistent stewarding is driving me crackers, although there was an air of inevitability to it. If they want ‘track limits’ to be observed, make them observable – take out kerbs, astroturf, etc. Even in iRacing, where you get incident points for half the car being outside of track limits, kerbs count as track limits (why wouldn’t they, that’s what they are there for – to be used to straighten out the track lines). Tighter driving lines might also make overtaking easier as well from longer braking zones/slower apex speeds. As with anything, silly regulations lead to egg on face.

    Apart from that, it was a great race, as stated the top 3 could have all won it, Kimi too if he was not as far back from Q. RB screwed up strategy, and with cautious pit stops from last time out’s memory this cost them hugely. Vettel should have undercut by a lap or two each time and secured track position, but they wandered to 2 stop thinking and this did for them as also once earlier this year. Hulk unlucky to miss a point by getting a pit speed penalty – probably from frustration at how bad his car is I would guess.

    But the championship is now pretty much sewn up – Ferrari are crippled and Mercedes too far back. Lotus can’t capitalise with full performance weekends – so Vettel can afford to place behind these guys as many times as in front and still win the championship. I’m surprised Force India didn’t veto the tyres as they, Marussia and Ferrari (probably) are all likely to lose out now on large sums of money come the end of the year (granted Ferrari’s 2.5% bonus makes this redundant).

    • Not so sure it’s Vettel’s title. He has to win some more races and there are 2 quick Mercedes and Lotus cars which will cause Red Bull problems. Lotus have benefited from the tyre change as maybe have Mercedes.

      The next 2 races are crucial. If the others can hold Red Bull and even reduce Vettel’s lead to twenty something points it becomes twitchy bum time in Milton Keynes – and Webber will be no help if required.

      • Hello thejudge13 🙂

        Well, if one of Raikkönen, Hamilton or Alonso can win the next 2 or 3 races, and Vettel doesn’t finish in the Top 5 (something that only happened once this season I think) then maybe it might put him under pressure, but so far : nobody has really been stringing wins together, except Vettel himself.

        And I would argue that Red Bull themselves don’t seem to have been harmed by the tyre change, more like the opposite. Today, it just happened to be a rather unlucky day for Vettel, especially the second stint where Button blocked him. Otherwise he would have been much higher up the track, most likely challenging Hamilton.

        • But Mercedes appear to finally not be suffering from as much a disadvantage in the race from tyres – and still be able to get pole.

          Had Vettel been on pole he may probably have won – but that is something which has been happening far less this year than in the past 3 seasons.

          • True, and with Rosberg also in the mix.. Throw in another Vettel DNF and it’s close again. It’ll be interesting if Lewis’ Silverstone blowout (and recovery) play a factor near the end of the season points wise.. There’s also Bahrain with a blowout and grid penalty.

            It’s all about minimising mistakes.. Seb’s had a DNF but so have others moreso.. Kimi and Fernando have been unlucky with some mistakes and hence low finishing positions, which lose you ground in the title hunt.

  5. I also think the penalty for Grojean a bit steep. I thought it was for cutting the chicane after outbraking Button, not for getting pushed off the track by Massa.
    Ridiculous. Poor Grojean, he seemed more “grown up” this week-end.
    Nice job by Webber for not holding Hamilton up so he could stay ahead of Vettel.

    • The drive through during the race was for an incident at turn 4, which was his move on Massa not Button which was at the chicane. Interestingly for his ‘causing an avoidable incident” with Button he has been given a post race drive through penalty which adds 20 seconds to his time. This leaves him in 6th place but now just 1 second ahead of Button.

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