July 30, 2013

Horse 1520 - Silver Arrow Streaks Superbly (Rd.10)

In the days before DRS, KERS and other acronyms, the Hungaroring was nicknamed the Hungaboring. Built behind the former Iron Curtain, the circuit is an undulating, twisty affair which seems to breed impatience in the drivers and this year's GP was no exception.

At the start, pole sitter Hamilton lept out into the lead, but behind him Vettel bogged the start in his Red Bull, was nearly taken out by Alonso's Ferrari, whilst simultaneously almost taking out Grosjean's Lotus himself. Hamilton's team mate Nico Rosberg got off to a flyer before tagging Felipe Massa's Ferrari and ruining the end fence on his front wing. Rosberg ceased to have any real impact on the result and his engine finally gave out on lap 64.

Most of the race turned on people's changing fortunes with tyre strategy. Every pitstop would file someone roughly 19 seconds further down the road and it was this aspect which had the most bearing on the outcome of the rave.
Hamilton came out behind Jenson Button and made short work of him, yet Vettel whose car was slightly understeery all weekend came out immediately behind Button; where he would remain for 12 frustrating laps.

Following closely behind was Romain Grosjean who also found getting past Button difficult, Grosjean turned in on him and the two of them scraped side. Grosjean would be given a post-race 20 second penalty but during the race, he was given a drive-through penalty after all four of his wheels left the track during an overtake of Massa's Ferrari.
Pitstops continued to dictate the order and Kimi Räikkönen in the Lotus came out ahead of Vettel, and Mark Webber who up to that point had had a very quiet race, suddenly found himself in fourth; ahead of Alonso. That's pretty much how it ended, with Lewis Hamilton taking the win by more than ten seconds.

Once again the Hungaroring lives up to its reputation for producing relatively calm Grands Prix. I think that because it has such a difference in elevation and types of corners as opposed to a Tilkedrome (Korea, Bahrain, China) that it probably should remain on the calendar. Also, the crowd figures at the circuit are quiet pleasing to see - I'd rather see packed stands than empty fields.

It has taken Lewis ten rounds to score his first victory of 2013 but with  Räikkönen finishing second and Vettel coming in third, it's going to take quite a large number of miracles if he wants to have a shot at this year's title. Räikkönen leapfrogs Alonso into second but Vettel still maintains a handy buffer at the top of the standings.

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