Lewis Hamilton takes McLaren back to winning ways

2009 Hungarian Grand Prix review

Lewis Hamilton scored his second win at the Hungaroring

Lewis Hamilton scored his second win at the Hungaroring

Lewis Hamilton seized the lead of the Hungarian Grand Prix and never let it go as McLaren bounced back from their terrible start to 2009.

The world champion was followed home by Kimi Raikkonen – the only Ferrari in the race following Felipe Massa’s crash – meaning KERS-powered cars filled the first two places on the podium for the first time.

Mark Webber boosted his championship chances with third – but Sebastian Vettel failed to finish and Jenson Button could only manage seventh.

Raikkonen and Vettel tangle

Fernando Alonso kept his lead easily at the start – but behind him four cars came out of the first corner side-by-side. They were led by Webber, who re-passed Hamilton’s McLaren, which had made its usual terrific KERS-boosted getaway.

Raikkonen had also made rapid KERS-powered progress and took up fourth behind Hamilton, squeezing Vettel aside as they headed towards turn two. That damaged the Red Bull, and he slipped down the order behind Nico Rosberg and Heikki Kovalainen. Shortly afterwards the stewards announced they would take a look at it after the race. and Vettel laid blame for the contact unequivocally at Raikkonen’s feet.

Button was beaten away from the line by Kazuki Nakajima and fell to ninth. But – just as he did at Bahrain and Sepang – a crucial pass on the second lap put him back in front of the Williams driver.

Alonso’s race ends early

Alonso’s light Renault quickly scampered off into the lead, but Webber couldn’t keep Hamilton back. On lap four another well-timed jab of the KERS button got Hamilton alongside the Red Bull and past around the outside of turn two.

Despite carrying more fuel, Hamilton began cutting into Alonso’s lead. Alonso’s 2.9s advantage lap five was trimmed back to 1.2s by lap nine. From there Hamilton wasn’t able to get much closer – but Alonso was about to come into the pits for a stop which proved the undoing of his race.

The front-right wheel didn’t attach to the R29 properly, and by the second corner the wheel fairing had blown free. Even more alarmingly, in light of recent accidents, the wheel then fell off completely, but mercifully no-one hit it. His race ruined, Alonso limped back into the pits for a new wheel, and later retired.

Red Bull pit problems

Hamilton now took up the lead and quickly extended his advantage over Webber. Despite having gone to the grid with more fuel, Webber came into the pits before Hamilton, on the same lap as Raikkonen.

Webber, too, ran into trouble on his pit stop and the team ended up releasing him as Raikkonen was passing by. The pair avoided contact – and there was no word of an investigation by the stewards – but Raikkonen took the position.

Vettel had more serious problems. After his pit stop on lap 21 he complained to the team that his car felt un-driveable, and there were signs of smoke from the back of the car. The team summoned him to the pits to have the car looked at, but after a brief return to the track with a new front wing tyres, he retired the Red Bull, blaming his problem on the contact with Raikkonen.

Hamilton dominates

After the early round of pit stops Hamilton held onto his lead with Button now up to second – though yet to come into the pits. He was catching Hamilton quickly, but not happy with his car’s performance on the super soft tyres. But a switch to soft tyres on lap 25 only made things worse and he slipped out of the points positions – Giancarlo Fisichella overtaking the Brawn as it came out of the pits.

Hamilton’s hold on the lead never looked anything less than solid, and so did Raikkonen’s grasp on second, despite a slow getaway after his second stop. Webber dropped back from the Ferrari and was caught by Kovalainen and Rosberg. The McLaren driver pitted first of the three, falling behind Rosberg, but Webber held his position.

Timo Glock ran two very long stints which worked well for him, and would have done better had he not got stuck behind Raikkonen. After his final pit stop he came out ahead of not only team mate Jarno Trulli but also Button, and spent the run to the chequered flag vainly chasing Kovalainen. Trulli in turn had Nakajima and Rubens Barrichello close behind him – the second Brawn driver enduring a compromised race after starting outside the top ten.

At the back of the field, newcomer Jaime Alguersuari finished ahead of just one other runner but it was an important one: his team mate Sebastien Buemi

. The Swiss driver spun off at turn two late in the race, and both Toro Rossos set their fastest lap on the final tour.

The result lifts Webber to second in the drivers’ championship race, making him the leading rival to Button. The Brawn driver’s lead is trimmed to 18.5 points and Brawn’s lead in the constructors’ championship is now only 15.5.

Lewis Hamilton, meanwhile, more than doubled his championship tally, moving into eighth place with 19 points.

Driver of the race

Hard to pick anyone other than Lewis Hamilton for driver of the race. Here’s who you picked on Twitter:

lukeatherton – hammy baby!!
dcowlives – Has 2 b Hamilton, expected him 2 take lead but not stay there & in such commandng fashion. 10/10 to the boy from Stevenage.
rubvic – I think Lewis did the best job, and managed to open a confortable gap.
HansiF – Congratulations to Jaime Alguersuari who finished ahead of his team mate in his first ever Grand Prix
shaohanmandy – I should say ….Lewis
noelinho – Hamilton has to be driver of the race, but a great drive from Rosberg too. He’s definitely worth an honorary mention.
TweetingSteve – Hamilton no doubt – great start, great overtaking of Weber and great race from the front.
Jake360 – Kimi drove the best in my opinion with a car not as good as the Mclaren. Can’t take anything away from Lewis though.
Pearlaceous – Got to be Ham for me :)
Greg0800 – Glock

Who was your driver of the race? Have your say below.

Read more: Rate the race: Hungarian Grand Prix

Update: Raikkonen has not been punished for his actions at the start. Red Bull have been reprimanded for releasing Webber unsafely into the path of Raikkonen.

Update 2: Renault banned from European Grand Prix following Fernando Alonso?s wheel loss

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103 comments on Lewis Hamilton takes McLaren back to winning ways

  1. lukeaa said on 26th July 2009, 17:24

    i thought lewis drove a fantastic race, was it me or did it seem that the overtaking rules have had an effect on the race today?

    also there seemed to be a bit of anomosity between lewis and webber in the room before the podium, anyone have any why?

    • John H said on 26th July 2009, 17:31

      Going back to Monza last year perhaps?

      Great drive by Hamilton. He celebrated but also had this to say after the race:

      “Finally, my thoughts are with Felipe today. Despite our celebrations, it’s important to remember that there’s a guy lying in a hospital bed tonight, and I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say that we all had Felipe in our hearts and minds today and we wish him a speedy recovery.”

      hear hear

    • David said on 26th July 2009, 17:32

      Must be honest, I didn’t see it. But Webber was always the first to pop up with his view on Lewis’s ‘over-aggressive’ style in his (Hamilton’s) first two season, then effectively put him out of the previous race (Germany) with similar aggression! But whatever the case, it’d be a but dumb of Webber to provoke Hamilton too much as they’re almost certain to be fighting for positions over the next few races – with the WDC only in sight for one of them.

      • mp4-19b said on 26th July 2009, 17:36

        webber must remain in hammi’s good books, or else he might not help the aussie in his championship pursuit ;). hammi will play an important role in taking of points of brawn.

    • bpacman said on 26th July 2009, 17:34

      Probably because of Webber’s frequent criticism of Hamilton – e.g. the move Webber labelled as dangerous last year at Fuji when Hamilton broke v late into turn 1 and forced half of the field off the track or when Webber said that Hamilton’s driving behind the safety car was a “bit s**t” in 2007 when Vettel and Webber collided?

  2. vet4snak said on 26th July 2009, 17:24

    a heart warming race from Kimi

    got 2nd from 7th

    if only felipe got to drive that car and fought with ham

  3. net.sticks said on 26th July 2009, 17:27

    HURRAY!!!!

    He’s Back!!!

    He’s got a competitive car and (always) great hands to handle it :)

    Long Live The World Champion!!!

    Great job from the McLaren Team. Keep it up and we’ll continue to see you guys more often, up there at the podium!

    I’m tired of Red Bull and Brown… It was kind of fun to start with something new, but, now, let the pros handle it.

    Great race also from both Finns :)

    • mp4-19b said on 26th July 2009, 17:33

      Great race also from both Finns :)

      i think kovi really underperformed, as he does always. wondering what is wrong with him. he could have easily ended up on the podium, if he could have just pushed a little bit harder.

    • S Hughes said on 26th July 2009, 20:54

      Hear hear!

  4. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th July 2009, 17:35

    Confirmed: No penalty for Raikkonen over the start; Red Bull get a reprimand for unsafely releasing Webber.

    • mp4-19b said on 26th July 2009, 17:38

      again shows how inconsistent the stewards are, i’m absolutely gutted. atleast kovi would have made it to the podium.

  5. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th July 2009, 17:38

    Renault are to be “suspended” from the European Grand Prix, which I take it to mean they won’t be allowed to compete. Waiting for confirmation…

  6. Austin said on 26th July 2009, 17:40

    is this true http://twitter.com/NobleF1/status/2854978017

    its a bit harsh

  7. Austin said on 26th July 2009, 17:41

    “FOM said on Sunday after the race that the finish line sensor had failed as a consequence of a broken cable, but that no data had been lost.”

    Its always a cable coming loose excuse.

  8. Great drive by Hamilton!!! Glad to see him winning. And he managed it while conserving his tyres through his experience. Thats something.

    I reckon this is probably his 2nd best win after Silverstone 2008. He drove within his car limits, and didn’t put a foot wrong.

    Plus, Kimi on podium. Good for Ferrari.

    And lets hope Massa comes back to racing soon, although, I say that more from my heart than my brain.

  9. SYM said on 26th July 2009, 18:18

    :)

  10. Daniel said on 26th July 2009, 18:39

    Wonderful!!!! I Was Like Webber 2 Weeks Ago! Screaming Cheering Near Crying Because This Team Has Been Through Everything!

    Just Missing Out On Title In 2007… The Big Spygate.. Finally Getting What They Deserve In The 2008 Title.

    Then An Uncompetive Car In 2009, The Liargate… Then The Contravisty Around That..

    The Hamilton Mistake At Monaco

    Then The Accident At The Nurburing

    I Was Left Saying When? When Was It Going To Happen? Will It?

    IT HAS AND IS DESERVED!

    Lewis Drove Impeciablily! Absolutly Outstanding Not One Mistake! Was Amazing!!

    The Team Have Worked Day & Night Since Pre Season Tests.. And Theyve Turned At Car That Usually Starts From 12th-20th

    Up To 1st-8th

    That Is Amazing!!

    Vodafone McLaren Mercedes You Deserve This… Enjoy!

    Woow I Havent Felt Like This Since Brazil 2008! Hammy Is Back.. Mclaren Is Back.. And I Am Back Cheerinn When He Wins :L

    Also Well Done Heikki He Did A Good Job To :)

    Also Get Welll Soon Felipe …
    Felipe Spero In Una Pronta Guarigione! (Felipe I Hope For A Speedy Recovery!) Google Translator Hahha

    Oh And Almost Forgot

    Adios Nelsinho :L

  11. Daniel said on 26th July 2009, 18:54

    Sorry But Last Year

    He Won Like Every 2/3 Events

    This Has Been Building Since The Start Of The Year!!

    And I Tell Ya

    Its F****** Amazing!!! I LOVE THIS FEELING!! :)

    Sorry For The Swear Word :L

  12. Kimster said on 26th July 2009, 19:01

    I would say Kimi as he had a great start and drove consistently to finnish 2nd. Hamilton also drove great and did not over do it, to get the win. Today the win was due to pure speed in the car.

  13. Juhhi said on 26th July 2009, 19:33

    Lewis win and Kimi´s second place is only because of charasterics of hungaroring wich suits both cars.

    Offcourse, great drive from both gentlemans…

  14. Carl 27 said on 26th July 2009, 20:00

    Fantastic race by Lewis Hamilton, showing the champion he is (from an Alonso fan), still don’t understand why is Alonso’s fault the type of strategy selected, and anyway I think he did brilliant bearing in mind was driving a “Clio”

  15. Melanie said on 26th July 2009, 21:08

    Lewis and Kimi is equally the drivers of the race for me. Lewis was really fantastic today, and his pass on Webber cemented the win for him, that was really a clever move. Kimi came for 7th and he had a broken exhuast pipe, he had to fight that Ferrari all the way. Glock also had a very good race.

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