How Kamui Kobayashi gained 14 places to finish ninth (Hungarian GP analysis)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Kamui Kobayashi might not have fancied his chances of scoring a point from 23rd on the grid but he was able to pick up two, thanks in part to a very effective start.

But Sebastian Vettel ended the race two places lower than he started, unable to attack Fernando Alonso for second. Perhaps he could have done with the F-duct Red Bull took off their car this weekend?

Lap 1

Lap 1
Lap 1

As is often the case at the Hungaroring the drivers on the clean side of the grid got the best starts. Alonso passed Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton got alongside Felipe Massa – but had to back off as he got boxed in behind Webber.

That allowed Vitaly Petrov – who’d also started on the clean side of the grid and already passed Nico Rosberg – to pass Hamilton at turn one.

What went wrong for Jenson Button? He got of the line well from 11th and was tenth as they ran down to turn one. But with Rosberg, Robert Kubica and Pedro de la Rosa three-abreast in front of him he had nowhere to go.

That allowed both Williamses and Adrian Sutil to charge down the inside, while Michael Schumacher went around him by using the run-off area at the exit. Finally Vitantonio Liuzzi – who seemed to tap the rear of Button’s car as they came out of turn one – out-dragged him on the way to turn two.

Pit stops

Pit stops
Pit stops

The usual sequence of pit stops had just begun, with Button the first man in, when the safety car was deployed. This meant that on the 15th lap 16 cars came into the pits at once (including the lapped Sakon Yamamoto).

After the safety car in Mark Webber spent 26 laps building up enough of a lead over Fernando Alonso to come out in the lead.

Race progress

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It’s clear to see the change in Vettel’s pace on laps 28-30 as he got his foot down in anticipation of his penalty. He came out in third place behind Alonso, and it seems likely that even if Hamilton hadn’t retired, Vettel would have resumed in the same place.

Vettel spent most of laps 40 to 66 within one second of Alonso but unable to attack his rival, largely because of Red Bull’s straight-line speed deficit. They ran their car without their F-duct this weekend.

Kobayashi started 23rd and finish ninth, picking up more points for Sauber. How did he gain so many places?

He began by picking off all five of the new teams’ drivers that started in front of him on the first lap. This was by no means a given – we’ve seen other drivers in similar situations fail to do the same in recent races. Kobayashi out-dragged three of them down to turn one and pick off the others by positioning his car well in the first corners.

He also got ahead of Sebastien Buemi on the first lap and followed Button past Liuzzi a few laps later.

Sauber avoided him losing too much time behind his team mate in the pits by leaving him out for an extra lap. At the restart he passed Schumacher, and from there on retirements in front of him took care of the rest.

Lap chart

Lap chart
Lap chart

As ever the Hungaroring proved extremely difficult to overtake on, though Rubens Barrichello was able to use fresh tyres to scrape past the characteristically obstinate Michael Schumacher.

2010 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Image (C) BMW Sauber F1 Team