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

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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Tick/untick drivers? names to show their laps, click and drag to zoom

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.

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

  1. sumedh said on 1st August 2010, 20:01

    I compared the graphs for unticking everyone except Button and Webber. It is unbelievable how quickly Button drops back. Its almost 3 seconds / lap for about 10-15 laps on a trot. Whether traffic or not, this is just not acceptable I feel. Mclaren must hurry up. Their blown diffuser isn’t working well, they don’t have flexi-wings. Neither can they give no.1 status to 1 driver like Ferrari can. Things don’t look good in my opinion.

    • US_Peter said on 1st August 2010, 20:41

      Well, the next two races are both circuits that ought to be better suited to McLaren, and by the time they return to circuits that favor Red Bull, that should have given them enough time to iron out the kinks with the EBD, and to have developed a flexi-wing.

  2. Hoshi said on 1st August 2010, 20:05

    amazing work by kamui..considering his gp2 exploits..i had not given this guy much of thought..but he keeps impressing a lot..only fast asian in f1 at this time..

  3. I am so proud of Kamui. Great job mate!
    You have earned yourself a new fan.

  4. ILoveVettel said on 1st August 2010, 20:12

    Hats off to Koba… He is a real racer. I am so very glad for him. If he was in a true midfield team like Renaults, I think we would have seen the true potential of this guy. But an way, he’s been awsome..

  5. SoLiDG (@solidg) said on 1st August 2010, 20:12

    Sauber has been doing very well since James Key came in.
    And Kamui has been doing a nice job. Let’s keep an eye on him!

  6. US_Peter said on 1st August 2010, 20:43

    Great to see Kobayashi doing so well again in the race. If only he can sort out his qualifying woes we might start to see him well into the points consistently.

  7. Robert McKay said on 1st August 2010, 20:45

    I’ve just realised how impressive this drive is, 23rd to 9th. Seemed to go pretty much unmissed by the FOM director?

  8. He’s been impressive of late… no doubt… Good to see newcomers come in and give a wake up call to existing lot, even without much testing… Let us hope he continues with the great job that he’s doing in his sauber :)

    Who’s bright idea was it to ban testing completely… Yes, it is those teams only which are now craving/ crying/ begging for some :D Dimwits! I had forseen this much before its time…

  9. Ned Flanders (@ned-flanders) said on 1st August 2010, 21:48

    Don’t think Kobayashi was that good today. I mean, only 12 of the competitive cars finished the race, and he was 4th last of them. But I do love Koby, he is one of my favourite drivers. If he sorts out his qualifying form, he could be looking good for a long term F1 career

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd August 2010, 11:12

      The quali was large part done with the team sending him out on mediums to “save tyres” for Q2 as well as hitting traffic on both laps.

      But your right, if he starts qualifying in the top 12 regularly he can go very far.

    • But the fact that he finished 4th last of the competitive cars, means that, aside from the slower cars, he _overtook_ 3 competitive ones by your metrics. On a track where everyone says it’s impossible to overtake at all. Who else did you see on track overtaking 3 more or less equal cars?

  10. Palle said on 1st August 2010, 22:03

    I’ve kept an impressed eye on Koba since he overtook Button in one of his first races. An impressive talent, but Petrov is also impressive again.
    I must admit I lost a lot for Schumi with his dangerous stunt on Barrichello. For what? 1 point and further damage to his reputation…The punishment of 10 grid positions in Spa, was probably to easy on him. And this is from someone, who think he shouldn’t have been punished for overtaking Alonso in Monaco. But then I’ll have his battle up through the field at Spa to look forward to – going to be present on the track for that race;-)
    And Vettel needs to read the complete F1 rules before next race, just to make sure he doesn’t mis anything again. But why does a smaller blunder likes Vettels cause an immediate punishment that changes the result of the race, where a blatant breach of the rule against Team Orders does not, and maybe ends up with only a small fine any big team can afford?
    And why on earth are the rules punishing Kubica? He is absolutely not responsible for the collision with Sutil. His team is, yes, but not the driver. A fine would be appropriate in such cases, not a “stop and go”. The fact that he had to stop because of damage to the car is not making the rule more fair. Again a race that confirms the fact that FIA are not up to the job of making and enforcing the rules of the sport.

  11. dcYeezy said on 1st August 2010, 23:25

    This may be a little to early to call..
    But im getting a real Alonso vibe from koby.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 2nd August 2010, 11:13

      Nah, we’ve not seen him ask the team to let him pass his team mate yet. And he’s not requesting nr. 1 treatment just yet ;-)

  12. sato113 said on 1st August 2010, 23:53

    only 1 driver finished in the same position as he started. Massa in 4th.

  13. What A Bunch of Ball Ox said on 2nd August 2010, 4:12

    Its good to see some of last years Nay-Sayers [about Koby]give him his do credit, finaly.

    23rd to 9th is a great drive regardless of how many cars finished the race. Your overlooking the fact he passed no less than 7 drivers in the first 5 laps, including Buemi & Liuzzi,which isnt easy to do on any track least of all the Hungaroring.

    What happened to the Sakon love fest?

  14. What A Bunch of Ball Ox said on 2nd August 2010, 4:54

    He also went on to pass Schumacher on the track and Rubens during his pits stop – so he was also faster than the 2 most experienced drivers who have, arguably, better cars.

    I think thats 9 out of the 13 spots being down to his driving.I think that his drive today was fantastic. If you were Sauber, you’d be very happy with this performance from any of your drivers.

  15. Anon said on 2nd August 2010, 10:42

    Mclaren needs to drop Button and hire Kamui. He’ll be much quicker and less expensive not to mention he’s a real racer!

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