Hamilton holds off hard charging Lotus pair to claim important Hungary victory
Posted By: James Allen  |  29 Jul 2012   |  3:42 pm GMT  |  282 comments

Lewis Hamilton won his second Grand Prix of the season after a sustained challenge from the Lotus drivers Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean, who joined him on the podium.

It was his 19th career victory and one of the most important as it gets him back in the game in the championship, taking 15 points out of Alonso’s lead over him and cutting it to 47 points. Webber remains second in the table with Vettel third after a mixed day for Red Bull with both cars forced to stop three times.

Hamilton dominated the qualifying session on Saturday and led most of the race today, but he had to soak up huge pressure from Raikkonen in the closing stages in particular, after the Lotus team played a blinder on strategy to get the Finn into clear air in the middle stint on soft tyres, which allowed him to jump Vettel and Grosjean for second place.

On fresher tyres but with an erratic KERS, he hounded Hamilton in the closing stages, but the British driver managed to hold on to his tyres without needed the extra stop taken by Button, Vettel and Webber.

It was brilliant from Raikkonen, but it was another great showing by Lotus, with both drivers on the podium; they have been saying for some time that they just needed a strong qualifying session to get their first win, as their race pace is so strong and today they almost got it. With their second double podium of the year they are now just one point behind 2nd place McLaren in the constructors’ championship.

Grosjean and Raikkonen both went for soft tyres in the middle stint, which was an attacking strategy, while McLaren were touch and go on tyre wear with Jenson Button forced to adopt “Plan B” and stop three times.

McLaren’s Woking based strategy team, under the management of sporting director Sam Michael at the track, made the call for Hamilton to stay out and try to win the race and the driver did the rest, a very impressive, measured performance by the 2008 champion.

“It’s always good to come away with a win.” said Hamilton. “I am 100% focussed and I’ve been on it all year. Hungary has been good to me. We always have such a great turn out here. There are a lot of Finns here and it’s great to see Kimi up here. I used to play computer games as him.

“This weekend shows that the championship is all to play for still. but by but if we can continue with this ind of performance we can close up. We need consistency. Today I got the best start I’ve had all year. This is a good stepping stone for us after the tough races we’ve had.”

The first half of the race saw Hamilton having to contain Grosjean as the Lotus driver opted for a second set of the option tyres following his first stop to try and snatch the lead from the Briton. However, Hamilton was able to keep him at bay on his prime tyres and maintain his lead after the second and final stops.

Jenson Button made a good start to snatch third place from Sebastian Vettel after the German was forced wide whilst attacking Grosjean. And he maintained the position during the middle period of the Grand Prix on the medium tyre as Vettel hassled him constantly on the soft compound. When Button pitted he exited from his stop behind Bruno Senna and was crucially held up enough to allow Vettel to take third place when he re-emerged from his stop.

Later in the race both Vettel and Button had to make a third stop as their tyres could not complete the final 30 laps and they finished in 4th and 6th respectively with the two-stopping Ferrari of Alonso in 5th.

Alonso had a fairly quite race, but kept ahead of his main title contender Mark Webber to increase his championship lead and make it 23 consecutive points scoring finishes. Webber finished in 8th, behind Bruno Senna who had another good Sunday after showing impressive pace all weekend.

Felipe Massa and Nico Rosberg completed the top ten of an uneventful Grand Prix. Rosberg made a good start from 13th but today’s result is another disappointing one for Mercedes, compounded by Michael Schumacher retiring for the sixth time in eleven races.

The majority of the grid began the race on the soft tyre compound with Webber the only car in the top 20 to opt for the medium tyre. And his quest for a two stop race was helped by a tremendous start which saw him move up to 7th from his 11th place qualifying position.

Hamilton pulled away from the line well and managed to open up a comfortable gap in the opening laps. Grosjean maintained his second place after holding off Vettel into Turn 1, with Vettel losing time and dropping to fourth place behind Button.

As the cars approached their first stops Hamilton led Grosjean by 2.5 seconds and the duo began to pull further ahead of the Button-Vettel battle.

Button was the first of the leaders to pit on lap 16 for the medium tyre and crucially exited the pits just ahead of a battle between Sergio Perez and Paul Di Resta. When Vettel pitted for another set of soft tyres he returned to the track just behind Button and went about setting the fastest laps of the race to close the Briton down.

As Hamilton pitted from the lead Grosjean briefly led the GP before pitting for a set of used soft tyres. He immediately began to claw Hamilton in during the second phase of the race as he consistently set fastest laps.

As the race neared the second pit stop phase Vettel began to hassle Button for third place, becoming very aggravated in the process. But as Button pitted the German was able to put in two very fast laps and take third place after being helped by Senna holding up Button.

Vettel now found himself on the tail of Grosjean who was held up by a longer running Alonso but it was Raikkonen that quickly became a candidate for the race win as he managed to make his scrubbed soft tyres last much longer than anyone else and put in fastest laps which were consistently around 1.5 seconds faster than the leading cars. He then made use of his much fresher tyres to to reel in Hamilton in the final 20 laps of the race.

The Sauber pairing of Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi struggled to make any ground on their poor low qualifying performances. Kobayashi pitted early in the race to gain some clean air, however he didn’t gain any time on his rivals and completed the race in 18th. Whilst Perez had a very long stint on the soft tyres but found himself stuck behind Ricciardo when he exited the pits on much fresher tyres. On a track that is notoriously difficult to pass he finished the race in 14th.

Ricciardo had an uneventful race but made up for qualifying 18th by keeping Perez behind and matching the pace of the Saubers. His team mate Jean-Eric Vergne followed the Australian home in 17th position after a poor race in which he spent the middles phase battling with the Caterham cars.

Williams had another mixed Sunday with Senna once again keeping his nose clean and gaining another points finish in 8th place, whilst Pastor Maldonado will find himself in front of the race stewards after making contact with paul Di Resta and receiving a drive-through penalty. Maldonado is still yet to score a Championship point since his race win at Spain in May.

HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX, Budapest, 70 laps
1. Hamilton McLaren 1h41:05.503
2. Raikkonen Lotus + 1.032
3. Grosjean Lotus + 10.518
4. Vettel Red Bull + 11.614
5. Alonso Ferrari + 26.653
6. Button McLaren + 30.243
7. Senna Williams + 33.899
8. Webber Red Bull + 34.458
9. Massa Ferrari + 38.300
10. Rosberg Mercedes + 51.200
11. Hulkenberg Force India + 57.200
12. Di Resta Force India + 1:02.800
13. Maldonado Williams + 1:03.600
14. Perez Sauber + 1:04.400
15. Ricciardo Toro Rosso + 1 lap
16. Vergne Toro Rosso + 1 lap
17. Kovalainen Caterham + 1 lap
18. Kobayashi Sauber + 2 laps
19. Petrov Caterham + 2 laps
20. Pic Marussia + 2 laps
21. Glock Marussia + 3 laps
22. De la Rosa HRT + 3 laps

Featured News in mercedes
Share This:
Posted by:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the Login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!

It’s a talking point.


What happened with the start? Did Shumacher stalled as a result of the start being aborted or was it the other way around?


Agreed, I’d like to see a report on this too. I’ve read elsewhere:

FIA insist (a) Schumi didn’t stop correctly on his grid position, which is why The System didn’t allow the Red Lights start process, (b) then Schumi turned off his engine, assuming there was a long delay and possible restart! (Then he speeded on his pit lane start! What a Rookie!!)


From Martin Brundles twitter:

1st aborted start when MSC stopped wrong grid slot. Then switched off engine by mistake. Collected puncture on drain when pushed in pit lane

Then MSC gets pitlane speed penalty which apparently he shouldn’t have received as before race (should have been a fine).Then car broke down


Valencia will be axed for 2013, can Hungary be axed too?

Only interesting part of the race was Kimi catching Lewis.

But Valencia was a much better race then Hungaboring.


The main man there Tamas Frank died recently and his daughter runs it now, I heard.

But Bernie’s very loyal to this place and I’m sure it will stay on the calendar for some time


Can we go to Portimao instead of Valencia?


Great drive from Lewis, Kimi was outstanding as well. I think Lotus could be a major threat to anyone soon …

James, btw:

What’s your opinion about Mercedes as a team?

Has they choosed not the right direction after China/Monaco or this is just a priority issue , tyres vs aerodynamic or?

And why their one car always suffers?


It’s strange they aren’t moving forward as I expected them too. They seem to have all kinds of problems getting the tyres to work.

Can’t understand why Schuey was 2 x P3 in wet qualifying and Rosberg was nowhere. Then in Hungary they were all over the place in quail again.



Are Mercedes any closer to signing this new concorde agreement with Bernie?

I juat get the feeling Mercedes wont be around that much longer in F1 as a team. in my view this whole project just is not working out.


No sign of them pulling out. That said the project isn’t working out as you say.

However they have won a race this year, don’t forget and Schumacher’s had a podium, so there is progress to show to a company board.

Depends on the deal on offer though, I’m sure


Does anyone know why Lewis had his rainlight on for the second part of the race?

I seem to remember that light was also linked to the rev limiter as some teams were using the limiter as a traction control device.

Not saying McLaren was doing that, I’m really happy they won but it would be interesting to know why it was on and why it wasn’t turned off.


I noticed that too, looked weird.


Hamilton will definitely go on and win the championship now

Paul rodriguez

One day you people complain about overtaking being too easy, and the next about processional or ‘boring races’. I found the race quite entertaining, this is F1…


Boring GP to be honest, virtually no overtaking and little wheel to wheel action. DRS clearly didn’t work on the straight and they will have to extend the zone next year if it’s possible.

I think Senna deserves a special mention, drove an excellent race and got the most out of the Williams.

Merc are a huge disappointment in the last few races. Micheal to ferrari 🙂


Senna wasn’t 8th as the article says, but 7th


I can not wait for Spa the best traditional f1 track that’s still active. I expect a Mclaren and Lotus battle. They do seem good with performance but you can never discount Ferrari or Redbull. It looks like Mclaren are starting to understand their car but did make a strategy blunder on the first stint with Jenson. Mclaren now need to get both cars on 1st & 2nd places. Mclaren should be confident with their future upgrades.


What was the point of starting Webber on the medium tyres only to pit him within a lap or 2 of the front runners especially after he had made such a great start and was holding place with those in front on the softs?

Then they pitted him early again on the second set of mediums around half race distance to go onto the softs with 30 odd laps still to go.

2 errors in my opinion then they bring him in again when he’s in 5th and gaining on Vettel as well as pulling away from Alonso, and drop him in behind Senna who had already showed how hard he was to pass after Button was held up behind him.

Some very strange pit calls from RBR, as mentioned earlier seems they are happy to get Mark into the top 10 but not too close to Vettel if they can avoid it.


Agreed, made no sense whatsoever. You really have to wonder about it.

Maybe that was all the team could come up with to help him given they couldn’t do anything about Button. Vettel’s pleas to the pitwall to “do something!” were quite bizarre.


Whoever thought the driver interviews on the podium are a good idea? The questions are not well thought. The personalities maybe celebrated and experienced racing drivers but that doesn’t make them good interviewers.


Great drive from Lewis.

Seams the rumours of devious doings at the Red Bulls (flexi wings, illegal engine mapping etc…) have finally pushed the FIA into greater scrutiny of the team. Certainly other teams were constantly questioning the legality of the RB’s for the last 2 years.

Has a WDC ever been disqualified for cheating retrospectively?

How the RB’s preform in future races will be very interesting to see.


Mclaren have been pretty poor since Ron Dennis stepped aside.


What has that got to do with anything in the article??


Stuff LH, stuff lotus, stuff FA. Why the hell is Maldonado still allowed in a car? He, again, made deliberate contact. What the hell is he doing?


For the same reason Hamilton still was last year. It is called racing.



Any thoughts on a v.sold weekend for Bruno Senna? It seems he is the one under pressure for 2013 but is far more consistent than his teammate


Good drives from Lewis and Kimi (especially Kimi’s middle stint), but a really dull race.

Alonso was in damage limitation mode, and came away with some usefull points. But if that’s Ferrari’s pace on a warm dry weekend, I’d be somewhat worried for Alonso’s championship challenge.


james, with what you have seen so far, do you think kimi can mount a title challenge this year?, his form this year reminds me of 2003 season when he was on the podium most of the races. I do feel with the form he’s in rightnow, KR should be one of the favorite for spa! and he usually comes off stronger in the 2nd half of season anyway!


He’s only 1 point behind Hamilton in a car that seems just as quick. Trouble is if the McLaren and the Lotus remain competitive and take points off each other (not to mention what the Red Bulls can manage) then it’s going to be hard for any one driver to mount a challenge to the big A


Same question. Mclaren, Ferrari and Red Bull all seem to agree that Lotus aren’t a contender, presumably either because they won’t be able to maintain their development rate, or because the former all think the E20 is too slow to worry about. Thoughts?


Everything I’ve seen are those teams saying that Lotus will be a threat in the second half of the season.

Would it be consensus opinion though, that RB, McLaren & Ferrari would be more likely to push development for this season further than Lotus would before moving most of the resources onto next year’s car? I would think so, but could be wrong.


I thought it was a real teams race today, all about strategy. Lets face it, we knew overtaking was going to be difficult and so it proved to be. Raikkonen was absolutely blistering at the end of his second stint. He put in a couple of amazing laps in the 1m15s when the rest of leaders were running in the 27’s, many of whom were on fresh prime rubber.

A very good race from Hamilton as well under the circumstances. He had to get a result here to keep his championship hopes alive and he certainly did that.

Grosjean was solid, if unspectacular, as were Vettel and Alonso. Disappointing performance from Jenson. The strategy cost him dearly in the race but he was a good half second off Hamilton’s pace all weekend so he cant complain about his teams poor strategy calls during the race. Schumacher yet again failed to finish a Grand Prix, although Mercedes on the whole this weekend were way off the pace. I expect both they and the Saubers to be competitive at Spa however.

So to sum up, driver of the day for me, and for the second week in a row has to be Raikkonen. Hamilton close behind. A good drive from Senna too.

Driver of the day

1. Raikkonen

2. Hamilton

3. Senna

Flops of the Day

1. Schumacher

2. Webber

3. Button/Maldonado

Oh and James….. dont forget to do a mid term break scorecard for all the teams and drivers.

Teams on the up, Lotus and Sauber.

Mercedes on a dodgy D- for my money.


that was meant to be 1m25 for Kimi.

1.15 would be impressive


Interesting race, kimi looks like he’s back to his old form

Hope F1 go’s back to the old press conference’s after the race, don’t like the podium interviews at all

Sky’s coverage average at best, bbc far more interesting, especially Gary Anderson


BBCs coverage has been so much better for the last 2 races without Jake Humphrey and especially without the ghastly Eddie Jordan.


I noticed above that someone regarded this as a great race for Romain Grosjean. However, while I agree that out-qualifying your teammate by three places and finishing on the podium is a good result by anyone’s standards, ultimately this was not a positive result for the Frenchman. In fact, after the first few races of the season in which Grosjean’s qualifying pace was often better than Kimi Raikkonen’s (a statistic that never transferred to race pace) Grosjean is starting to look slower than Kimi, even in qualifying.

Today Kimi started in 5th, to Grosjean’s 2nd, and finished ten seconds in front of him despite sitting in the dirty air of Lewis Hamilton for the last ten laps while Grosjean was in clean air. Kimi’s race was also compromised by a lack of Kers, a fact that was ostensible at the first turn and cost him a place to Fernando Alonso. This makes his subsequent comeback all the more remarkable.

Grosjean cannot look to qualifying for reassurance. I paid careful attention to both Raikkonen and Grosjean in every qualifying session in Hungary and when both cars were setting laps under similar circumstances, Kimi’s times were on average 0.250 seconds a lap faster than Grosjean’s. That applied to every lap in every session until the final run in Q3 during which Kimi evidently made a mistake.

The psychological impact of Lotus’ two cars’ races upon each of its drivers must be significant. Kimi will know that he had the better of Grosjean throughout the weekend at Silverstone and the Hungaroring. He will also know that his qualifying woes are definitely over after being faster than Grosjean for most of Saturday in Hungary. For Grosjean, he caught a lucky break when his teammate messed up in Q3 and then had to sit by on Sunday as he was reeled in, and then watch as his teammate disappeared ten seconds down the road. That must hurt.

There has been a lot of negativity and out-right neglect, especially from the British media, of Kimi Raikkonen this season. However the reality is that he has been out of F1 for two years, he has finished every lap of every race, and in a car that doesn’t like the rain…in a season boasting an inordinate amount of rain…he is definitely in with a shout for the championship. His racecraft has been unbelievable this season…think passing Di Resta in Germany…and yet while his teammate has crashed out with regularity Raikkonen has been a secure set of hands on the wheel of the Lotus.

My advice to Lotus would be to choose a Number 1 driver now, before it is too late to win the WDC…


I think Grosjean did a fantastic race. If you understand race dynamics, you will appreciate that Grosjean never could run at his true pace for more than a very brief period, while Kimi had the potential to run at his true pace when it was critical that he did so hence the result. Vettel started 3rd finished 4th, Grosjean started 2nd and finished 4th, because at the critical moments they had a driver ahead who dictated their own pace at critical moments in the race.


While it is amusing to see that misplaced condescension can be applied in F1 discussions, you actually raise a good point that emphasises mine, for which I am grateful. The reality is that Raikkonen’s qualifying performances have put him in situations in which he has often had to sit in traffic this season thereby sacrificing his race pace. The fact that he has ultimately still outpaced Grosjean in races despite this fact just emphasises his superiority. Moreover, it is worth noting that Raikkonen sat behind Alonso for 18 laps at the start of the Hungarian race and still managed to put in exceptionally fast in-laps.


Awesome response. It’s true, Kimi has now found a sweet spot on the Lotus. I fully expect him to come very close to challenging for the title. If the Ferrari has hit a peak in ability to turn what was initially a poor car into a front-runner then it will be a straight race between Red Bull, Mclaren and Hamilton.

I expect to see Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton and Vettel finish top 4… What order will they finish? That is the question…


James, when all these rumours start about who will replace Massa, as someone with a real insight into F1, who starts these rumours and are any true?


I’m not trying to start a rumour but wouldn’t it be interesting if, behind the scenes and on the quiet, LEWIS went to Ferrari?! He clearly wants to negotiate with a McLaren, who want to lower his salary, while Ferrai need a good driver to replace Massa!


Wasn’t that an April fools prank? Ferrari will not drop Massa and then take on someone who is even slower, yet comes with a press entourage that has a very mighty ego.


I think Schuey is just taking up a place now, it hasn’t worked out,time for a young gun to get a chance.


Various managers with an axe to grind, sometimes teams put out smokescreens, sometimes planting stories to throw people off a scent.

Varies, but it makes it challenging to get at the truth


Fascinating! Can you categorize any of the rumours we’re hearing now as axes, smokescreens, or plants?


I thought this race was interesting. A great drive from Lewis and the two Lotus drivers. Shame about MS and PM. Sky’s coverage was really dull. I feel for them though, the BBC’s coverage was always going to be hard to equal never mind beat. Simon Lazenby has definitely settled in but Damon and Johnny are just boring. David Croft and MB are excellent though. Another nine races to go! Woohoo!


I strongly disagree, Crofts ok but Brundle is a complete pain in the neck. He’s so smug it’s unbelievable, his comment after the race about ‘texting Charlie’ about the problem with the start sequence was so pretentious. I simply hate having to pay so much for a second rate service. Compared to the BBC Sky’s coverage is a joke.


I strongly disagree. I think Brundle’s insight, though getting dated somewhat, is invaluable to the process. He also knows *when* to get excited and when to just talk, a opposed to Croft who is irritating and loutish.

Sky Better pairing that Legard & Brundle, for sure. But they’re not as good as James & Brundle were, and not a patch on Brundle and Coulthard.


I agree with truth or lies, Brundle most of the time is a pain to listen to, sometimes you get the impression he was a multiple champion, unlike the also ran that he is. There is too much analysis in his commentary. The irony of it is, of all the driver analyst in recent times on either sky or BBC, the one who has given the best insight while also having respect for the drivers, has been Heimi Alguersuari.


Win for McLaren, but to me it looked as if Lotus and Red Bull were faster than them, and not just a couple of tenths but by a larger margin.

This shows how important qualifying is, specially in this circuit.

Vettel pitted a third time because he had nothing to lose, except hoping that Grosjean would suffer from tyre degradation in the last few laps…


So much for Button being easier on tyres than Hamilton. Actually that’s a bit unfair because it’s the relationship between the tyres and the car set up and balance that’s the issue here. – Other than the ridiculous tyre lottery we are forced to watch. That said it was a very controlled race from Lewis and a thoroughly deserved win. McLaren need to make another sizeable step if they are to remain properly in front. The Lotus car as well as Red Bull and Ferrari are going to be even harder to beat at the next race at Spa.

Top Tags
SEARCH Mercedes