The Hungarian Grand Prix 2011 – Race Report

The Hungarian Grand Prix had some genuine excitement to offer thanks to unstable weather created by the occasional showers. As an added note, the Race Rankings page will now be updated after every race for the rest of the season.

Race Direction: Poor

I really didn’t want to give the race director a poor-rating since on the over-all he didn’t do too bad of a job. He missed out on over half the pit-stops in the first rush but did more than admirably on the second one and considering that some drivers pitted as many as four or six times, that’s saying something. However, the director missed out entirely on the action in the back except when drivers were making bad overtake attempts against Kovalainen. The middle-scuffles received at least some attention though mainly when a Ferrari or Mercedes were involved.

The most important criteria for the poor rating was a total of six missed yellow flags of which only one was picked up in a replay. Were it not for this I would have been convinced to give the director an Okay-rating instead. It’s still a big step up from Germany.

The Top-10:

Jenson Button showed solid skill once again in a race affected by rain. Sebastial Vettel didn’t have the easiest time either and almost hit Nick Heidfeld’s towed car on the pit-exit but still managed an impressive rise to second. Fernando Alonso‘s race had ups and downs, but a solid drive as well as a drive-through penalty for Hamilton raised him to the third podium.

Lewis Hamilton could have had a shot at the victory but spins, slip ups, being overtaken by his team-mate and a drive-through penalty finally landed him in fourth. Mark Webber had a poor start and struggled to rise the ranks all through the race, finally getting stuck at fifth. Felipe Massa suffered a spin into a wall but was able to continue without much affect on his final position which was sixth.

Paul di Resta drove his best result of the season by finishing seventh and bringing valuable points to Force India. Sebastian Buemi made a fantastic rise after a penalty forced him to start all the way from grid-23, Buemi rose the ranks to finish eighth. With his team-mate Jaime Alguersuari grabbing the final point as tenth (impressively considering he almost destroyed his front wing), this race seemed to be a return to form for Scuderia Toro Rosso.

After Schumacher’s retirement due to technical difficulties Nico Rosberg was the only Mercedes GP driver to take points by finishing a modest ninth.

Golden Pineapple Award

Kamui Kobayashi made an impressive rise and was close to taking fifth or sixth position in the race, but towards the end of the race his tyres wore out and he had to give way to Di Resta, Buemi, Rosberg and Alguersuari. Today Kamui-san’s risky strategy didn’t pay off, hopefully things will go differently in Belgium at the end of August.

Drop-out Count: 4

Technical retirements ended the races for Michael Schumacher, Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen. This is quite sad on all accounts, for Schumi since he actually lead the race at point and was driving an otherwise excellent race. For Trulli the result was extremely dissappointing since the man had seemed to have regained his stride and motivation for this weekend. Heikki was also defending his position beautifully against Maldonado, Perez and Sutil who all fell behind him at the start.

The most dramatic retirement happened with Nick Heidfeld‘s Renault. I’m still not sure what happened but it seems his gas-tank exploded when he was leaving the pits. His car eventually caught fire when he was exiting the pit-lane but he was thankfully able to pull over to the grass before jumping out.

Back of the Lot News

To repeat once more, Team Toro Rosso achieved the most impressive rise from the back of the lot to points. Vitaly Petrov was unable to improve his standing. Adrian Sutil and Sergio Perez both fell considerably behind at the start and Perez even got a drive-through penalty for over-taking Kovalainen in Heidfeld’s yellow-flag zone.

Williams only made very moderate and hardly noticeable improvement with Barrichello rising from 15th to 13th and Maldonado only one position to finish 16th (and receiving a drive-through penalty for speeding on the pit lane).

Timo Glock was the best of the new team drivers, albeit 4 laps down and only after both Lotuses dropped out from the race. Daniel Ricciardo was finally able to hold his own, not just against his team-mate – but against Jerome D’Ambrosio as well.