With rain dropping at the start of the 2011 Hungarian GP, drivers were set to start their race with intermediate tyres. Sebastian Vettel was in first place, Lewis Hamilton second, and Jenson Button third.
When the red lights went off, it would be the beginning of a very exciting race. All the drivers were fighting their cars for traction, and the first five laps saw an intense battle between Vettel and Hamilton for the lead. Vettel runs wide in one of the corners on lap 5, allowing a faster Hamilton to get through.
Felipe Massa also made a mistake on lap 8, spinning his car and touching the barriers. The contact was very light, but there was damage to his rear wing. Despite this, he would finish the race in a good sixth place.
With the circuit drying up, Mark Webber would be the first to pit for slicks on lap 11. A leading Hamilton would come in on lap 13, with Vettel and Alonso following close behind.
Today’s scary moment came in the form of Nick Heidfeld’s Renault catching fire in dramatic fashion. The fire was sparked when Heidfeld was exiting the pits on lap 25, forcing him to immediately abandon the car on the grass, right next to the pit exit. The Renault rapidly developed into a huge fire ball, causing the KERS batteries to explode and send a piece of metal flying off - hitting one of the marshals trying to put out the fire on the leg. The marshal appeared to be limping after the contact. The origin of the fire was from a very hot exhaust system.
With Lewis Hamilton showing good pace, and in the lead for most of the race, Hamilton spun his car on lap 47, allowing Jenson Button to take the lead. However, Hamilton was able to maintain second place, and stay on Button’s tail. On lap 51, Button ran wide thanks to rain drops doing no favours for the slicks, and allowing Hamilton to squeeze passed.
The McLaren drivers would give us a great spectacle as they kept exchanging the lead right up until Hamilton pitted for intermediates on lap 53 – a choice that cost him the race victory. Hamilton struggled to maintain pace as the circuit began drying up again, forcing him to return to the pits on lap 55, and coming out in fourth position. Hamilton’s race took a turn for the worst as he also had to serve a drive-through penalty for forcing another driver out of the circuit during his spinning incident on lap 47.
Things weren’t all bad for team McLaren though, as Button’s good pace and good choice in tyres, meant that he would win his 200th race. Sebastian Vettel took second place, and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso took third. Hamilton finished in fourth, while Webber finished fifth.
Everyone is off for the summer holidays, with the next race being the Belgian GP on August 28. Let’s hope it will be as exciting as this race was.