Horner not disappointed with Button victory

Christian Horner could not hide his smile despite a Red Bull not winning Sunday’s Hungarian grand prix.

Championship leader Sebastian Vettel finished the Budapest race second, but because the fifth-placed Jenson Button won, the German’s vast gap grew from 77 points to 85 over teammate Mark Webber.

And Vettel’s gap to the closest non-Red Bull runner – Lewis Hamilton – is now a whopping 88 points with just 8 races to run.

“Excluding the Red Bull drivers, Jenson was the one we wanted as the winner,” Red Bull team boss Horner is quoted as saying by German media.

“Congratulations to him,” said the Briton.

“We are not disappointed. In situations like that it’s always a lottery.”

Formula one figures are now looking forward to an almost one-month break before Spa-Francorchamps, including a mandatory two-week factory shutdown.

“We will be working at full speed for another week until we close the factory and re-charge our batteries — just like KERS,” joked Horner.

Source: GMM

Abu Dhabi confirms young driver testing at Yas Marina

Race organisers have confirmed that Abu Dhabi will once again host a young drivers’ test at Yas Marina.

After the 2010 season finale, the spectacular venue played host to a test where inexperienced youngsters are entrusted with the F1 teams’ grand prix cars.

But this year, it is Brazil that is hosting the season finale.

However, we reported this month that Abu Dhabi will nonetheless continue to host the young drivers’ session two weeks before the 2011 season concludes.

“We are delighted to be hosting the young driver testing,” the circuit’s operations director Mark Hughes is quoted by The National.

“We have been working very closely with FOTA to ensure they get the dates they want.”

Source: GMM

Hungarian GP 2011: as it happened

12.45pm BST Hello and welcome to forumula1.com’s live coverage of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Quite apart from the metaphorical cloud hanging over the sport in the form of the Sky TV deal, there are literal clouds over the Hungaroring. More pressingly, perhaps, they are actually leaking water from the sky.

So it’s light, at the moment, and so it should be intermediate that most of the drivers opt for. It would be a brave man who went for full wets, even though more rain is forecast.

Ross Brawn tells the BBC the key decision will be when to go onto dries, as he doesn’t believe the foretold rain will actually arrive. He also says that Schumacher, ninth on the grid, is struggling with the balance of the car.

Sebastian Vettel starts from pole position, but it will be Button from third whom he will be keeping an eye on in these conditions, in which the Englishman usually excels. It’s Button’s 200th start, today, of course, at the track where he won his first GP in 2006.

“We’re most worried about Fernando Alonso,” Christian Horner casually blows my theory out the water. “Reading the weather is going to be crucial…it’s going to be fascinating. Conditions are changing every five minutes.”

The Safety Car is out on its lap to inspect the circuit. It is damp, but not properly wet. Greasy.

12.55pm The grid is now being cleared.

And they’re off on the installation lap, as the FIA graphic tells us that the top ten are all on inters. “No heroics,” Force India tell Adrian Sutil. “Stay on the road and you’ll score scme good points today.” As if to confirm the tricky nature of the track, Nico Rosberg takes a minor detour. No harm done.

They are now lining up on the grid.

1pm And they’re off! Down to the first turn, the hairpin! It’s Vettel who leads! And the McLarens are battling through turns two and three! Lewis stays ahead just!

The Mercedes cars have had a great start! The Ferraris have lost out! Everybody is very squirmy and twitchy, there is not much grip AT ALL. Alonso passes Schumacher for fifth.

Lap2 It’s Vettel, Hamulton, Button…but Hamilton is right on Vettel’s tail!! For the lead! Vettel repels him. Fourth is Rosberg, fifth Alonso, sixth Schumacher, seventh Massa, eighth Webber.

Lap 3 And Hamilton is right on Vettel again through turns two and three! This is fascinating action here. And Alonso is past Rosberg and Massa is past Schumacher, somewhat restoring the natural order of things.

Lap 4 And Alonso, who was hounding Button, overcooked it in three and left the track. He rejoins behind Rosberg. Hamilton is still harrying Vettel. A dry line is emerging but it is mighty slippy off that line.

Lap 5 Vettel has made a mistake into two! And Hamilton’s through…and will Button also be? Vettel’s error was the same as Alonso made last time round and that is crucial.

Lap 6 “Use the yellow button to overtake Vettel,” McLaren urge Button. Engine mode? wonder the BBC commentators. The order is now Hamilton, Vettel, Button, Rosberg, Alonso, Massa, Webber, Schumacher, di Resta, Kobayashi, Petrov, Buemi, Barrichello, Alguersuari, Maldonado.

Lap 7 Alonso went off again last lap but made it back past Massa without too much difficulty. And everyone missed it but Webber is past Schumacher somehow. Hamilton has made a gap of four and a half seconds over Vettel. Wow.

Lap 8 Massa is off at Turn Three. White line. He nudges the barrier and breaks his rear wing, but manages to continue. He is now down in ninth. Meanwhile Alonso is on the gearbox of Rosberg.

Lap 9 And Alonso breaks sooooo late into Turn One but takes Rosberg, as he had intended. Perez is down in 19th for some reason. He presumably knows why.

Lap 10 5.3 seconds separate Hamilton and Vettel, who has been told he can pit when he wants. Massa has also been told he can pit when he wants to, “to provide some very useful information for Alonso,” says a cynical Brundle on the Beeb.

Lap 11 Red Bull are in the pits for Mark Webber, who pits. He is the first man onto slicks. Massa and a Toro Rosso are also in. Webber is slippy sliding all over the place. “One lap too early?” asks David Coulthard.

Lap 12 Button is in for slicks. He too slides around on the exit.

Lap 13 Race leader and second placed man Hamilton and Vettel are in! Alonso goes in too. Hamilton emerges just in front of Schumacher, who is immeditely past him because he is on inters in the damper first turn.

The second and third sectors are bone dry now.

Lap 14 Vettel and Button are in close attendance! Jenson Button passes him for second! Much more grip in the McLaren. And Webber is also flying and overtakes Alonso for fourth!

Lap 15 And Vettel has just been told not to hit the brakes and throttle at the same time. His team mate Webber runs wide at the first turn but Alonso is unable to capitalise.

Lap 16 Maldonado has a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane.

Lap 17 Hamilton sets the fastest lap, a 1m28.8. Quick. Vettel has not given up on second and may be soon on Button. Button is actually faster than Hamilton through the first sector, though.

Lap 18 Alonso and Webber are the fastest two on the track, battling as they are for fourth.

Lap 19 McLaren are saying that there is more rain on the way.

Heidfeld goes to overtake Kovalainen and cannot stop himself for love nor money. He loses two more places as he recovers. This means he is now 18th. Oh dear.

Lap 20 Rain in ten minutes, the forecast says. Trulli is out of the race, despite having impressed this weekend with his relative pace. An oil leak, they say.

Lap 21 Massa is challenging Schumacher for eighth but the Merc is lightning in a straight line. The order is now Hamilton, Button, Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Rosberg, di Resta, Schumacher, Massa, Kobayashi.

Lap 22 Massa is really losing time behind Schumacher. He is unable to pass his ex-team mate. Hamilton leads by 8.5 seconds.

Lap 23 Maldonado loses out to Sutil for 16th.

Lap 24 Massa level with Schumacher but has to lift. Meanwhile, McLaren tell Hamilton to cool his tyres. He is losing time to Button, by about 1.5 seconds this lap.

Lap 25 Heidfeld is on fire! He has hopped out, sharpish, as you might. And now it has exploded. How extraodinary. No one hurt, thankfully. Yellow flags.

Lap 26 The drivers are now pitting, emerging past Heidfeld’s stricken wreck. Hamilton now in at the end of this lap.

Lap 27 Heidfeld’s car was looking decidedly ill as it came out of the pits. Quite spectacular. Button in now from second.

Lap 28 As Button came out he came quite close to Perez, who was overtaking another competitor. Under yellow flags and surely illegally.

Lap 29 Schumacher retires and Vettel pits. He has come out ahead of Webber but not by much. They are fifteen seconds behind the leader Hamilton.

Lap 30 Massa gets past Rosberg as the German makes a mistake at turn four. That was for a net sixth, a place currently occupied by Kobayashi who is yet to pit for the second time.

Lap 31 The gap between Hamilton and Button is now settled around seven seconds. Perez is being investigated, presumably for that pass under the yellows.

That rain hasn’t materialised but it may yet do.

Lap 32 Alonso is on the back of Webber. That’s for fourth. The order is Hamilton, Button, Vettel, Webber, Alonso, Kobayashi, Massa, Rosberg, di Resta, Barrichello, Alguersuari, Petrivm Buemi, Sutil, Perez, Maldonado, Kovalainen, Glock.

Lap 33 Webber and Alonso close now! No cigar for the Spaniard.

Lap 34 Massa through past Kobayashi for sixth. Rosberg bearing down on the Japanese into the bargain.

Lap 35 Kobayashi pits as if to yield to the prevailing consensus that to stop again is a good idea. Not a lot else happening. Nick Heidfeld on his spicy event: “Something overheated…I was a bit scared. I felt some heat so I had to get out quickly. There was a small explosion…I have never seen anything like it before.”

Lap 36 Nada to report there, boys and girls.

Lap 37 Alonso pits. They are trying this ‘undercut’ thing. Bit of clear air for Alonso. Hamilton is told that his boots have to last for another nine laps.

Lap 38 Alguersuari gets Barrichello for ninth. Textbook.

Lap 39 Alonso is jolly nippy on these new tyres. Is it the best strategy? Only time will tell. He’ll have his work cut out trying to overhaul the McLarens. But he is trying damned hard.

Lap 40 McLaren are waiting til the cliff for Hamilton. Webber is in. Prime, not option. It may be better that way…

Lap 41 Well Hamilton is in now, so that was the “lower-risk” strategy according to Ted Kravitz. The Englishman was a bit slow away from his box…Vettel is slow on track meanwhile and has absolutely no grip. He will have to pit.

Lap 42 Button is staying out this lap and is the de facto leader. Vettel does pit, though. Alonso could have him…and he does. The Spaniard is ahead of the German. Good for him and for the team, that early pitting seems to have been successful.

Lap 43 And Button pits. He emerges JUST ahead of Alonso who is still travelling at quite a rate of knots. Looks as though Button can get up to speed early enough to keep the maestro behind him.

Lap 44 This is a real game of chess. Who has got this right? Hamilton is on the super soft and has to make that tyre last or pull out a gap and pit again. It doesn’t look good for him. Button is in the best seat in the house as he won’t need to stop again.

Lap 45 Schumacher had a gearbox failure. Vettel gets past Alonso for third in a great move down at the first corner.

Lap 46 Button gets told to look after his front left. He is catching Hamilton as the leader seeks to save his tyres.

Lap 47 And it is raining!! And Button has zoomed up to Hamilton and passed him! Button leads! Actually it is raining only on one corner! Hamilton spun, that’s why.

Lap 48 In trying to recover from that spin, Hamilton dropped the clutch and nearly collected Paul di Resta. He may have to suffer the consequences of that.

Lap 49 Hamilton was just the first person to arrive at the rainy bit. Red Bull’s radar says that it is raining.

Lap 50 Vettel is third and looking menacing to the two McLarens. The yellow harder rubber, which Button is on, will probably suffer more in these conditions which are now getting damper. But most of the track is dry!

Lap 51 Hamilton is very close to Button and challenging him for the lead. Hamilton is through! Button off at Turn two! Vettel is struggling in the changing conditions.

Lap 52 Button gets past Hamilton for the lead! But it only lasts one corner! Hamilton gets back past! Webber has pitted for inters…

Lap 53 And Hamilton is in for…intermediate tyres! This is only good if it continues to rain. And d’Ambrosio stacks it, rather hairily, in the pits, but mercifully hits no one and nothing. How quick is the inter relative to the slick? But it all may be immaterial as Hamilton is under investigation.

Lap 54 Webber, who was on dries, has now pitted for dries again. The inter is the wrong tyre as it has stopped raining. Alonso is past Hamilton.

Lap 55 And the stewards have handed Hamilton a drive-through for that burnout. “Double bad news,” says Brundle. He has to pit for dry tyres again to boot.

Hamilton pits for dry tyres.

Lap 56 After all that, Button leads, Vettel second, Alonso third, Hamilton fourth at the moment but has his penalty to take yet, Felipe Massa fifth, Webber sixth.

Lap 57 Vettel wants to win this. He has Button in his sights. Hamilton does his drive through and emerges behind Mark Webber, who is in fifth.

Lap 58 Button’s lead is five seconds over Vettel, but now a whopping 55 seconds over Hamilton in sixth. The Stevenage man will be gutted that a race he was leading has turned on him.

Massa is passed by Webber. And now Hamilton is threatening Massa! And he is through for fifth.

Lap 59 Button has responded to Vettel’s threat. Alonso spins but hasn’t lost any places.

Lap 60 Hamilton suffered from ‘first car fall’ there which allowed him to call for intermediates. Button scooped up the consequences. We have lost Kovalainen.

Lap 61 There’s a massive scrap going on for seventh involving di Resta, Kobayashi, Buemi, LAguersuari, Rosberg and Petrov.

Lap 62 And Kobayashi hit Alguersuari as Buemi went past and the Catalan tried to capitalise on his team mate’s move. He plummets to the back of that group.

Lap 63 And the Japanese has now gone to the back, and is now passed successfully by Alguersuari.

Lap 64 Webber and Hamilton arrive at that battle! And Hamilton is through past the Australian in the traffic. Can he get him back on the straight? No he can’t.

Lap 65 David Coulthard believes Kamui Kobayashi hindered Mark Webber there. Most sensible people do not agree. Kobayashi, for all his talents, is not capable of instant disappearance.

Lap 66 The order is Button, Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton, Webber, Massa, di Resta, Buemi, Rosberg, Alguersuari, Kobayashi, Petrov, Barrichello, Sutil, Maldonado, Perez.

Lap 67 Will Webber be able to challenge Hamilton back for fourth? Maybe.

Lap 68 Button has driven superbly in these conditions. He is excellent when the track is damp or drying. Fortune favours the brave and he has profited well from the situation, most particularly Hamilton’s strategic and physical errors and a bit of bad luck too.

Lap 69 Hamilton and Webber are approaching traffic, but it is unlikely they will come into play before the end of the race.


A fantastic race from the Frome man! He is followed home by championship leader Sebastian Vettel, with Fernando Alonso the third man on the podium.

Fourth does go to Lewis Hamilton, with Webber fifth. Massa is sixth, di Resta seventh, followed by Buemi, Rosberg and Alguersuari.

Another instalment of excellent entertainment from the F1 crowd as they head into the summer break. Vettel knows that he can sleep comfortably as long as he can be there or thereabouts in the remainder of the season.

That’s all from me, thanks for following.

Hungarian GP Qualifying Report

Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel has claimed another pole position for the Red Bull team, just pipping McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton to the front spot thanks to a late flying lap.

The German driver had been trailing Lewis Hamilton as he began his second – and last – attempt, beating the British driver by 0.163 seconds in a 1m 19.815s.

McLaren will be pleased with their qualifying with Jenson Button putting his car on the third spot ont he grid for the Hungarian Grand Prix. A late run by Felipe Massa saw the Ferrari man sntach fourth place pushing team-mate Alonso into fifth and the Red Bull of Webber – who last year’s race – to sixth.

Heikki Kovalainen had a good qualifying in his Lotus, putting it in 19th position on the grid just 0.3 seconds behind Buemi. He was top of the lower team ahead of Glock, Liuzzi, Ricciardo and D’Ambrosio. However Buemi will be bumped five places down the grid, starting in 23rd place, for colliding with Heidfeld last weekend.

Lap times for the three qualifying sessions were:

Pos Driver Team Time Gap
1. Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1m19.815s
2. Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1m19.978s + 0.163
3. Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes 1m20.024s + 0.209
4. Felipe Massa Ferrari 1m20.350s + 0.535
5. Fernando Alonso Ferrari 1m20.365s + 0.550
6. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1m20.474s + 0.659
7. Nico Rosberg Mercedes 1m21.098s + 1.283
8. Adrian Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1m21.445s + 1.630
9. Michael Schumacher Mercedes 1m21.907s + 2.092
10. Sergio Perez Sauber-Ferrari No time
Q2 cut-off time: 1m23.067s Gap
11. Paul di Resta Force India-Mercedes 1m22.256s + 1.994
12. Vitaly Petrov Renault 1m22.284s + 2.022
13. Kamui Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari 1m22.435s + 2.173
14. Nick Heidfeld Renault 1m22.470s + 2.208
15. Rubens Barrichello Williams-Cosworth 1m22.684s + 2.422
16. Jaime Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m22.979s + 2.717
17. Pastor Maldonado Williams-Cosworth No time
Q1 cut-off time: 1m23.285s Gap
18. Sebastien Buemi* Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1m24.070s + 2.492
19. Heikki Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 1m24.362s + 2.784
20. Jarno Trulli Lotus-Renault 1m24.534s + 2.956
21. Timo Glock Virgin-Cosworth 1m26.294s + 4.716
22. Tonio Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth 1m26.323s + 4.745
23. Daniel Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth 1m26.479s + 4.901
24. Jerome D’Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth 1m26.510s + 4.932

107% time: 1m 27.288s

*To have a five place grid slot penalty applied.

Hulkenberg: I’d rather leave F1 than stay tester

Nico Hulkenberg says he would rather leave F1 than spend another season as test driver.

“I don’t want to sit around all weekend; I love racing too much,” said the young German, who became Force India’s ‘Friday’ driver this year after being ousted by Williams after a promising 2010 debut.

Hulkenberg said he is confident he will return to the grid in 2012, but if worse comes to worse he would “look for alternatives in other series” before signing another reserve driver deal, he told the German broadcaster Sky.

He was asked if he was referring to DTM, Le Mans or Indycar.

“To be honest, I don’t want to waste time worrying about it at the moment because I am confident that I can stay here (in F1),” said the 23-year-old at the Hungaroring.

Hulkenberg said Force India is “pleased with me” but boss Vijay Mallya only intends to decide the next driver lineup “at the end of the year”.

He does not completely rule out a move to one of F1’s newest and smallest teams.

“Ask me again in two months,” the German smiled.


Red Bull ‘joker’ puts Vettel on pole for Hungarian GP

Red Bull’s “joker” put Sebastian Vettel right back on track at the Hungaroring.

Each team can break the mechanics’ late-night paddock curfew four times before a penalty applies, and Red Bull used one of theirs overnight to apply major setup changes to the RB7 after a difficult Friday in Budapest.

It seemed to work perfectly on Saturday as championship leader Vettel returned to pole, although teammate Mark Webber was just sixth.

“No way I could do that (Vettel’s) lap time,” the Australian told the BBC. “Strange one.”

Nurburgring winner Lewis Hamilton was also wondering how his McLaren had dropped behind the pace of the leading Red Bull.

“Today they (Red Bull) seemed to pick up a little pace, but for me and Jenson (Button) to be in the first two rows is a good job,” said the Briton.

German Vettel meanwhile hailed the long night endured by his mechanics.

“It seems we have done the right thing and I am a lot more comfortable (now),” he said. “The boys worked pretty hard and didn’t get much sleep but a result like this today is the best way to say thanks.”


Race delay is big help for 2012 US GP

A delayed US grand prix next year could be a sigh of relief for more than one reason.

Officially, it is believed the organisers requested the date change from June to November to avoid Austin’s hot summer.

But there might be more to it, amid speculation a deadline for the first race payment to Bernie Ecclestone will shortly pass while the Texas comptroller continues to review the application for state funding.

“We’re aware of a possible date change and as part of our review we will take in any new information that may affect the timeline for disbursement under Major Events Trust Fund Statute,” a spokeswoman for the comptroller told the Austin American Statesman.

Another issue is that, with less than a year to go until the US GP’s original 2012 race date, actual construction of the circuit buildings has not yet begun.

“A great deal of dirt has been moved,” FIA official Nick Craw said after a visit to the site last month.


Alonso: Vettel should not fear losing title

Fernando Alonso thinks Sebastian Vettel should not be nervous about his championship chances.

McLaren and Alonso’s Ferrari team appear to have caught up with the earlier dominant Red Bull, but Vettel maintains a 77 point advantage with nine races to go.

“I don’t know what’s in his (Vettel’s) head,” Spaniard Alonso told the EFE news agency in Hungary, “but if I was him I would not be at all nervous.

“He only needs to have fourth, fifth places until the end of the season to be champion. And I think if I had a Red Bull and I had to do fourths and fifths I would not be very worried.

“I don’t think (Lewis) Hamilton would be (worried) either,” added Alonso, referring to the McLaren driver who was quickest in both of Friday’s practice sessions.

Vettel, meanwhile, played down reports he might be slowed even further by a cut on the palm of his right hand.

“It’s a small thing,” said the German after television cameras spotted the bandages, “but we’re men — we like to make a fuss,” Vettel joked to Bild newspaper.

The report said the 24-year-old cut his hand in Switzerland repairing a pedal on his mountain bike.

“It’s nothing, it just hurts a bit sometimes,” added Vettel.


HRT to change hands again?

Although F1 team HRT have just been bought by Thesan Capital, there are rumours that the team could change hands again in the near future.

According to some newspapers, Spanish basketball player Pau Gasol, famous for playing with the LA Lakers, is interested in buying the team. The reports say that Gasol has an opportunity to snap up HRT for EUR 48 million given that investment group Thesan has not yet formalised its deal.

As an existing small shareholder, Gasol – through his rights management company Wasermann Media Group and with links to Chinese company Erdos – reportedly has the right of first refusal until August 22.


Both Spanish venues stay on F1 2012 calendar

Fears Barcelona could be dropped from the 2012 calendar have been eased by the circulation of a new provisional schedule in Hungary.

It was rumoured the Spanish venue might have to alternatively share a single annual calendar spot with Valencia, but both destinations are showing on the latest unofficial schedule.

The only change for Barcelona is a move of its original date by one week.

“Bernie asked us if we were ok with the date change and as we are still the first race in Europe we accepted completely,” Circuit de Catalunya chief Salvador Servia is quoted by Diario Sport.

Another change for 2012 is the inaugural US Grand Prix from a hot June date to November, amid rumours the change will also give organisers more time to build the Austin circuit.

“That is provisional until approved by the WC (FIA World Motor Sport Council),” FIA official Nick Craw told the Austin American Statesman by email.