12.30pm Hello and welcome to forumula1.com’s live coverage of the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring, near Budapest.
The talk is of three major things this morning: firstly, the out-and-out speed of the Red Bulls which threatens to make the race a formality; secondly, the ‘flexi-wings’ which feature explicitly on the Red Bull, and slightly less explicitly on the Ferrari, which gives them an extraordinary advantage; and thirdly, the rolling team orders controversy of which everybody is surely sick and tired.
12.32pm It looks as though the first corner could well be crucial…and interesting. You can’t really imagine either of the Red Bulls yielding, or either of the Ferraris. Felipe Massa has said he is pumped full of motivation and you wouldn’t bet against him sending a daring one up the inside of his team-mate, to whom he deferred so controversially last week.
12.36pm It hasn’t been a great weekend for McLaren, who are not at all happy that Red Bull and Ferrari have this flexing wing contraption. “We’re the quickest of the conventional-wing vehicles,” said Martin Whitmarsh yesterday. Red Bull aren’t fazed: Christian Horner keeps making quips about whether his team’s paintwork is legal or not.
12.40pm “We knew the car would be quick here and I knew the track from before,” says Vitaly Petrov to the BBC, by way of explanation for his excellent qualifying performance that saw him outqualify Robert Kubica.
12.43pm “Behave,” was Christian Horner’s instruction to his drivers regarding the first corner. Whoever behaves themselves will be second, barring mishap. The other will be first. “It’s a nice car to drive. It should be exciting. You have to enjoy it when you have a car like this,” says Sebastian Vettel. He’s got to be worried about his start, because it wasn’t very good at Hockenheim, frankly.
12.46pm Lewis Hamilton is reported to have some kind of brake issue that he apparently noticed on the lap to the grid. His mechanics are working furiously around the car.
12.52pm “There was a slight vibration that Lewis could detect but we looked and we couldn’t see anything. If you try and change anything now it’s quite risky. I hope he’ll brake hard into turn one and he’ll be happy and comfortable.” So says Martin Whitmarsh on the subject of Hamilton’s issue.
12.56pm Track temperature is a very serviceable 46C. There is pretty much no chance of rain. Tyres, as ever, will play a part.
12.59pm Mark Webber will have to avoid a tiny spot of oil that is just in front of him as he sits in second place on the grid. He is on the dirty side of the grid as it is, as is Felipe Massa directly behind him. Small things, but even a slight bit of wheelspin could affect them.
Lap 1 And they’re off! Vettel leads down to and through the first corner and there is little drama. Fernando Alonso gets a great getaway and slots into second. Webber is third, with Massa fourth. Petrov took fifth off the start from Hamilton.
Lap 2 Hamilton gets Petrov back into turn two. Meanwhile, Jaime Alguersuari’s engine has blown. Vettel has a 1.3 second advantage over Alonso. As we enter lap 3 he’s increased that to over two seconds. Incredible, really.
Lap 4 Hamilton was very ginger onto his brakes into turn one on the first lap, which was why Petrov was able to get through. Meanwhile Michael Schumacher passed a few cars, but is only in 13th.
Lap 6 Vettel is running away at the rate of a second a lap, sometimes more. It is truly remarkable. Jonathan Legard is confused as to how they have such an advantage only six days since Hockenheim. He is reminded gently by Martin Brundle that this track is different from Hockenheim.
Lap 8 You might have thought, with this car, that Mark Webber would be right up behind Fernando Alonso. But he isn’t, really. His German team-mate is the best part of nine seconds clear now of Alonso. The order is Vettel, Alonso, Webber, Massa, Hamilton, Petrov, Rosberg, Kubica, Barrichello, Hulkenberg, de la Rosa, Sutil, Schumacher, Button, Kobayashi.
Lap 11 There is some conjecture regarding who is conserving what, at the moment. Mark Webber is in a “management phase”, says Martin Brundle. He may, then, be able to turn everything up later on and chase Vettel. Assuming he can get past Alonso in the pits, though. Brundle goes on to suggest that Alonso should concede the race to Vettel, and back Webber up into the pack. That could be his best chance of finishing second.
Lap 14 There is nothing happening now, as we wait for the first person to stop. “We’re not close enough to do what we talked about,” Rob Smedley tells Felipe Massa. He is being a lot more obscure than he was two weeks ago, is Smedley. No chance of anyone figuring out what that means.
Lap 15 Button and Liuzzi are in. Liuzzi’s nose is in the middle of the track, so he was forced to come in. We know not why. The Safety Car is out…and Vettel dives in the pits. Drama, drama! Everybody is pitting. Hamilton is out in front of Massa! What a fantastic move by McLaren. There has been contact in the pits between the Force India of Adrian Sutil and the Renault of Kubica…Renault released their man into Sutil, and it could have been so much worse for the waiting mechanics. Meanwhile, Rosberg was released with his right rear wheel badly secured, and it came off. So dangerous, this emergency pitting lark.
Lap 17 Webber is leading, but he hasn’t stopped. Red Bull have severely disadvantaged Webber by not pitting him. It would be best if Vettel held up the pack now, so that Webber can then slot in behind him after having created enough of a gap out front to have a pitstop for free, in effect. Will Vettel play ball?
Lap 20 We’ve just had a replay of Rosberg’s wheel coming off, and it is an absolute marvel that no-one was hurt by it. It flew off and bounced down the pitlane, narrowly avoiding a Sauber mechanic. Something has to be done about everyone pitting in a flurry like they do at the moment. We could very easily be talking about two fatal accidents now.
Lap 21 Webber is flying away in the distance, but Vettel has “dropped the Ferrari [of Alonso] for dead” according to Brundle on the BBC. Webber may not need his help, as he may be far enough in front to slot back in.
Lap 22 Webber has set a 1.24.7, which is very quick indeed. He will need to be quick like this for another ten laps at least, you would have thought, to have any chance of coming back out into a competitive position. Maybe the fact that he was conserving earlier will play to his advantage and he will even come out ahead of Vettel. Stranger things have happened.
Lap 24 Lewis Hamilton has retired from the grand prix. It looks to be mechanical problems. What a shame for him. Meanwhile, Vettel is under investigation for holding the pack up behind the safety car: “exceeding ten car lengths” is the crime. This could be very serious for his chances of winning the race.
Lap 26 It was a transmission problem, according to Ted Kravitz of the BBC, that did for Hamilton. It was a while ago now, but Kubica did a ten second stop/go for his lollipop man’s misdemeanour in the pits.
Lap 27 Alonso could sneak the win here. His team tells him to press on, but also to “be wise”. Webber is still flying on, trying to do everything he can to minimise the effect the pitstop will have.
Lap 29 Vettel has a drive-through penalty! For trying to help Mark Webber get away, basically. His chances of winning the race are evaporating slowly, although we will see what he can do to mitigate it. Massa in fourth is told that he can pass Vettel if he gets on with it.
Lap 31 Vettel is still out on track; he has another lap or two to serve that penalty. The order is Webber, Vettel, Alonso, Massa…and Vettel pits. He shows a few choice hand gestures to the stewards as he goes past. But crucially, Vettel is out ahead of Massa, so he only has Alonso to catch and pass.
Lap 32 This is an entertaining race now. We have Webber leading, who still has to pit. Alonso is behind him, with track position but not as quick a car as the man behind him, Vettel, who is charging on. Massa could still play a part, although it looks as though Webber will come out ahead of him even if he pitted now. Webber can smell victory, I think.
Lap 35 It has to be between Webber and Alonso now. It’s a tense, epic battle, one which Webber has every intention of winning, setting fastest lap after fastest lap. Fifth is Barrichello (who is also yet to pit) followed by Petrov, Hulkenberg, Button, Kobayashi, Schumacher, Buemi, Liuzzi, Kovalainen, Trulli, Glock, Senna, di Grassi, and Yamamoto.
Lap 37 Two more laps and Webber has enough time to make that pitstop. Will his fuel and engine last, we wonder, at this furious pace? What can Alonso and Vettel do? Vettel is a second quicker a lap than Massa in fourth.
Lap 39 Webber is considering coming in…it will be absolutely key, this stop. He has a 22 second advantage, in effect, over Alonso, who is being harried by Vettel. Webber is the hot favourite now, you would think.
Lap 42 It’s Vettel who can take this victory away from Webber, not Alonso. The Ferrari man doesn’t have the pace. It’s how much Vettel wants to get past Alonso, on this, a very tricky track on which to pass. He’d have to go one better than Webber could do in terms of racing, although in terms of pure pace Webber absolutely merits the win I’d say.
Lap 43 Webber has to pit some time soon, surely. He’s about to come up on a big load of backmarkers.
Lap 43 Webber is in. He has a 23.7 second advantage. Everything smoothly done there by the Red Bull boys, and Christian Horner claps his men. And he’s out comfortably ahead of his rivals. Vettel is now all over the back of Alonso; he will be absolutely steaming mad that his actions have effectively put his team-mate in the box seat.
Lap 45 Felipe Massa, still in fourth, is bemused that Webber has pitted and come out in the lead. It’s because their car is very very very quick, Felipe.
Lap 46 Webber is two seconds a lap quicker than Alonso. Enjoying the new boots that he has had put on. Vettel’s move has to be soon, or he will have lost this race.
Lap 48 Buemi and Liuzzi are having a nice tussle over 12th. Ahead of them are Schumacher (11th), Kobayashi (10th), Button (9th), Hulkenberg, Petrov and Barrichello, before you get to Massa in fourth.
Lap 51 Rubens Barrichello still hasn’t pitted. Petrov stands to inherit fifth when he does, and that would be a deserved result for the Russian.
Lap 52 It looks as though Vettel is simply unable to pass Alonso round here, despite his performance advantage. There might be a chance as they close up to a group of backmarkers, but I would be amazed if he were capable.
Lap 55 Vettel is pushing like crazy behind Alonso – too much, as he goes off the road slightly at turn four. It just doesn’t look as if he can pass him, and you have to feel for the German, as through very little fault of his own he’s gone from a sure win to a third place behind his team-mate and Fernando Alonso. If it finishes this way, that is.
Lap 56 Barrichello finally pits…and he’s out behind Michael Schumacher, into 11th. Button is up to eighth, that means, and the order is now Webber, Alonso, Vettel, Massa, Petrov, Hulkenberg, de la Rosa, Button, Kobayashi, Schumacher.
Lap 59 Almost unnoticed, Webber has been storming off into the distance. His lead is twenty seconds and a bit, now, and he is very definitely going to win this race unless something happens. He’s just lapped Michael Schumacher, which “feels good” according to the Australian.
Lap 60 Rubens Barrichello is hounding Michael Schumacher, who lost a fair bit of time allowing race leader Webber past. Barrichello is the closest I have seen anyone to anyone this afternoon, but, like Vettel on Alonso, may not be able to pass him.
Lap 62 Rubens was very optimistic, slithering down the inside into the first turn on Schumacher for 10th, but could not take him. They charge round for another go.
Lap 64 Well the battle is certainly fun, although you can’t help but think that Barrichello won’t do it. He’s in the dirty air now, and his tyre advantage won’t last forever. He is so close as they come down to the first corner and lap 65.
Lap 66 Michael Schumacher just nearly edged Rubens Barrichello into the concrete wall down the pit straight. It was extremely close to being a terrible, terrible accident. “Black flag!” shouts Barrichello down the radio, who incidentally did get past. “It was horrible!”
Lap 68 Schumacher is to be investigated after the race. It was certainly a frightening thing to watch.
Lap 70 MARK WEBBER WINS THE HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX
Vettel sets the fastest lap on the last lap, as if to say he had been disenfranchised in some way. But there is no doubt that Webber deserved the win. He nailed the times again and again in the middle stint, where circumstances effectively invited him to have a go at the victory.
“Thanks guys, absolutely awesome,” says Webber on the radio.
Meanwhile, Vettel’s race engineer tells him to keep calm. “I know you’re upset right now, but there is nothing you can do or say to make any difference.”
“It was not intentional!” Vettel rages in the pre-podium room. He is clearly very annoyed about what has happened today. He does not really have a leg to stand on, though…the rules are there about how much distance you can leave to the guy in front when there’s a safety car, and he did not stick to them.
And that’s all from today. Keep an eye out for the press conference and full race results to come.