Button wins action-packed Hungarian GP in 200th F1 race

Jenson Button claimed victory in his 200th grand prix as he perfectly judged an absorbing race in changeable weather in Hungary

Button wins action-packed Hungarian GP in 200th F1 race

McLaren could have had a one-two, with Lewis Hamilton leading much of the race, but a tyre strategy misjudgement and a penalty ruined Hamilton's afternoon.

World championship leader Sebastian Vettel had to settle for second, ahead of Fernando Alonso's Ferrari and the recovering Hamilton.

McLaren had taken the advantage early in a race that began on a damp track with everyone on intermediates, Hamilton attacking Vettel relentlessly through the opening laps as both slid around in a dice more reminiscent of a karting scrap than Formula 1.

The lead finally changed on lap five, when Vettel ran wide at Turn 2 and Hamilton breezed past and pulled away, soon extending a four-second lead over the championship leader, who was at least able to drop Button at this stage.

Laps 10 to 13 saw all the leaders decide the track was ready for slicks, and coming in one lap sooner than Vettel paid off for Button, who made the most of his warmer tyres and greater confidence to take second place into Turn 2.

Mark Webber pulled off the same move on Alonso for fourth at the same time. The Ferrari had lost ground through the first corner on the opening lap, then charged back up the order despite two minor trips off the road.

The relatively serene middle phase of the race saw Hamilton holding a comfortable gap over Button, who had a similar 5s advantage back to Vettel, while Webber fended off Alonso 10s behind them.

Alonso decided to make a relatively early third pitstop and take another set of super softs, while all the other leaders except Hamilton switched to the harder softs at this point.

The burst of pace on fresh Pirellis allowed Alonso to jump both Red Bulls during his rapid laps before they pitted, though the tyres then began to wear and he lost third to Vettel again.

Hamilton followed the same strategy as Alonso, which left him looking very vulnerable to Button as he looked unlikely to pull out enough of a gap to pit again for the softs, but in the event the return of the rain rendered these tactics rather irrelevant.

The sudden shower hit on lap 47, causing Hamilton to spin at the chicane. He tried to rejoin as quickly as possible, but could not prevent Button taking the lead - and also forced Paul di Resta's lapped Force India off the road as he rotated, a move that would ultimately earn Hamilton a penalty.

With the rain increasing, Button slipped up at Turn 2 four laps later, allowing Hamilton back into the lead. Button retaliated on the following lap and briefly regained first place on the pits straight, only to go wide again at Turn 2 as the top spot was exchanged yet again.

But just as Hamilton moved back into first, he made what turned out to be the costly decision to pit again for intermediates. It was obvious almost immediately that this was the wrong call, as the rain rapidly vanished, and the Briton was soon back in for slicks. His drive-through penalty for nearly wiping out di Resta soon followed, dropping him to sixth and leaving Button clear to win.

The 2009 champion briefly came under pressure from Vettel, but had the pace to pull away again and clinch his second victory of the year.

With Webber also switching to intermediates unnecessarily, Alonso regained third, which he held despite a quick late spin.

Hamilton battled back to fourth ahead of Webber, with Felipe Massa recovering from an early spin to sixth in the other Ferrari.

Kamui Kobayashi tried to go the distance on just two tyre stops and held seventh heading into the closing stages, albeit with a massive queue of cars chasing his Sauber. The plan did not work, and he had to pit for fresh rubber after tumbling down the order, as di Resta came through to seventh and Sebastien Buemi turned 23rd on the grid into an eighth place for Toro Rosso.

Mercedes only took ninth place, Nico Rosberg having also pitted for intermediates late on. Michael Schumacher had a gearbox problem shortly after spinning while dicing with Massa in the opening stages. Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso) clashed with Kobayashi during their late battle but still took 10th.

Adrian Sutil (Force India) and Sergio Perez (Sauber) saw their great qualifying results wasted in a first lap incident that delayed both.

One of the most spectacular incidents of this highly eventful race befell Nick Heidfeld, whose Renault caught fire in the pit exit after a long stop, with a minor explosion on its left-hand side as the marshals dealt with the blaze.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS The Hungarian Grand Prix The Hungaroring, Hungary; 70 laps; 306.663km; Weather: Mixed conditions. Classified: Pos Driver Team Time 1. Button McLaren-Mercedes 1h43:42.337 2. Vettel Red Bull-Renault + 3.588 3. Alonso Ferrari + 19.819 4. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes + 48.338 5. Webber Red Bull-Renault + 49.742 6. Massa Ferrari + 1:17.176 7. Di Resta Force India-Mercedes + 1 lap 8. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap 9. Rosberg Mercedes + 1 lap 10. Alguersuari Toro Rosso-Ferrari + 1 lap 11. Kobayashi Sauber-Ferrari + 1 lap 12. Petrov Renault + 1 lap 13. Barrichello Williams-Cosworth + 2 laps 14. Sutil Force India-Mercedes + 2 laps 15. Perez Sauber-Ferrari + 2 laps 16. Maldonado Williams-Cosworth + 2 laps 17. Glock Virgin-Cosworth + 4 laps 18. Ricciardo HRT-Cosworth + 4 laps 19. D'Ambrosio Virgin-Cosworth + 5 laps 20. Liuzzi HRT-Cosworth + 5 laps Fastest lap: Massa, 1:23.415 Not classified/retirements: Driver Team On lap Kovalainen Lotus-Renault 56 Schumacher Mercedes 27 Heidfeld Renault 24 Trulli Lotus-Renault 18 World Championship standings, round 11: Drivers: Constructors:  1. Vettel 234 1. Red Bull-Renault 383 2. Webber 149 2. McLaren-Mercedes 280 3. Hamilton 146 3. Ferrari 215 4. Alonso 145 4. Mercedes 80 5. Button 134 5. Renault 66 6. Massa 70 6. Sauber-Ferrari 35 7. Rosberg 48 7. Force India-Mercedes 26 8. Heidfeld 34 8. Toro Rosso-Ferrari 22 9. Schumacher 32 9. Williams-Cosworth 4 10. Petrov 32 11. Kobayashi 27 12. Sutil 18 13. Buemi 12 14. Alguersuari 10 15. Di Resta 8 16. Perez 8 17. Barrichello 4 All timing unofficial 
shares
comments
Sky/BBC deal 'saved free-to-air' F1 coverage in UK

Previous article

Sky/BBC deal 'saved free-to-air' F1 coverage in UK

Next article

Jenson Button celebrates 'amazing' weekend after win in 200th GP start

Jenson Button celebrates 'amazing' weekend after win in 200th GP start
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button
Author Matt Beer
Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration Plus

Why the demise of F1's hypocritical spending habit is cause for celebration

For too long, F1's richest teams have justified being able to spend as much as they want because that's the way they've always conducted their business. STUART CODLING says that's no reason not to kick a bad habit

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate Plus

The double whammy that is defining Vettel’s F1 fate

It's been a tough start to Sebastian Vettel's Aston Martin F1 career, with a lack of pre-season testing mileage followed by an incident-packed Bahrain GP. But two key underlying factors mean a turnaround is not guaranteed

Formula 1
Apr 14, 2021
The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition Plus

The diva that stole a march on F1’s wide-bodied opposition

In 2017 new F1 technical regulations were supposed to add drama - and peg Mercedes back. STUART CODLING looks at the car which, while troubled, set the stage for the wide-bodied Formula 1 era

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return Plus

The themes to watch in F1’s Imola return

Three weeks is a long time in Formula 1, but in the reshaped start to the 2021 season the teams head to Imola to pick things up after the frenetic Bahrain opener. Here's what to look out for and the developments to follow at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Formula 1
Apr 13, 2021
The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola Plus

The 'new' F1 drivers who need to improve at Imola

After a pandemic-hit winter of seat-swapping, F1 kicked off its season with several new faces in town, other drivers adapting to new environments, and one making a much-anticipated comeback. BEN ANDERSON looks at who made the most of their opportunity and who needs to try harder…

Formula 1
Apr 12, 2021
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021