Raikkonen Eases to Hungarian GP Win

Kimi Raikkonen eased to a comfortable victory in Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix and put himself back in the hunt for this year's World Championship when points leader Fernando Alonso failed to score

Raikkonen Eases to Hungarian GP Win

Raikkonen, who started from fourth, used a three-stop strategy to work his way to the front after hounding World Champion Michael Schumacher in the middle of the race and seeing teammate Juan Pablo Montoya's car break down.

The Finn is now 26 points behind Renault driver Alonso with six rounds remaining and while his chances remain slim the race marked a crucial turnaround in fortunes between the leader and the challenger.

Raikkonen was cruelly denied victory by mechanical failure at the last race in Germany and missed the chance to challenge at the preceding French and British Grands Prix because of engine failures in practice.

But this time it was Alonso in the wars, pushed down the order by a first-lap collision and an under-performing car, and ended up 11th so it was left to Schumacher to secure a morale-boosting second place for Ferrari.

Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli, who both escaped first lap collisions themselves, finished third and fourth for Toyota, the German securing his first podium finish for the team.

Jenson Button used a two-stop strategy to claim fifth for BAR-Honda and score his fourth consecutive points finish while Nick Heidfeld used a similar strategy to climb up into sixth place for Williams.

Mark Webber, who qualified with the heaviest car on the grid, used his strategy to work his way up the order and brought the second Williams home in seventh but was lapped by the leaders and Takuma Sato completed the points scorers.

Schumacher made a clean start to lead Montoya into the first corner while Raikkonen out-dragged Trulli to make it into third but there was chaos behind as the rest of the field bunched up.

Rubens Barrichello hit the back of Trulli's car, Alonso damaged his front wing when he touched the rear of Ralf Schumacher's Toyota and Red Bull Racing driver Christian Klien was barrel-rolled out of the race by one of the Saubers.

Alonso's wing then ripped off on the straight heading into turn 12 and David Coulthard ran over the debris and spun violently to a halt to finish Red Bull's race before the end of the first lap.

Alonso and Barrichello were both forced to pit at the end of the first lap for damage repairs, putting the championship leader down in 17th place, one behind the Ferrari driver in 16th.

By the end of the first lap Raikkonen had found a way past Montoya to claim second and despite Schumacher setting fastest laps the McLaren was easily a match for the Ferrari and the German could not get away.

Montoya also dropped back from the lead pair in third while Toyota pair Trulli and Ralf Schumacher were fourth and fifth with BAR-Honda pair Button and Sato dropping further back in sixth and seventh.

Raikkonen made an early stop at the end of lap 11 having become tired of trailing Schumacher, then Trulli stopped at the end of lap 13 and Barrichello almost hit the back of Narain Karthikeyan's Jordan as claimed 13th.

Schumacher made his stop at the end of lap 15, the same lap as his brother, leaving Montoya in the lead and the World Champion came out just four seconds ahead of third-placed Raikkonen.

Montoya extended his lead setting fastest laps as he tried to build a big enough gap over Schumacher to pit without losing the top spot while Raikkonen closed on the World Champion to begin a battle for second.

Sato stopped at the end of lap 21 and Montoya came in one lap later but his advantage of 20 seconds was not enough and he came out behind Raikkonen to set up a possible three-way battle for the lead.

Button pitted at the end of the 23rd lap and Giancarlo Fisichella came in with an apparent problem, with the team giving him a long wait in the pits, and Schumacher and Raikkonen shot off into the distance at the front.

Montoya steadily dropped away in third with Ralf Schumacher more than 10 seconds further back in fourth, Trulli fifth, Heidfeld sixth, Button seventh and Felipe Massa's Sauber in eighth.

Barrichello ran wide as he tried to fight his way through the field having been stuck in 13th with Alonso 14th and the Renault driver, who had run a heavy car in qualifying, made first fuel stop at the end of lap 27.

Robert Doornbos became the third race retirement when he parked up his Minardi on the leaders' lap 28 then Webber finally made his first stop after staying out for 29 laps.

Raikkonen stayed within a second of Schumacher for lap after lap but could not find a way past and Trulli started the next run of pitstops on lap 33 with Barrichello stopping one lap later.

Schumacher pitted from the lead on lap 36 and Raikkonen stopped just one lap later, but that lap was enough to give him the advantage he needed to get ahead of the German while Montoya regained the lead.

Montoya was then hit by the McLaren bad luck when he slowed on lap 40 and handed the lead to Raikkonen as he coasted around the track and returned to the pits to post his second retirement of the year.

That left Raikkonen with a comfortable 18-second lead over Schumacher with Ralf Schumacher in third, Trulli fourth, Button fifth, Heidfeld sixth, Sato seventh and Fisichella eighth, while Alonso was still back in 12th.

Fisichella had a high-speed trip across the gravel on lap 43 and lost his place to Webber then Massa was pushed into his garage with a smoking engine on his Sauber but returned to the track several laps later.

Button made his second stop on lap 47 then Raikkonen pitted one lap later for his third and final stop and retained his lead as he came out comfortably ahead of Schumacher, who still had to make his final stop.

Trulli made his third stop on lap 52 then Barrichello and Alonso both pitted at the same time on lap 56 and Fisichella made an identical mistake to hand ninth to Barrichello before Schumacher made his final stop on lap 57.

Raikkonen had eased into a comfortable lead by the time Schumacher returned to the track and the World Champion spent the final few laps of the race successfully fending off the challenge of his brother Ralf for second.

PROVISIONAL RACE RESULTS

The Hungarian Grand Prix
The Hungaroring, Hungary;
70 laps; 306.663km;
Weather: Sunny.

Classified:

Pos  Driver        Team                  Time        
 1.  Raikkonen     McLaren-Mercedes (M)  1h37.25.552
 2.  M.Schumacher  Ferrari          (B)  +    35.581
 3.  R.Schumacher  Toyota           (M)  +    36.129
 4.  Trulli        Toyota           (M)  +    54.221
 5.  Button        BAR-Honda        (M)  +    58.832
 6.  Heidfeld      Williams-BMW     (M)  +  1:08.375
 7.  Webber        Williams-BMW     (M)  +     1 lap
 8.  Sato          BAR-Honda        (M)  +     1 lap
 9.  Fisichella    Renault          (M)  +     1 lap
10.  Barrichello   Ferrari          (B)  +     1 lap
11.  Alonso        Renault          (M)  +     1 lap
12.  Karthikeyan   Jordan-Toyota    (B)  +    3 laps
13.  Monteiro      Jordan-Toyota    (B)  +    4 laps
14.  Massa         Sauber-Petronas  (M)  +    7 laps

Fastest Lap: Raikkonen, 1:21.200

Not Classified/Retirements:

Driver        Team                  On Lap
Albers        Minardi-Cosworth (B)    60
Villeneuve    Sauber-Petronas  (M)    57
Montoya       McLaren-Mercedes (M)    42
Doornbos      Minardi-Cosworth (B)    27
Coulthard     Red Bull-Cosworth (M)    1
Klien         Red Bull-Cosworth (M)    1


World Championship Standing, Round 13:                

Drivers:                    Constructors:             
 1.  Alonso        87        1.  Renault          117
 2.  Raikkonen     61        2.  McLaren-Mercedes 105
 3.  M.Schumacher  55        3.  Ferrari           86
 4.  Trulli        36        4.  Toyota            68
 5.  Montoya       34        5.  Williams-BMW      52
 6.  R.Schumacher  32        6.  Red Bull-Cosworth 24
 7.  Barrichello   31        7.  BAR-Honda         20
 8.  Fisichella    30        8.  Sauber-Petronas   14
 9.  Heidfeld      28        9.  Jordan-Toyota     11
10.  Webber        24       10.  Minardi-Cosworth   7
11.  Coulthard     19       
12.  Button        19       
13.  Massa          8       
14.  Villeneuve     6       
15.  Wurz           6       
16.  Monteiro       6       
17.  Karthikeyan    5       
18.  Klien          4       
19.  de la Rosa     4       
20.  Albers         4       
21.  Friesacher     3       
22.  Sato           1       
23.  Liuzzi         1       
       
All timing unofficial
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