Hamilton holds off Raikkonen in Budapest
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton did not put a wheel wrong from pole position and held on to win the Grand Prix of Hungary Formula 1 race at the Hungaroring in Budapest. Hamilton was first pressured by the Lotus Renault of Romain Grosjean and later by his teammate Kimi Raikkonen but led every lap except for pit stops to win by 1-second.
Grosjean was third and Sebastian Vettel fourth while points leader Fernando Alonso was fifth and maintains his lead into the break.
Jenson Button was sixth, who will be questioning McLaren's early switch to a three stop plan when he was on for the podium.
Button has questioned McLaren's tire strategy after dropping back to a modest sixth in Sunday's Hungarian GP.
Having run in third position throughout the first stint of the race, Button was comprehensively undone by McLaren's decision, taken mid-way through the grand prix, to change to a three-stop strategy that saw him jumped by Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso.
I just don't know why we pitted so early each time," lamented Jenson to Sky Sports F1. "On the second and third stops we pitted very early and the tires were still in good condition. I guess the team thought I would get the jump on the car in front but that wasn't the case. I didn't come out in clean air either time."
Button was particularly frustrated by a long spell tucked up behind the Williams of Bruno Senna. With a previously-frustrated Vettel released from shadowing the McLaren and Raikkonen delivering a series of blistering laps further up the road, it was at this stage of the race when Button's afternoon suddenly unraveled.
"I said to the guys, 'is this traffic I'm in quicker than the guys in front?' and they said 'no'. I was a bit stuffed really, I don't think we looked too good when it came to strategy today. Hopefully we'll learn from that."
It was the second win of the year for Hamilton and his third in Hungary.
Hamilton dominated the Hungarian grand prix weekend from start to finish.
But Sunday was still a very happy 31st birthday for runaway championship leader Fernando Alonso, despite the Ferrari driver finishing just fifth at the Hungaroring.
The Spaniard's closest points rival, Mark Webber, had an even poorer weekend near Budapest, allowing Alonso's 34 point lead to pull out to 40 as F1 now races into a five-week vacation period.
Hamilton, nonetheless happy with his win from pole, is 47 points adrift, but the gap was 62 before Sunday's race began.
"Lewis said to me a couple of days ago, 'Dad, I've got to win the next ten races to win this championship'," Hamilton's father and former manager Anthony told British Sky television immediately after his son won in Hungary.
Lewis Hamilton said: "I am looking forward to the continuation of the championship. A long way to go and a lot of work to do but we have shown we can compete."
But, even on an impressive Sunday, he was run close by the two Lotuses, moving Hamilton to reminisce just before walking onto the podium: "Just like old times, Kimi.
"You guys are quick," the Briton told Raikkonen and also the other Lotus driver, Romain Grosjean.
Finn Raikkonen, however, just wants to win, but – after 69 laps – he finished one second behind the winner with a KERS problem.
"We are not happy until we win," the 2007 world champion told Spanish tenor Placido Domingo on the podium.
Michael Schumacher said he turned his own engine off at the beginning of the Hungarian Grand Prix in a misunderstanding over the delayed start.
The usual procedure is for cars to continue running and immediately do another formation lap, but Schumacher shut his Mercedes down and consequently had to start from the pitlane.
"We had the yellow lights and pretty high engine temperatures, and I decided to switch off the engine as we were waiting so long," he admitted.
The German's race then got worse still, with a puncture, a pitlane speeding penalty and ultimately a late retirement from 18th place.
"We had a puncture – I don't know how and what happened. There was obviously no contact, I was alone and by myself," said Schumacher.
"Then we even had a drive-through because maybe the pitlane limiter or something didn't work properly during the puncture phase.
"That was the race decided. It was just trying to hang out and see if maybe something unusual would happen that we could take benefit from.
"In the end, because we'd had these engine temperatures and we had some telemetry issues, we decided to stop the car."
Sebastian Vettel (4th): "I think our overall speed was better than the actual result we got today. I was stuck behind Jenson in the first stint; he was slower and we lost some time there, but of course you can't just pit and come out in clean air, there's traffic, so there's not much we could have done. The tires were not too bad at the end, but we thought that we should try something, the tires on the cars in front could have fallen off, but it didn't happen. The race pace was very good, so now it's up to us to do better in qualifying and at the start; then it's a different race."
Mark Webber (8th): "We were hoping people would be in a bit more trouble with their tires at the end. We were in fifth place and had a nice cushion, but we've had plenty of times this year where the tires had stopped working towards the end of the race. Today it didn't really work out that way and we lost places through trying something different. I was quicker in the closing stages, but it's hard to overtake here and I couldn't get the job done. Still, we moved up three places from the start, we have good points and it's very open for the rest of the year."
Christian Horner, Sporting Director: "In the heat of the afternoon, it was a long and tough race. Seb challenged Grosjean around the outside into Turn 1 and got high on the curb, which allowed Button to get a run round the outside into Turn 2. Thereafter we lost quite a bit of time behind Jenson in the first and second stint. Mark also made a good start on the hard tire and going into the race it wasn't clear if it would be a two or three stop strategy. Jenson pitted early and we managed to use track position and good pit work to get Sebastian out ahead of him. Coming back out Sebastian had good pace, but then got caught in traffic behind Grosjean and we decided to go onto a three-stop race. Mark had made good progress, but we felt it was a better option for him to also go onto a three stop once he had cleared Alonso. It was great work today by the pit crew and they managed to get Sebastian in and out again ahead of Alonso; he then chased down the leaders over the last ten laps, but unfortunately there weren't quite enough laps left. With Mark we started to develop signs of a differential issue around lap 45 and although he closed in on Senna, he was unable to find a way past. Nonetheless we go into the Summer break 53 points in the lead in the Constructors' Championship and second and third in the Drivers' Championship with nine races still to go and an awful lot of racing to do. I think everyone deserves a well earned break and will come back in Spa in a month's time fully re-charged."
Cyril Dumont, Renault: "Of course we would have preferred to have finished higher at this last race of the first half of the season. It was tough today; I think the race win for Seb was more or less over after the first corner when he got stuck behind Button. For Mark he had a mechanical issue and we saw again here that it's pretty difficult to overtake. Now it's time to have a good rest. I would like to thank everyone involved with our engine package and especially my team for the work they have done in the first half of the season. We're leading the Championship and we'll be back full of beans soon."
Lewis Hamilton (1st): "Well, what can I say?! I'm over the moon! The team did a fantastic job! Absolutely brilliant! It was a really enjoyable race – but it wasn't at all easy. In fact, I reckon that it was one of the toughest races I've ever driven – but, guess what, I'll savor it all the more for that. I was under a lot of pressure throughout all 69 laps. First, Romain [Grosjean] and then Kimi [Raikkonen] were right behind me, all the way through, and I had to look after my tires without letting my pace drop, which was pretty tricky at times. It isn't a static situation when a race goes like that. The feel of the car is changing all the time. You get different messages from the tires with every lap. But they lasted – I managed to make them last. It was a case of managing the gap behind me, over the whole lap, every lap. In particular, I had to make sure that, every lap, I always had a big enough gap at the last corner, so that I wouldn't be overtaken in the DRS zone on the pit straight. And I managed to do that every time. As I say, the team did an absolutely incredible job – and the support we've had here in Budapest, not only from the visiting British fans but also from the local Hungarian fans, has been phenomenal. And to be able to win a Grand Prix on the weekend that the Olympic Games started in the UK too, well, I feel like we've done our part to contribute to what I hope will be many more British successes over the Olympic Games period. Someone has just told me that we've scored Britain's first gold medal of 2012. Well, it isn't really that, is it? But it's the first British victory of the Olympic Games period, which is pretty cool. Looking at the season as a whole, it's clear that after the mid-season break we'll have a lot of work to do. But, for now, let's celebrate – all of us, family, friends and fans – and put on our Vodafone rocket-red tops, and enjoy the moment. Nobody celebrates like we do."
Jenson Button (6th): "First of all, I want to say a big 'Well done!' to Lewis and the entire Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team. Fantastic job, guys! For me, though, I guess today was quite a bit more frustrating than it was for Lewis. Having said that, I was really pleased to be able to get ahead of Seb [Vettel] on the opening lap, passing him on the outside of Turn Two, and to be able to hold a very solid third place at that point. I was on the leaders' pace too. In fact, even after the first stop, I could still see the leaders – so we were obviously still pretty close. Then we decided to go for a three-stop strategy – but after my second and third stops I encountered traffic, unfortunately, which made things really difficult for me because the traffic I was stuck in was lapping quite a bit slower than I could have been lapping if I'd had a clear track. But there are lots of positives to take away from this weekend: our car is obviously quick, as I was able to show at Hockenheim and Lewis was able to confirm here, and in the second half of the season I know that everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes will work as hard as possible to maintain and continue that upward performance development curve. Now, as we go into the mid-season break, I'm going to go away and relax. I'm really looking forward to it, in fact."
Martin Whitmarsh, Team Principal: "Lewis drove with tremendous composure all afternoon, and the result was a meticulously judged victory, wrought under intense pressure throughout. He made a superb start from pole position, then controlled the race with masterful authority, all the while balancing the necessity to execute rapid laps against the equally pressing requirement to conserve his tires. The 25 points he annexed today have taken his season-so-far total to 117. Although he's still a little way behind the Drivers' World Championship leader, he's now very well placed to mount an assault on the Drivers' World Championship crown over the remaining nine races of the season. Believe me, it's still all up for grabs. Jenson had a frustrating race but nonetheless managed to score a useful eight points as a result of finishing in sixth place. Like Lewis, he'll come back from the mid-season break ready to attack the second half of the season with energy and enthusiasm. And, again, also like Lewis, he'll be aiming to score plenty of points, at Spa-Francorchamps and Interlagos and everywhere in between. Yesterday Lewis scored the 150th pole position in McLaren's history – and today he notched up our 178th Grand Prix victory. It was his 101st Grand Prix – and it's difficult to imagine a better way for him to have begun his second century of Grand Prix appearances, isn't it? In the Constructors' World Championship, the 33 points that Lewis and Jenson scored today have lifted Vodafone McLaren Mercedes to second place overall. Again, as with the Drivers' World Championship, we're in a good position from which to work as hard as is humanly possible to close the gap on the leaders and wrest the Constructors' laurels by season's end. Talking of hard work, I want to pay tribute to the massively impressive levels of dogged application and sheer graft that everyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes in Woking [Surrey, UK] and at Mercedes-Benz AMG HighPerformancePowertrains in Brixworth [Northamptonshire, UK] has brought to bear on the 2012 Formula 1 World Championship campaign so far. And, in fact, I want to say an especially big 'thank you' to our friends from Stuttgart [Germany] as well as from Brixworth, actually, because today's win was the 75th victory of the McLaren/Mercedes-Benz partnership: a pretty impressive stat! We'll now take our holidays, we'll recharge our batteries, and we'll return at Spa-Francorchamps in a month's time, fighting fit and ready to do battle once again. Bring it on!"
Fernando Alonso (5th): "It's a positive result, no doubt about it. We knew this would be a complicated weekend because we were not quick enough, but despite everything, we managed to extend our lead over Webber. In terms of the championship it has therefore been a very good weekend. To have finished ahead of one Red Bull and right behind the other in these circumstances was very important because, on paper, we should have expected to finish seventh. Hamilton was out of our reach this weekend, but we did not lose much ground to Vettel and these are in my opinion, the strongest of the group that's behind me in the championship. We made the right strategic choices: it's true I lost a bit of time behind Perez and this cost me a place to Raikkonen, but the Finn was probably out of reach this afternoon. We have a lead of forty points, courtesy of a car that has not been the best in this first half of the season. Now we must try and make a good leap forward in terms of performance to allow us to keep the lead in the Championship, because in the long term, what we have now will not be enough. If we are where we are, it's because we have always made the most of what we had and because of an excellent reliability record: it's not by chance that you get 23 consecutive points finishes. July has been a tough and stressful month, with three races and a lot of work at the factory. Now I want to take a break for a bit and fully recharge the batteries, to show up again in Spa in perfect shape, in the hope that the second part of the season is as positive and productive as the first one. There are five weeks to rest and work, looking to the future, starting with two very demanding races at Spa and Monza."
Felipe Massa (9th): "My race was ruined at the start, when I spun the wheels, possibly because the clutch had overheated: that cost me two places which I then never managed to make up. Overtaking is really difficult at this track and, even if at some points in the second stint, I was stronger than Webber and Senna, I never managed to get the slightest chance to pass them. Therefore, this has not been a great race for me, but at least I managed to bring home a couple of points. At Silverstone and Hockenheim, our pace was a match for the best, but that was not the case here and this definitely made the whole weekend difficult. This first part of the season has definitely not been very positive for me, although today I certainly feel better than at the start and I'm sure the second half will be better. My contract? Until the situation is not clear, there's nothing to say! I'm concentrating on doing well in the next races and that is my number one aim."
Stefano Domenicali, Team Principal: "Definitely a case of the glass being half full! Fifth place for Fernando has allowed him to extend his lead in the classification, which is a very important achievement on a weekend in which we definitely did not have the performance to fight with the best. It was a very hard race, decided for the most part by grid positions and the start, with the only variables concerning tire degradation and the different strategies adopted. I think that, as far as the latter is concerned, we made the right choices, which resulted in Fernando getting ahead of at least two cars that were quicker than his. In fact, it was the start that had a negative effect for Felipe: the places he lost then could not be made up, despite having a race pace that matched those ahead of him. As I said at the start, the outcome of this weekend is not a negative one, but clearly we need to look closely at the way the weekend went as a whole to discover the reasons why we were not as competitive as in the last few races. Now we still have a week of work before the summer break: there's a lot to do to reduce the performance gap and to be as well prepared as possible for the last two races still to be run in Europe. At Spa and Monza we will race in very different conditions and at very different tracks to Budapest, so anything can happen. It will be important to be ready for every eventuality. We will be able to take a breather for a few days, but I'm sure all our guys have just one thought in mind…"
Pat Fry: "It was a very difficult weekend, in which we were never able to fight on equal terms with the best. In fact, we know we have definitely not been the quickest in the first half of the season and so it was hard to imagine that we could have been here. At the Hungaroring, grid position and the start have a significant effect on the final outcome, because overtaking, despite the recent introduction of DRS, is still rare and difficult. Although Fernando started on the dirty side of the track, he still managed to make up one place by the end of the opening lap, first by defending at the start and then by attacking at Turn 2. Unfortunately, Felipe did not manage to make the most of being on the clean side of the grid and now we have to work out why that happened. Clearly that meant from then on, the Brazilian's race was an uphill struggle, which was a shame as he still showed he had a good pace over a long stint. Fernando delivered his usual nice race which, partly down to the strategy, allowed him to keep his closest rival in the championship behind him, as well as getting ahead of one of the cars that had started ahead of him on the grid. We had two options – two or three stops – but we saw that degradation was not that bad, which meant that with Fernando, we were able to overtake at least two of the three top cars that had gone for the more aggressive strategy. We still lack performance and we must push even harder on developing the F2012 if we want to fight all the way to the end to reach our goals. We still have a week of work before taking a breather, but the fact we can pack Fernando off on holiday with a forty point lead is no reason to relax, quite the opposite in fact. There's a lot of very strong competition who are just waiting for us to drop the ball and it's down to us to disappoint them."
Nico Rosberg (10th): "We've had a difficult weekend here in Budapest, and just haven't been quick enough. In the race today, I had a good start and was able to gain three positions by the end, so I got the most out of it. Being happy with one point is not an ideal situation though. We need to find out why we are off the pace at the moment. I hope that we can do better in Spa after the break and we will push hard to make the improvements necessary."
Michael Schumacher (DNF, Retired): "Today was obviously one of those races that you will not look back at for very long. Our engine temperatures were very high before the start, and when the yellow lights came on, I switched the engine off. After I had started from the pit lane, I picked up a penalty and then a puncture. So all in all, the beginning of the race was not very pleasant for us. Everything you do not need came together. We did not have full telemetry before the start and during the period of overheating, and this is why we finally decided to retire so as not risk any damage which might make us suffer in the next race. Now we can now check the car properly before the break and prior to Spa. This weekend is not one to remember, but then there are weekends like this which you can only accept. I am sure we will be looking much better in the next races to come."
Ross Brawn, Team Principal: "Nico did a good job today, and 10th place is about where the car was, if not a little better. He drove very well to make the tires last which is a positive sign, and a good strategy saw him pick up places. Michael had a much more eventful race. He started from the pit lane, incurred a penalty and then had a puncture so it wasn't exactly an ideal start to the afternoon. During that period, we lost all telemetry on his car, and subsequently had various problems during the race which we weren't entirely sure what they were, therefore we decided to retire the car. We are clearly not as competitive as we want to be and, whilst we got everything out of the car today, we need to find more performance and lap time."
Norbert Haug, Mercedes Motorsport Director: "After a problematic qualifying where we did not make it into Q3 for the first time this season, we could not expect a good race result today. After his first stop on lap 15, Nico was already 26 seconds down to the leader, and he lost another 25 seconds during the following 52 laps. About half a second a lap – a gap that we experienced already at the previous races in Silverstone and Hockenheim. So it is very clear that we have a lot of work ahead of us, and I am convinced that we will improve our performance during the remaining nine races. After his start from the pit lane and his drive-through penalty, the team brought Michael in as a precaution with 11 laps to go. Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton and Vodafone McLaren Mercedes on their 75th win with a Mercedes engine in the last 15 years."
Kimi Raikkonen (2nd): "It's a shame we couldn't quite get the win but it's a good result for the team and we'll keep pushing to make that final step. My start was not too bad but then we had some issues with the KERS and I lost a place to Fernando [Alonso]. When we got it working again we were stuck in the pack so it was a bit frustrating, but once we were in clear air we could push and it looked like we could make up a few places in the second stops. The team said it would be very close with Romain, but it was okay in the end. We managed to catch Lewis [Hamilton] but it was impossible to pass."
Romain Grosjean (3rd): "It's a good result for the team, but to be honest I'm a bit disappointed. We had a good battle for the lead with Lewis [Hamilton] all through the first two stints, but then I got stuck behind Michael [Schumacher] who didn't respect the blue flags at all which cost me a lot of time. Because of this I lost a place to Kimi, and at the same time a possible chance to fight for the win. It's very hard to overtake here; every time I came close to someone in front I would lose a bit of front end grip which made it impossible. Still, that's racing and we've take home a lot of points for the Constructors' Championship which is a real positive."
Eric Boullier, Team Principal: "Both cars on the podium end a pretty good weekend for the team. For everyone back at Enstone we must pay credit as they work so hard for results like this, but seldom get to taste the champagne at the track. I'm very happy that Romain came back after a tough weekend in Germany and I'm very happy to see Kimi fighting for the win. Our new approach to qualifying is delivering. We qualified better this weekend and we chased the leader of the race for many laps. On a different track layout which allows overtaking I think we could have won this race."
James Allison, Technical Director: "It was an excellent race from both our drivers, from the E20 and from the whole team. We made very strong progress with a good haul of Drivers' and Constructors' points today. We're only just past the halfway mark in the season so it's not fantasy to think that we're still in the hunt in both championships. The general trend is of our car getting stronger and I hope that we can press that home in the coming races."
Riccardo Penteado, Engine Support Leader: "A fantastic double podium today and very important for the championship. We've worked very closely with the chassis team all weekend to deliver the correct engine response into and out of the many corners of the Hungaroring and the package has looked quick all weekend. It's very positive that we are able to score results on all types of tracks, from the high speed circuits such as Hockenheim to the low average speeds of the Hungaroring."
Nico Hulkenberg (11th): "A very difficult race, to be honest. I struggled a lot with the balance this afternoon and we just didn't have good enough pace. The rear tire degradation was also high and it wasn't easy towards the end of the race. So with all things considered I think P11 was the maximum that was possible because we didn't make any mistakes and the two-stop strategy was definitely the right decision. We were not far away from the points, but we still need to go away and analyze what happened so that we can improve in time for the next race."
Paul di Resta (12th): "I don't think P12 is a fair reflection of the speed we had in the car today. My race was compromised by a poor start and I lost a few positions going into turn one. I had the same issue in Germany last week so we need to understand how we can improve that going forward because it's hurting our track position. The first few laps were quite tough but the car came alive after lap four and brought me back into contention. Unfortunately it was impossible to maximize the speed of the car because there was no chance to overtake and once the pit stops were complete it was just a case of bringing the car home."
Dr. Vijay Mallya, Team Principal: "We've shown flashes of speed this weekend, but ultimately we haven't been consistent enough to achieve our goal of finishing in the points. We didn't qualify well enough and that hurt us this afternoon because there was little chance to progress on a track where overtaking is so difficult. There was no room to improvise with the strategy and our two-stop approach was definitely the right call considering the cars that we were racing against. We will take the positives from the last few days and try to understand where we can find more performance so that we can come back stronger after the summer break."
Sergio Perez (14th): "I'm afraid there isn't much to say today. We were just lacking the pace. We tried to stretch my first stint for a different strategy, but in the end I think there was just nothing that could get us into the points today. It is a shame, but we will fight back after the summer break."
Kamui Kobayashi (18th): "We have simply been too slow here. We have been struggling all weekend, especially with the medium tire compound. I also lost a few positions right after the start when I found myself on the extreme left side of the track with nowhere to go anymore. Finally I got the call to come in because of an hydraulic leak and that was it. For some reason the Hungaroring didn't work for us."
Monisha Kaltenborn, CEO: "Looking at our grid positions, we achieved what we could today. Both our drivers did a good job, but overtaking on this track is extremely difficult as we saw from the experiences of the other drivers. We paid the price for a weak qualifying and have to work on improving this."
Giampaolo Dall'Ara, Head of Track Engineering:
Daniel Ricciardo (15th): "I had a reasonable start passing a couple of cars, after which I tried to stay in contact with Di Resta and managed to stay close enough to be in the DRS zone for a few laps. But after that he began to pull away gradually and basically, today we just did not have the pace to match our rivals. The earlier stints on the Options were not too bad, apart from a few balance issues here and there. We managed to improve the car as the race went on, but for the last stint on the Mediums, it took a while for the tires to work and maybe my set-up was too conservative for the start of the stint, as we had plenty of pace left at the end of it. I don't think there was much more we could have done today. Now it's the break and I hope we can come back stronger in Spa."
Jean-Eric Vergne (16th): "I had a really good start, passing both Saubers and a Force India, which then pushed me wide at the first corner, so I lost position and dropped behind the two Caterhams. I got past both of them and after that I was behind Kobayashi and then Daniel, who was a bit quicker, as I had started on old Options and he was on new ones. When I made my stop for new Options, I came out behind Kobayashi and was behind him for all that stint, which was a shame as it meant Daniel was pulling away from me and I felt I could have been quicker. Towards the end, the pace was not that good and in the closing stages I had to make an unscheduled fourth stop because debris in a side pod was causing an overheating problem. Without that I would have been just behind or just ahead of Daniel. The break? I'd rather be racing!"
Franz Tost, Team Principal: "Fifteenth with Daniel and sixteenth with Jean-Eric is of course not where we want to be, but we cannot hide the fact that our performance level is currently not good enough to fight at the front of the mid-field. Today both drivers did the best they could with the equipment we gave them. There was very little to choose between running a two stop or a three stop strategy and given we had enough sets available after qualifying, that swung the balance in favor of our eventual choice of going for a three stop. Jean-Eric had to make a further fourth visit to the pits as we could see that the temperatures were getting too high, which was down to debris in the right hand sidepod. There are just a few days of work available to us now, either side of the compulsory break and everyone in the team will be working hard to find some improvements to try and turn our season around in the remaining nine rounds of this very close championship."
Bruno Senna (7th): "Today was a nice race. We pushed very hard on the strategy to make it work especially as the track conditions and the weather were very different from what we were expecting, so I'm happy with the team and I hope we can carry this momentum on. There were a lot of battles for me and it was hard it keep the tires alive because the temperatures were so high, but it's good to start in ninth place and finish in seventh. I think this is a turning point for us. The race was good, it was a fun weekend, the team are happy and the break is now welcome as it will be a chance to rest before we continue to push in the second part of the season."
Pastor Maldonado (13th): "It was a difficult race today. I had a bad start and lost a lot of positions which compromised our race from the beginning. It was hard to keep good pace in the traffic and then we also had to serve a drive-through penalty. I was on the limit racing Di Resta when I locked the brakes and lost some grip, but I was on the inside of the corner and so there was some light contact. We had to concentrate on tire management today and we gathered a lot of information for the future. We weren't as competitive as we have been, but we now need to work hard to focus on the second part of the season after the summer break."
Mark Gillan, Chief Operations Engineer: "I am pleased for Bruno who had an excellent race and the six points are a very welcome boost for the whole team going into the August break. Pastor had a poor start off the grid which compromised his race. He then pushed hard with good pace but received a drive-through penalty for his overtake on Di Resta. I'd like to thank the pit stop crew who did very well today, with our fastest ever stop."
Laurent Debout, Renault: "Bruno has looked strong all weekend and it's good to have this rewarded with some points today. Engine wise we've had a positive weekend and want to keep this momentum going over the summer – when we come back we go straight to the tracks where outright power is rewarded."
Heikki Kovalainen (17th): "It was a decent race. I made a good start and got up to 16th on the first lap and maintained a pretty good pace for the whole race from there. We're realistic about the performance of the car, but I think the balance and setup were very good this weekend. I'm also really pleased with how we managed the tires and I think the strategy worked well. The Hungaroring is a difficult track to overtake on, so we didn't think we'd be able to make up too many places, but I'm very happy with how the car performed and feel that the team has done a great job this weekend. I'll be keeping busy during the summer break, lots of fitness training and spending time with friends, and then I'll be looking forward to getting stuck into the second half of the season."
Vitaly Petrov (19th): "Overall this weekend has been a valuable lesson for us. In the race the car felt very different to how it performed in qualifying and we need to go back and look at the data to try and understand why. It's a bit strange as we had definitely improved it over the weekend, but in the race it just didn't feel the same. We have tried a few different setups this weekend, and we know what works, and what doesn't. When we've had time to look through all the data from today's race we'll understand what happened today and we'll make sure we learn from that for the rest of the season. On the positive side I think the team worked really well this weekend, and I'm really looking forward to the summer break. I hope everyone in the team can get some well deserved rest and then I'm really looking forward to getting on with the second half of the season."
Riad Asmat, Chief Executive Officer: "I am reasonably pleased with how we have ended the first half of the season. Both drivers, the team in the garage and on the pitwall did well today. I will take some positives out of the first half of the season, but the team now needs to use the break to recharge and then come back fighting. We understand that we have much more work to do in order to progress as quickly as we would like, and I believe we will return after the summer break feeling energized and with our entire focus on continuing to grow the team and to keep on taking measured steps forwards."
Mark Smith, Technical Director: "We have reached the end of the first half of the season and today's race is a fair indication of where we are. Both drivers performed as well as we could have wanted and they ran faultlessly today. The pitstops and the strategy were both good and the efforts everyone has made, here on track and back at the factory, cannot be questioned. However, we are not where we want to be and we know we have work to do to achieve the goals we have set for this season. The positives are that we have a break ahead of us, giving us time to take stock and recharge the batteries, and we then have the second half of the season to reach the level of performance we want for the 2012 season. We have the infrastructure in place, we have the right people and with the move to Leafield we have the facility so everything is in place."
Pedro de la Rosa (22nd): "It was a tough but nice race. It was very hot but we had a good pace. We went for a two-stop strategy, starting on mediums, then mediums again and finishing off on softs. At the end I had Glock in my sights and he was blocking his tires a lot, but the race finished before I could overtake him. The blue flags didn't help much either and this time I was unable to pull it off. Overall, I'm happy but it was a survival race. For the second half of the season we've got a few upgrades planned which we hope can help us take that step forwards that we need to be ahead of Marussia. Now we have to rest a few days to return with our batteries recharged."
Narain Karthikeyan (DNF, Suspension): "I had a good start to the race, maintaining Pedro's pace and running ahead of Glock after his spin. But after the first pitstop he was running very strong on softs, I was on mediums, and he overtook me. It was also very complicated to manage the blue flags, especially because there were so many of them. With five laps to go, the car was steering to the right, it was getting worse, and coming out of turn 3 the steering broke, so we have to figure out what happened exactly. It was a tough race, but we must continue working to improve when we return from the summer break."
Luis Perez-Sala, Team Principal: "It was an interesting race for us because we fought one-on-one with Glock from start to finish. Pedro and Narain got ahead of him and stayed in front until halfway through the race, but they overtook us in the second pitstop. Pedro had him in his sights towards the end but this time it wasn't to be. Although we finished behind our rivals, we kept a good pace and the most negative aspect is the problem Narain suffered with his suspension, which we now must analyze. Now we return to Madrid, to the Caja Magica, and after a few more days of work we will take a couple of days off to head into the second half of the season full of energy to continue progressing and improving this project."
Charles Pic (20th): "I am very happy to end the first half of my first season in this way and to be achieving the targets I set for myself. The race didn't begin so well, as I had a poor start again, so we must look at that and solve it for Spa and beyond as it is another factor that can help us progress in the race. After that, the race pace was very good and I am happy that our performance relative to the Caterhams is now much clearer to see, particularly as I had a nice and close battle with Petrov. Now we go into a long break when I will have the chance to reflect on the season so far and look at what we can do for the next half of the season. I would like to thank not just my engineers and car crew but the whole team for a very happy start to my F1 debut. It has not been easy for the team but we are making real progress. I wish everyone a good rest for the holidays and look forward to coming back fighting at the Belgian Grand Prix in four weeks' time."
Timo Glock (21st): "Another race to forget for me, a bit like Hockenheim. I had no pace and no balance in the car from the beginning on. Despite this I was still quicker in the first two laps but then experienced the rear end instability again. I lost the car suddenly under braking and couldn't catch it. I spun and then I was behind the HRTs and struggled massively again with the balance. I don't know what the problem is at the moment, but I think it is a good time for the break. My thanks to the team for the hard work in trying to resolve my problems with the car and I wish them a good holiday. I hope that we can all come back and enjoy a stronger second half of the season together."
John Booth, Team Principal: "First of all I would like to congratulate the whole team on the clear strides we have made so far this season which, based on today's performance, are clearly evident. Whilst we have occupied similar race placings for much of the season, we have slowly but surely been eating into the gap to Caterham, pulled further away from HRT behind and, bigger picture, reduced the margin to the front running teams. With another very impressive drive today, Charles has shown just how far we have come, as he was in touch with – and occasionally quicker – than Petrov for a large part of the race. By contrast, Timo had another tough time and has not yet been able to benefit from the clear progress we are making with the package. A long break is just what the sport needs right now and we'll go back to the UK, spend the week preparing for the long haul races in the not too distant future and then literally down tools for a couple of weeks to enjoy a well-earned holiday. It has been a challenging first seven months of the year and the whole team are to be congratulated for responding so well. I have every confidence that when we return to Spa in one month's time, both drivers will be able to reap even more from the current package and the developments we will bring for Monza."
|12.||Di Resta||Force India-Mercedes||+1:02.800|
|15.||Ricciardo||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||+1 lap|
|16.||Vergne||Toro Rosso-Ferrari||+1 lap|
|22.||De la Rosa||HRT-Cosworth||+3 laps|
|DNF||Karthikeyan||HRT-Cosworth||On Lap 63|
|DNF||Schumacher||Mercedes||On Lap 61|
Fastest lap: Vettel, 1:24.136