July 31, 2011

Hungarian GP: Lead us not onto temptation...

Jenson Button Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 F1 2011 Hungarian GP
(Charles Coates/LAT Photographic)

That was the commandment for Jenson Button: don't fall for the temptation to come in for tires, too late at the beginning of the race and the wrong ones towards the end. Or for that matter, don't fall for the temptation to listen to your team, clearly clearly focused on Hamilton's strategy, and make your own tire call.

Great win for "gentleman" Jens. As usual, he kept his cool, even during his duel with "Chinstrap" Hamilton, he caught him but did not lose his head when Hamilton passed him back. Classic Button.

Lewis Hamilton McLaren Mercedes MP4-26 F1 2011 Hungarian GP

Hamilton, what can you say, he started second and finished fourth after being in a dominant position most of the race. Afterward he blamed the radio, the team for making that silly tire call and the stewards for giving him that fully deserved drive through. Still he was fun to watch in the opening laps.

Vettel, can go the rest of the season finishing in the top five and win the championship. Sure, Mclaren is now just as fast with Ferrari not far off, but if BUtton was able to have a similar arc with Brawn in 09, do you really think Vettel will not pull it off? However, this type of championship win will just make everyone hate him and Red Bull, time to show some fight, as I mentioned, Like Jenson did back then.

Fernando Alonso Felipe Massa F1 2011 Hungarian GP

If Hamilton lost two spots, Alonso gained two and managed a podium despite lots of mistakes. From his starting spot, he had no choice but take risks. He lost big time when stuck behind the Mercedes of Rosberg, once clear he was able to match Hamilton's speed but by then it was too late. His big error was actually the spin, unforced, towards the end. The tire warming issue at Ferrari is still there, Massa took four laps on new tires to be able to set fast lap, Webber, in front was able to push right away. Ironically, it's not like Ferrari was gentler in the Pirellis, worst of both worlds.

Webber once again had a bad start adn was given a #2 driver strategy. Massa put in the kind of anonymous race that might make Luca di Montezemolo call his contract lawyer tomorrow.

In the back, Paul Di Resta came in seventh, well done. Renault made an exploding BBQ and the Hungarian marshals made an insane recovery, pulling the car back against the flow of traffic out of the pits, nearly collecting Vettel.

We'll have the highlight clip later this week, but for now, and as usual, love to hear your say!


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


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



  1. Had Button not had those two retirements (which were not at all his fault) he'd be well ahead of Hamilton by now. It is impressive when you consider how focused on Lewis Mclaren are. Perhaps that will no longer be the case next year?

    At Ferrari, I think Luca needs to get Gordon Ramsay on Massa. He is going from bad to worse and Ferrari are really suffering in the constructors race now. To me, his performance this year has just been appallingly bad and he's had few, if any, redeeming moment. It just looks like he lets people go right by him.

  2. I really don't know what you have against Lewis. You talk about him complaining, people quickly forget what Button sounds like when things are not going his way. Lewis made a mistake and he admitted that, what more do you want? Vettel, Alonso and Webber all also made mistakes.

  3. Actually, thinking about recent previous championships like Button's. If Vettel does win this championship by just accumulating points rather than winning races; I think that is somewhat of a turn off.

    The POINTS vs WINS system is definately very debatable. But when a championship is being won by dominance at first then if Red Bull scrapes by until the end I might be a little ticked and it will make me think A LOT less of Vettel (like you said).

    Whats of primary importance? Entertainment or Seeing the best drivers equally battling eachother out?

  4. The spin was a mistake, the "recovery" was moronic, even as a big fan of Lewis that was absolutely stupid and could have aced not only himself but a few other cars as well -- thankfully that was quite a slow part of the track.

    The tire call, however, was his team dropping the ball. He doesn't have a radar in his car, he's not calling for inters, he's supposed to blindly trust his team to make the right calls and they've goofed more then once this year. You have to admit with 1 useless pit to get the inters on, the time he lost on the inters, and the 2nd useless pit to take them off, along with a spin, and a drive-through and he finishes 4th? I'm thinking without that screw up (and even with the moronic 180 in traffic + the deserving drive-through), he would have been easily in 3rd, if not 2nd. It's not JUST him screwing up, his team isn't helping him much with calls like that either.

  5. Lewis didn't blame anyone for that penalty. He apologized to DiResta, actually, after the race.

    Lewis's one big mistake was that dangerous recovery. The rest of it was all McLaren.

    If the McLaren team hadn't dropped the ball and gambled on inters, even when it was clear from Webber's times that it was WAY too early for inters (and they would eventually be a hindrance when the rain petered out). Button, however, refused the inters. He felt his pace was enough, he had tires to finish the race (since he was on primes) and thus he stayed out.

    Button's strategy was flexible. Lewis, on the other hand, HAD to pit, because he was on disintegrating Super Softs... so he took team advice... which turned out to be horrendously wrong.

    Lewis's problem is that he's a team player who doesn't think for himself often enough. But yet... let's see where he blamed the team, the stewards and the entire world for this loss:


    “Big congratulations to Jenson. He pushed me hard and he deserved to win the race. I felt sorry for the team that we didn’t get a one-two, but at least one of us got the victory. The car felt very good to drive today. I think the cooler conditions helped us, but the team has done a fantastic job to get us where we are. We’ve now won two races in the space of a week, which is a great way to enter the summer break. I’m disappointed in myself for spinning. I had to do a doughnut to get myself facing the right way and that forced Paul (di Resta) onto the grass, which is why I got the drive-through penalty. I’ve apologised to Paul and I’ll put the penalty behind me and move on to the next race.”


    Oh wait... he didn't...

    Props to Button. Well deserved win. He outraced Vettel. He outraced Hamilton. He never looked in danger of losing that lead once he had it, pulling out an extra few seconds over Vettel at the end.

    A totally satisfying race.

  6. To add... Lewis was only out there on disintegrating Super Softs because McLaren also forced him to do an extra nine laps on them. Totally unnecessarily, in my opinion... but perhaps they were hedging their bets by having him on a different tire strategy from Button, who pitted for the primes earlier.

  7. I think Button's two wins this year are far more impressive than any of his wins in the Brawn. Two very impressive drives, however, what happens to him during fully dry races? He just seems to never be able to push to the front.


  8. "Nicky, "...I don't know what happened but I got a penalty for something, which is to be expected, I guess..."
    Then he said it was the team who messed him up. Well, the team called Jenson in and Jenson had enough brains and stayed out. It's easy to blame when things go wrong. something Hamilton loves to do (like Montoya always did BTW).

    I guess it comes from having come into the sport from the top and never having to show your speed in a Minardi or something like that. :)

  9. It appears the one track worker touches or turns something on top of the Lotus before the side bursts.

  10. AC:

    You hit the nail on the head about Hamilton. I've said this before, but Hamilton is always comparing himself to Senna, but I always thought he was much more like Montoya: Raw speed and aggressive but lacking in brains and always whinging on when things don't go his way. Both of them seem to have that attitude that everyone should just recognize their genius and get the hell out of the way...

  11. Seriously guys, i don't know why you single out Hamilton so much. Everyone moans when things arent going their way, Alonso last year when he had a bad run in the middle of the season. Button moaned like a a spoiled little boy in the second half of '09 when his car wasn't easily faster than the rest of the field any more. Cut Lewis some slack, he's still young a got a lot to learn, he's talented and F1 would be a lot more dull without him.

  12. Why, everybody else seems to be in the business of cutting him slack already, someone has to keep him honest :)

  13. I know this is off topic, but it was funny to hear the commentators mention that "Webber had a bad start AGAIN!?!?!"

    Anyway, just my bad attempt at some humor.

  14. If you want to see passing and excitement, look to Hamilton and Alonso.
    Pilots whinge whenever things go wacko, and they smile from ear to ear when getting a good result.

    No story here.

    Loved the race yesterday.


  15. "Anonymous said...
    Seriously guys, i don't know why you single out Hamilton so much."

    It's because he's black. At least that is what Ali G. would say...

  16. AC, be glad you don't do executive summaries for GP2! I estimate it would be an hour long... :)

  17. I enjoy reading this blog, but your continual critisism of Hamilton - to the point of being factually incorrect, is pathetic. Grow up!

  18. What part is incorrect? I'll say this, Hamilton fanboys are very sensitive. :)

  19. Like a few people have already said, it's your blog and you can like and dislike whichever drivers you choose, so please don't adjust your "reporting" according to what some of your readers feel. I disagree that anything you've said about Hamilton since his recent fall from grace is factually incorrect, after all this blog, like most, is just a repackaging of whichever stories you choose. This repackaging gives you some freedom to portray the event, the teams, and the drivers in a light you see fit. Based on the stories you highlight and the stories you omit, combined with the general attitude, Hamilton has been painted as a very fast, very stupid driver. This is the same way most African American quarterbacks are treated, as great athletes, but without the mental capacity of their Caucasian counterparts. I thought maybe you are so tough on Hamilton because you like him and when he makes mistakes your upset because you wanted to see him do well, but this clearly isn't the case because when he wins you aren’t impressed. It’s easy to say the “Hamilton fanboy media” isn’t adequately reporting the truth about this driver, so it’s your duty to reveal the dirty truth that is Hamilton (using Fox News logic, this makes axis fair and balanced). Whatever your reason for disliking Lewis I don’t get it. But I suppose we all pick drivers we like more than others; it makes the show a bit more interesting to feel as though we have some stake, but we are also honest about these feelings. In reality Axis isn’t a news sources, you’re just as much a regular fan as the rest of us, so be honest with your opinions. But also understand that for whatever crazy reasons some people actually like that little whiny, crashing, complaining, tire destroying asshole.

  20. "whiny, crashing, complaining, tire destroying asshole."

    Don't forget rule-bending, cheating, lying (Lie-Gate)... :D

    The reason I react is that Hamilton was a real ass over the last few races over the uncompetitiveness of the McLaren package... but here, he's actually being nice.

    Might have something to do with the fact that he actually has a decent car... but he's acknowledged that at least part of that fiasco was his own doing. Which is a far cry from Hamilton pre-July.

    I was a Hamilton fan in his rookie year. Then I started hating him post-Alonso fallout. Now, after he's actually spent a season or two in a reasonably horrible car (horrible when compared to the Brawn GPs and Red Bulls, mind you), he seems to have matured in terms of racecraft. Who needs Minardi when you're fighting an uphill battle against technically superior cars in a car that appears to have the front suspension from a skateboard?

    He's still a corporate tool when it comes to interviews, though... and I rather like it when he says something brash or impolite... because that lets you know it's still him in there, not a McLaren marketing puppet... and he's speaking his mind.

    Now if he'd only do THAT on track.

  21. @fanboy#1 you are not saying we criticize Hamilton because he's black, are you? That what AliG would say!

    But here's my, and, I'm sure, CG's beef with Hamilton. The guy comes into F1 at the top, never had to struggle with an inferior machine ( no Minardi, Toleman etc.) and he immediately declares himself the re-incarnation of Senna?

    Takes more than a yellow helmet.

  22. I don't get it, the one time Hamilton admits fault he can't get credit. The person you see in these post race intervies is almost never the person that lives and breath inside their crash helmet. Let's pretend F1 didn't have post race interviews...and you had to judge racers by only their action on the track. It would seem as if Vettel can't pass anyone without hitting them, that Button and Webber need the perfect conditions (in respect to themselves) to win a race, and that Alonso and Hamilton know how to overtake, sometimes irrepsective of the risks. I love all these "players" in the game of F1 because if we only had one type of driver it'd be a boring spectacle!


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