Hamilton wins at last
World champion Lewis Hamilton has finally scored his first victory of the season in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Last Updated: 27/07/09 10:00am
Lewis Hamilton has finally scored his first grand prix victory of the 2009 season following a flawless performance in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Starting fourth on the grid, the defending world champion assumed the lead after polesitter Fernando Alonso made an early pit stop.
He was henceforth never challenged and eventually took the chequered flag 11.5 seconds ahead of Kimi Raikkonen, the Ferrari driver finishing second just 24 hours after team-mate Felipe Massa's freak accident during qualifying.
The resurgence of McLaren Mercedes and Ferrari on Sunday came at the expense of this season's frontrunners Red Bull and, in particular, Brawn GP.
Red Bull's Mark Webber scored the best result of the championship contenders, the Australian claiming the final podium position with third place.
Championship leader Jenson Button struggled once more, finishing down in seventh, while Webber's team-mate, Sebastian Vettel, retired after suffering suspension damage.
Williams driver Nico Rosberg finished fourth ahead of McLaren's Heikki Kovalainen, with Toyota duo Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli sandwiching Button for the other point-scoring positions.
The result means that Webber moves ahead of Vettel and into second place in the drivers' championship, 18.5 points behind Button.
Hamilton, meanwhile, moves up to eighth place after winning his first race - and appearing on the podium for the first time - since last year's Chinese Grand Prix.
As at the Nurburgring a fortnight ago - the first race at which McLaren demonstrated a definite improvement to their car - Hamilton appeared to relish the fact he was back at the front of the grid when the lights went out.
However, unlike his start at the German Grand Prix, no contact was made with a rival and, tapping into his car's KERS system, Hamilton duelled with Raikkonen and Webber for third place behind Alonso.
The Englishman settled for third place behind the Red Bull while Raikkonen in-turn clouted Vettel, who fell back down from second on the grid to seventh place.
Hamilton immediately set about Webber and got past him on lap five before moving into the lead after Alonso - whose surprise pole position came by virtue of a light fuel load - made his first stop on lap 12.
The Renault driver's race then came undone after his right front wheel was not replaced securely - the Spaniard trailing back to the pits before the wheel parted ways with his car in spectacular fashion.
He retired on lap 16, three laps before Raikkonen got ahead of Webber as both drivers made their opening stops in tandem - the Australian falling behind after Red Bull's mechanics struggled to remove their fuel rig.
Hamilton made his first stop without incident one lap later and was soon leading once more, briefly heading the heavily-fuelled Button.
The latter started down in eighth after a compromised qualifying session and fell back once more following his first stop on lap 24.
Brawn GP had again hoped to demonstrate championship-winning pace this weekend but their team leader instead found himself reporting chronic oversteer and was soon behind Glock and Trulli - the Toyotas also heavily fuelled having respectively started 13th and 11th.
Team-mate Rubens Barrichello was fairing even worse, the Brazilian starting 12th on the grid following a suspension failure during qualifying - the unfortunate Massa being struck by a spring that had detached itself from the Brawn car - and eventually coming home 10th in the race.
His championship aspirations appear to be fading - Vettel's too receiving a knock after the suspension damage he picked up on the opening lap eventually forced his retirement on lap 30.
Up front, meanwhile, Hamilton led Raikkonen by 6.6 seconds by half distance and with the Finn making his second stop one lap earlier, Hamilton was able to stay in the lead after he pitted for a second time on lap 46.
Despite coming under pressure from Kovalainen whilst he lapped on the harder compound tyre during the middle period of the race, Webber was a comfortable third, the second McLaren then losing out to Rosberg at the second set of stops.
Button gained a championship point late on by leapfrogging similarly ahead of Trulli. His championship lead is still a healthy one but he simply cannot afford too many more performances like those seen across the last three races.
Brawn GP will doubtless be hard at work during the four-week break before the European Grand Prix trying to work out what has gone wrong and what can be done to rectify the situation.
Meanwhile, although his hopes of mounting a successful title defence have long since evaporated, Hamilton will be looking to continue the winning habit - and also jog the more fickle memories.
Becoming the youngest driver in the sport's history, rookie Jaime Alguersuari had a low-key race but nevertheless led home team-mate Sebastien Buemi after the latter suffered a spin.
Hungarian Grand Prix:
1 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) McLaren 1hr 38mins 23.876secs, 2 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 1:38:34.881, 3 Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull 1:38:39.884, 4 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams 1:38:49.885, 5 Heikki Kovalainen (Fin) McLaren 1:38:57.879, 6 Timo Glock (Ger) Toyota 1:38:58.878, 7 Jenson Button (Gbr) Brawn GP 1:39:18.876, 8 Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota 1:39:31.877, 9 Kazuki Nakajima (Jpn) Williams 1:39:31.883, 10 Rubens Barrichello Bra Brawn GP 1:39:32.878, 11 Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber 1:39:33.882, 12 Nelson Piquet Jr. (Bra) Renault 1:39:34.881, 13 Robert Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber 1:39:37.876 14 Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Force India at 1 lap, 15 Jaime Alguersuari (Spa) Scuderia Toro Rosso at 1 lap, 16 Sebastien Buemi (Swi) Scuderia Toro Rosso at 1 lap
Not Classified: 17 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 29 laps completed, 18 Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault 15 laps completed, 19 Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force India 1 lap completed
DNS: Felipe Massa (Bra) Ferrari
Drivers Championship: 1 Jenson Button (Gbr) Brawn GP 70.0pts, 2 Mark Webber (Aus) Red Bull 51.5, 3 Sebastian Vettel (Ger) Red Bull 47.0, 4 Rubens Barrichello (Bra) Brawn GP 44.0, 5 Nico Rosberg (Ger) Williams 25.5, 6 Jarno Trulli (Ita) Toyota 22.5, 7 Felipe Massa (Bra) Ferrari 22.0, 8 Lewis Hamilton (Gbr) McLaren 19.0, 9 Kimi Raikkonen (Fin) Ferrari 18.0, 10 Timo Glock (Ger) Toyota 16.0, 11 Fernando Alonso (Spa) Renault 13.0, 12 Heikki Kovalainen (Fin) McLaren 9.0, 13 Nick Heidfeld (Ger) BMW Sauber 6.0, 14 Sebastien Buemi (Swi) Scuderia Toro Rosso 3.0, 15 Robert Kubica (Pol) BMW Sauber 2.0, 16 Sebastien Bourdais (Fra) BMW Sauber 2.0, 17 Giancarlo Fisichella (Ita) Force India 0.0, 18 Kazuki Nakajima (Jpn) Williams 0.0, 19 Adrian Sutil (Ger) Force India 0.0, 20 Nelson Piquet Jr. (Bra) Renault 0.0, 21 Jaime Alguersuari (Spa) Scuderia Toro Rosso 0.0
Manufacturer Championship: 1 Brawn GP 114.0pts, 2 Red Bull 98.5, 3 Ferrari 40.0, 4 Toyota 38.5, 5 McLaren 28.0, 6 Williams 25.5, 7 Renault 13.0, 8 BMW Sauber 8.0, 9 Scuderia Toro Rosso 5.0, 10 Force India 0.0