All the facts, fiction, rumour and innuendo….

Well let’s say it, the Hungarian Grand Prix was a BORE!!! The only thing that livened up proceedings was the decent into chaos at McLaren. It all started quite normally on Friday with the usual suspects all being at the front of the field after first practice, except that BMW had put Kubica on soft tyres and bugger-all fuel which left him at the top of the time sheets by just under two tenths from Massa. In the afternoon session Alonso was the only one to drop under the 1minute 21 barrier ahead of Kovalainen in the Renault. The Ferrari’s were starting to look like they may struggle for a race win here with the pair of them being over half a second back.

For the new boys, Vettel was showing off his class by being immediately on the pace of Toro Rosso team mate Liuzzi but Yamamoto in the Spyker was showing the downside of having no car time since last year and was consistently around two seconds slower than Sutil.

Apart from that most teams were about where you would expect them to be although the much revised, “all will be better soon” Honda was woefully slow.  Saturday mornings practice session didn’t change that much although the Ferraris looked much happier. And then came qualifying………

Session one saw Hamilton on top from Kovalainen followed by Kubica, Massa, Alonso & Raikkonen. At the other end of the spectrum, both Hondas missed the cut along with Sato, Vettel and the Spykers. Yamamoto would not have made it into the top 16 but may have been a bit closer to Sutil had he not been held up by Fisichella for almost an entire lap when he was supposed to be on a quick one. This was to have more telling consequences for Fisichella than Yamamoto come race day.

Session two saw a Ferrari fiasco reminiscent of the old days. Massa had a moment of his first flying lap which left him outside the top ten and when he pitted for another set of tyres, the team failed to put in any more fuel. He made it to the end of the pit lane before stopping and had to be dragged back to his pit box to top up. By this time his nicely warmed tyres were cold and in the end he could do no better than 14th and out of the top ten shoot out. Another one to miss out was a thoroughly confused Kovalainen who after changes to his Renault, dropped from P2 in Q1 to 12th. At the top of the list stood Hamilton and Alonso in the mid 1m 19s followed by Trulli, Raikkonen, Rosberg, Heidfeld and Webber.

There has been trouble brewing for a few months now between the McLaren drivers with Alonso feeling that he has not been getting the respect he deserves from within the team and that Hamilton has not been playing the team game. And on this day it all boiled over. It all began with Hamilton refusing to obey his teams instructions that he move over to let Alonso past. Alonso was supposed to be at the front of the queue at the start of the session, fuelled a bit heavier and it was intended that he would do at least one more lap in the fuel burn stage. He had a slight problem starting the car however and Hamilton beat him to the pit exit. Hamilton’s excuse that he didn’t move over because he didn’t want to let Raikkonen by did not amuse team boss Ron Dennis and Alonso was rightfully furious.

Then came the final light fuel runs. After one each, Hamilton was a tad faster. Alosno was first into the pits for fresh tyres while Hamilton crawled in behind him. Hamilton arrived to find Alonso still in the pit box despite having been reshod waiting for his engineer to tell him to leave. What ever you believe, Alonso waited/was kept waiting for around thirty seconds with Hamilton parked behind him. By the time Hamilton had his new tyres bolted on it was too late for him to complete another flying lap and Alonso had pole.

Within minutes the stewards announced that the matter was under investigation and eventually Alonso was bumped down to sixth place on the grid for impeding another competitor.  (See STEWARDS REPORT HUNGARY 2007 for full details of the decision).

This meant that Heidfeld had his first front row start for the year in the BMW with Raikkonen and Rosberg sharing the second row. Fisichella was also dropped from eighth to thirteenth for his blocking of Yamamoto. Much as had Alonso’s chances of winning gone, so had Fisichella’s of scoring points.

After all that, the race was the typical Hungarian yawn fest. Hamilton led from start to finish with Raikkonen never more than four seconds away but with no chance of passing on this awful circuit. Alonso made up a couple of places early but got stuck behind the much slower Ralf Schumacher in the Toyota and it took until the final pit stops for him to take that place. Heidfeld finished in third, ahead of Alonso who was followed home by Kubica, Ralf, Rosberg, Kovalainen and Webber, who would have probably scored a point or two had the Red Bull team not made another bad strategy call. Instead of swapping to a two stop strategy like most other teams, they left Mark on a three stopper and he had to stop from seventh with 10 laps to go to refuel. The Hondas were so good that the only one to finish, ran last for most of the race and finished…….. last.

To complete McLaren’s misery they were also docked constructors championship points for this race although that is likely to be appealed. Also rumour has it that Alonso will not be staying put at the end of this year. It has been suggested that if he doesn’t land another competitive drive he may well retire.

So the Hungarian Grand Prix is over for another year. Unfortunately lots of drama, but not much real racing. 


Race results

70 laps; 306.663km;
Weather: Sunny.

Pos  Driver        Team                 Time 1.  Hamilton      McLaren-Mercedes     1h35:52.991

 2.  Raikkonen     Ferrari              +     0.715
 3.  Heidfeld      BMW Sauber           +    43.129
 4.  Alonso        McLaren-Mercedes     +    44.858
 5.  Kubica        BMW Sauber           +    47.616
 6.  R.Schumacher  Toyota               +    50.669
 7.  Rosberg       Williams-Toyota      +    59.139
 8.  Kovalainen    Renault              +  1:08.104
 9.  Webber        Red Bull-Renault     +  1:16.331
10.  Trulli        Toyota               +    1 lap
11.  Coulthard     Red Bull-Renault     +    1 lap
12.  Fisichella    Renault              +    1 lap
13.  Massa         Ferrari              +    1 lap
14.  Wurz          Williams-Toyota      +    1 lap
15.  Sato          Super Aguri-Honda    +    1 lap
16.  Vettel        Toro Rosso-Ferrari   +    1 lap
17.  Sutil         Spyker-Ferrari       +    2 laps
18.  Barrichello   Honda                +    2 laps

Fastest lap: Raikkonen, 1:20.047

Not classified/retirements:

Driver        Team                            On lap

Liuzzi        Toro Rosso-Ferrari   Electrical43
Davidson      Super Aguri-Honda    Accident   42
Button        Honda                Engine     36
Yamamoto      Spyker-Ferrari       Spun        7
World Championship standings

Drivers:                    Constructors:              1.  Hamilton      80        1.  McLaren-Mercedes     138

 2.  Alonso        73        2.  Ferrari              119
 3.  Raikkonen     60        3.  BMW Sauber            71

4.  Massa         59        4.  Renault               33

 5.  Heidfeld      42        5.  Williams-Toyota       20
 6.  Kubica        28        6.  Red Bull-Renault      16

7.  Fisichella    17        7.  Toyota                12

 8.  Kovalainen    16        8.  Super Aguri-Honda      4
 9.  Wurz          13        9.  Honda                  1
10.  Coulthard      8
11.  Webber         8
12.  Rosberg        7
13.  Trulli         7
14.  R.Schumacher   5
15.  Sato           4
16.  Vettel         1
17.  Button         1