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Lucky 113 for Jenson Button

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After what seemed an unlucky qualifying for Jenson, it all came good. On his 113th F1 start, he finally broke his winning duck.

A great drive by the Brit saw him take the first step on the podium at the Hungaroring, the first Brit to win since Coulthard in Australia three years and 63 races ago. It also brings to the end the longest barren spell for a British driver in the sport.

JensonWin.jpgThe race began on a controversial note after Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher each had two second qualifying penalties, Button was also penalised after changing his engine after a blow up in practice 3. 

Schumacher, Alonso and Button all made good starts from the middle of the field, with Schumacher running in the top 8 after the first lap. Alonso also made the top 10, with Button just behind him.

hungariangrandprix_start.jpgThe race started just after a downpour at the track, so it was the first ever wet Hungarian GP start. Most of the drivers started on the intermediate tyres, however Barrichello and Michael Schumacher decided to use the full wet tyres, which at first seemed the right choice. However after the first few laps it seemed that they where the wrong choice after all, and Barrichello pitted on lap 6 for intermediate tyres.

Kimi Raikonen started on pole position seeming to have the initial pace and pulled away from the pursuing drivers. Behind him, Alonso on the Michelin tyres showed a massive pace advantage over the ailing Michael Schumacher, whose Bridgestone tyres just did not seem to be able to handle the conditions. This showed with the other Japanese tyre runners, with both of the Toyota and Williams cars struggling for pace and grip.

Kubica_BMW.jpgAlonso caught Schumacher up, and made the overtake look easy, driving around the outside of him at turn six, showing Michael that he really needed to pit to try using the Intermediate Bridgestone's as Alonso disappeared off into the distance catching up to the McLaren cars of Kimi and Pedro de la Rosa.

Meanwhile Alonso's team mate Fisichella caught up to the Ferrari, and after a few laps made a pass on the German. Michael tried to fight back, but in the process touched the front left of his nose cone on the Renault's rear wheel and damaged it forcing him to pit.

There was a small rainfall on the pit straight around lap 20, making the track even more treacherous for the drivers. Fisichella spun his car damaging the rear wing, he limped around for a few laps but was forced to stop soon after. The rain also caused BMW new boy Robert Kubica to spin and damage his nose cone, forcing him to pit for a new one, and last but not least Nico Rosberg ended a bad weekend by crashing the Williams.

The drivers that qualified in the top 10 had all made their first stops, these included both of the McLaren's and Button, however because he could take any fuel he liked to the start, Alonso continued on and took the lead of the race, setting the then fastest lap of the GP nearly 3 seconds faster than the chasing pack.

Ljensonbutton_honda_hungaroring.jpgap 27 was possibly the point where it all started to go wrong for Alonso, and right for Button. In an incident where Kimi was lapping Liuzi something went wrong with the communication, it seems that Kimi was struggling with tyres, Pedro was coming up to overtake, and Kimi was to lap the STR driver. In the confusion, Kimi rammed the rear of Liuzi destroying both of the cars in the process.  de la Rossa was lucky to pick his way through the carnage. It did however bring out the safety car, and bunched the group up.

Nearly everyone took the opportunity to pit, with the exception of a few, however all the drivers elected to stay on intermediate tyres, as the drying line was not yet big enough to run dry tyres.

The track started to dry out, and at last for Schumacher the Bridgestone tyres seemed to come into their own, he put in fast lap after fast lap and started to catch the Michelin shod teams in front of him.

Both Button and Michael pitted on lap 47, however crucially for both drivers they elected to leave the tyres they had been running on, as they where becoming 'slicks' because of the surface rubber wearing off.

A few laps later however Alonso pitted and decided to run with the dry Michelin tyres, some of the other teams had already switched (Toyota were showing better pace with the dry tyres on), so it looked like the time had come to go for the dry tyres. 

However Alonso never got to know whether it was the right decision or not, as a drive shaft broke as he exited the pits ending the championship leader's race.

Things were looking up for Michael Schumacher, if there is no Alonso, then any points he makes gets him all that much closer to taking the title off the Spaniard.

Schumacher was running in second place, and looked as if he would take eight point's of the 11 point gap. However his pace started to fall away from him, and both Pedro and Heidfeld started to catch the German driver.

Pedro_Hungaro.jpgPedro made a try down to the first corner, but the Ferrari had too much straight line speed and held the McLaren off for a couple of laps, Pedro however did not give up and dived underneath him at the chicane, and looked to have made the pass. Schumacher however cut the corner of the chicane and came out ahead. The German driver should have let Pedro pass, as the rules do not allow a driver to gain an unfair advantage by cutting a corner, he however made Pedro fight for the second spot, and Pedro knowing what he would do, made another pass on the next lap at the same chicane, this time however he left Schumacher no space to come back at him.

Schumacher's tyres had obviously had better days, and with Heidfeld closing fast, and having seen Pedro pass him at the chicane, proceeded to do likewise. The ultra competitive Schumacher did not let the place go lightly, fight back hard against the BMW, so hard in fact that he bumped the car of Heidfeld and damaged the front end of his own car forcing him to retire. In one foul swoop he let off the Renault and Alonso pairing, he should have settled for fourth spot and taken the points. His car was no match for either the McLaren or BMW cars on new tyres. Is the old man of Formula 1 finally loosing his edge?

Jenson_Honda.jpgButton and Honda F1 took their first win easily, with Pedro de la Rossa getting his first podium finishing second, and BMW earning their first podium with Heidfeld finishing third.

All in all the race of the season, possibly the most 'boring' track of the year, gave us one of the best drives and races of the season.

It turned out to be a good race for both the Honda drivers as Barrichello finished in fourth, with Coulthard finishing in fifth for Red Bull with a good drive from the other Brit in the pack.

Ralph Schumacher brought a struggling Bridgestone tyred Toyota into sixth, Kubica also seemed to have scored his first point's bringing his BMW Sauber into seventh in a decent show of talent, however after the race his car was deemed 2Kg under weight and was disqualified.

The only consolation for the Ferrari team was that Massa managed to bring his car into the last points scoring place to earn them 1 points (later upgraded to 2 point after Kubica's disqualification). This also means that Michael gets 1 point for eighth place.

1.  BUTTON        Honda        1h52m20.941s
2.  DE LA ROSA    McLaren      +30.8
3.  HEIDFELD      BMW          +43.8s
4.  BARRICHELLO   Honda        +45.2s
5.  COULTHARD     Red Bull     +1 lap
6.  R.SCHUMACHER  Toyota       +1 lap
DQ.  KUBICA        BMW          +1 lap
7.  MASSA         Ferrari      +1 lap
8.  M.SCHUMACHER  Ferrari      +3 laps
9. MONTEIRO      Midland      +3 laps
10. ALBERS        Midland      +3 laps
11. SPEED         Toro Rosso   +4 laps
12. TRULLI        Toyota       +5 laps
13. SATO          Super Aguri  +5 laps
R.  ALONSO        Renault      +19 laps
R.  RAIKKONEN     McLaren      +45 laps
R.  LIUZZI        Toro Rosso   +45 laps
R.  ROSBERG       Williams     +51 laps
R.  FISICHELLA    Renault      +52 laps
R.  KLIEN         Red Bull     +64 laps
R.  WEBBER        Williams     +69 laps
R.  YAMAMOTO      Super Aguri  +70 laps
 

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