Button masters the weather again to claim tense Hungarian Grand Prix

Posted on July 31, 2011

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Jenson Button triumphed in damp conditions at a tense Hungarian Grand Prix.

Button celebrated his 200th start in style. Credit: McLaren.com

The Briton read the conditions perfectly to seize victory in the wake of mistakes from several rivals, not least team mate Lewis Hamilton.

McLaren had been dominating proceedings for most phases of the race and looked set for a one-two until a late shower forced the drivers to roll the dice. Hamilton span, winning himself a drive through for endangering Paul di Resta’s Force India as he recovered. He then changed to inters – which was the wrong choice, forcing an extra pitstop to go with his penalty. Button claimed a lead he would never surrender.

This is to take nothing from Button who drove a masterful Grand Prix to take his second win of the year. Following his heroics in Canada, the 2009 world champion showed again why he is the greatest of the modern drivers in changeable conditions.

Down the field, the most eyecatching event was Nick Heidfeld’s Lotus Renault catching fire and then partially exploding on exit from the pitlane. It was a scary looking incident for the martials and the team will want to establish exactly what happened.

Alas, great as the win is, Button’s last two DNFs ensure he has done nothing to chip away at runaway championship leader Sebastian Vettel’s lead. The Red Bull driver took advantage of Hamilton’s troubles to claim second, converting pole into yet another podium finish this year.

Ferrari looked anonymous today, with Fernando Alono making a couple of mistakes and making a poor strategy call mid-race. Together with McLaren being competitive, it makes it appear highly unlikely the Spaniard will mount the same charge which took him to the brink of the title last year.

Vettel, defending world champion, now goes into the summer break with a practically insurmountable lead. He will defend his title with some ease, even of the unlikely happens and the wheels fall off the Red Bull wagon.

All of which makes the championship a race for second place. Button came off two technical retirements to win in brilliant style. He may not be the out and out fastest driver out there but in conditions like this, he is often unbeatable.

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Posted in: Formula One, Race