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The dust settles: Hungary

The dust settles: Hungary

“Don't knock the weather. If it didn't change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn't start a conversation."

After Silverstone and Nürburgring, where the weather decided to compete with KERS and DRS for the role of most important factor during the race, everyone expected Hungary to be… a typical Hungarian race: hot and dry. Well… it didn’t match up to expectations!

The weather played its part once again, and in the team’s case, not for the best. Before everyone goes away for a couple of weeks for the summer shutdown, let’s look back on this particular race…

The race could probably be best described for the team as one of missed opportunities. Both Nico and Michael qualified on the clean side of the grid on Saturday afternoon with Nico less than 0.6s behind the Red Bull of Mark Webber.

Once again, both of our guys had one of those cracking starts they deliver on Sundays. By the second corner, Nico and Michael were running in fourth and fifth places, having started in seventh and ninth. In a total of 20 competitive starts between the pair, our drivers have only lost places three times…

Sadly, Michael’s race came to an end prematurely on lap 26 after a gearbox issue. Until that point, he had been running a competitive race and was pretty much matching Massa’s pace after their respective first stops. The spin and gearbox issue which followed were unfortunate as Michael was then in a good position to score solid points…

As for Nico, who was running in sixth place after his first stop on lap 12 for options, a seventh place finish was what the team was aiming for, but the weather decided to get into the mix!

Having made his second stop on lap 27 for prime tyres, Nico had to stop for a third time no matter what happened during the course of the race. Needing to make a tyre change and with the rain starting to fall quite heavily around the track, the team had two options – another set of primes or put on inters as the rain intensified. On lap 49, Nico was fighting for sixth place, 1.7s behind Massa after being passed by him.

Thee decision was made to come in for inters on lap 50, and sadly the gamble didn’t pay off as the shower petered out… Nico’s fourth stop cost us 23 seconds as he pitted again for a set of prime tyres. Without this gamble, Nico would have run to a comfortable seventh place finish, but if you don't take the risk, you can't get the rewards. In comparison, race winner Button stopped on lap 11 for options, lap 27 again for options, then lap 42 for primes to the end.

Nico re-emerged in eleventh place but on a fresher set of tyres. He closed the gap quite quickly on a train of three cars formed by Kobayashi, Buemi and Alguersuari. Nico overtook the Japanese driver and the Spaniard, and was closing the gap lap after lap on Buemi, to 0.7s on lap 68 but had to drop the fight to let fourth and fifth placed Hamilton and Webber past…

Not an ideal race for the team, but on a positive note, we increased the gap to Lotus-Renault for the third race in succession. The team is now 14 points clear of the Enstone squad and we have out-scored or matched them at every race since China. That’s a positive trend that we will aim to maintain after the break…

All the Formula One teams will now enter a ‘hibernation’ phase with the shutdown period, with the factories closing down for two of the next three weeks. Next stop will be Spa, a place well known for the uncertainty of its weather. At least it will give nine out of ten people something to talk about!

Enjoy the break and see you there.

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