F1: Hungarian GP round-up
By LJ Hutchins
Sunday, August 5th, 2007
A quick round-up of what the British drivers and their teams thought of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The big story of the day was, of course, Lewis Hamilton who drove a textbook race from pole position to clinch his third win, apparently succeeding in putting Saturday’s distractions out of his mind.
At the winners’ press conference he said: “it’s been an eventful weekend and quite emotional for all the team, I think. We made a really good step forward, the team has been working so hard to improve the car and we came here with a great package.
“We still weren’t sure whether we would be ahead of the Ferraris but as you could see in the race, they obviously had great pace.”
He described a steering problem that emerged early on in the race, as well as some tyre issues leading to periods of understeer, which meant he had his work cut out to keep Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen behind him.
He added: “All the drama that’s gone on over the weekend, it would have been easy to lose focus. It’s been a bit of a downer on the team, but the great thing is that the team remains positive and the energy in the team still remains.
“And it just proves that there’s nothing that can stop us. So with that in mind, I’m able to get in the car and do my job and obviously I know how to win races.
“I’ve experienced having Kimi up my tail a couple of times this year, especially in Malaysia, so with that experience, today was a slightly easier but still nevertheless it was a hard race.”
As well as scoring a huge hit with fans he won the approbation of Mercedes’ Norbert Haug: “Lewis drove a flawless race from the start to the finish. Lewis achieved his third victory and his 10th podium in only his 11th Formula 1 race. It is also the 50th Grand Prix win of the McLaren Mercedes partnership since our first victory at Melbourne on 10 March 1997.”
But team boss Ron Dennis acknowledged the pressures that both drivers had been under: “A weekend full of stress and emotion. The issues that faced us, not just this weekend but also in the previous month, has tested the resolve of the whole team.
“It’s at these times that you have to stay true to your principles and values. We will take the time between now and the Turkish Grand Prix to continue to develop the car and strive to maintain our winning streak.
“Both drivers did great jobs in different but very difficult circumstances.”
David Coulthard finished 11th for Red Bull Racing, two places behind team-mate Mark Webber. His was a quiet race in which he basically sat in his qualifying slot. He said: “It was very inconsistent between sets of tyres out on track, so it was difficult to judge our out-and-out performance.”
Team principal Christian Horner added that the team had found the lack of race pace frustrating as well as the failure of Mark Webber’s three-stop strategy to net him a point.
He said: “With David, we rolled the dice when we saw Davidson’s car beached in a precarious position on the circuit, as we thought the safety car could be deployed. David was out of the points, so we gambled on his position, bought him into the pits and fuelled him to the finish.
“Unfortunately it didn’t work out, but it was worth a try. On a positive note, we got two more finishes today and had 100 per cent reliability all weekend.”
Not a particularly edifying weekend for Jenson Button, unfortunately. And naturally the comparisons with his victory last year were flying around – as if he needed reminding. Having qualified 17th he managed a mere 36 laps before an electronics problem ended his race.
Jenson, as usual, was philosophical: “What can I say? We all know the problems and how much work there is to be done. The problem that brought my race to an end appears to be a sensor problem as I couldn’t get full throttle for a few laps before I eventually slowed for the blue flags.
“Then the engine just stalled. Before that we were massively off the pace and I struggled with huge understeer. Our results today speak for themselves.”
Engineering Director Jacky Eeckelaert added: his has been a weekend to forget. Quite simply, we did not have the race pace here. An engine-related problem stopped Jenson out on the circuit.
“We have three weeks before the next race and a huge amount of work to do in that time.”
Anthony Davidson also failed to finish in his Super Aguri after what he chivalrously described as a “racing incident” with Giancarlo Fisichella on lap 41 wrecked his rear suspension.
He said; “It was a frustrating end to the day. I got a really good start and the car had a nice balance all the way through the race. Challenging Wurz and Fisichella was great as these were the guys we were trying to beat.
“But in the end, when I was racing Fisichella out of the pitlane, he ran out of road on the cold tyres. I tried to give him as much room as I could without running off the circuit and we touched.”
“I think it was a racing incident, but it was enough to break my rear suspension and put me out of the race. So a frustrating end to a good weekend, but these things happen and we learn from every race.
“We had a good strong qualifying, so we are looking forward to next time.”