A pleasant Budapest surprise for Ferrari
30 July 2012 – There were wry smiles aplenty in the Ferrari garage after Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix. Not only had Fernando Alonso pulled off a controlled damage limitation exercise, but also extended his advantage atop the Drivers’ Championship.
With nine races to go in 2012 and heading into the summer break, the Spaniard leads Mark Webber by the comfortable margin of 40 points. This was sealed when the Australian had to make a third stop for new tyres, dropping him down to eighth.
“Definitely a case of the glass being half full!” joked Team Principal Stefano Domenicali. “Fifth place for Fernando has allowed him to extend his lead, which is a very important achievement on a weekend in which we definitely did not have the performance to fight with the best.”
Alonso himself, who won his first Formula 1 race in Hungary for Renault in 2003, admitted that he was highly surprised by the day’s outcome.
“It’s a positive result, no doubt about it,” he said. “We knew this would be a complicated weekend because we were not quick enough but, despite everything, we managed to extend our lead over Webber. In terms of the championship it has therefore been a very good weekend.
“To have finished ahead of one Red Bull and right behind the other in these circumstances was very important because, on paper, we should have expected to finish seventh. Hamilton was out of our reach this weekend, but we did not lose much ground to Vettel and these are, in my opinion, the strongest of the group that’s behind me in the championship.”
Budapest was not all good news for Ferrari. With Felipe Massa having scored only 25 points so far this year, the Scuderia fell back to fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship and now trails leaders Red Bull by a margin of 57.