Hamilton fends off Räikkönen for Budapest victory
29 July 2012 – Lewis Hamilton has won his third Hungarian Grand Prix, holding back Kimi Räikkönen for a 19th career victory in Budapest. Romain Grosjean completed the podium as Fernando Alonso put in a calm damage limitation drive for fifth place. Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber could manage no more than fourth and eighth.
The first start was aborted as Michael Schumacher stalled on the grid, but once the red lights did go out it was a clean run down to the first corner. Schumacher and Narain Karthikeyan would later become the only retirements, but the German started from the pit lane as compatriot Vettel attempted to overhaul Grosjean for second place; crucially, he was squeezed out wide by the Frenchman and dropped to fourth behind Jenson Button.
Grosjean took the fight to Hamilton in the early stages, with the McLaren driver opting for one stint on the Soft tyre and two on the slower - but more durable - Mediums. Lotus, on the other hand, began with two Medium stints before running on the Softs; vitally, these Softs were worn, as all new sets had been used in qualifying whereas Hamilton saved his supplies.
In an impressive drive for fifth, helped by Webber and Red Bull’s decision to make a third pit-stop, Alonso extends his championship lead to a huge 40 points heading into the summer break of four non-race weekends. Behind Button, Senna celebrated his joint second best result of the season – easing the pressure on Williams for seventh in the championship – as team-mate Pastor Maldonado was handed a drive-through penalty for hitting Paul di Resta’s Force India. Felipe Massa was ninth, with Nico Rosberg picking up a sole point for Mercedes on what has been a very dismal weekend for the Brackley-based team.
Formula 1 now heads into its customary summer break and will continue with the Belgian Grand Prix and legendary Spa-Francorchamps at the start of September