2009 Hungary GP: World Champion Lewis Hamilton Restored to Former Glory
McLaren are a team known for their competitive spirit, always battling at the top of the pile with big guns Ferrari. Alas, this season that spirit has been restored, thanks to a well-deserved victory for Lewis Hamilton.
Hungary hosted a brilliant race at the weekend, with a race filled with thrills, spills and drama, both on and off the track. The technical, and physical nature of the track is demanding on both driver and car, with few overtaking spots, and is even described by commentating legend Murray Walker as 'Monaco, but without the buildings'.
Therefore its no surprise for the spectators at home and the track, that most of the time, its a procession. As soon as a driver qualifies for his place on the grid, he has one or two chances in the first three laps or so to make some places, then its pretty predictable from then.
However, the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix was a huge exception to those rules, as the Budapest track gave spectacle to a phenomenal race, with many close battles all the through the field.
After the timings blunder in qualifying, race winner Hamilton qualified fourth behind Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, and pole-sitter Fernando Alonso, his first since Italy 2007. Team-mate Heikki Kovalainen qualified sixth.
From there, the 24 year old Briton powered up to third at the first corner, and passed Webber at the same place after spending five laps on his tail.
Due to a bad pit stop by the Renault team, that saw an unsecure front right wheel come clean off at turn 11, Alonso had to retire from the race, with prospects of sniffing out a first podium for the team this year.
This allowed Hamilton to power home to a commanding victory, beating Kimi Raikkonen by 10 seconds. If anyone expected McLaren to win a race this year, they would've bet them to win by a fraction of a margin, but Hamilton proved that this car is a race winner, by dominating the race throughout.
Looking at the overall picture, by which I mean the championship, Jenson Button was just able to hold on for a seventh place finish, with his BGP001 struggling for grip on the tight and twisty Hungaroaring.
With Webber gaining third place, the ever worrying Button was able to keep his championship advantage over the Aussie to 18.5 points. Complacent times for both Brawn GP and Red Bull, as McLaren and Ferrari stage their stunning return to form.
With these two Formula One giants returning to their former glory, the title race between Brawn GP and Red Bull is as interesting as ever, as McLaren and Ferrari could step in the way to hurt both teams chances of winning the title.
Above all the action on the track, the weekend was a ground of tribute paying by all the fans and teams to the hospitalised Felipe Massa, who suffered a fractured skull when a spring from Rubens Barrichello's Brawn hit him at over 160mph. Brawn GP are to be investigated by the FIA.
All speculation after the race has been on who will take the Brazilian's place for the rest of the year, and Ferrari have come to the unanimous that the seven time world champion Michael Schumacher will come out of retirement to take his place.
The German has emphasised that this is only a temporary replacement until Massa is race fit again. However, this return from Schumacher races many interesting questions. Will he be fit enough to race? Is he too old to race?
Personally, I think the most interesting question is this. Schumacher vs Hamilton, who will win? The battle every Formula One fan has been wanting to see, and now it is a reality.
Schumacher will make his appearance at the European Grand Prix in Valencia, and was picked ahead of reserve drivers Mark Gene and Luca Badoer. Others drivers, such as Fernando Alonso, and Sebastian Bourdais were considered, but the team went for the German's experience of racing for Ferrari.
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