Hungaroring Provides Formula One Drama and Glory

Alex LevySenior Analyst IAugust 4, 2008

What a weekend this has been.

Heikki Kovalainen finally cashing in on his maiden victory, Timo Glock packing a first career podium whilst Hamilton's puncture and Massa bowing to lady "badluck" wrecked the predicted outcome of a classic race.

Nobody owns Hungaroring, with seven different winners in as many races. Who would have thought Heikki Kovalainen would have lifted the silverware:

2007 Hamilton

2006 Button

2005 Raikkonen

2004 Schumacher

2003 Alonso

2002 Barrichello


Whilst pole does not necessarily grant you P1 all the way, Hamilton could have done a lot better. Overtaken by Massa right at the beginning, the young McLaren talent was not able to play cat and mouse properly with the Brazilian hot shot.

It got even worse with a left tyre puncture which led to another run in the pits with 30 laps to go; the whole incident wrecked Hamilton's chances of a podium, as finishing fifth was definitely not on the agenda.

Staying at the top of the league in the driver's championship was part of it, so this weekend was not so bad in some ways. Damage limitation was key.


The silver arrows clinched the top spot with their newly found talent, Heikki Kovalainen.  Mr. Money in the Bank, as I like to refer to him ever since he signed with the Woking outfit, has finally cashed in on the money with a victory after one long run of sheer bad luck. 

How ironic this came as a result of Massa's engine failure, yet for all his efforts, determination and seeing his way through a difficult start of the season; the Finn deserved this victory by a mile and over.

Have the tables turned? Can Iceman II build from here with renewed confidence and double the cash, or will he get overshadowed by McLaren's numero uno Lewis Hamilton? The answer will come in three weeks' time in Catalunya's European street fight!


The race organizers and engineers are in for a grilling literally, after not one but three cars caught fire during refueling: Bourdais, Nakajima and Barichello.

All sent the temperature soaring high in the pitlane, calling for new measures to be put in place to make sure such incidents do not happen again.

Three fires in one Grand Prix are just unacceptable; one fire for the whole season in itself is about unacceptable. (Mr. Ecclestone and Co. please get your heads around this one....)


Sometimes life is a b.... and Massa knows this better than anybody, having being outdone last year by Raikkonen for the title, then being relegated to number two status this year.

Worse, in some races, Massa will just lose his cool and disappoint. Yet he bounces back to own grand prix and somehow just outpaces everyone in his way to clinch victories.

Hungaroring was about to unfold in this fashion with three laps remaining until the Ferrari engine blew out its life and soul. This was not right at all.

Massa did everything by the book to win, outpacing Hamilton and cashing in on his opponent's misfortunes.. It was all there for the taking, the silverware, the Champagne and also the chance to regain the lead in the driver's title.

Alas, lying in third place is this devoted man who puts his heart into his driving. What a mess! What a shame! But Massa will bounce back as long as he's got the determination, balls and heart to keep going.


Our champion's outing this weekend left us all puzzled as to what the Iceman is really playing at. Starting sixth on the grid, Kimi managed to hold himself in fourth position throughout, but right in the dying laps, our champion started to display his real pace  setting the fastest lap.

What message has been sent here? Is Raikkonen implying he is too much of a genius of a driver he can just as well allow his opponents to get past him in the driver's championship only to go out there and regain his top spot for the pure adrenaline fun of it?

Is he just bored of Formula One, and that display of pure pace is another blip on the radar of his intention to leave the sport because he is too good for us?

Who knows?

One man, however, just cannot wait for Raikkonen make a move and leave the pranced horse squad. That fellow is none other than Fernando Alonso. His race has been superb holding his own in a lesser package; i.e., the R28 against Raikkonen's F2008.

Had it not been for the pit leapfrog tactic, the Oviedo native would have held the Iceman away from the podium this weekend. Another message has been sent to the attention of Ferrari's executives:

"I, Fernando Alonso, am so much better than Kimi and Felipe put together. Hire me, Mr. DiMontezemolo, and I will make Ferrari untouchable!!!"

Well there are hints Fernando can outdo Raikkonen in the same package. Furthermore, the Spanish ace has hinted at furthering his stay in F1 for another decade plus buying a property near Maranello. 

Surely, Ferrari must be contemplating the idea of having a high-talented former double world champion in their lineup sooner rather than later, i.e. 2009 and not 2010.

I personally feel for good old Flavio Briatore, who has been there from day one until now for Alonso. Business is business, and when you are the best in this game, there is no time for personal feelings nor second division!

Shark Fin v. Viking Horns

The battle between Ferrari and McLaren is reaching a new point where the two teams are now advocating two different aero packages innovations brought by other team.

Whilst McLaren went for the aggressive-looking Viking horns inspired by BMW supercomputer and as seen on plenty of occasions on the F1.08 package, Ferrari decided to experiment with the shark fin extension first introduced by RBR then copy-pasted by engine provider Renault.

Which option is better is a tough call. However, if performance improvements are there for both teams, then it all adds up to an even more unpredictable finale!


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