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Resurgent Hamilton worries Red Bull

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Andrew Benson | 17:41 UK time, Sunday, 24 July 2011

A thrilling German Grand Prix, capped by a superb drive to victory by Lewis Hamilton, confirmed the growing impression that this Formula 1 season has a lot of life left in it.

Sebastian Vettel
retains a massive 77-point lead in the championship after salvaging a difficult afternoon with a fourth place snatched from Ferrari's Felipe Massa in a late pit stop duel between the two teams.

But Red Bull have lost the performance advantage they enjoyed at the start of the season. They have won only once in four grands prix and, far more tellingly than that, they have been outpaced in the last two races.

At Silverstone, Fernando Alonso's Ferrari was faster than the Red Bull. At the Nurburgring on Sunday the Spaniard retained that position, and McLaren leapfrogged both of them.

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McLaren in general and Hamilton in particular, have taken a bit of flak from certain quarters in the last month or so, but they bounced back with a bang in Germany.

Hamilton drove a stunning lap in qualifying to split the Red Bulls on the grid, and he capped it with what he described as "one of the best races I've ever done".

The 26-year-old has produced so many inspirational drives in his career that it is difficult to say whether this was the best, but it was certainly right up there.

As has so often been the case, Hamilton owed his win partly to his unsurpassed abilities as a racer - Alonso's Ferrari emerged from his second pit stop in front, just ahead of the McLaren, but a trademark brilliant passing move around the outside of the red car at the second corner gave Hamilton the lead.

As Alonso struggled on tyres not quite up to temperature, Hamilton pulled out a 1.7-second lead on that lap and followed it with a succession of three fastest laps in a row to extend his advantage to more than three seconds. From there, it was simply a case of not making a mistake with the timing of the final pit stop.

It has been a turbulent few weeks for Hamilton. After pushing Vettel so close for victory in Spain back in May, the wheels seemed to come off a bit.

A difficult weekend in Monaco culminated in frustration and his ill-advised "Ali G" remarks. A disappointing qualifying session in Canada led to Hamilton seeking out Red Bull team principal Christian Horner for a chat about the future. High tyre wear left him fourth in Valencia, way off the pace of the Red Bulls and Alonso. And McLaren struggled again in Silverstone, hit harder than their rivals by the one-race restriction on the use of exhaust gases to boost downforce.

The effect that had had on Hamilton's optimism was clear on Friday when he said there was "no way" he could compete for pole, but his mood turned full circle on Saturday and he entered the race knowing he could compete for victory.

He grabbed the lead at the start, and although he was passed by Red Bull's Mark Webber following a mistake on lap 12, the Red Bull was not able to get away.

As Webber said, "the alarm bells started to ring then", and that analysis was spot on. Just as he had at the first stops, Webber came into the pits first, aiming to take advantage of the extra grip from fresh tyres. But the second time it did not work out, and the Red Bull was jumped by both Hamilton and Alonso, who then left him behind.

Just how much this win meant to Hamilton was clear in the post-race television interviews, as he tried and failed to fight back tears after he had finished speaking.

With those tears - and that drive - perhaps Hamilton has begun to shed the frustration of the past few weeks, and can now relax into a second half of the season that, on the evidence of the last two or three races, should make fascinating viewing.

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In the last two races now, the three top teams have fought out victory - and slowly this season is turning into exactly what it had promised to be before Vettel's amazing start.

It remains to be seen whether McLaren are back for good, or whether they benefited from the unique chilly conditions in Germany.

As far as Ferrari are concerned, though, there is now little doubt that they are a genuine challenge for Red Bull everywhere.

As Alonso pointed out, they have been contesting the lead at the last four races, all of which have been on very different tracks, and he now has a win and two second places from the last three grands prix.

The Hungarian Grand Prix next weekend will be a very telling event. Red Bull totally dominated it last year, but the evidence of the last few weeks suggests it may not be so easy for them this time around.

Ferrari, one suspects, will at least give them a run for their money, having proved in the last couple of races that they have largely solved the aerodynamic weaknesses in their car that blighted the start to their season. McLaren, though, appear still to lack efficiency in the sort of long-duration corners that abound at the Hungaroring, which may make life a bit more difficult for them.

Vettel will go there on the back of a rare off-weekend at the Nurburgring, when he was never comfortable in the car and never looking like getting on terms with Webber.

In the race - as has often been the case when he is not leading from the front - he looked ordinary, unable to find a way past Massa for the last 20 laps of the race and needing his pit crew to do the job for him heading into the last lap.

And so the questions over Vettel's ability when he is back in the pack remain.

The last two races have been an eye-opener for Red Bull - and on Sunday both Webber and Vettel talked about needing more from the car.

In the circumstances, Vettel will be pleased to have salvaged a fourth place, and kept his lead over Webber to more than three clear wins.

With such a huge advantage - Vettel is 82 points ahead of Hamilton and 86 in front of Alonso - it is still unlikely that he will be caught. But at least now he knows he has a real fight on his hands.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    Fantastic drive by Hamilton, again proving why he's the most exciting driver in F1. Should be a good second half of the season but you'd have to say Red Bull are too far ahead now.

  • Comment number 2.

    In the conditions today Hamilton had the fastest car. Button hasn't got the same parts on his car as Hamilton thats for sure. He said as much after qualifying but all is not equal at McLaren. I don't blame them at all though and team orders are also legal so i suggest they put all their eggs in the Hamilton basket If they havn't done so already.

  • Comment number 3.

    Hungary should be interesting! What Andrew says about McLaren not having efficiency in long duration corners certainly seems true but they have a decent record there down the years. Won there in 2005,2007,2008 and 2009. Ferrari haven't won since 2004 but it seems they are well placed to end that winless run at the Hungaroring!

  • Comment number 4.

    People underestimate the McLaren. This car was the fastest car in Spain, in hot weather. A demanding aero track. Generally if your car works in Spain in the heat and today in the cold then it will work almost anywhere.

    Pure and simply the McLaren is a great car and a very fast car and the drivers made poor use of it this season....until today which was a great drive!

  • Comment number 5.

    Seeing Hamilton in front with Alonso & Webber behind, we knew we were going to be treated to plenty of hustling & bustling. Red Bull should pit Vettel whenever the driver in front pits giving him a chance to overtake, as he cannot overtake at his own accord!

    My Review of German GP http://bit.ly/rv1yQN

  • Comment number 6.

    I loved this race, the first three drivers looked similarly matched throughout and the lead swapped several times, to see Webber pass Hamilton in the last corner only to see Lewis retake into the first was marvellous - and all without DRS! Hamilton was sensational today and made the most exciting passes of the race - as usual, whether for good or ill, he provided most of the talking points: and in this race it was all good!

    I am however sceptical that McLaren and Ferrari can maintain this charge: Ferrari won in Silverstone under (bizarrely) ad hoc rules, now Red Bull is back in their preferred configuration; while Hamilton won today in unusually cold conditions. I think Red Bull will look a lot stronger in the hotter races which will dominate the rest of the season. Still, I'd love to be proved wrong!

  • Comment number 7.

    Excellent grand prix - for me on par with the wet races which are supposed to be more exciting. I won't care if Vettel wins the championship if we get good races like this.

    This season we have seen the different sides of Lewis Hamilton - to be perfectly honest it's all down to what day it is. Another week, Lewis would have crashed. It's his style. Sometimes he's unlucky and the moves don't come off, and sometimes everything turns out perfectly. Today was one of those days. Very happy for him, stunning drive.

    Button seems to be on a run of bad luck - let's hope he puts this right in his 200th grand prix next Sunday.

    Red Bull have always had the ultimate pace and not so much the race pace, but this weekend McLaren ran them very close and were, arguably, faster in the race (along with Ferrari). Unless Red Bull bring significant upgrades to the forthcoming grands prix, I think we are in for an awesome second half of the season.

  • Comment number 8.

    @ F1-2-1-2-1 i would love to see the interview where Jenson says he doesnt have the same car and that all is not equal. More conspiracy mongering by people that either have too much time on their hands or can't accept the truth. Jenson isn't quick enough and will not win another title while he is Lewis' team mate.

  • Comment number 9.

    Taxi for Jenson Button !
    Hamilton put everyone in their place today. A supreme drive.

  • Comment number 10.

    lewis and jenson both had the upgrades so not sure where that comment came from. if jenson did not have them then jenson would of said something

  • Comment number 11.

    A fantastic race and fantastic drives from both Hamilton and Alonso. They have again both proven that they are world class drivers. Vettel is ordinary and no match for them. Yet again today's race proves that Vettel is a one trick pony - he just can't overtake and has no race craft. He owes his success purely to Adrian Newey. It is just unfortunate that McLaren and Ferrari took so long to get up to Red Bull's pace. Otherwise, this season would have been the best yet.

  • Comment number 12.

    The season is looking like it has the potential to turn into a close championship battle. I have nothing against Vettel but I feel this season just needs one Vettel DNF soon to really fire his competitors up.

    McLaren and Ferrari have definitely caught Red Bull up a bit, but you have to say on ultimate pace the Red Bull is the fastest.

    McLaren were helped by the cold temperatures as they admitted themselves, while Ferrari are looking very strong as their car is worse in cold temperatures and they were still right up there. This also dispels the notion that the Silverstone performance was all down to the blown diffuser debacle. Ferrari have been fast since Monaco, especially in race pace.

    For me, Alonso and Hamilton showed that they are the best two drivers, I would have loved it if it was Vettel and not Webber up there just to get a direct comparison between the three drivers everyone considers to be the best.

  • Comment number 13.

    Good race, great result too for race fans a bit miffed at the RBR domination this season. Interesting to see Vettel struggle so much today - was it pressure at his home race? Perhaps he didn't have the right balance in either race or quali trim? I can't believe that both Ferrari and McLaren have caught up so quickly to the RBs so I'm reserving judgement on that one.

    You can never rule Alonso out of any race and I love that about him, shame he let the lead go after his stop but Lewis had him fair and square! Strange that Vettel couldn't get past Massa though, until the farcical pitstop, maybe just an off-day for the championship leader............

  • Comment number 14.

    I agree with the previous comments - some are a little harsh but I see their viewpoint. Vettel does not have the confidence to overtake someone as when he tries, he either makes a mistake or gets it wrong. I am yet to be convinced at Vettel's overtaking prowess. Hamilton and Alonso have raw speed and excellent racecraft. Vettel only has the former...and a great car to boot.

  • Comment number 15.

    Great race, enjoyed the battle between the top three immensely. In a way it would have been better if it was Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel battling it out at the top three but nonetheless at least we saw a great spectacle rather than another boring Vettel romp home.

    Shame about Button. Perhaps he should have hitched a lift with Webber.

  • Comment number 16.

    I feel that the questioning of Vettel's racecraft is very unfair, everyone knows that the RB lacks straight line speed, take for example when he was behind Massa, even with DRS he was only 5km/h faster. I don't think that anyone would do a good job overtaking using that RB, not even Hamilton or Alonso. I don't think that everyone should get too excited, because as we saw, Vettel had a shocker, but a shocker for him would be most people's good day. One thing that I would like to know is, what has happened to Vettel's qualifying pace as Webber now seems to have the upper hand. Still think that Vettel's got the title all wrapped up and nicely packaged.

  • Comment number 17.

    Superb drive from Lewis, excellent overtaking on both Webber and Alonso and even got the fastest time on the track so it does show that today he was masterful. Thoroughly delighted.

    Great drives also from Alonso and Webber, because all three were just about evenly matched throughout the race, but this time Lewis made his racer's talent tell (in a good way, which is the major change compared to Monaco or Canada). The key moments were him not giving position to Webber on his out-lap and then doing to Alonso what Webber tried to do to him. From then on he managed the race as he should have.

    I think Lewis' pace today can be explained by a combination of factors coming together for McLaren this weekend : the cooler conditions certainly played a part in making Ferrari and Red Bull a little less competitive than usual, but certainly McLaren's updates must have played some sort of role, and Lewis was just able to better unleash the potential of those updates compared to Button.

    I think we'll see Red Bull much much faster at the Hungaroring, Ferrari will probably be their closest competitors though I don't see Alonso beating both Red Bulls. I don't see McLaren doing that well over there, but only time will tell. The last two races has seen some unusual circumstances take the mantle away from Red Bull but let's see how things turn out in Hungary first.

  • Comment number 18.

    Actually there probably was not much difference between the top three cars overall, but what I think made the difference was Lewis's spirited driving, and the prevailing cold conditions. I still think McLaren have work to do to improve their cars general aero efficiency, and still need additional downforce if they are to stay the course with Red Bull and Ferrari

  • Comment number 19.

    The fact of the matter is SV lacks confidence when he's put in a situation where he must overtake to progress. The Red Bull is a proven overtaker, hence MW at China where he passed nearly the entire field, on a track that is suited for speed...

  • Comment number 20.

    great race! the top 3 were close and swapping positions all race, i'm watching the highlights now :) shame the sound is not working on BBC3 :( think i'll watch the full race replay on the red button instead ;)

  • Comment number 21.

    I think there has been a lot of underestimation of the McLaren this season - in the UK at least.

    The presumption seems to have been that it was a poor car - when in fact it was a very good car, being poorly driven. Today we saw a track that suited the car, and a unusually good drive by Hamilton.

    Hungary will be back to Red Bull vs Ferrari - i.e. the best cars against the best driver.

  • Comment number 22.

    Today proved Vettel is brilliant from the front only, Hamilton and Alonso are far superior all round drivers. Takes the heat off Whitmarsh a bit. I do wish the beeb remove Coulthard, really used to like him but his continued bias is just too much. I'm going to try and buy back the world. Love and hugs x

  • Comment number 23.

    Really pleased for Lewis and McLaren, an excellent race, thoroughly enjoyable !

  • Comment number 24.

    Why is it that when Vettel wins he's a fantastic driver but when he loses it's always the car????

  • Comment number 25.

    Hungary should suit Ferrari better because of A) The soft and Super Soft tires and B) warmer tempratures. Don't be surprised if they are up there with the Red Bulls.

    That said. What a Fantastic race today from all the Podium drivers.

    Lewis and Fernando both outperforming there cars and making Vettel look silly. Webber has finally matched and beaten Vettel. Really feel for massa though

  • Comment number 26.

    hello Everyone! [from switzerland]

    FANTASTIC RACING ALL AROUND TODAY AND LEWIS SHOWED HIS BRILLIANCE! People with extreme talent have these downs and ups, but today showed his qualities! I almost had tears in my eyes on his last lap, and I haven t ever met the fellow!! tantilising! Something the Brits can be really proud of! stunning person!

    I think as for Vettel he is definately a good racer from the front! Otherwise he isn t really a good midfield battler! Today was good evidence! He has a fast car and so does webber, but webbers confidence has been knocked in the team but the clear bias towards the vettel chap!

    I do hope Mclaren will be on form in the hotter temp tracks, because then we will have a exciting season! Their car is aesthetically beatutiful and on top of that very fast in certain conditions!

    ONE MORE THING @
    2. At 18:21 24th Jul 2011, F1-2-1-2-1 wrote:

    ""In the conditions today Hamilton had the fastest car. Button hasn't got the same parts on his car as Hamilton thats for sure. He said as much after qualifying but all is not equal at McLaren...""

    This is absolute nonsense! Get your facts right, and please keep your name and blame game to yourself!

    ALL LOVE TO LEWIS FROM SWITZERLAND!

  • Comment number 27.

    Yet another great race and a stunning drive from Lewis this time. I think all three of the top teams missed a potentially race winning strategy: get on the medium compound tires ealier and make at least one pit stop (but possibly several) fewer. It would have been a gamble at the time but the last 10 laps showed the performance was there on the white stripe tires.

  • Comment number 28.

    superb overtaking from lewis, he deserved the win. but the vettel didnt help to remove the tag that he cant overtake which is good for mclaren,ferrari and webber at red bull in their charge to cacth him

  • Comment number 29.

    "In the conditions today Hamilton had the fastest car. Button hasn't got the same parts on his car as Hamilton thats for sure. He said as much after qualifying but all is not equal at McLaren..."

    I don't think that's what's going on here. You have to remember that Lewis and Jenson have very different driving styles and that updates that suit one may not suit the other. We'll see if the car can compete next week around the high speed aero corners. McLarens problems this season have been primarily about bad strategy calls though IMHO.

  • Comment number 30.

    Brilliant race. Really happy for Lewis. Hopefully the Ferraris and Maclarens will give the Redbulls a good run to the end of the season.

    @ G_K_ you obviously have an issue with Hamilton. He is a good driver along with Alonso and Vettel although today Vettel was poor. Maybe thats because he wasnt leading from the front!!

  • Comment number 31.

    Things went Lewis's way for once. The way he drives is mighty but requires precise judgement and luck. One can just how much he would be blasted for if things went wrong. This line is fine and he will go through phases where he hits people and will get hammered for it. F1 is all about money now isn't it??? Great drive and determination to stick with his ways. Vettel will get better at coming behind but that is his deficiency as it was Michael's early on his career. This all gives us hope of a nail biting climax to the season.

    As for Mclaren, top marks and as a Ferrari fan nothing short of what I expected. Great drive for Alonso. Consistency is what is required and the man has his head screwed on properly.

    As for Benson, whilst I respect you for your profession and what you do for a passion, there are few occurrences where I actually agree with you.

  • Comment number 32.

    It was a stunning drive, and no mistake. I do wonder though, just how much this is scripted. Let's face it the season is de-facto finished. The reliability of the Red Bulls and the fact they are usually way out in front, i.e. so that Vettel doesn't have to do any dirty work, like fighting his way through the field.

    This means that given the points advantage, there's no way that the rest of the pack can realistically hope that the RBs will have enough DNFs to put Vettel's second World Championship in any danger whatsoever.

    Also, the fact the BBC is dutifully doing its job "talking up" the rest of the season is also evidence that one, the chance of anyone else other than Vettel winning the WC is beyond belief and, two, Bernie's probably blown in a few people's ears saying that if Vettel keeps on winning then from the twelfth race on absolutely nobody will watch as the WC has already been decided (apart maybe from the Germans).

  • Comment number 33.

    Great race and amazing drive from Lewis with breathtaking passes on Webber and Alonso. As other's have said, we will have to see whether this was a flash in the pan for McLaren due to cold conditions or if they really have made a step forward. Going back to the Valencia rules on blown diffusers certainly helped them more than their main competitors - they seem to derive more benefit from the blown diffuser than Ferrari or RB. Shame for Jenson, two good finishes ruined and turned to DNF's in the last 2 races but he really needs to up his game in qualifying.
    Possible explanation for Vettel is they took a conservative intermediate dry/wet set up for qualifying and lost out as the race stayed dry.
    Interesting collision between Heidfeld & Buemi. IMO almost a carbon copy of the Button/Hamilton incident at Canada. Heidfeld was on the outside with his front end alongside of the back half of Buemi's car but Buemi just kept moving across. In Canada Lewis gets attacked for a "crazy" move.....in Germany Buemi gets a 5 place grid position penalty for the next race.

  • Comment number 34.

    "In the conditions today Hamilton had the fastest car. Button hasn't got the same parts on his car as Hamilton thats for sure. He said as much after qualifying but all is not equal at McLaren..."
    -------------------------------

    Why do some people find it so hard to accept the simple fact that Lewis is a better driver than Jenson. Everyone can see through the silly attempts to take away from Lewis' amazing driving and put it down to the car.

  • Comment number 35.

    I'm not sure the title of this blog is representative of the whole situation right now.

    I'm sure RB is concerned about the resurgence of Hamilton but Alonso is the key factor in any (let's face it - mild) worry of comebacks from the other protaganists at the moment. It's interesting that Fernando is relying on McLaren to help him with any potential fightback for the WDC, if anything, that's exactly what RBR want - Alonso in a weaker car having McLaren take points off Ferrari rather than the other way around.

    Red Bull are not worrying about Ferrari or Hamilton, they're worrying that anything other than front row for Vettel may lead to potentially damaging results for his championship lead.

    But let's face it - after the after-glow of Silverstone and today, Vettel still leads the championship by a country-mile and it would take nothing less than a miracle for any other driver to come even close to his lead.

  • Comment number 36.

    Lewis Hamilton has single handedly saved Whitmarsh from the growing calls for his head.

    The fact remains McLaren need to sort out the silly mistakes and issues that other teams are not having. This week it cost Jenson and could cost Lewis next week if they continue.

  • Comment number 37.

    As for F1-2-1-2-1 comments, I don't believe it is physical parts that made the difference for Button and Vettel today, I really think they just went the wrong way on setup into qualifying. A bad setup vs a good setup is all the difference you need to have a car which has good balance vs. a handful.

    Not sure why they made the wrong choices, remember the teams mechanics etc. play a big part in this from the onboard data and the driver has less influence. But to me it looked like setup differences.

    Also....if Vettel continues this downward trend, and it ends up being close in the last 3 races, then I would definitely be suspicious of the top brass in F1 writing the script for F1, and that would explain why Vettel was downbeat all weekend knowing he wasn't allowed to fight for wins for a bit. My justification for this...far too many recent years have come down to the last race through "odd" mistakes/setups. This championship should be so in the bag it isn't true, so if it doesn't...well money talks and it is worth a lot of money for the championship to not be decided 4-6 races from the end. F1 = WWF....if this comes down to the wire, I would say yes.

  • Comment number 38.

    oooh, think WWF should be WWE in my last comment :)

  • Comment number 39.

    sorry for spam, it was wwf, but nowadays wwe so kinda right, just showing a bit of age and lack of interest in wrestling - due to scripting :)

  • Comment number 40.

    #32 Heehee, I love it when the conspiracy theorists come out - JFK was shot by a Smurf and Bernie is manipulating F1 by making Vettel lose races in the second half of the season. Bernie Ecclestone: The Team-Boss Whisperer. Love it!!

  • Comment number 41.

    I've thought that Hamilton, Alonso and Kubica are the top drivers for a while now, and this season has more and more confirmed that (apart from the absence of poor Kubica). I feel that Vettel and Button are a similar standard a tier below, except one of them can't overtake and one of them can't qualify well.

    I wouldn't have minded so much if Webber was the one dominating the season, since he's a nice guy and a solid racer. Vettel just annoys me with his smugness and sulking if he doesn't get his way. Not to mention that I can't recall the last time he overtook a front runner in open racing.

  • Comment number 42.

    Interesting collision between Heidfeld & Buemi. IMO almost a carbon copy of the Button/Hamilton incident at Canada. Heidfeld was on the outside with his front end alongside of the back half of Buemi's car but Buemi just kept moving across. In Canada Lewis gets attacked for a "crazy" move.....in Germany Buemi gets a 5 place grid position penalty for the next race.

    Good question

  • Comment number 43.

    @42 exactly what I was thinking, in Canada they were looking to punish the overtaker, and here they have punished the person being overtaken for returning to his racing line.

    both instances were a case of Button/Buemi not knowing the overtaking driver was there.

    Think it is double standards, as they had no interest in investigating Button....and in my opinion there is no way they should be punishing Buemi for this "racing incident". It was between both drivers...and if Buemi is to blame for this one, then surely the Monaco incidents and so on are the driver in fronts fault for not leaving space....yuk at Steward interference, especially post race.

  • Comment number 44.

    Last month it was a frustrated Hamilton and a disgruntled Webber,now a vulnerable Vettel and lack lustre Button. Why dont people accept that 3 key ingredients;grip balance and most importantly confidence,turn anyone of the top 5 drivers into race winners. In truth the first 2 provide the third and the top 3 constructors are all are providing the goods at the moment. All 5 drivers have proven on their day they can edge the others. While Webber has not won yet,he,s always close. There is one not so secret ingredient that will decide the title a pinch of Adrian Newey

  • Comment number 45.

    Andrew, great blog as usual.
    One thing that I find difficult to agree with you though:

    "but a trademark brilliant passing move around the outside of the red car at the second corner gave Hamilton the lead"

    EJ picked on this as well (way to emphatically)... How was this a brilliant move? In the past three races Ferrari showed how they struggle to take their tyres to temperature. If you look at the times, it consistently showed that they need at least two laps to get to a good race pace and today the track temperature surely didn't help. I don't want to take anything away from Hamilton which had a really good race, but considering the circumstances I find it hard to see that as a "brilliant move" or "trademark", for me it was inevitable. It was the same at Silverstone, Lewis passed Alonso on his outlap... as soon as the Ferrari's tyres got back in the game, Fernando took the position back. In that instance Fernando was faster overall and won the race, today was the opposite and thumbs up for Lewis.

    This season in occasions so tied up with tyre performance I find it hard to see the magnificence of certain moves.

    Anyway a great Grand Prix!

  • Comment number 46.

    @v-d post 45

    It was brilliant because to do it he had to go onto the much less gripy outside of turn 2 and feather the car round there whilst making sure he stayed in front of Alonso.

    If it was so easy to pass Fernando in those first couple of laps out of the pit why did Webber not do the same?

    Brilliant drive by Hamilton, made the car look better than it was all weekend... don't believe me? 1.2s between he and Button in quali!!!!

    Good to see him beat Alonso faitr and square on the track yet again too!

  • Comment number 47.

    agree with 45, as for 46, well the difference was Alonso as Brundle said was caught napping, or didn't appear to close the door on Lewis, possibly because he was less confident on the tyres, or didn't think he was going around the outside, or didn't want a collision or because Hamilton was a little further ahead compared to Webber point for point around the corners so closing off wasn't available. Either way not an incredible overtake, the fact that Webber tried the same just a lap before suggests it was a natural opportunity to try and take, just that Alonso didn't block it off like Hamilton did, for many possible reasons.

  • Comment number 48.

    The high downforce track in the Hungaroring will be tailor made for Redbull so I find the optimism very amusing. I expect the Redbulls to completely and utterly dominate next week. Vettel will be cruising to the championship......

  • Comment number 49.

    Great win for Lewis and a sign he is returning to his very best form.
    It will certainly be more difficult for Mclaren in Hungary given the higher track temperatures. Also the longer duration corners will probably expose some of the Mclaren's downforce deficiencies.
    Still I'm really looking forward to the final races of 2011.
    Vettel's form in traffic must be causing him some concern as he seems to lack the fluidity of Lewis Hamilton when trying to pass other cars.
    Lewis is robust, confident and full of ideas when passing opponents. Vettel on the other hand appears to lack the same confidence and flair. Time will tell but this is an impression Vettel may find hard to shake if he continues to struggle in traffic.

  • Comment number 50.

    Andrew Benson it's funny how after an amazing win by Lewis today you still are not able to write an article with out getting a negative dig in about Ali G etc.

    I'm not surprised Lewis commented on the negativity he gets from the BBC on the forum today.

  • Comment number 51.

    Hamilton is the rarest of things...a hero. By that i mean people will watch races just to see what he does, much like with Senna before, or Rossi in MotoGP for many years. I watch F1 because i love it, but im well aware of what a priviledge it is to see Lewis compete, today was awesome :)
    I fully expect Vettel to comfortably see out the chamionship albeit with far less dominance than the 1st half of the season, his work in terms of a points lead is surely done, but frankly who cares...having followed F1 from 1998 as ive grown up, these are the best races in terms of week in week out entertainment ive ever seen and many will go down as classics...the love affair is blowing hot!!

  • Comment number 52.

    @Iloveformula1- "Vettel is ordinary and no match for Alonso or Lewis"- LOOOL I have never heard such a comment of such bravado and little sense...... sure Vettel is ordinary- winning the Monza grand prix with the Torro Rosso after capturing POLE AS WELL a few years back really illustrates his mediocrity.

  • Comment number 53.

    @48 indeed, happened last year, and should be the same this year, and yes @50 his comment at the start of the forum was very telling, in that he obviously felt the BBC journalists were treating him like sh*t for a good bit of this year. I do think Schumacher's comments about Monaco summed up Hamilton's "errors". He went for 4 overtakes, 2 of them the person being overtaken let it happen and the other 2 didn't want it to happen. It seems that the 2 to tango is really being forgotten by journalists and stewards, and the Buemi penalty really shows no consistancy in who is to blame...the one that didn't see it coming(ignorance is no excuse), or the one that went for the late overtake(aggression).....I really don't see how they can judge one moment it is Hamilton for being crazy and the next it is Buemi for resuming his racing line...and not Heidfeld for taking a late overtake to no where.

  • Comment number 54.

    Hard to believe the suggestion that McLaren don't have enough parts for two cars. Poor Jenson was a picture of thunder itself, and who can blame him? I'm sure they have a few millions tucked away for new parts, and the season is only half way. I thought I saw Uncle Ron Dennis by the race track, so he must have had a few words with Hamilton on how to claim the No1 spot back. Well done Lewis !!

  • Comment number 55.

    #51 "Hamilton is the rarest of things...a hero. By that i mean people will watch races just to see what he does, much like with Senna before, or Rossi in MotoGP"

    Erm......perhaps that is a subjective point of view?? Alonso is my hero - does that count?

  • Comment number 56.

    #48

    Yes, the Hungaroring is about as perfect for RBR as a track can be, hence my similar opinion that people may be jumping the gun with this so called 'resurgence' of other teams.

    Hell, aren't ALL the tracks RBR tracks??

  • Comment number 57.

    In addition, I would like to mention that Lewis' win was an outstanding one, and he totally deserved that one after all the flak he has taken (some of it justified- it has to be said). It was an amazing weekend for him, no doubt!

    I will also admit, that Lewis has the edge over Vettel when it comes to flair, race craft and overtaking manouevers. However, I do believe on pure raw pace Vettel may be the fastest man in F1..... so to conclude that Vettel is "ordinary" is a ridiculous one based on one bad weekend he has had. He won 6 out of 10 races and finished 3 runner up spots. I can't remember a driver doing so well, especially with such calibre of drivers on the grid, and still having to endure all the slack from all the Redbull-haters out there claiming he is "a one trick phony", "can only race from the front" etc. It's amazing!!

  • Comment number 58.

    Why can't we have choices which cars to watch on our screen, so we can click on which window to watch. I was frustrated today trying to watch Vettel and Massa battling at 4th and 5th, while further ahead the three pricipals Alonso, Hamilton and Webber were having a battle of their own. Heaven knows what else was going on at the back. And all we could hear was the raised voice of the commentator which indicated we have missed a fair slice of the action. I know action-replay is provided but not the same thing, is it ??

    Surely modern-day technology should provide this !!

  • Comment number 59.

    This resurgence talk is abit premature. I mean, the Hungaroring is next up a RBR dominated this event last year and will probably do so this year.

    The hotter tempratures and the softer tires will help Ferrari and probably make them next up behind RBR

  • Comment number 60.

    well good day for us lewis fans :)

    lewis did fantastically well with the third best car... jenson button was unlucky but i think the new parts on the car favoured lewis driving style hence the gap bet

  • Comment number 61.

    Hamilton drove a very good race - overtaking Alonso and not allowing Webber to overtake him are the highlights and probably helped him win the race.
    Alonso made a good use of his chance, but I don't see anything specail in his performance today. He just drove as well as he is expected to - in fact he didn't even try blocking Hamilton. So overall an OK race for him.
    Webber could have done better - if he had created more gap in the first stint, he would have not lost positions after the second pit-stop. I'm sure Vettel in his place would have just enforced the issue much more strongly.
    Vettel had a bad race today - cannot explain why/how. Andrew Benson says "questions remain of his overtaking ability" - well that is true to some extent, but he had rear brakes problem (acknowledged by team in the radio), and there was no need for him to take risks by overtaking Massa who perhaps had similar pace like him. He was just trying to maximize his points. Vettel is not concerned about what others think about his race-craft, he may settle for something lower than first place in a race and get more points rather than risk it all. It reminds me of Alonso in his WDC years, where he was contend to come second or third as he ad enough lead in the initial part of the season.
    Vettel inexplicably had a bad race.

  • Comment number 62.

    Congrats. to Hamilton today. He was absolutely fantastic. Very happy for his team, too.
    Vettel is going to grab the title at the end of the season, no doubt. But I think he has been looking rather gloomy today. Is it because he is aware of the comments that questions his abilities when his car doesn't put him in the lead straight away and those people will have more to support their views after today? I am actually one of those who thinks that he's not a match for either Alonso or Hamilton.
    Also, I have to say, as an Alonso's fan I am getting a bit tired of the BBC commentators' bias againt him. All this talk of Hamilton's pass on him and hardly any of Alonso's fantastic pass on Vettel, without the help of DRS.
    And no mention of the fact that Alonso's has managed to get more points than anyone else in the last 3 races.
    Finally, strange that none of the top drivers has managed a home victory. Maybe Massa in Brazil? He has been improving and it would be great for him, but I think it unlikely.

  • Comment number 63.

    ...between both in qualif but nobody can blames whithmarsh as he desperately needs a win to ease off the pressure

    looks like lewis moaning these last few weeks paid off :)

  • Comment number 64.

    60. The McLaren was not the 3rd best car today. Look at the constructors Championship. Alonso is pulling that Ferrari every weekend.

    But yes it would a good drive

  • Comment number 65.

    @55 Nadaliator

    "Erm......perhaps that is a subjective point of view?? Alonso is my hero - does that count?"

    Not really no. I mean Hamilton doesn't need team mates to deliberately crash to help him win for instance... or try to blackmail his own team.... I would get yourself a better hero to be honest. Hope that helps!

  • Comment number 66.

    65. Alonso is a great driver. Like it or not. He's perfectly entitled to have his hero. People still adore footballers even when they go off on affairs and have strops.

  • Comment number 67.

    Agreat driver yes, but not a great man. If I had kids I think I would make sure they found themselves another hero.

    Oh and as for this rubbish about Vettel not overtaking Massa and that calling into question his racecraft.... he leads by 77 points... he didn't need to overtake Massa.... 5th was better than a DNF. He was even told that on the radio... why do people (journalists included) not seem to get simple things like that.

  • Comment number 68.

    @ v-d

    It was brave due to the fact that Alonso is an aggressive driver. Lewis took a risk going around the outside as fernando could of easily driven him off the road. As for silverstone, overtaking him on the inside line, which was wet and on slicks, and still managed to hold for the apex and not lose momentum. You are telling me that was easy?

  • Comment number 69.

    #65 "Not really no. I mean Hamilton doesn't need team mates to deliberately crash to help him win for instance... or try to blackmail his own team.... I would get yourself a better hero to be honest. Hope that helps!"

    Hahahaha!!! Futile gossip that is yet unproven, but still, I go with the guy who gives everything no matter what. As for misdemeanours? Australia, Trulli, whinging to the press in Monaco 2007, disobeying team quali protocol in Hungary 2007 blah blah.....we could go on like this for an age, but let's be grown up instead.

    Funny, pre-2007 most people though of Alonso as a hero. Coincidence with a bout of jumping on a bandwagon??

    What I admire so much about Alonso is the never-give-up-ever-ever attitude he has - something in common with Hamilton for sure - but Fernando does it in every race regardless of his situation. Hamilton and Alonso are peas from the same pod, and I'm proud to be a fan.

  • Comment number 70.

    I think this year is going to resemble 2009 when all is said and done. Much talk and anticipation beforehand, one team dominating until midsummer with one driver in particular making the most of the fastest car, then the other teams catching up in time to produce some cracking late-season racing, if not the hoped-for tense championship finish.

    Vettel is like Button but better, IMO. Give him the right car with the right settings and he is utterly, spectacularly in control of it, and by implication races. If that makes him a one-trick pony, that's one heck of a trick.

  • Comment number 71.

    @ Matt

    Surely wasn't easy but the least that I expect from any good f1 driver is to take a risk, especially when the other driver is not in an optimal situation with his car (+ is making a mistake like today) — and well done for whoever capitalise on that. I simply don't think that was 'great'. What I recall as a great move is when two drivers are on their maximum/similar conditions and one edges the other. As I said before I don't want to take anything off Mr Hamilton, I just don't get all this excitement about this move.

  • Comment number 72.

    @ 65 Hamilton just needs things like crane operators lifting his car up and putting back on the race track. Or drive thru' given after they have made sure it won'r affect his track possition. Or "Heikki, save fuel", etc, etc.
    The man is a great racer, but if you are implying he's on a different league as regard to his ethics in the race track... Ha, ha, ha.

  • Comment number 73.

    #71

    Yes, if Alonso hadn't been straight out of the pits on tyres not up to temp and on the prime compound too then it would have been great rather than good.

  • Comment number 74.

    The point about Lewis having better parts is a load of rubbish, why would any team put parts on one car not another? Besides, Jenson was lightning quick once he cleared Petrov, chased down Sutil and Rosberg v v quickly, and probably would have caught the Vettel Massa battle without his failure. any time difference between them (e.g. in qualy) can be put down to Button 'not being happy with the grip' as he always seems to be in that car in Q3, and Hamiltons supreme skill in the first sector of the lap- immense confidence.

    I agree that Lewis and Alonso are probably the best in F1 atm, but there are a lot of drivers (e.g. Rosberg, Kubica, Kobayashi) that are doing great jobs in inferior cars as well. Also, to say Vettel is 'a tier below' or rubbish is clearly just looking at the sport through tinted glasses. His performance this year has been sensational, he literally had made one mistake all year. He has weaknesses, but when hooked up his raw pace and confidence is literally unbelievable.

    Good race, nice to see some non DRS overtaking too. As for the Buemi-Heidfeld incident, there are a lot of differences between that and LH-JB in Canada. Firstly, not teammates, makes a difference with regards to investigation. the Canada race was very wet with loads of spray, This one wasn't, so that changes the visibility argument. Also, in Canada the racing line moves across naturally, and the incident wasn't on the entry to a corner, so Button was more entitled to gradually move across like that. I agree that the 'one movement' law needs clarifying, as it doesn't seem to say how gradual that movement is allowed to be, but Buemi definitely should have been a bit more aware.

  • Comment number 75.


    This race has been conclusive proof that Vettel is second rate when he doesn't have clean air - he might be world champion, but in terms of racing pedigree he isn't even as competitive as some of the midfield racers. Fastest laps, poles, driving in a technologically superior car relying on others' mistakes off track (he can't even capitalise on drivers who lock up their tyres) - he can do all that perfectly. Driving against others, amateur. Maybe he should take up drag racing.

    But what a drive by Lewis. Absolutely immense, the best racer on the track. He needs to get a better radio man though, almost like he wasn't happy with Lewis' win, the complete opposite to Massa-Rob Smedley.

    Pretty ironic that the only time Vettel finishes outside the podium is in his home race :)

  • Comment number 76.

    "Hamilton owed his win partly to his unsurpassed abilities as a racer"

    What sort of journalism is this? Very poor, unqualified tosh I'd say.

  • Comment number 77.

    I agree with what you are saying, but lets be honest, there is nobody in F1 more aggressive than LH. It's just is natural instinct to overtake, like when he overtook webber after having a move put on him a moment before. Don't forget Alonso only got Hamilton at silverstone due to fuel saving, he was defenseless. Both great drivers and head and shoulders above the likes of Vettel and Button. The latter, who quite frankly, doesn't cut it for me

  • Comment number 78.

    So much rubbish about Alonso's integrity on this blog...
    The pram with all the toys won the race today....Button must be wondering whether he can have the opportunity to have a chat with Christian Horner in the paddock so he can regain parity at McLaren...

  • Comment number 79.

    77.Don't forget Alonso only got Hamilton at silverstone due to fuel saving, he was defenseless

    Alonso had better race pace than McLaren, it would only have been a matter of time.

  • Comment number 80.

    @desertwalker

    The very fact that he started from pole tells you all you need to know about that weekend. The car was working very well and the usual suspects had problems - it was not a miracle drive.

  • Comment number 81.

    .

    Tiggerspp@67. . . if you had kids, you wouldn't Hamilton as their hero, wouldn't you??. . .perhaps Beckham would be more appropriate?

    In the field of sports, success is all !!. . .or otherwise why would you take up sports in the first place? What exactly is Lewis doing wrong? Nothing as far as I can see, perhaps he rubs people up the wrong way. But you can't accuse Lewis for being there to make up the numbers, he wants to race, beat the opposition and win trophies - and on top of those, he thrills the fans with his daring display of overtaking. Away from the race track, you won't find Hamilton boozing in nightclubs or up to some mischief with ladies of the night, that's for sure !!

  • Comment number 82.

    Worse race of the whole season for Vettel. And the result? His lead drops from 80 points to 77. A few more bad days like this and he'll be 2011 champion. The other drivers need to hope he catches some of Button's bad luck and DNF's a few times.

  • Comment number 83.

    >"Vettel just annoys me with his smugness and sulking"

    What does this even MEAN? Seriously?

  • Comment number 84.

    One thing that has not been mentioned are the tyres. Despite Pirelli maintaining no change to the tyre compounds, the drivers are telling a different story. The difference while maybe fairly subtle is enough to throw the balance back towards Webber and others. There is no doubt that Red Bull are losing their performance advantage, and also I think Vettel is beginning to crack. Maintaining such a high standard throughout a season is a tall order, but with such a huge gap to Vettel in the standings it's hard to see that anyone else could win the championship. - But it's not over until it's over











  • Comment number 85.

    @81 matt-stone

    I think if you read posts 65/66/67 you will be able to ascertain I was talking about Alonso not being a good hero figure not Hamilton.

    Other than that a good rant though so thanks for that ;-)

    Maybe try reading a little more before being too eager to start typing in future eh?

  • Comment number 86.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 87.

    @ 85. . tiggerspp...

    Apologies....again, wrong end of the stick !! But valid points though, if I may say so !!

  • Comment number 88.

    Is everyone seriously giving someone else but Vettel a chance? Lets get the facts right from the start. Vettel is a Champion driver in the best car so he will be No1. Webber is good but RB don't want him to win so he will be a nuisance. Hamilton will get lucky in a few races and may win another one buts that it. He isn't good enough over the stretch. Alonso is a great racer in a good car but Ferrari are not as reliable or as quick over the remainder of the warmer courses. He is the "joker" and will get a bit closer to Vettel but that will be that.

  • Comment number 89.

    @themanwhosavedtheworld
    @F1FAN01

    Hi, I always enjoy reading both your posts. Couldn't agree with you more, the BBC although trying not to seem biased now spent two years taking every opportunity to have a dig at Lewis.

    Do you remember that comment Coulthard said, last year when Jenson qualified half a second ahead of Lewis at the Italian grand prix. He said it was a 'crushing blow' to Lewis, to have his team mate half a second ahead of him in the grid. I bet he remembered those words on Saturday.

    David Croft and Mark Hughes are the only commentators on the BBC, that given Hamilton the respect he deserves!

  • Comment number 90.

    Thought I'd say it here as no one from the BBC, while salivating over Hamilton & the race in general, decided to give it even a mention...
    Well done Kobayashi, 18th to 9th, & points for Sauber again.
    Of course, if it had been Perez there would have been praise indeed from the trend following MB - & that's not my 'guesstimate' nor is it 'my bad'.

  • Comment number 91.

    This is more like it. One man dominating race after race with supreme ease is not good for the sport. I think that there is a chance that Vettel will be overtaken, but very slight. Vettel has a huge lead and is a very good rider with one of the best cars this year. Yet if what happened in the past two races continue to happen Hamilton, Webber and Alonso have a very good chance.
    Good race by Hamilton yesterday but I thought that Alonso should have tried more after he overtook both Lewis and Webber at the pit stops. We are in for a nerve wracking second half of the season.

  • Comment number 92.

    Why do so many people that write here dislike Lewis Hamilton so much? There are a million things to say about the race - from McLaren's unreliability to Red Bull's growing uncertainty, and it all has to boil down to conspiracy theories and how Hamilton is "lucky" and Button "doesnt have the same parts", etc - why??
    Reading some of the blogs on the race this morning, it is easy to see where Lewis was coming from with those Ali G remarks - why won't you all just let him be, let him race, provide us with entertainment?

  • Comment number 93.

    Im a big Button fan. There is absolutely no conspiracy. Button has had a streak of bad luck. So what, it happens. He will always start off slow, pace himself, and be one of the fastest at the end, as always. It is how he does it. Unlike his team mate, who is like an attack dog from the outset. Hamilton has had bad luck this year too, and yet we didn't say it was down to different parts etc. It is just what happens.

    Hamilton answered his critics with a performance that included the style he was so bashed for. Awesome drive, and one to remember. More please.

  • Comment number 94.

    >"Why do so many people that write here dislike Lewis Hamilton so much?"

    I have nothing against Hamilton himself. Some of his fans, on the other hand, just go way over the top in their praise for him. If he never wins another championship, they'll still regard him as the greatest driver who ever lived.


    >"There are a million things to say about the race - from McLaren's unreliability to Red Bull's growing uncertainty"

    Yeah, there is a lot to say. I don't know abut the RB "uncertainty" though. They had a poor day by their standards - which meant finishing third and fourth. It's a sign of how dominant they, and Vettel in particular, have been this season that this result is being seen as a sign of weakness.

  • Comment number 95.

    I do like this myth that appears to be followed on this forum, that apparently it is unusual for the eventual world champion to have the best car on the grid. You can count on one hand probably the number of world champions there have been who arguably did not have the strongest car on the grid that season.

    One race should not blind the fact that Vettel has been absolutely destroying Webber this season as well - the fact that the man can have such an off day, yet still keep it together, not get flustered and come 4th, is the sign of a two-time champion in waiting.

    Looking forward to next week now anyway when Hamilton has to settle for 4th or something in the McLaren and goes back to toys out the pram mode.

  • Comment number 96.

    With 9 races left, everything can happen. Now 3 teams are enough competitive to make us blind in our predictions.
    Congratulations to Hamilton!

  • Comment number 97.

    Well done LH, just keep pushing things will simply fall in place for you. JB don't give up yet you driving a McLaren.

  • Comment number 98.

    A shocking day for Vettel, and his lead is cut by 5 points.
    At this rate they'll have caught him in another 15 races.

    Take that Red Bull !! :-)

  • Comment number 99.

    the reason vettel didn't pass massa was because he was so far ahead in the championship and he knew that 5th was better than a DNF

  • Comment number 100.

    Makes me laugh , Lewis has been slated constantly last few months, now hes the best thing since sliced bread. I have always supported him and always believe hes's the best... Come on guys give the support he deserves !!!

 

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