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Mark Webber ignites title charge with win in Hungary

Mark Webber takes the chequered flag

Highlights - Hungarian Grand Prix

By Sam Lyon

Mark Webber stormed to victory at a thrilling Hungarian Grand Prix to take the lead in the drivers' championship from Lewis Hamilton, who had to retire.

What was expected to be a procession for Red Bull burst into life thanks to a safety-car period and drive-through penalty for pole-man Sebastian Vettel.

That enabled Webber to leap-frog his team-mate as well as Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who held off Vettel for second.

A gearbox problem ended Hamilton's race on lap 24 when he was running fourth.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa took fourth, ahead of Renault's Vitaly Petrov and Williams' Nico Hulkenberg. Sauber's Pedro de la Rosa scored his first points of the season with seventh ahead of McLaren's Jenson Button.

Mark Webber with the BBC F1 forum

Webber refuses to get carried away

The result means Webber goes into the mid-season three-week break with a four-point lead in the standings, and the Australian said: "It was a bit of a gift, but I've not had many of them, so I'll take it. It's an incredible day for us.

"It's nice to have more points than anybody else, but we're not getting ahead of ourselves as there are some big events coming up."

Just 20 points now separate the top five drivers - Webber, Hamilton, Vettel, Button and Alonso - while Red Bull also now lead the constructors' championship.

That will rankle with McLaren and Hamilton, whose transmission problem ended what was promising to be another fine damage-limitation run from the Englishman, with his and team-mate Button's cars again well off the pace of Ferrari and the stunning Red Bull.

The McLaren drivers' frustration were matched, if not surpassed, by Vettel's, though, after what looked like being a processional victory for the German turned into a frustrating settle for third place.

Sebastian Vettel

Vettel confused by drive-through penalty

The turning point came on lap 16 when the safety car emerged because of debris on the track - at which point Vettel, who retained his lead at the start despite an impressive charge from Alonso on the clean side of the track from third on the grid, had already built a 12-second lead.

With the safety car out, all but three drivers - Webber, Rubens Barrichello and Jarno Trulli - pitted for a tyre change, a decision that in the eventual race fallout proved pivotal in securing Webber the race win.

But even more crucial was an error from Vettel, the 23-year-old failing to keep within 10 car lengths of the safety car and soon after being penalised by race stewards with a drive-through that not only cost him victory but put him behind Alonso - a position the Spaniard defended superbly until the end.

It continues Vettel's poor conversion rate this season, this the sixth time out of seven he has failed to turn pole position into victory.

And he made no attempt to hide his anger either during the race - when he gesticulated wildly during his drive-through - and then at the end, when his race engineer warned him: "I know you're upset, we're all upset, but there's nothing you can say that is going to change anything. Take a deep breath."

ANDREW BENSON'S BLOG

After the race, Vettel said: "I didn't understand what was going on and why I was penalised. I guess at the restart I was sleeping. I was probably relying too much on the radio, I lost the connection and didn't hear anything.

"It's been explained to me why, but I still don't understand it.

"We're pretty unlucky because otherwise it would have been a walk in the park. I should have won, but in the end I was third and I am very disappointed."

Alonso, however, was happy enough with his second-place finish, admitting it was the best he could have hoped for: "Yeah, I think that was as good as we could have done.

"(But) I think we have some credit still from this year's bad luck so if we have five or six more gifts like this it's still not enough maybe."

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso

Ferrari still have a chance - Alonso

Meanwhile, there was plenty of incident outside of the battle for podium places, in particular during the rush for the pits in the safety car period.

Renault's Robert Kubica and Adrian Sutil of Force India suffered a nasty collision when the former pulled out of his stop right into the German's tracks, ending Sutil's race and effectively ruining the Pole's.

Nico Rosberg also had problems when he lost the right rear wheel of his Mercedes on the exit and had to retire, the flying tyre somehow avoiding the dozens of pit crew members out and about as it bounced around the pits.

And then, on lap 68, Michael Schumacher's attempted defence of his 10th position almost forced Rubens Barrichello into a concrete wall, the Brazilian edging through by a matter of millimetres. A clearly unsettled Barrichello was heard on the Williams team radio saying: "That was horrible."

The move, down the straight, prompted an investigation by race officials and after the race Schumacher was given a 10-place grid penalty for the next grand prix in Belgium on 29 August for illegitimately impeding Barrichello.

Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher

Barrichello and Schumacher disagree over near-miss

Before hearing of his 10-place penalty, Schumacher attempted to justify his manoeuvre, saying: "I was making it obvious to him to go on the other side, there was more room there, but he chose not to."

Upon hearing that, Barrichello replied: "It's been always my fault for six years. Unbelievable.

"It was the most dangerous manouevre against me in my career, it was."

As for Renault and Mercedes, they both received $50,000 (£32,000) fines for their unsafe release from the pits of Rosberg and Kubica respectively.

Drive of the day, meanwhile, arguably went to BMW Sauber's Kamui Kobayashi, who battled supremely to go from 23rd on the grid to a ninth-place finish despite it being notoriously difficult to overtake at the Hungaroring.



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Hungarian Grand Prix

RaceLast updated: 15 Nov 2012 12:34 UK
Position Country Driver Race Time
1 australia M Webber 1:41:05.571
2 spain F Alonso 1:41:23.392
3 germany S Vettel 1:41:24.823
4 brazil F Massa 1:41:33.045
5 russian federation V Petrov 1:42:18.763
6 germany N Hulkenberg 1:42:22.294
7 spain P de la Rosa lapped
8 great britain J Button lapped
9 japan K Kobayashi lapped
10 brazil R Barrichello lapped


see also
Hungarian Grand Prix race results
24 Feb 10 |  Results
'Sleeping' Vettel left frustrated
01 Aug 10 |  Formula 1
Button bemoans season low point
01 Aug 10 |  Formula 1
Schumacher danger move punished
01 Aug 10 |  Formula 1
Hungarian GP as it happened
01 Aug 10 |  Formula 1
Hungarian GP photos
01 Aug 10 |  Formula 1


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