Lewis Hamilton (Q1, R1)
Lewis did all he needed to do on Sunday and won’t be too unhappy Jenson Button was willing to interfere with his rivals’ races. Hamilton’s first win for Mercedes was a belated one considering Nico has beaten him to the top step twice this season already.
After qualifying he was apprehensive about his chances when he considered the durability of the Pirelli compounds, but degradation was not such an issue during the race and Lewis profited nicely from the surprise. Mercedes have now shown themselves as genuine victory contenders and with half a season to go could yet mount a challenge for the title. They’ll need everything to snatch the points off Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel, though.
Kimi Raikkonen (Q6, R2)
On a day when Romain Grosjean had every opportunity to disappoint Raikkonen fans, Kimi still came through with the goods at the end of the race. A two-stop strategy was risky and had the potential to put the Finn well down the order should the tyres not hold out as long as Lotus would have liked, but Raikkonen’s luck paid off around the tight Hungarian venue and rewarded him with eighteen points. He did well to survive the pressure of the faster Sebastian Vettel behind him, but if the reigning World Champion thought Kimi Raikkonen was going to be fooled by a few abnormal car positions then he’d best think again.
Jenson Button (Q13, R7)
He struggled in qualifying and could only manage seventh in the race, but Button’s strong defensive drive was enough to get him noticed throughout the event. McLaren still doesn’t have the pace to climb up the order, but the Briton’s racecraft can sometimes counter that. Had Jenson slipped up early in the race, the fans may have been robbed of a number of battles later in the race. By no means a drive people will talk about for years to come, but one that showed Button still has a lot of talent under that helmet.
Sebastian Vettel (Q2, R3)
Vettel didn’t do poorly, but he didn’t win. And by Sebastian Vettel’s record, a non-win is a loss. The German was visibly frustrated having been stuck behind Button for not one but two stints and made a number of brash attempted overtakes against Kimi Raikkonen earlier in the race. No, Sebastian, Kimi did leave you enough room and you must understand you can’t always have it your way. Not a win, and he lost points to Raikkonen, but he’s been on the podium seven races out of ten this season and that’s not going to do his championship challenge any harm.
Mark Webber (Q10, R4)
Another qualifying session and another mechanical issue. No KERS and a faulty gear-shifter meant Webber was enormously fortunate to scrape into Q3. The Australian’s recovery drive was impressive, but he needs to start finishing ahead of Vettel if he wants to score another victory before he leaves the sport for good. Spa’s usually been fairly kind to Mark.
Romain Grosjean (Q3, R6)
As mentioned above, Hungary was an enormous opportunity for Romain to put Raikkonen behind him. He started positively, but his race fell apart through two major incidents: turning into Button at the chicane and, more noticeably, the drive-through penalty for overtaking Felipe Massa outside the confines of the racetrack. The penalty was harsh, though the rules are clear and Grosjean was fully deserving of the punishment.
He’s looked back on form the last two events. If he can keep it up he might yet have a legitimate seat next year, rather than being offered a drive because of the Total money.