Hungary races always seemed a bit dull to me on TV. Thats why I thought that going there for my first GP in 2008 would be good, since being there is another story. I found out that Budapest is a fantastic city that I would love to go back to as soon as I can. Also – I have never seen a higher concentration of good looking women anywhere. But I digress. Hungary 2008 saw Kimi on the podium from 6th position. I had a very small hope for the same this weekend of course. But how it really played out took me completely by surprise.
Oh, if you find the page being a bit slow, its probably due to the gif loading a bit down the page. It will pass.
Kimi had sounded very confident to the press, saying he had found a sweet spot in the setup to extract the performance he needed: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/101558
And indeed, he had looked very quick all weekend.
But when it mattered in Q3, he didnt deliver for some reason. 5th is not bad except for 2 things: Its Hungary where overtaking is usually very hard if not impossible. And his teammate qualifying a strong 2nd behind Lewis on pole. Just cementing the fact that a front row grid position had been there for the taking. So I was disappointed to put it mildly. In fact, I had pretty much given up on the race since I had already panned out the expected scenario in my head. Thankfully I am an idiot who can be very wrong at times.
Lights out and its a decent start for the Kimster. Keeps 5th and.. oh great. Alonso just overtook him. My thoughts are already back to 2008 where he spent half the race staring into the exhaust of the Renault. Now the roles are reversed and its the (ex-Renault) looking into the exhaust of the Ferrari. Well this is going to be a fun race, I thought.. Kimi well within DRS range, but the Hungaroring straight is just not long enough. It later emerged that he didnt have KERS available to him at the start. A reset on the steering wheel helped that problem but it undoubtedly lost him that position at the start.
And when Alonso pitted on lap 17, I still thought: “Nice, now Alonso will have fresh tires and Kimi will have no chance to overtake him in the pits.” But to my surprise, Kimi starts turning out some really fast laps and as luck would have it, Alonso is held up a little by Perez which makes Kimi emerge out ahead of Alonso after his stop on lap 20/21. Ok, not bad not bad, I think to myself.. But its still just the position he started with, while up ahead its Grosjean fighting with Lewis for the win. How is Kimi ever going to get up in that mix?
To add to my frustration, Kimi is not really making any progress to Vettel in 4th. “He has clean air – whats the problem?! Grosjean is purple all over the place, now come on Kimi! What are you doing??” Just as I am about to reach for the remote to turn off this mess, Vettel pits for his second stop. And with that it seems the Iceman got his cue. Bam! Purple sector all of a sudden. “Hey, where did that come from”, I ask myself as I put down the remote in my hand.
A lap later he sets the fastest lap. And again. Button and McLaren have made a mess of his stops so he is already behind Kimi. But – could he really be going for the undercut on both Vettel AND Grosjean? That would be unthinkable just a few laps ago, but he is churning out some incredible lap times on those well used soft tires. Turns out, he was just biding his time like an old fox.
The gap to Vettel and Grosjean is getting close to the 18- something seconds he needs to clear them with his pitstop. He is getting some unexpected help from Alonso that is holding up his nearest rivals a bit. He pits on lap 43/44 though. Surely he must pit now as Grosjean and Vettel will be remarkably quicker without Alonso in front.
But no. He goes on for 2 more laps and still amazingly manages on worn softs to extend the gap to his teammate and the Red Bull of Vettel. Kimi is told on radio that he is racing Grosjean and Grosjean in turn told the same about Kimi. Lotus pitcrew does their part with their best pitstop of the weekend and sends Kimi out alongside his teammate into turn 1! Is Kimi going to play nice guy? Not likely! He has the racingline and the inside, brakes late locking up slightly and holds on. Grosjean is trying his panicky best to not be demoted into 3rd. Tough luck – he can only yield as Kimi keeps his line through the corner and Grosjean has to take the run-off. Sorry frenchie – you just got Iced.
Couldnt find a video, so the best I could find was this gif:
Now the hunt was on for Hamilton. There is no doubt that Kimi is much quicker and he closes the gap to Lewis in just a few laps. There was some hope that Kimi would be able to pass him on fresher tires. But Hungary is its own self – even with a DRS zone for the entire straight – and there is no way past the McLaren. Hamilton is able to go easy on the tires for most of the track and only push in the final corners to prevent Kimi closing on the straight. And it would stay this way until the chequered flag.
Still, a magical performance by the Finn. Hamilton drove well too. But with a front row start for Kimi, Im sure he would have had a serious chance of undercutting him with a pitstop. Hamilton does seem to have something special in hand when it comes to Hungary and qualifying in particular. This is in fact the third time since 2007 that the result was 1. Hamilton, 2. Raikkonen. Rematch 2013, please.
I give it an 8 out of 10. T’was very exciting to see Kimi push like crazy or doing the “Raikkonen Hustle” as Martin Brundle dubbed it in 2009. Grosjean was disappointed after the race and word is that he was angry that the team allowed Kimi to pass him. WTF Grogro? You allowed that yourself, didnt you. He was complaining about traffic and blaming backmarkers and what not. I guess he wont be joining the exclusive club of taking responsibilty for ones own mistakes. Kimi is one of the few members in that one. He says he was fighting for the win. But since he had not been able to overtake Hamilton by the time of Kimi passing him, he was never going to do it: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/101621
Fact of the matter is that Grosjean had no chance of running the pace Kimi was doing. So he should suck it up and chew a frogleg. As for me, I will have some humblepie please. Maybe with a side of crow for rubbishing Kimis chances of any kind of result on Saturday. *munch chew*
Now we have a long break before the we go to Spa. Not to worry, there is the Olympics to keep us busy. As well as dreaming feverish win fantasies like this one: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/225899-the-kimi-spa-ultimate-fantasy
I am saving like crazy to be able to go there since I got a really good feeling. I say that as long as Kimi makes it ok-ish into Q3, he will have a real shot at a win there. He is a god around that legendary track in the Ardennes. So more power to ya. Go get it Kimi. Get that win!
Images © Lotus F1 Team, Steven Tee,Lorenzo Bellanca/LAT Photographic, McLaren/Hoch Zwei, xpb/PHOTO4, motorionline.com
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