Image Courtesy: Getty Images
Lotus' have been extremely strong in hot conditions(despite high probability of rain on sunday, Hungarian GP turned out to be a dry race) and Kimi Raikkonen showed that with a fantastic drive at Hungaroring. He challenged Hamilton all the way to the chequered flag but couldn't overtake the Brit due to KERS problem and nature of the track. We review his race strategy.
Raikkonen couldn't match Grosjean's pace in qualifying(who qualified in 2nd place) and started the race from 5th place. His start wasn't good either as he lost a place to Fernando Alonso on the opening lap. However, by pitting three laps after Alonso(on lap 20), he regained the place to the Spaniard.
Image Courtesy: Getty Images
He then nursed his car on soft tyres in crucial 2nd stint for 25 laps and once everyone had made their final stop, he was running in first place. His lead over Hamilton was 15 seconds, with 19 seconds being the time required to make a pit stop. He finally made his 2nd stop on lap 45 and raced wheel to wheel with team-mate Romain Grosjean as he exited the pitlane.
Raikkonen now had 5 laps fresher tyres and 24 laps to overtake Hamilton, but he couldn't do this due to three issues. Firstly, he was suffering from KERS issue - his team reported that his KERS system was performing 50% below its actual efficiency. Secondly, the Hungaroring track is not a overtaking friendly with drivers finding it extremely hard to overtake even using DRS. Thirdly, Narain Karthikeyan crashed out in the last few laps bringing out yellow flags on turn 4 which mean that Raikkonen couldn't overtake the 27 year old.
Button gets three stop strategy wrong
If we went with pre-race predictions, three stop strategy would have turned out to be faster than two stop, but that required coming out in fresh air and setting a series of quick laps while two stoppers focused on keeping their tyres alive.
After surviving serious pressure from Vettel, McLaren told Button to switch to "Plan B" i.e. a three stop strategy. He pitted on lap 34 for a used set of option tyres but came behind Williams of Bruno Senna. The nature of track meant that he couldn't overtake the Brazilian despite fresher tyres and Button had to wait for lap 42 when Senna made his stop to get a clean track. In these laps, he lost a lot of time and to finish in a dissapoitning 6th place.
HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX, TYRE CHOICES
Hamilton: SU MN (18) MN (40) 2 Stops
Räikkönen: SU SU (20) MU (45) 2
Grosjean: SU SU (19) MU (39) 2
Vettel: SU SU (17) MN (38) SU (58) 3
Alonso: SU MN (17) MN (43) 2
Button: SU MN (15) SU (34) MN (45) 3
Senna: SU MN (16) MN (42) 2
Webber: MN MN (20) SN (39) SU (55) 3
Massa: SU MN (18) MN (43) 2
Rosberg: SN MN (16) MN (40) 2
Hülkenberg: SU MN (15) MN (39) 2
Di Resta: SN MN (16) MN (38) 2
Maldonado: SU MN (15) MN (41) DT (52) 3
Perez: SN MN (21) MN (47) 2
Ricciardo: SN SN (14) SU (34) MN (47) 3
Vergne: SU SN (12) SU (30) MN (46) MN (64) 4
Kovalainen: SN MN (17) MN (36) SU (56) 3
Kobayashi: SU MN (8) SU (40) 2
Petrov: SN MN (18) MN (35) MN (51) 3
Pic: MN SN (20) MN (39) 2
Glock: MN SN (18) MN (40) 2
De La Rosa: MN MN (22) SN (41) 2
Kartikeyan: SN MN (18) SU (39) 2 NC
Schumacher: SN MN (1) DT (4) MN (32) 3 NC
S=Soft; M= Medium; U= Used; N = New; DT = Drive thru penalty