Good afternoon all! We're half an hour away from the start of the 10th race of the year. Can Lewis Hamilton
's tyres perform well enough to hold off the charging Red Bull
of Sebastian Vettel
Hamilton's fastest time in qualifying yesterday was a real surprise, even to the man himself. Vettel was expected to blitz the field but was edged out by three-hundredths of a second. Click here
to read our qualifying report.
As mentioned above, Vettel remains odds-on favourite with the bookies even though he's not starting from the front. If Hamilton can stay ahead of the German then he could win because it's tough to overtake at the Hungaroring.
The track is a 4.381km, clockwise circuit with 14 corners. There are two DRS activation points, one after the other at the start of the lap.
WEATHER WATCH: There's no danger of mixed conditions in Budapest today as it is ROASTING hot. The air temperature is around 40 degrees, with the track reaching 50-odd celsius! It's going to be a tough job keeping the tyres nice and cool.
A little bit of news coming out of the Hungaroring today is that the track has extended its contract to host the race until 2022. Read more here
THE GRID: Here's how the 22 cars line up for the start: 1) Hamilton 2) Vettel 3) Grosjean 4) Rosberg 5) Alonso 6) Raikkonen 7) Massa 8) Ricciardo 9) Perez 10) Webber 11) Sutil 12) Hulkenberg 13) Button 14) Vergne 15) Maldonado 16) Bottas 17) Gutierrez 18) Di Resta 19) Pic 20) Van der Garde 21) Bianchi 22) Chilton
Even though the Hungaroring is traditionally a tough track to overtake on, the searing heat will lead to an exciting race. That's according to McLaren
's Jenson Button anyway, who will definitely be hoping he can zip through the field as he starts 13th. Here's what he said yesterday: "It's not the easiest circuit to overtake on but I have a feeling that if we have a 56-degree circuit temperature, it's not going to be a straightforward race. I think we'll see some overtaking."
It's been said that starting on the inside of the track in the even-numbered positions is a big disadvantage here. Good news for Hamilton and could mean that Vettel may in fact drop a place or two at the start. Look out for Alonso in fifth, who traditionally gets a lightning start in his Ferrari
. We're almost ready!
FORMATION LAP: Hamilton sets off on one lap of the track so that the drivers can warm up their cars. You feel that it isn't quite as necessary today because of the scorching temparature in Budapest.
"Engine cooling wherever you can and now you need to back up the grid," Hamilton is told on the team radio. Can the Mercedes
man hold the lead into turn one? We're about to find out.
GO GO GO!
Five red lights illuminate before disappearing and the Hungarian Grand Prix
Hamilton still leads after the first corner. Rosberg got a great start but couldn't quite jump Vettel. He's now in all sorts of trouble down in 10th!
You have to say that Vettel has done extremely well to remain in second after that spluttery start. It's Hamilton, Vettel, Grosjean, Alonso and Massa the top five after one lap.
Now that the first lap chaos has eased, Vettel is getting right up behind Hamilton. DRS is about to be turned on and that could help the Red Bull
get past the Mercedes.
Fine start from BUTTON who has moved up five places to eighth and could be on for a solid afternoon with that McLaren
which performs better in the race than it does in quali.
Looking at replays of the start, it's incredible that there was no contact between the men challenging for second. Hamilton's start was perfect so he didn't get caught with Vettel, Grosjean, Rosberg and the Ferraris.
Hamilton sets the fastest lap of the race to edge a little further ahead of Vettel. He's still not over a second ahead though so Vettel will have DRS down the home straight.
And now it's GROSJEAN who sets the fastest time. The Frenchman is trying to catch up with the Hamilton-Vettel battle at the front.
The Lotus man is looking very good! He's now closer to Vettel than Vettel is to Hamilton. Impressive stuff from the Frenchman.
TOP 10 UPDATE: 1 Hamilton 2 Vettel 3 Grosjean 4 Alonso 5 Massa 6 Raikkon 7 Webber 8 Button 9 Ricciardo 10 Perez
I didn't see this coming, that's for sure. After the first lap it looked like Vettel would soon pass Hamilton but he's dropping further back and is definitely looking over his shoulder as opposed to looking forward.
Hamilton's teammate Rosberg is having a bit of a nightmare. He got such a good start and looked like he might nick second but is now down in 12th after a bit of contact. His car seems OK now as he hasn't had to come into the pits.
Another man who's had a good start is Di Resta. He had a disappointing quali yesterday but has moved up five places from 18th to 13th. Can the Force India driver challenge for the points? It's a tough ask.
HAMILTON pits from the lead and comes out just behind former teammate Button. That's not great news for the pole-sitter who could now lose time behind the McLaren man, allowing Vettel and perhaps Grosjean too to jump ahead of him when they pit.
The other Mercedes of Rosberg also pits and resumes in 15th. Can the German get back into the top 10 and score some points?
Hamilton gets past Button and now Vettel pits. Will he get out ahead of Lewis?
No! Hamilton zooms past down the home straight before Button also just nips ahead of Vettel exiting the pits. The Red Bull man is likely now to lose a bit of time to the McLaren as Hamilton did. It's looking good for Hammy.
The man to look out for now is Grosjean. Can he put in a couple of good laps to possibly jump Hamilton?
The Frenchman could be on a two-stop strategy as he's stopped a little later than the rest.
He pits and it hasn't worked well for Lotus. They simply stayed out too long and it's cost them as Grosjean is way behind Vettel and Hamilton.
Button is doing his fellow countryman Hamilton a massive favour by holding up Vettel. The German remains behind the McLaren and hasn't really threatened an overtake.
The Lotus boys may have pitted Grosjean a little too late to challenge for the lead, but the car is definitely looking good on this circuit. The Frenchman is now right on the tail of Vettel who is still looking to get past Button. Nice three-way battle.
The man who leads the race is Mark Webber
. The Aussie is yet to stop as he started on the harder 'prime' tyres. He will only stop twice this afternoon and could be on for a top-five finish after starting in 10th.
Button's nerveless driving ahead of Vettel means that Hamilton's lead to Vettel is up to five seconds. This is great viewing as Vettel tries his hardest to get past Button with Grosjean looking to pounce on any mistake just behind.
DAMAGE! Vettel's attempts to pass Button on turn two on the previous lap resulted in a touch of contact, his front wing is damaged. He's now being told on the radio to ease off in the middle sector and cool his car. Great news for the championship!
Vettel has now dropped away from Button and that front wing damage is resulting in serious understeer. Grosjean's right on him!
Grosjean can't get past with DRS on the first two corners and now Vettel can hold position in the tight and twisty middle sector. Alonso is catching this battle rapidly. Remember, he's Vettel's nearest challenger in the overall standings.
Again Grosjean fails to get it done with the aid of DRS and Vettel remains ahead going into the narrow part of the lap. Alonso looking more and more dangerous behind.
RETIREMENT! Bad news for Adrian Sutil on his 100th Grand Prix. The Force India team tell him that there has been a hydraulic leak and that's his race over.
Button, who is yet to stop, is now falling back to the Vettel-Grosjean-Alonso trio once more. Surely the McLaren will have to pit soon? Which of the non-stoppers will pit first, Webber or Button?
Hamilton's lead to Vettel is now up to 10 seconds. Can you believe that the Mercedes man was around 8/1 to win this before the race even though he was on pole?
You have to say that Hamilton being able to pass Button is the reason that he's now favourite to win this race. Vettel hasn't been able to because the Red Bull isn't quite as quick down the main straight. Yes it's super-fast through the tight corners but that doesn't help you if there's a McLaren in front!
WEBBER pits from the lead for the first time and comes out behind Alonso in sixth. How much further can Button go?
CONTACT! Vettel gets past Button so Grosjean decides to have a go too and there's side-by-side contact with the McLaren. The Frenchman didn't give Button enough room and he could be penalised for that.
Button has to pit because of front-wing damage and interestingly the McLaren team opt to do the phase on the soft tyres now instead of at the end.
Grosjean pits from third place and comes out just ahead of Button. The Englishman will be angry with the Lotus in front and could make a move to avenge that contact.
Now that Vettel has finally got past Button, he can set his sights on Hamilton down the road. Getting stuck behind Button has dropped him 13 seconds behind the Mercedes and it will be a tough ask to catch the 2008 world champion.
The stewards announce that they are looking into the Grosjean-Button incident. I'd be surprised if the Lotus isn't punished for his rash move.
Vettel is now gaining on Hamilton in the clean air. Hamilton did his fastest lap of the race but it was still half a second slower than Vettel, who is now 12 seconds behind the leader.
One man looking very good is Vettel's teammate Webber. The Aussie is all over the back of Alonso and challenging for a podium place.
GUTSY stuff from Grosjean as he passes Massa down the outside of turn four. He may have gone a little wide but that should be OK.
Here's Hamilton driving ahead of Vettel earlier on in the race:© AP Photos
Hamilton pits from the lead and it's a supreme stop from the Mercedes boys, just 2.7 seconds to change those tyres! He emerges in fourth place and, crucially, ahead of Raikkonen.
Hamilton has caught up with the Alonso-Webber battle and he's almost just blown his race by colliding with Webber who went very wide on the final corner.
Hamilton is so much quicker than these two! He passes Webber around the outside of turn two before also getting ahead of Alonso because the Ferrari
Vettel also pitted there and it's a steady stop from the Red Bull team that means that once again he's behind Button. Nightmare for Vettel.
Hamilton is absolutely flying at the front. He's told to cool his rear tyres by the team. Only a mistake or failure will deny the Brit a second consecutive pole-to-flag victory in Hungary surely.
PENALTY! Grosjean is given a drive-through penalty for the pass on Massa. The stewards have deemed that he went off the track to make the pass.
As Vettel's fresher tyres see him easily swoop past Button for fifth place, the stewards also say that the incident between Grosjean and Button will be looked at after the race.
Button pits for a second time to get rid of those soft tyres which simply can't stand the heat. Can he now manage the remaining 32 laps on these primes? It'd be some achievement if he did.
TOP 10 UPDATE: 1 Hamilton 2 Webber 3 Raikkonen 4 Vettel 5 Alonso 6 Grosjean 7 Button 8 Massa 9 Rosberg 10 Perez
Sauber's Hulkenburg, down in 13th, has just been handed a drive-through for speeding down the pit lane. Silly boy.
Hamilton sets the fastest lap - a 1:25.798. He leads Webber by three seconds, with nearest challenger Vettel 15 seconds back. What a surprisingly good weekend it's been for the Englishman.
Was just about to wonder when Webber would make his second stop and here he is into the pits for a set of mediums that will hopefully get him to the end of the race. He's only lost one place and is now third, behind teammate Vettel. The German is nine seconds clear but will have to make another stop, remember.
RETIREMENT! It's a first retirement in Formula 1 for Bottas, who pulls up just on the side of the track at the exit of the final corner. It's not the most clever place to park your car. Will it require a safety car? That would be devastating for Hamilton.
Double yellow flags are being waved at that final corner but gladly for Hamilton it doesn't look like a safety car will be needed. DRS has been turned off for the time being.
And now the yellows are stopped completely and Hamilton immediately sets the fastest lap of the race.
Grosjean pits and it's a sluggish stop from the Lotus boys that means Button is able to nip ahead into sixth. The McLaren man has been a pest for a lot of the frontrunners today!
Button is reassured on the team radio that the tyres he is currently on can make it until the end of the race. Will he be able to make into the top five?
Alonso also pits but he is able to get out ahead of the Button-Grosjean battle. Grosjean is trying his hardest to get past Button but as we've seen throughout the race, the McLaren man remains ever so cool under pressure.
As Grosjean manages to get past Button on turn two, Hamilton ducks into the pits for his final stop. It's a safe stop for Hamilton and the caution means that he's JUST behind Webber.
Hamilton doesn't waste any time in getting past Webber, forcing the Red Bull off the track. He's now in a Red Bull sandwich with Vettel leading the race.
Remember though, Vettel does have to make one more stop so he's racing teammate Webber more than Hamilton.
After a hectic first lap, Raikkonen has stayed fairly clear of trouble throughout. If he can make his current tyres last until the end of the race then he could be on for a podium finish. A battle with the Red Bulls should ensue in the remaining laps.
Wimbledon champion Andy Murray is cheering on fellow Brit Hamilton:
Vettel pits from the lead, where will he emerge?!
It's fourth place for Vettel, just getting out ahead of Toro Rosso's Ricciardo, who could well be his new teammate next season.
TOP 10 UPDATE: 1 Hamilton 2 Webber 3 Raikkonen 4 Vettel 5 Alonso 6 Grosjean 7 Button 8 Massa 9 Rosberg 10 Perez
Vettel has cut the gap to Raikkone to 1.2s. The Finn is on older tyres so it would be surprising if he can finish ahead of the championship leader.
Webber pits from second place. He hasn't used the soft 'option' tyre yet so has to put a set of those on. He rejoins in fourth place, 13 seconds behind teammate Vettel.
Vettel remains a second or so behind Raikkonen in the battle for second as Webber lights up the timing screens on those fresh soft tyres. Surely there isn't enough time for the Aussie to catch this Raikkonen-Vettel tussle?
Just eight more laps for Hamilton. He's 10 seconds clear at the front and soon to win his first Grand Prix for Mercedes.
Victory for Hamilton will be his fourth success at the Hungaroring. He loves it here!
FIVE LAPS TO GO! As we enter the final stages of the race the battle to keep an eye on is for second between Raikkonen and Vettel. The Finn is doing a great job to hold off the reigning three-time world champion.
FIRE! Rosberg's engine has blown! It's not been a good afternoon for the German and his race comes to an end in a plume of smoke coming from the back of the car. How nervous must Mercedes be about Hamilton's car now?
Another tussle going on is between Alonso and Grosjean for fifth place. The latter is under a second behind but just can't get past the Ferrari at the moment.
Vettel is right on Raikkonen up to turn four but he gets it wrong and goes off the track to drop a couple of seconds behind the Finn.
TWO LAPS LEFT! Vettel reports back to the team that Raikkonen didn't give him enough room but replays look fine. His engineer Rocky says that they will talk to Charlie (Whiting) the race director but I don't think they'll have any success.
FINAL LAP! Into the final lap goes race leader Hamilton with a new fastest personal lap. What a sublime race he's had.
Can Vettel get past Raikkonen? That's the question. It looks like he's going to hold second place.
LEWIS HAMILTON WINS THE HUNGARIAN GRAND PRIX!
A first win for Mercedes for Hamilton. Raikkonen stays ahead of Vettel for a gutsy second place. Webber fourth, Alonso fifth.
It's a 22nd win in F1 for Lewis, whose title challenge is reignited today.
F1 legend Niki Lauda, who is associated with Mercedes, tells Sky Sports F1 that the way Hamilton passed people and drove today was outstanding.
FINAL TOP 10: 1. Hamilton 25pts 2. Raikkonen 18pts 3. Vettel 15pts 4. Webber 12pts 5. Alonso 10pts 6. Grosjean 8pts 7. Button 6pts 8. Massa 4pts 9. Perez 2pts 10. Maldonado 1pt
A mention as well for Maldonado, who came home 10th to score Williams's first point of the season.
Hamilton emerges onto the podium to a rapturous applause from his team. A first win for Lewis since making the controversial switch from McLaren.
As the drivers shower themselves in champagne, it's time for me to bring down the curtain on this commentary. Thanks for joining Sports Mole this afternoon. F1 is having another holiday, this time a four-week one before the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa on August 25. As always. we'll be covering that one too. See you then.