At the end of 70 action-packed laps in the Hungarian Grand Prix, Jenson Button was able to celebrate his 200th Formula One start with a victory. The Englishman had the best strategy, displaying intelligence and pace when it really mattered. Sebastian Vettel took second place, despite the fact that his Red Bull was clearly struggling with the wet conditions.
Fernando Alonso put in a solid performance to claim the remaining podium spot. For a long time, it had looked as if Lewis Hamilton had the race sewn up, until a sequence of errors ruined his day.
The outcome of this race was never predictable. Because it had been raining just before the start, all the teams opted for intermediates. Vettel held position for the first few turns, but Hamilton was all over the back of him and pounced on the reigning champion's first error.
Meanwhile, an overtaking spectacular was going on behind, the likes of which has probably never been seen in Hungary before. The rain soon stopped and there was a mad rush for slicks. Shortly after the first stop, Button also managed to nail Vettel, and the current championship leader was dropped back to third.
This was because the McLarens had the better pace in the slightly damp conditions. As the surface dried out, the gap also started to come down, but in the third stint, race leader Hamilton then made his first error, switching to supersofts on his third stop while Button and Vettel opted for primes. The other two benefited from the undercut while Hamilton was pushing to create a pit stop window.
Penalty for Hamilton
But the desired gap failed to materialise, and when Hamilton went into a spin, Button sailed past with Vettel close behind. In the same incident, Hamilton made his second mistake, performing a three-point turn which forced Paul di Resta off track. The stewards then imposed a drive-through penalty. Hamilton's third error was to pit for intermediates when it looked as though the rain might be setting in again, even though his main rivals stuck with their slicks. The rain stopped and slicks were indeed faster, so he had to make another pit stop in addition to his penalty.
Despite all these tribulations, Hamilton still crossed the line in fourth place, overtaking Webber on the last couple of laps in traffic. Felipe Massa took sixth place behind the Australian. Di Resta finished seventh, followed by Sebastien Buemi who had started from a lowly 23rd.
Nico Rosberg came ninth and Jaime Alguersuari was also in the points for Toro Rosso. Nick Heidfeld jumped out of a blazing car, Michael Schumacher retired with a gearbox problem and the two Team Lotus cars also go down in the race log as DNF.