• Hungarian GP

Hamilton wins first race of 2009

ESPNF1 Staff
July 26, 2009
Hamilton celebrates his first win of 2009 © Sutton Images

Lewis Hamilton returned to form at the Hungarian Grand Prix, claiming his and McLaren's first victory of the season ahead of Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari in a return to the pecking order of previous years.

The 2009 championship contenders didn't fare so well. Mark Webber finished third but his Red Bull team-mate was forced into retirement due to suspension damage sustained in the first corner. Meanwhile, the Brawns struggled to gain tyre temperature around the tight Hungaroring with Jenson Button finishing sixth and Rubens Barrichello out of the points in 10th.

As expected the KERS-equipped McLaren Mercedes proved rapid off the line at the start of the 70-lap marathon, as Hamilton briefly secured second position before running wide at the first turn. This allowed Webber to regain the position but on lap four Hamilton pressured Webber into a defensive line into the first turn and took the position at the next corner with an aggressive pass around the outside.

At this point pole-sitter Fernando Alonso was three seconds up the road on his light fuel load. The double world champion pitted as expected on lap 13 but the team did not fit the front right wheel correctly and the Spaniard was soon three-wheeling his way back to the pits and a few laps later into retirement.

Out front, Hamilton quickly pulled an advantage from Webber who opted to take the harder prime tyre for this second stint. This cost the German Grand Prix winner pace but that would prove academic as a slow pit stop had already allowed Raikkonen through into second position.

Raikkonen kept the pressure on Hamilton with the gap steady at six or seven seconds until the second round of stops and then controlled his pace to the chequered flag to record his best result of the season and to make a little history as he and Hamilton celebrated a KERS one-two.

Nico Rosberg finished in fourth position to extend his points run with the Williams team while Heikki Kovalainen secured his third points finish of the season with fifth position in the second McLaren Mercedes.

Toyota used long first stints to really push Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli up the order after a poor run in qualifying. Glock finished sixth in his TF109 as he chased Kovalainen across the line while Trulli took the final point in eighth position.

Button started seventh in his championship-leading Brawn Mercedes and finished one place higher, as Alonso's early exit helped him up one position. It was not a good race weekend for the team as the team continued to mention tyres as the reason for their recent decline in performance. Perhaps it is the problem, but Button's championship advantage was trimmed to 18.5 points from Webber ahead of the summer break.

Kazuki Nakajima battled hard but was just out of the points once again in his Williams as he chased Trulli for the final point in the closing laps. Barrichello was unable to make up much ground after his qualifying problems in the second Brawn as he finished tenth.