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Button Finally Wins For Honda

Button Finally Wins For Honda

Jenson Button Wins - 2006 Hungarian Grand PrixThe Hungarian Grand Prix has been won by Jenson Button, after a sensational wet race that saw great drives and great errors.

From the start, the circuit in Budapest was going to produce an excellent race after Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso started back in 11th and 15th respectively following penalties imposed for passing under red and yellow flags and dangerous driving in practice sessions. But no one could have written a script for the 2006 Grand Prix, which saw spins from Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen rear-ending Vitantonio Liuzzi and Fernando Alonso suffering a driveshaft failure forcing the Spaniard to retire from the lead.

The start of the race saw both championship contenders leap up the field, but Alonso was determined to not lose sight of Schumacher, and both drivers set about gaining maximum points from Hungary. However, Mark Webber was one of the first notable retirees, quickly followed by Christian Klien in the Red Bull.

The overtaking move of the race goes again to Alonso, who managed to skirt around the outside of his rival Schumacher on lap four, again emphasising that he is a very competitive and very hungry reigning champion. Giancarlo Fisichella – however – didn’t manage as clean a pass as his team mate, and when the Italian made his move on Schumacher, the Ferrari ended up loosing its front wing. Fisichella powered on, his Renault seemingly unhurt, but retired a few corners up the track from spinning off in the wet conditions.

The next serious retirement happened on lap 26 when Raikkonen and Liuzzi come to blows on the tarmac. From the TV footage, it appeared that Liuzzi backed off as he exited the corner, which caught the Flying Finn by surprise, who was in turn coming under pressure from team mate Pedro De La Rosa. The net result was a collision that retired both the Toro Rosso and McLaren drivers. Raikkonen had this to say afterwards:

We just hit each other. Vitantonio wanted to let me pass and I was trying let Pedro pass.

Vitantonio echoed the sense of it being a simple driving incident, saying:

…I went wide, trying to let him by before the chicane. Probably, he did not expect me to slow at this point and so he ran into the back of me. This track is really tight and twisty and I was really trying to move over to let him by. It was a misunderstanding and I’m sorry as it ruined both our races.

Five laps from the chequered flag saw McLaren’s Pedro De La Rosa cut the gap to Michael Schumacher. Jenson Button Wins - 2006 Hungarian Grand PrixPedro made a few attempts down into turn one, and Michael eventually had to allow the McLaren to pass. But Schumacher ended up straight-lining the chicane and came out in front. At this point Schumacher should have conceded the position as De La Rosa would have passed under normal racing. Schumacher slowed but then appeared to change his mind and got back on the gas. Furiously, De La Rosa backed off initially and then made the same move again on the following lap. This time, the Spaniard forced his way through without question or further incident. This whole sequence of moves allowed Nick Heidfeld to gain on the Ferrari’s gearbox, and the BMW driver made a carbon-copy of De La Rosa’s move. However, Schumacher didn’t leave enough room and it seems that they make contact (although it wasn’t clear on the TV footage), the result of which forced the seven time World Champion to retire.

Other great drives came from Polish driver Robert Kubica who was drving in his debut Grand Prix and finished seventh, claiming two points for BMW, who must be seriously thinking why they have been paying Jacques Villeneuve a bundle of money for few results so far this season. Although Kubica did have a couple of spins, when put into the context of the race which also saw Alonso and Schumacher have similar incidents, Kubica showed real class on the Hungaroring today. And his points compliment the six that team mate Heidfeld gained from finishing third on the podium.

On a track that saw Damon Hill claim his first win in 1993, and Fernando Alonso take his maiden victory in 2003, the Hungaroring has again offered another exciting race that allowed a great driver to prove himself by taking maximum points and maximum pride in his performance.

At least I wasn’t too wrong with this prediction made back in February before the 2006 season got underway.

Oliver White

2 comments

  • TV Directors need to more on the ball. Nobody knows what happened to Schum but director kept repeating the overtake move which Pedro did on him instead? This is not just this race it happens at either.

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