Button Breaks Through in Hungary
The combination of rain and driver penalties gave us a race to remember at the Hungaroring. Once again tires played a major part in the events on track, the Michelin wets and intermediates proving superior to Bridgestone’s, although the situation was reversed when the track dried out. Through all the chaos of spins, collisions and tire choices came Jenson Button, looking supremely in control in the Honda RA106, to take his first and thoroughly deserved win.
This was a victory that was going to happen, even if Alonso’s rear suspension had not forced an almost unheard of Renault retirement. Jenson was catching the race leader easily before Alonso came in for dry tires and thereafter the Honda was unassailable at the front.
The team can be proud of their performance on a day when they got everything right, Barrichello coming home in fourth to emphasize their effectiveness while others struggled in the changing conditions. Staying out of trouble was the order of the day and Honda demonstrated how it’s done.
Which cannot be said of Michael Schumacher; he looked so wild whenever anyone attempted to pass him that I feared for the safety of the other drivers. It was only justice that he should break a trackrod by running into the rear of Heidfeld’s BMW Sauber after the young German had already got by.
Michael had earlier risked disqualification by cutting the chicane to retain his place and was running on intermediate tires that were worn treadless and almost certainly illegal therefore. His retirement enabled him to avoid a storm of protest from other teams and also meant that he was classified ninth, later to become eighth when Robert Kubica’s Sauber BMW was excluded for running lighter than allowed. So, with typical Michael Schumacher luck, he picks up one point that should not have been allowed, in my humble opinion.
But Kubica was another story of the race, not only because he drove with such passion and verve, spinning out a couple of times but pressing on regardless and finishing in seventh position. On this showing it is understandable that BMW Sauber have decided to keep him in the race seat for the rest of the season, as announced after the race. It was a mutual decision between the team and Jacques Villeneuve, apparently, and means that yet another of F1′s most flamboyant characters is out of a drive.
But let nothing detract from Jenson’s excellent victory. The man has always had the talent; let us hope that this is but the first of many wins and that the Brits have a new hero to shout about.