Scripting the incredible moments from the Hungarian GP 2012, I could only go back in time to say, “Every second counts”.
A super exciting weekend on the cards, where every driver was going all out on the Drivers’ Championship. After an intense Qualifying session on Saturday, Hamilton clinched a historic 150th pole for McLaren. Already taking the Formula1 world by surprise, the rising star, Romain Grosjean shared the starting grid alongside Hamilton. Kimi qualified and was set to start the race in the third row in 5th position. Budapest was heading for one great encounter on Sunday. With Lotus placed at row-1 and row-3, the team looked formidable!
The 24 race cars were set for an exciting race. The grid was filled with smoke as the cars zoomed off when the 5 red lights went off. Lotus had bettered positions. Running on hard compound tyres, Kimi clocked incredible timings in the early laps. A very satisfying race for team Lotus. Down to clever strategy, clinical error-free driving or call it sheer class, Kimi was the race leader in Budapest with 35 laps down. A poor pit stop by Hamilton saw Kimi extend his lead to 14+ seconds at the top.
By this time, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean were the order of the race. Kimi set the arena ablaze with his fantastic driving, doing best what he’s known for, setting one fastest lap after another. Kimi gets the best out of his car given come what may! He supported the clause with another turbulent and animated driving in Budapest.
With 25 laps remaining, Raikkonen took full control of his car and the race as well. Kimi burned the rubber to the fullest. He was heading quick towards Chequered Flag. Analyzing the situation, Kimi was expected to just about make it ahead of Hamilton out of the pit lane. He was driving the best race of the comeback season until lightning struck! The Lotus team choked. A very disappointing 11+ seconds pit stop caused Kimi his lead. Raikkonen, out of the pit-lane, was tested by his team-mate Romain Grosjean. He survived a close contest for the second spot leaving Grosjean trailing.
Kimi trailed a 3 second deficit over Hamilton. It’s painful to see the sweetness go by when you give all that you’ve got. But, it wasn’t over yet! Kimi had 21 laps to recover on one hand and Hamilton’s tethering tyres on the other adding to his fore. He bettered his timings on each lap and got as close as trailing 0.4 seconds to race leader, Lewis Hamilton. Kimi played every possible card from his pack and unfortunately, Hamilton answered each one with a better combination. Down to the last two laps, Kimi raced all in 300Mph+, DRS, excellent cornering while zipping through the chicanes. The cacophony from Kimi’s Lotus was terrible. The Iceman’s Lotus was pushed beyond its limits.
Hamilton survived all the threatening challenges from the Flying Finn. He went past the chequered flag. Kimi finished second. It took Kimi an hour, 41 minutes and six seconds to complete the race, one second behind Lewis Hamilton. It maybe painful but a Lotus 2-3 podium finish can be called a successful race. But what if Kimi had won the race? Certainly, Kimi had his moments in the race. Analyzing the race in Budapest, the 2nd Pit-stop, a long 11sec haul from team Lotus caused Kimi Raikkonen the glory. It would have been Kimi’s first victory since his criticized Formula 1 return. Nonetheless, we all loved watching the Flying Finn in the golden and black combat racing through the circuit and popping the MuMM at the podium. But Team Lotus and Kimi Raikkonen would have to account for the cheap loss of pole position. It’ll be just another Sunday when the Finnish National anthem is played!