Heikki Takes His First Formula 1 Victory in Hungary
Heikki Kovalainen was the winner of yesterday's Hungarian Grand Prix, scoring his first ever Formula 1 victory at the Hungaroring circuit near Budapest, Hungary. Heikki drove his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes across the finish line 11.0 seconds ahead of second place Timo Glock in the Toyota. Third was taken by Kimi Raikkonen in the Ferrari. The race looked like it was set to be a Ferrari victory with Felipe Massa leading in the final laps, but with just 3 laps left to the finish, Massa was forced to retire due to sudden engine trouble.
After 28 Formula 1 races, this was the first taste of victory for Kovalainen and he appeared to thoroughly enjoy the moment. He became the 100th Grand Prix F1 winner since 1950. Heikki's win put him sixth in the Championship with 38 points. Lewis Hamilton, who finished fifth in yesterday's race maintained his leadership position with 62 points in the driver's standings. The Constructors Championship is becoming a close race with Ferrari leading with 111 points and the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team with 100 points.
At the start of the race Massa in the Ferrari pulled a brilliant overtaking pass of Hamilton and Kovalainen, who were first and second respectively on the starting grid, and he vaulted to the leadership position. By Lap 10, Massa was still leading with Hamilton 2.8 seconds behind in second, and Kovalainen 4.8 seconds behind his team mate in third. On Lap 18 when Massa brought his Ferrari in for a pit stop Lewis took the lead.
By Lap 25, with all the front runners having taken their first pit stop, the race order was Massa first, followed by Hamilton in second and Kovalainen in third. On Lap 41, Lewis suffered tire failure to the left front wheel and had to drive slowly back to the pits. After taking on board enough fuel to finish the race and new tires, he rejoined the race in 10th place.
Massa in his Ferrari was out in front by Lap 55, with all the top ten drivers having taken their second pit. Kovalainen held second place and Lewis Hamilton had managed to improve his position to sixth. On his 68th lap, Massa had his unfortunate engine failure and he pulled off to the side of the track on the front straight. This allowed Kovalainen to take the lead in the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.
On Lap 70 Heikki crossed the finish line well ahead (11.0 sec) of second place finisher Timo Glock in the Toyota to take his first ever Formula 1 victory.
Heikki Kovalainen had the following to say about his victory yesterday:
"I feel sorry for Felipe because he drove a great race, but my car felt good and I knew I could push for the victory. This is a great moment for me, something I've been targeting for many years. Hopefully this victory will be the first of many."