Key Points From The Hungarian Grand Prix

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As we creep into the second half of the Formula One season, the roadshow headed to Hungary for the last race before the mid-season break.


With a four week gap until the Belgium Grand Prix, this was the time to make a statement to the rest of the field and that's exactly what Lewis Hamilton and McLaren did. However, perhaps the most promising sign was the performance of Lotus, who once again proved they can mix it with the best.


Below are a handful of points from the weekend.



Hamilton's Perfect Riposte


Lewis Hamilton's on/off season took another turn at the weekend as the Brit stormed to the 19th victory of his career.


As the only pole winner in the last seven years around the Hungaroring, Hamilton gave the perfect response to his dismal showing in Germany, dominating the weekend and showing that even with such an inconsistent season


Perhaps as important though was Hamilton's response followed Jenson Button's fantastic second place last weekend. As teams begin to contemplate backing one driver over the other as the season reaches a crescendo, Hamilton's victory almost dispels his compatriot's own fight back.



Schumacher Having A Season To Forget


A few weeks ago it looked like he had finally turned the figurative corner. Michael Schumacher's third spot in the European Grand Prix looked like it would give his season a much needed boost.


However, it simply papered over some pretty evident cracks. As much as I love Michael Schumacher, he sadly is a shadow of the seven-time world champion we all knew and loved.


No doubt he still loves motor-racing and I genuinely believe that his return was more based on the project and the opportunity to build something with Mercedes, than a man entering a mid-life crisis, but he looks a spent force.


Once again we have to describe this weekend as a race to forget for the German, from appearing to switch-off the engine on the grid, to speeding in the pit lane. His eventual retirement on lap 60 was probably for the best, but he will seriously need to re-evaluate if he is going to carry on next season.



Lotus Are Quick, As Long As It's Hot


Since the beginning of pre-season testing, Lotus have been the team to keep an eye on.


Blistering pace before the season opener, followed by a handful of podiums have proved that this is a car which is more than capable of making waves. But the slightly worrying trend that Lotus only really challenge when it is hot may eventually cost them a richly deserved victory this season.


Earlier in the week I'd predicted that Lotus would podium if the weather forecast was to be kind to them, and that proved true, but with no guarantees over favourable conditions as the season rattles on, there is a lingering feeling that they may come up short this year.


It would be unfair to criticise the Lotus team too much though, but perhaps with a braver strategy or earlier pit call, Kimi Raikkonen could have undercut Lewis Hamilton and jumped the Brit during the second round of stops.



Grosjean's Dismissal Of Sir Jackie Could Be A Good Thing


Last week reports surfaced that Sir Jackie Stewart offered to mentor Romain Grosjean for the remainder of the season, an opportunity the Frenchman turned down.


Referred to as a 'snub' by the tabloids, it initially seemed as disrespectful to the three-time world champion, but as Grosjean remonstrated, he didn't need a mentor.


Grosjean's first stint in Formula One was certainly an experience to forget, but instead of washing his hands of the series and carving a career in a different discipline, he re-evaluated, seeking help from a mental coach and showing that he could do the business in GP2.


Since winning the GP2 series last year, Grosjean has been one of the stand-out drivers on the grid, with a second place sandwiched in between two third spots including Hungary's heroic. At times he has looked like a future F1 champion, and if he continues in this vein he could well be, with or without Sir Jackie's help.



Who Will Be Fernando Alonso's Team-Mate Next Season?


This week the rumours flying around the Formula One world have speculated as to who will be Fernando Alonso's Ferrari team-mate next season.


With Felipe Massa looking ever-increasingly like being dropped at the end of the campaign, tongues have started wagging.


Early contenders were Mark Webber and Sergio Perez, but with the Australian having signed a new one-year deal with Red Bull, Ferrari will have to look elsewhere.


While Perez remains on the team's radar, two drivers cropped up in conversation this week - Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen.


Raikkonen's return to Formula One has been relatively successful, despite the glaring omission of a victory, whereas Jenson Button still has one-year to run on his current contract with McLaren.


However, one question springs to mind, how would any of those drivers fare in a team with Fernando Alonso?


The Spaniard is unquestionably one of the finest drivers in the world, but he is a man who needs a lot of backing from his team. A brief look back to his tumultuous relationship with McLaren golden-boy Lewis Hamilton when the two were team-mates just underlines Alonso's need to be top-dog in a team.


How would the likes of Jenson Button and Kimi Raikkonen deal with that, I wonder?



Read more blogs and articles by Simon Knights here. Follow Simon Knights on Twitter @SimonKnights