Button outwits Hamilton after tale of two tyres

Victorious Jenson Button made the right call while McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton got it wrong and paid the price at the Hungarian Grand Prix today.

india Updated: Jul 31, 2011 22:26 IST

Victorious Jenson Button made the right call while McLaren team mate Lewis Hamilton got it wrong and paid the price at the Hungarian Grand Prix on Sunday.

The 2009 Formula One world champion, celebrating his 200th start with a triumph at the circuit where he took his first win in 2006, was stunned when Hamilton pitted for intermediate tyres in the closing stages only to find conditions were not wet enough.

The two Britons had fought for the lead, overtaking each other four times, in what was shaping up to be classic duel until the tyre call.

"The team said we are going to pit for intermediates and for me that was a big surprise," Button, still fifth overall, told the post-race news conference.

"I was never going to come in for inters. I didn't think it was the right choice personally. I braved it on the slicks and it was definitely the right call. You are not always going to make the right call in these conditions and I haven't always."

Button pointed out he had been passed by Hamilton twice after going wide at the slippery Turn 2 when asked if he had won because he was a more cautious driver in the wet.

"I lost the lead twice because I made a mistake. So I am crazy too," said the 31-year-old.

"It was a very tough race. On the first stint on the intermediates in the wet it felt like there was no grip at all."

Hamilton, the 2009 champion, won in Germany last Sunday and Red Bull have lost some of the momentum they held for the first half of the season, even if championship leader Sebastian Vettel extended his advantage to 85 points after finishing second.

McLaren have now won three of the last five races, Red Bull only one of them.

Button, whose previous win this season was in rain-hit Canada, said the weather was not such a big factor.

"I think the reason we won today was because we were quick," he said.

"If it didn't rain I don't think it would have made a lot of difference."

Hamilton, who spun when leading and had to serve a drive-through penalty after impeding another car as he got back on track, accepted his error but was glad at least to finish fourth and stay third overall.

"We were having radio issues and I could hear my engineers but they couldn't hear me," the 2008 champion, told reporters.

"I heard them say it was going to rain and it was already spitting so we opted to go for the wet tyres. It wasn't necessarily the best call but that's motor racing."

F1 now has a month's break before the Belgian Grand Prix on Aug. 28 and Hamilton feels McLaren are riding high even if defending champion Vettel and Red Bull may not ultimately be caught in the standings.

"We can definitely say the team have done a fantastic job and for us to both be the most competitive this weekend I think is a fantastic way to go into the break," said the Briton.

"Of course we would have loved a one-two, I feel like I let the team down a little bit but we'll bounce back at the next race."

First Published: Jul 31, 2011 22:23 IST