2009 Hungarian Grand Prix - Report - Post-race


"Yeah, I was able to manage them quite well but something I want to say is that yesterday was, I think, and maybe I can speak for all of us drivers, quite a sad day to see Felipe not with us here today. Hopefully I speak on behalf of all of us when I say we miss him and wish him well and wish him a speedy recovery. But back to the car, it was just fantastic. The team asked me to look after the tyres in which through all the great experiences I have had – good or bad – I was able to apply that today, so really a big thank you to all the guys and all the fans that have always given me support and never gave me up and to all my family."

Lewis Hamilton, reflecting on how well his car looked after its tyres, and also the previous day's events with Felipe Massa's accident.

The top three finishers appeared on the podium and in the subsequent press conference, where Hamilton was overjoyed at being back at the front of the field: "It’s an incredible feeling to be back here after what feels such a long time away and with such a struggle with me and my team. But as I said on the in lap I am just so proud of the guys, as I go into the factory and I see how hard everyone is pushing. Everyone wants to win just as much as I do and they never gave up. They have never given up which is something very rare to see in such a large group of people. I am very, very proud of them. We didn’t expect to win this weekend. Undoubtedly we have caught up quite a bit but we never felt we had the pace to win. But the car felt fantastic and it is incredibly special to get back up here, not only on the podium, but to get a win. It is amazing."

Räikkönen also achieved his best result of the 2009 season to date, but was unaware that the moves that he made at the start of the race were under investigation, to be looked at after the race.

I don’t know about the whole thing, so if you can tell me what it’s about that would be nice...I haven’t even noticed if I touched somebody. I was in-between, I think, Mark and somebody else but I don’t know what is going on. That is the first time when you told me but I didn’t feel any touching or anything, so I cannot comment on that.

Webber's podium finish moved him into second place in the championship standings. He was surprised, however, at the way proceedings played out, describing his result as "a little bit of a surprise. I think we expected to be a little bit quicker after our running on Friday but to be honest we knew these guys would be around us. It was a pretty difficult venue for us and we knew that we didn’t have the advantage maybe that we had in the last few events. All in all for me I am still pretty happy to get the result we did. I think we had a better chance to fight Kimi if maybe we did a slightly different pit stop and maybe chose a different tyre but that was my call. I was worried about how long the length of the stint was and it was quite difficult to know which tyre to put on but overall we still have a lot of positives. We are still up here. We haven’t been blown away by any means. We are in the hunt and we can take our car to a lot of venues and be competitive, so our guys and Renault have a lot to be proud of. We are still very much a force, so it is still a positive day for us."

Two hours after the race's conclusion, representatives of Ferrari, Red Bull and Renault were summoned to see the race stewards due to the various incidents that occurred during the race. Ferrari and Räikkönen were cleared of any wrongdoing in either of his incidents with race-winner Hamilton and Vettel on the first lap of the race. Red Bull were given a reprimand for the second race running, due to the unsafe release of Webber into the direct path of Räikkönen in the pit lane, at the first round of pit stops. Red Bull had been in a similar situation at the German Grand Prix, when Vettel was released unsafely into the path of Kazuki Nakajima during qualifying, and the team were given a €10,000 fine. Renault received the harshest punishment of the three incidents, in the form of a suspension from the next race of the season, the European Grand Prix. The race stewards felt that Renault "knowingly released car no. 7 from the pitstop position without one of the retaining devices for the wheel-nuts being securely in position, this being an indication that the wheel itself may not have been properly secured. Being aware of this, failed to take any action to prevent the car from leaving the pitlane. failed to inform the driver of this problem or to advise him to take appropriate action given the circumstances, even though the driver contacted the team by radio believing he had a puncture, resulting in a heavy car part detaching at Turn 5, and the wheel itself detaching at Turn 9." which was in breach of Articles 3.2 and 23.1.i in the Sporting Regulations. Within half an hour of the decision, Renault filed the mandatory cost of €6,000 to appeal against the decision. The International Court of Appeal heard the case on August 17; the Monday before the European Grand Prix and the court upheld bid for the suspension to be overturned. The team was fined $50,000 for the breach of the regulations in Hungary, and were allowed to race at Valencia.

"I don't remember anything and that's why what the doctors did had to be explained to me. When I saw Rob, he asked me if I remembered Rubens, but the last thing I remembered was when I was behind him at the end of my fast lap in Q2, and then it's blank. It's difficult to explain. I'm feeling much better now and I want to recover as soon as possible to get back behind the wheel of a Ferrari."

Felipe Massa, in his first interview following the accident.

Massa's condition continued to improve over the course of the weekend, the Brazilian having been sedated in a coma for 48 hours. After being visited by Ferrari and Fiat president Luca Cordero di Montezemolo and also Rubens Barrichello, doctors from the Állami Egészségügyi Központ military hospital released a statement saying that Massa could make a full recovery. Massa could be released from hospital within a week to ten days, depending on how well he progresses. Massa's doctor, Dino Altmann, also told the media that he is certain that Massa will race again, having stated that the trauma suffered by the Brazilian was not as bad as first thought, and that his condition has improved rapidly, taking his first steps since the crash, when he left the intensive care unit. Massa left hospital on August 3, returning home to Brazil to recuperate. He checked into the Sociedade Beneficente Israelita Brasileira Hospital Albert Einstein in São Paulo for a series of medical tests that would allow him to recuperate at home, rather than in hospital. All the results of the tests for abnormalities came back negative, and Massa was given the all-clear to continue his recuperation.

"Whoever sits in the car at the next race in Valencia, it will not be Michael Schumacher. I am not 100 per cent sure; I am 200 per cent sure. The pressure on him would be huge. He would be expected to win, but he has not driven this car. When Michael was racing he would get as close to perfection as possible. In this case, it would not be perfection; it would be a gamble – and that's not Michael's style."

Willi Weber, on rumours that Michael Schumacher would be replacing Massa.

Rumours began circulating that any one out of Ferrari advisor Michael Schumacher, and the team's two test drivers Luca Badoer and Marc Gené would be replacing Massa for the European Grand Prix, and the succeeding events. On July 29, Schumacher agreed to drive the car until Massa was fit enough to return, subject to medical tests. However, Schumacher called off his return on August 11, due to a lingering neck injury which he had suffered six months earlier, while testing a Honda CBR1000RR motorcycle at Circuito Cartagena. Badoer replaced Massa in Valencia, and competed in his first Grand Prix since 1999. The gap of nine years, nine months and 24 days was the second-longest gap between Grands Prix competed, with only Jan Lammers (ten years, three months; when he returned to Formula One in 1992), having a lengthier spell between races.

The Hungarian Grand Prix was also the last appearance for Renault's Nelson Piquet, Jr. as he parted company with the team on August 3, 2009. Romain Grosjean was announced as his replacement, with his GP2 Series team Barwa Addax signing up Davide Valsecchi to replace him; ending his title aspirations.

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