Monaco. Italy. Canada. Japan. There are a handful of grand prix host countries that Formula One could not do without, so central they are to the character of the sport. But Hungary?
The Hungarian Grand Prix actually dates back to the pre-war era when the legendary Tazio Nuvolari won its first running for Alfa Romeo, and the race has been held every year without fail at Budapest's Hungaroring since 1986.
McLaren has won it more times than any other team, but which would emerge as this year's winner? Keep reading for the breakdown of today's race.
Related Gallery2012 Hungarian Grand Prix
Saturday's qualifying sessions left Lewis Hamilton on pole position for the third time this season. Romain Grosjean, who has shown impressive form this season for Lotus, landed alongside the McLaren. Sebastian Vettel started third, ahead of Jenson Button, Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Pastor Maldonado, Bruno Senna and Nico Hulkenberg. Mark Webber wound up in eleventh, with Michael Schumacher way down in seventeenth place on the grid.
Schumacher's start, however, went even worse when his car failed to start for the formation lap, forcing him to begin the race from the pit lane. An uncommon second formation lap ensued. The second attempt at the race start, however, went fine, with the top four cars leading the field before Button got the best of
Schumacher was handed a subsequent drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane that dropped him even further behind the rest of the field. It would take fifteen laps for him to catch up and pass even backmarkers like Timo Glock and Narain Karthikeyan.
Fine racecraft saw Raikkonen climb up to the leaders in between pit stops, re-emerging alongside and subsequently passing his teammate Grosjean to land in second, up from fifth at the race start.
Towards the end of the race, Pastor Maldonado hit Paul Di Resta's Force India, for which he was handed a drive-through penalty that he took on the 53rd out of 69 laps. Vettel, meanwhile, eagerly pursued Grosjean for a podium finish, but wouldn't manage to get past the young Frenchman. The defending champion did, however, manage to fend off the advances of points-leader Alonso in a fierce battle between the pair of two-time champs.
The yellow flags were waved with only three laps to go as Karthikeyan retired his HRT trackside, preventing any passing until the car was cleared from the track.
After sixty-nine rather unremarkable laps, Hamilton took his second win of the season, but Alonso further extended his lead in the standings despite a fifth-place finish. In between them, the Lotus pair of Raikkonen and Grosjean rounded out the podium and Vettel landed in third.
The remaining points went to Button, Senna, Webber, Massa and Rosberg. The results have Webber now trailing Alonso with 124 points to 164, Vettel close behind in third at 122, Hamilton with 117 and Raikkonen with 116. Red Bull still leads the constructors' standings with 246 points to McLaren's 193, Lotus' 192 and Ferrari's 189. The season now takes a month-long break until the championship resumes with the Belgian Grand Prix the first weekend in September.