Jenson Button marked his 200th Grand Prix with a reminder of his class on Sunday when he drove his McLaren to a stirring victory in a chaotic and incident-filled Hungarian Grand Prix.
The 31-year-old Briton, who started third on the grid, made the most of some wretched ill-fortune for his team-mate and compatriot Lewis Hamilton in changing wet-dry-wet-dry conditions to record his second win of the year and the 11th of his career.
“It’s a great moment, all round a major weekend. For some rason I like these conditions,” said Button of the slippery track.
Back on the circuit where he claimed his first F1 win in 2006, for Honda, Button revelled in the demanding circumstances. Given a celebratory cake before the race on Saturday, he ate it with relish.
Hamilton, having started second, led for long periods after taking early control, but was caught out by a succession of strategic errors – when he chose the wrong tyres in rapidly-changing weather – and a harsh stewards’ decision to give him a drive-through penalty after he forced Paul Di Resta off the track.
“The better man won today,” said Hamilton.
“The team have done a fantastic job. It’s a fantastic way to go into the (summer) break. We would have liked a one-two, I let the team down a little bit but we will be back.”
Hamilton, who had spun in the sudden rain and then rejoined rapidly in front of oncoming traffic, ended up finishing fourth behind a triumphant Button, second-placed German Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull and two-times champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso of Ferrari.
For Vettel, although it was disappointing not to win again, his second place was enough for him to increase his lead in the drivers’ title race as his nearest rivals finished behind him.
Australian Mark Webber finished fifth in the second Red Bull ahead of Brazilian Felipe Massa in the second Ferrari with impressive British rookie Di Resta seventh for Force India.
This meant that the young Scot, in his first season, was the leading Mercedes powered runner in the race as he came home ahead of Swiss Sebastien Buemi of Toro Rosso, German Nico Rosberg in the leading Mercedes car and Spaniard Jaime Alguersuari in the second Toro Rosso.
Seven-times champion German Michael Schumacher, 42, was forced to retire in his Mercedes with gearbox problems.