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Mark Webber wins Hungarian GP, takes F1 series lead

Times wires

BUDAPEST, Hungary — Mark Webber of Red Bull claimed victory in an action-packed Hungarian Formula One Grand Prix Sunday to move top of the drivers' championship standings.

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finished second while Sebastian Vettel in the second Red Bull threw away his chances of victory when he incurred a stop-go penalty while leading for exceeding the allowed 10 car lengths to the safety car.

Felipe Massa claimed fourth spot in the second Ferrari with Vitaly Petrov of Renault fifth.

Webber now has 161 points after 12 of 19 races, four clear of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, who was forced to retire because of a gearbox problem. Vettel sits third on 151 points, followed by defending champion Jenson Button of McLaren, who finished eighth, on 147 and Alonso on 141.

"We had the safety car and obviously I had to go off strategy," said Webber after his sixth GP win in his 150th F1 race.

"It was a bit of a gift today for me but I'll take it as I haven't had many of them."

Vettel had made sluggish starts from pole at Silverstone and Hockenheim already this season but made a perfect start at the Hungaroring, holding off Alonso going into the first corner.

Alonso started from third but easily passed second-placed Webber at the start, although the Ferrari driver was unable to keep pace with Vettel in the early stages, losing on average nearly a second a lap to the 23-year-old German.

"The start was superb," said Alonso. "Overall a good weekend, knowing that our pace wasn't quick enough." Webber kept pace with Alonso without attacking the Spaniard while Massa also maintained his distance in fourth.

The safety car was deployed on lap 15 to remove debris from the track and caused a flurry of activity as Vettel, Alonso, Massa and Hamilton all pitted.

Massa was forced to wait for Alonso to pit first, leading the Brazilian to lose fourth place to Hamilton while Robert Kubica later received a stop-go penalty as Renault released him straight into the path of Force India driver Adrian Sutil.

Mercedes are expected to face race stewards after Nico Rosberg's race ended in the pits as the German lost his back right tire halfway down the pit lane, which bounced dangerously before being caught by a Sauber mechanic.

Webber was the only one of the leading cars to stay out during the safety car phase and it paid dividends as he took over the race lead from Vettel.

Hamilton was forced to retire on lap 24 due to gearbox problems while Vettel received the news five laps later that he had incurred a stop-go penalty for exceeding the allowed 10 car lengths to the safety car.

A clearly angry Vettel came in on lap 32 to serve his penalty, returning in third place behind Alonso but ahead of Massa.

"At the restart I was sleeping, I was probably relying too much on the radio," said Vettel.

"I was sure we had another lap. I was caught out."

Webber finally pitted at the end of lap 43, coming out ahead of Alonso to retain his race lead.

The 33-year-old Australian pulled away from the rest of the field in the closing stages to register a comfortable win while Vettel was unable to put enough pressure on Alonso to force the Spaniard into making an error.

"The victory is good. To maximise your opportunities is always good," said Webber. "But we're not getting ahead of ourselves."

Michael Schumacher's season took a further dive as the Mercedes driver was handed a 10-place penalty for the Belgian GP on August 29 at Spa-Francorchamps because of his actions in trying to stop Rubens Barrichello from passing him late on.

The seven-time world champion was lying in 10th in his Mercedes during the closing stages when he veered to his right to cut off his former teammate, nearly sending the Brazilian into the pit-wall.

The Williams driver was forced onto the grass by the 41-year-old German's maneuver but still managed to overtake Schumacher to claim 10th spot.

Race stewards saw Schumacher's move as illegally impeding Barrichello.

(c) 2010, Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH (Hamburg, Germany).

Mark Webber wins Hungarian GP, takes F1 series lead 08/01/10 [Last modified: Sunday, August 1, 2010 11:03pm]
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