The race was not all that exciting, but somehow turned out to be profitable. I only checked Betfair for the sake of certainty, but it turned out that the 3 hedge against Grosjean got matched, which I found really surprising. Anyway, for the race hedging was obviously better, and over the course of the weekend it was about one stake better than not doing so.
There was an incident even before the race started when Schumacher stalled his car on the grid. This meant we had a second formation lap whilst the veteran driver went to the pit lane, from whence he would join the back of the pack when the race actually started.
It was initially formation flying. Vettel tried to pass Grosjean but failed and this left him vulnerable to an early pass by Button. Somewhat surprisingly Grosjean managed to keep pace (with a 2.5 second gap, give or take) to Hamilton in this phase of the race.
Webber, who not so long ago had a tendency to leave the handbrake on when starting, had a great getaway and was up to around 7-8th after the first lap.
Things were looking quite good for both Grosjean and McLaren generally (running first and third as they were). However, after Button's pit stop he got stuck behind Senna for a prolonged period. Hungary is a bit rubbish in that overtaking is too difficult, and this allowed Vettel and Webber to easily pass Button during the pit stops.
After the first stops Grosjean was very fast, easily hauling in Hamilton, yet could not get past him. A few over-eager mistakes meant he dropped back slightly, and he never had a serious chance to take the net lead (he did lead, I think, for a time but only due to a difference in the number of pit stops).
However, Raikkonen was greatly aided by a strategic blinder his team played. The Finn found himself in clear air and used this to full advantage, putting in fast lap after fast lap. When he pitted and emerged he was (just) ahead of Grosjean. He was also able to close to Hamilton, but, like his French team mate, found himself entirely unable to actually pass him.
An item of interest was when Vettel, whilst stuck behind Button earlier in the race, got on the radio and basically stamped his foot and demanded the team did something to help him get past the Briton. It sounded rather petulant, to be honest (and I say that as someone who appreciates Vettel's tremendous talent). He ended up fourth.
Alonso will probably be relatively happy with damage limitation in fifth. Because Hamilton's so far back in the title race and Alonso beat Webber (eighth) this actually extends the Spaniard's lead to 40 points (over Webber, who just retains second place).
Worth giving a mention to Senna as well. The Brazilian got a pretty impressive seventh, although his team mate got a drive-through penalty for hitting a Force India and ended up 13th.
It was another day to forget for Schumacher. He must have retired from about seven of the 11 races to date. He stalled on the grid and then had a drive-through for speeding in the pit lane and then had to retire for uncertain reasons.
I've got to say that I think getting that hedge matched was really very lucky. Grosjean did have better speed, I feel, than Hamilton overall (as did Raikkonen) but his lack of experience and judgement led to small mistakes and I underestimated just how hard overtaking would be at Hungary. I'm pretty happy the race ended up green, even if it was a fluke.
Thanks to Messrs Nigel and Putney for each offering an early green line tip. Although neither came off it is worth pointing out that both were at long odds (30/1 and 8/1 respectively).
Going into the long mid-season break the drivers' standings are as follows:
The long break to Spa will almost certainly see the pack shuffled a bit, but a 40 point lead with four closely matched competitors behind him is a pretty solid position for Alonso. He also has the strategic advantage of being the clear number one driver at Ferrari, whereas that isn't the way McLaren and Red Bull do things. (Well, Red Bull sometimes does, but Webber ignores them).
Alonso's barely over evens, which I think is about right (maybe a tiny bit short). Vettel's 4, Hamilton 7.4 and Webber 14.5, which is too long. Interestingly, Raikkonen's down to 16. If I hadn't already bet on the market quite a bit I'd probably go for Webber and maybe Hamilton, with the intention of hedging later.
I'll be writing a second mid-season review, focusing on the driver/team situations and how I think they might do in the latter half of 2012, between now and Spa. Not sure how long I'll leave it but it'll probably be in the next week or two. The next Grand Prix begins on 31 August.