Reigning F1 world champion Sebastian Vettel will take a 38 point advantage into the four-week summer break after a third place finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix.
Though the Red Bull racer finished third behind Lewis Hamilton and title rival Kimi Raikkonen, Vettel still holds the upper hand as the sport takes a month off.
But the German was left frustrated by McLaren’s Jenson Button, who played a key role in giving race winner Hamilton a huge gap in the lead, while he held Vettel up following his first pitstop. Until that point, Vettel had been shaping up to pass Hamilton’s Mercedes.
And with making his tyres last long enough to make a two-stop strategy work, Raikkonen leapfrogged Vettel to take second place, despite Vettel’s late attempts to pass.
He said afterwards: “I would have loved the race to have been a bit longer, as it was fun with Kimi at the end. It’s hard to pass on this track, I got close but I wasn’t in the prime overtaking spot at that point. I was trying to set something up for the next corners, but it didn’t work.
“The key issue in the race was when I got stuck behind Jenson, there’s no one to blame for that.”
Team-mate Mark Webber meanwhile enjoyed a fairly quiet race as he recovered from a disappointing qualifying to finish fourth.
After a KERS failure in qualifying saw him start 10th, he opted for the harder compound Pirelli tyre at the start of the race. His alternative strategy meant he was leading the race before his first stop, lifting him through the field.
Webber said: “I think we had the right strategy. We knew there was a lot of pressure on getting a good first lap and I got some clear air, which worked well.”