The tenth race of the 2009 season took me to the Hungaroring, the venue of the Hungarian Grand Prix.
I’ve often enjoyed this track on F1 games. For reasons I can’t explain, I find it to be an easy circuit to learn and easy to master as well. It was clear from practice sessions that I was quick. In fact, even on the hard tyre, I was around a second or so quicker than everyone else (which rose to nearly two seconds on the soft tyre).
This pace continued to be evident in qualifying, where I dominated each session, easily securing pole.
There are no real ‘problem’ corners here. The first turn is a big meaty right-hander that I attacked at speed and turned in earlier than might seem practical, but in actuality this let me hold the racing line heading toward turn 2, and the rest of the lap was straightforward.
My only concern was tyre wear. In practice the front tyres were wearing out quite quickly (the result of front brake bias being set to maximum), so some tweaking was required to reduce the brake bias and easy the pressure on the tyres just a little. However, I still had concerns that the tyres would hamper me if I tried to run a two-stop race – so I abandoned this strategy.
I also decided against any prolonged stints on the soft compound. The rate of tyre decay meant it wasn’t worth the risk. Instead, I opted for a three-stop strategy, with my opening, second and third runs all 19-lap runs on the hard tyre, and only one 13 lap stint on the soft.
At the start of the race I briefly lost out to Webber and Rosberg, but I was fighting with them around the first lap and out-braked Webber into turn 1 on lap two to retake the lead. From that point, despite carrying more fuel and being on the hard tyre, I was able to pull away quite easily, so that, by the time I made my first stop on lap 19, I dropped down only to fourth, and swiftly regained the lead as the cars ahead pitted.
By the time I reached the second stop on lap 38, I was able to rejoin the race still in the lead, by around six seconds, and easily built this up to such an extent that, come my final stop, I not only rejoined in the lead but I rejoined with a margin of at least 40 seconds or so.
I would ease to the finish, winning for the fourth time in the year, and I would win by 56 seconds. With Button claiming second place, my gap to him was back down to just one point.
Next stop – Valencia.