Heidfeld's Renault has fiery finish and 2012 calendar gives teams reasons for concern

Nick Heidfeld's Renault meets a fiery end at Hungary and Sebastian Vettel is exhorting his Red Bull Racing teammates to step it up and regain the advantage on McLaren.

Heidfeld feels the heat

Nick Heidfeld's Hungarian Grand Prix came to a fiery end after his Renault burst into flames after a long pit stop. The German had only just left the pit lane when sparks started to fly and the back end of the car was engulfed by flames.

Heidfeld parked the car on a grass verge and scrambled out as smoke billowed into the sky. While marshals extinguished the blaze a side pod exploded and flung debris onto the track. "We wanted to stop early because we were quicker than the cars ahead ... and then the pit stop took longer than it should have, and I think this is why, probably, something overheated," Heidfeld told BBC television."I was a bit [scared]. I had a fire in Barcelona as well, but I wasn't worried there at all. This one got quite close. In Barcelona, I didn't feel any temperature, and this time I felt some heat, so I had to get out quickly."

Button exhorts team

After the race, Jenson Button was quick to express his high hopes for the rest of the season. Over the radio, a triumphant Button told his team: "Guys, perfect going into the summer break. Let's come back and win them all." Button will be heading to Hawaii for the upcoming midseason break over the next three weeks.

Di Resta impressing

British rookie Paul Di Resta continues to impress at Force India. The young Scot finished seventh at Hungary. That makes him the leading Mercedes-powered runner in the race. Di resta came home ahead of Sebastien Buemi, of Toro Rosso, Nico Rosberg in the leading Mercedes GP car and Jaime Alguersuari in the second Toro Rosso. Seven-times champion Michael Schumacher was forced to retire in his Mercedes GP with gearbox problems.

Hacked and hoaxed

A story, posted on Button's official website claiming he had been seriously injured in a car crash, was a "distasteful hoax", his representatives said. The story emerged on the McLaren-Mercedes driver's site on Saturday night stating he was in a "critical condition" in hospital following a "serious accident" in Hungary. However, the website was taken down soon after the post emerged, with his spokesman stating it had been the work of an online hacker. "The story is completely untrue and is a very distasteful hoax," the driver's spokesman said.

A reason to celebrate

Sebastien Buemi's eighth-place finish after starting 23rd at the Hungarian Grand Prix was the best gift possible in his Toro Rosso driver team's 100th Formula One race. Buemi passed about 10 cars on his opening lap, driving what he described as one of his "best" races in slippery, wet conditions at the Hungaroring to eventually secure four points. The Swiss driver, who matched his season's best result from the opening Australian GP, was penalised five places on the starting grid because of an accident at the German GP. His teammate, Jaime Alguersuari, also secured a point for the Austrian team, finishing 10th.

Concern over calendar

Formula One team owners are understood to be ready to ask Bernie Ecclestone to rethink his plans for the 2012 calendar because of concerns the end of season run will cause logistical problems. The sports commercial rights holder has proposed ending the season with back-to-back races in Abu Dhabi and Bahrain before the penultimate race in the United States and the final grand prix in Brazil.

Published: August 1, 2011 04:00 AM


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